M365 User Group – Microsoft Teams

Session Slides from Meetup Event

Microsoft Teams: Collaboration Chaos or Nirvana

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018, 12:30 PM

Microsoft Wellington
157 Lambton Quay Wellington, NZ

40 Members Attending

Want to know more about Microsoft Teams? Come along and find out what it is, how it can be used and see examples from other organisations. We will delve into both the benefits of using Teams, the current challenges, the future and more! Pizza and drinks provided. Presented By: Chandima Kulathilake – Chan is an experienced Solutions Architect speci…

Check out this Meetup →

M365 UG Microsoft Teams 27 June 2018 – Download Session Slides (PDF)

See you at Microsoft Ignite New Zealand

I will be speaking at Microsoft Ignite New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand. My topic is on Upgrading your on-premises SharePoint deployment to the latest SharePoint 2016 version and how to plan for it.

Upgrade Planning for SharePoint 2016 and Hybrid Considerations [M313]

SharePoint has undergone many changes since its first release in 2001. Now with its latest on-premises version (SharePoint Server 2016) being released, organisations should be looking at how to move their existing SharePoint 2013 platform to the latest 2016 version along with solutions built on the platform. During this session, we will look at “what’s new” and the top five key planning considerations for an upgrade strategy to SharePoint Server 2016. This session is targeted towards Business Architects, Enterprise Architects, and Technical Decision Makers.

Theme: Productivity & Social

Level: Level 300

Topic: Upgrade & Migration

This will be my 6th time speaking in New Zealand at Microsoft’s Technology conference of the year (previously called TechED). I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and connecting with you over October 25th to 28th at SkyCity in Auckland.

SharePoint Hybrid Search – What is it really?

This week myself and Jonathan from Spoke did joint presentation at the Wellington SharePoint User Group. We talked about what is involved in setting up Hybrid Search for SharePoint.

A hybrid SharePoint environment is composed of an on-premises deployment of SharePoint Server 2013/2016 and a SharePoint Online tenant in Microsoft Office365. A hybrid Search approach enables end users to get and view search results across all environments. In this session, learn about pre-requisite considerations when configuring hybrid search deployment and what you will need to know about Hybrid Search when planning for a deployment.

The session covered:

  • Pre-requisites – identity, network
  • Architecture Fundamentals
  • Hybrid Search user experience
  • Results experience
  • UI considerations
  • Security trimming (identity)

The slides from our session “SharePoint Hybrid Search – What is it really?” can now be downloaded from SlideShare.

Chocolate fish for Hyperfish

If you are a Kiwi, you would of course know that for a job well done you get a reward, usually it’s a chocolate fish. For those who are not familiar with this custom I present to you the source of all online correctness and one source of truth Wikipedia.

In New Zealand, the chocolate fish is a popular confectionery item, and in Kiwi culture a common reward for a job done well (“Give that kid a chocolate fish”)


In this case I am giving a BIG Chocolate Fish to the team at Hyperfish for coming up with something very useful when you want to get a view of how your organisations Active Directory is faring in terms of actual ‘up-to-date-ness’ of user information.

Say for example you are looking at creating a people directory for your company using multiple AD sources. If you don’t have the required properties populated then it’s really not much use. The challenge you will have is asking for and getting what information is there or what is not there. Go on ask any AD admin to give you that data and you’ll get a mixed bag of replies. Well now you don’t have to wait to find out. Simply head over to https://app.hyperfish.com/ add your email address and Voila!

You have the power to get a view of what’s missing and add these cool reports to your business case of why you should make Active Directory great again!



Planning for a SharePoint 2016 Upgrade

With the release of SharePoint Server 2016 there are a number of key planning decisions you have to make with regards to the future of using SharePoint as a platform for business solutions.
If you happen to be using any of the following on-premises versions of SharePoint, you will need to start planning for your upgrade or in some cases, moving away from SharePoint to something else.

SharePoint Version Support Ends Comments
SharePoint 2007 Already past support No official support from Microsoft however some system integration vendors will provide third party application support. There are no security or vulnerability hotfixes available from Microsoft either.
SharePoint 2010 Already past official support on 13 October 2015 Past 13th October 2015 Microsoft only provides security hotfixes and have stopped releasing other updates and enhancements including cumulative updates, public updates, and service packs for SharePoint 2010. If you have a Premier Support agreement, you had the option to enter into an extended hotfix agreement until January 11, 2016 (90 days from 13th October 2015). This entitles you to receive non-security hotfixes. There is a cost associated with this agreement, and it also requires direct contact with local Microsoft Technical Account managers.
SharePoint 2013 Start planning now or move to Service Pack 1 Fully supported with Service Pack 1 – Mainstream support for SharePoint 2013 ends on 4th October 2018 and extended support ends will end on 4th November 2023. So a bit more time allowed, however it’s worthwhile to plan the move now.

As you can see if your organisation uses a SharePoint version prior to 2013, it is highly recommended that you start the planning process for migrating existing content/applications to the next version soon.

Risk Mitigation

Some of the risks of not starting the planning process now are:

  • Software and solutions that are no longer supported
  • Increased dependency on third party vendors and systems integrators for ongoing support
  • Threat of business critical solutions being impacted by security vulnerabilities

These are only a few examples for risks associated with letting your SharePoint platform go stale.

