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Get global data location controls with Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365

 

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the general availability of Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365, a new feature that helps multinational organizations address their global data residency requirements. Multi-Geo has been in preview for the past 12 months, and thanks to the invaluable feedback from our preview customers, it is now ready for prime time.

 

Increasingly, governments, third-party regulators, and corporate compliance requirements are enacting data residency guidelines to address privacy issues. These guidelines restrict the free flow of data across borders and require that organizations’ data be stored within defined boundaries.

 

With more such requirements cropping up, multinational businesses are challenged with balancing between digitally transforming their organizations with the cloud and addressing their global data residency needs. This often means that they are stuck managing on-premises data centers or can offer the promise of the cloud only to a fraction of their employees. Neither is an elegant solution, as each creates employee and data silos that stifle teamwork and innovation. Furthermore, managing multiple platforms is not easy and is a strain on IT resources and infrastructure costs.

 

Multi-Geo addresses these concerns by enabling a single Office 365 tenant to span across multiple Office 365 data center geographies (Geos) and gives customers the ability to store their Office 365 data at-rest for Exchange Online and OneDrive, on a per-user basis, in their chosen Geos. Microsoft commits to storing the data-at-rest in the customer chosen Geo and will not move the data-at-rest outside of the customer chosen Geo unless it is directed by a customer administrator.

 

Multi-Geo is now available for Exchange Online and OneDrive. With Multi-Geo, customers can choose in which Geo each user’s mailbox contents (e-mail body, calendar entries, and the content of e-mail attachments) and OneDrive uploaded files are stored at rest. Microsoft commits to providing in-Geo data residency, business continuity and disaster recovery for your core customer data. Microsoft is also working on making Multi-Geo enabled for SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups soon and is exploring Multi-Geo for other Office 365 workloads.

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Note: Multi-Geo introduces the following new terminology

Central Geo: The Geo where your Office 365 tenant was created, based on the billing address you used when signing up for your Office 365 subscription

Satellite Geo: Additional datacenter Geos that your Office 365 tenant is extended into to store Mailboxes and OneDrive files

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For example, Contoso, a multinational with employees in the USA, Europe and Australia can move from managing multiple on-premises servers around the world to a single Multi-Geo enabled Office 365 tenant and address their global data residency needs. Exchange Online Mailboxes and OneDrive files for each employee may be stored at-rest in each of the Geos Contoso operates within.

 

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Employees are now a part of the same Office 365 tenant and can experience collaboration features they did not get in the past because their data lived in fragmented silos. With Multi-Geo, all employees now have a common sharing experience in OneDrive and employees can easily use the global people picker to share a document with colleagues. Similarly, the “Shared-with-me” option in OneDrive now shows a unified list of files shared from employees across all Geos. Employees also get a truly modern experience of discovering people and content that matter to them most using Delve. These are among the many new collaboration features that become native regardless of where the content or the employee resides.

 

Managing a combination of multiple on-premises and cloud systems is a strain on IT resources and costs. Multi-Geo alleviates this pressure by enabling IT personnel to manage their users and data from the Office 365 administration portal. Admins can use familiar tools to move data between Geos, tailor sharing and config policies for each Geo, and generate reports that show where each user’s data is stored at-rest.

 

Available Geos

The Microsoft global network is huge, in fact among the top three global networks in the world. With Multi-Geo, you can extend your Office 365 tenant to store your users’ data to one or more of the following Geos.

Asia-Pacific (APC)

Australia (AUS)

Canada (CAN)

European Union (EUR)

India* (IND)

Japan (JPN)

Korea (KOR)

United Kingdom (GBR)

United States (NAM)

*The India Geo is currently only available to customers with billing addresses and licenses purchased in India. We are working on resolving this and will notify soon!

Multi-Geo is not available for Office 365 Germany, Office 365 China operated by 21Vianet or for Office 365 US Government. Learn about where your Office 365 data is stored aka.ms/DataMaps.

 

Technical Info

Getting started with Multi-Geo is easy.

