Connecting to Exchange Online (Office 365) using the Exchange Control Panel (ECP)

So as I showed you in my previous blog post here on MSExchange.org, we can connect to the Exchange Online version included with Office 365 directly from the Exchange Management Console (EMC) installed on a domain-member server or workstation in the on-premise environment. Although you can manage a fair amount of organization and recipient level settings using the EMC, there are some things you can’t do such as creating mailboxes, enabling an archive for a mailbox located in the Exchange Online environment etc.

Unless you’re a 100% PowerShell geek that basically lives in a CLI, you’re probably wondering what the ideal way of  managing Exchange Online is? The answer is the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) silly. With ECP you can do all the things that’s possible via EMC plus a lot more. In addition, unlike when using the ECP against an on-premise Exchange 2010 solution, we also have the possibility of creating mailboxes directly within the ECP.

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We can even use the ECP version included with Exchange Online to perform the migration of on-premise mailboxes.

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We can select between Exchange 2003 and later and the “good” old IMAP based method:

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However, when creating new Office 365 users, we typically use the Microsoft Online Services Admin portal as this also is the place where we select the Exchange plan for a user and enable Lync etc.

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The Portal non-admin users will be presented with looks like the below:

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Okay this post was really just an additional teaser. As mentioned in my previous post, I’m currently writing a huge multi-part article similar to the one I did around BPOS a few years ago. It will of course include all the geeky details around Exchange Online, the improved DirSync engine plus the new ADFS functionality that will deliver a true SSO experience without the need of installing a SSO client on the the workstations in the organization.

Until later,

Henrik Walther
Technology Architect/Writer
MCM: Exchange 2007 | MVP: Exchange Architecture

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