As with most projects where a software platform is to be upgraded there are multiple scenarios you will need to consider before creating a ‘project’ to upgrade the SharePoint platform. Whether you have a handful of team sites, customised web parts with integration to line of business systems or a highly structured document and records management solution built on SharePoint, you will have to understand the current status of your deployment before you can make an informed decision on your upgrade path.

This is where an independent upgrade review will provide you with a comprehensive view of the status quo of your current SharePoint deployment.

Planning Activities

So what can you do now to get an ‘initial feel’ for the complexity of an upgrade.


What & Why


Business Applications by Business Priority/Usage This can be done without any dependency on SharePoint specific skills, the key here is that you capture what the applications or solutions are deployed and their usage in your business, as well as their availability requirements. The output is a list of applications that are being hosted on the SharePoint platform and their usage characteristics. (Note that these are not simply names of team sites)

This output will aid in doing availability and capacity planning for your SharePoint deployment.

Business analyst
Current Infrastructure Capacity Audit SharePoint on-premises requires a robust architecture design on capable infrastructure that can deliver to business requirements. This is typically your virtual infrastructure capacity. The key here is to determine what your current capacity is and any new planned expansions/upgrades to your virtual infrastructure. In some cases, your infrastructure team may ask what the requirements are for SharePoint. This can only be determined once you have an understanding of what your business wants to do with SharePoint. In general, most organisations opt for the minimum, however this is not the best approach since it does not take into consideration the business or service continuity of solutions being deployed on SharePoint. Infrastructure specialist working with a SharePoint specialist
SharePoint Platform Audit A comprehensive audit of your current SharePoint platform to determine the following:

  • Number of Servers in the SharePoint deployment
  • Patch level of SharePoint, to be able to upgrade you need to have the latest service packs installed
  • Size of SharePoint content databases (these determine the time it takes to upgrade the content)
  • SQL Server version and capacity, determine if your organisation can move to the correct compatible version of SQL server for SharePoint
  • Security certificate (SSL) expiration and renewal for web applications running in SSL mode
  • Number of site collections
  • Use of custom solutions (WSPs, Sandbox solutions)
  • Use of third party components such as web/app parts from a third party app store
SharePoint Specialist, Current Administrator of the SharePoint farm

By the end of a successful upgrade review, you should be able to articulate the following:

  • The current state of the SharePoint Server deployment from a high level and the motivators for wanting to move to SharePoint 2016.
  • An inventory of the current SharePoint Server. This includes all customisations, configurations, software, and hardware that make up the existing farm. The detail of this inventory should only be limited by the amount of time that you’ve allocated for the overall review.
  • A recommendation on the most appropriate upgrade approach for your on premises deployment. This largely means identifying between either a database attach upgrade, or a content move using a Third party migration tool or a hybrid approach where both are utilized.
  • Deciding whether using SharePoint online is acceptable to your solution workload or moving to a Hybrid topology is most appropriate.
  • A recommended plan on how that approach should be pursued. This plan should be sensitive to other information that is gathered about the existing deployment and those who interact with it.
  • High-level recommendations on hardware and software requirements for SharePoint 2016. You should tailor these recommendations to what workloads you need (Search, Document Management etc). There are simply no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your infrastructure deployment of SharePoint 2016.
  • Recommendations on any pre-implementation tasks that should be pursued or developed in parallel to fast track the upgrade.

To summarise, by the end of this review, you should have a solid idea of what you are about to embark on and the business value of moving forward with the upgrade.

When you work with SharePoint Server deployments, you must ensure that the architecture of the deployment is intuitive to your users (technical and business), that it will scale and grow with your business over time, and importantly, that it performs well. The key to ensuring that your deployment architecture is fit for purpose and meets your immediate business needs without compromising future plans is to ensure you follow a diligent process where you determine what your current state is, what your potential future state may look like and how to get there.

Any questions or feedback please leave a comment.

Looking through the WayBackMachine

When you have spent over a decade specialising in a certain technology stack and its related solutions you get to a point where everything you have done in the past is resurfaced with a new coat of paint with some new ‘modern’ words added to the mix of jargon to make it look appealing to the masses. Back in 2007 (yes I said 2007) this is what my blog looked like. (Thanks Internet Archive). That version of my blog was hosted on WSS (Windows SharePoint Services 3.0) with a custom skin called EBE (Enhanced Blog Edition) from a guy called Vincent Rothwell.

Way Back in August 2007
What Chandima.net looked like way back in August 2007

Fast forward to 2016 – I will be more or less talking about the same topic at TechED Ignite Conference in Auckland in October. Back in 2007 I talked about upgrading to MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007), a big milestone in the SharePoint technology space where the concept of ‘cloud’ or ‘hybrid’ as services didn’t exist yet.

My talk in October 2016 at Ignite will be about upgrading SharePoint <insert version> to the latest and greatest 2016 version. This time however there is also the option of going ‘cloud’ and being ‘hybrid’ which provides some level of complexity depending on who you talk to.

It is rather timely that I have ventured into writing about SharePoint again since it is as Chris points out rightly “SharePoint’s next epoch“. Over the coming months I am aiming to return to writing about the next evolution on SharePoint and related technologies such as Azure, Office365 and anything in between.

It’s been fantastic to see the rise of cloud services and maturing of Azure as a platform where nowadays anything is truly possible if you are diligent enough to do your homework and be flexible in your expectations that cloud is about utility computing.