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Note: Configuration terminology

PreferredDataLocation: A user-level property that contains the Geo in which a user’s Exchange Online and OneDrive files will be stored at-rest

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1. Enable your Office 365 tenant with Multi-Geo Capabilities: Before a customer can start using Multi-Geo, Microsoft needs to enable the customer’s Office 365 tenant for Multi-Geo. This generally completes in a couple of weeks. The Office 365 admin center will notify when Exchange and OneDrive are Multi-Geo enabled. Please contact your Microsoft representative for details.

 

2. Choose and add Satellite Geos to your Office 365 tenant: In the OneDrive Admin center, choose Satellite Geos and enter a unique namespace for each (e.g. contosoAUS.sharpeoint.com). Exchange Online does not require this step.

 

3. Pick Satellite Geos for users and move their mailbox and OneDrive files: Using the Azure AD parameter PreferredDataLocation, set the Geo for each user’s Exchange Online Mailbox and OneDrive files. It is required to set PreferredDataLocation via Azure AD connect for objects synchronized from on-premises. AAD PowerShell can only be used for cloud-only objects.

 

Check out the following resources for more information –

Pricing and Licensing:

Multi-Geo is available as an add-on to the following Office 365 subscription plans for customers with a minimum of 5,000 Office 365 subscribed users in their Office 365 tenant.

Microsoft 365 F1, E3 or E5

Office 365 F1, E1, E3 or E5

Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2

OneDrive for Business Plan 1 or Plan 2

SharePoint Online Plan 1 or Plan 2

 

Licensing

  • USD $2/user/month for users in Satellite Geos
  • Resource mailboxes (Rooms/Equipment) and legacy shared mailboxes do not need to be licensed
  • Shared Mailboxes moved to Satellite Geos will need to be licensed for Multi-Geo

How to buy Multi-Geo?

Please talk to your Microsoft representative to buy Multi-Geo.

 

Questions?

Please comment on this thread with your technical questions

 

Resources:

17 Comments

Will there be an option to automatically assign GEO based on user's UsageLocation setting ?

Nice! We have smaller companies which also want Multi-Geo. Is there a plan lower a limit of 5000 in future? For example to 1000 or 500? Thanks.

Frequent Visitor

looks like now only target for those big company. Any plan for small company user with multiple office ? 

New Contributor

This is really exciting, well done guys its great to see capabilities like this coming to the platform.

Microsoft

Hi @Grzegorz Wierzbicki - the assignment of the user's data location is based on the PreferredDataLocation (PDL) attribute and not UserLocation.

Microsoft

Hi @Petr Vlk - Multi-Geo is designed for customers with global data residency needs. Customers with >5K seats generally have large on-premises operations around the world to support their data residency needs. Our business model is optimized to help these customers meet their data residency needs on the cloud with Office 365. Given the high demand of this feature, we want to be thoughtful and thorough with our roll out. We want to make sure that these customers on-board efficiently and have the best service experience, therefore we’re starting with a minimum number of seats requirement to manage demand and scale the service in a controlled way. I would expect the seat limits to change in the future as the program matures. Please connect with your Microsoft representative for details specific to your account and eligibility. Thanks.

Microsoft

@SK Tan - same comment as above. Re-posting here: Multi-Geo is designed for customers with global data residency needs. Customers with >5K seats generally have large on-premises operations around the world to support their data residency needs. Our business model is optimized to help these customers meet their data residency needs on the cloud with Office 365. Given the high demand of this feature, we want to be thoughtful and thorough with our roll out. We want to make sure that these customers on-board efficiently and have the best service experience, therefore we’re starting with a minimum number of seats requirement to manage demand and scale the service in a controlled way. I would expect the seat limits to change in the future as the program matures. Please connect with your Microsoft representative for details specific to your account and eligibility. Thanks.

Frequent Visitor

@Sameer Sitaram - Can same exchange online Multi-Geo capability will also applicable for TEAMS? What about others Office 365 apps like Yammer, Stream, Online SharePoint, etc.

New Contributor

@Mayank SahuToday Multi-Geo is limited, (i.e. Exchange / OneNote), however as noted above support for SharePoint is on the way, and I would assume that other applications (like Teams) will be somewhere in the roadmap.  Though I would also take care as you put Multi-Geo in place as there is likely to be a lot of different variables from location to location and as a new technology offering a few issues. 

My team is looking to Multi-Geo with two of our clients at the moment, and we're planning up a strom, testing hard and trying to keep expecations low with the end users while being excited with the tech :)

Microsoft

@Mayank Sahu - We've released Multi-Geo in Exchange and OneDrive and are working on getting it ready for SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups. Portions of Microsoft Teams, by virtue of its relationship with OneDrive already supports Multi-Geo Capabilities; but Teams as an app officially does not support Multi-Geo yet. We're investigating functionality and I will post an update soon as we've made progress. The same applies to the other apps you've noted. Thanks!

Regular Visitor

@Sameer Sitaram
We have few questions on multi Geo,
1.We have intranet as SharePoint site collection in office 365 tenant having users from U.K and Australia and India,
If A user who has datacentre from U.K. multi Geo will create some data and pages which might be stored in U.K datacentre.
Now, If User from Australia who has datacentre Australia, Access that data and pages created by U.K user
Is that data comes from U.K datacentre as data creator is based on U.K.?
Is user from Australia will get data load faster which created by U.K User.?

2.Are prices are per Multi geo location? Or once Multi Geo activated organization can
Add more than one Multi Geo location?

3.For multi Geo can we use our company’s tenant or we have to purchase separate tenant?

Regular Visitor

 Also want to know, at Intranet in office 365, Pages and other data created by U.K. user and Australia user reside in the same pages library,  then how it will be load fast for both user. 

Is any internal mechanism, so once enable multi geo,

data, pages copy resides in each created Geolocation and when a user request to a specific page will load by nearest Geo location?  and increase performance? 

Microsoft

Hi @Vijay prajapati, Thanks for reaching out. Here are responses to your questions.

1.We have intranet as SharePoint site collection in office 365 tenant having users from U.K and Australia and India,
If A user who has datacentre from U.K. multi Geo will create some data and pages which might be stored in U.K datacentre.
Now, If User from Australia who has datacentre Australia, Access that data and pages created by U.K user
Is that data comes from U.K datacentre as data creator is based on U.K.?

Is user from Australia will get data load faster which created by U.K User.?

>> Multi-Geo hasn't launched for SharePoint Online, so we're working on the specifics. With Shared properties like SharePoint, administrators will decide where the shared property would be hosted and this will be defined by the PreferredDataLocation (PDL). So any new content created for that site will be stored in the Geo defined by the PDL.

 

2.Are prices are per Multi geo location? Or once Multi Geo activated organization can Add more than one Multi Geo location?

>> Pricing is per user being moved to Satellite Geos. You can add any of the datacenter locations available on the list.

 

3.For multi Geo can we use our company’s tenant or we have to purchase separate tenant?

>> No new tenant is necessary - all you'd need to do is transact for Multi-Geo on your existing Office 365 tenant through  your Microsoft representative. We'll enable it in the backend with Multi-Geo capabilities

 

4. Also want to know, at Intranet in office 365, Pages and other data created by U.K. user and Australia user reside in the same pages library,  then how it will be load fast for both user. Is any internal mechanism, so once enable multi geo, data, pages copy resides in each created Geolocation and when a user request to a specific page will load by nearest Geo location?  and increase performance? 

>> Multi-Geo is not a performance improvement solution. It is purely for customers to meet their local, regional or corporate data residency requirements. Please see https://aka.ms/Office365Networking for Microsoft's recommendations in improving performance.

Frequent Visitor

@Sameer Sitaram - Thanks for your response.

In the background MS Teams is using same platform like Skype for business for calling. My question is for Skype we already pinned our user to the nearest location by using Multi-Geo exchange for better call quality so same will be used for call through MS Teams or we need to wait for Multi-Geo will be available for MS Teams.

@Sameer Sitaram

I hope the Microsoft changes plans and allows customers with less than 5000 seats to use Multi-Geo capabilities. Nowadays even SMBs have globally dispersed office and manufacturing sites. Those locations have to follow local requirements in regards to data residency. Looking forward to a limit of 50 users.

Senior Member

Hi, help us vote to get the limitation down. It is said, that Microsoft starts to listen to user voices… https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/264636-general/suggestions/34149136-enable-multi-geo-support-...

 

 


 

Microsoft

Hi @Thomas Stensitzki and @Administrator LC, thanks for the feedback and starting the user voice! We are working on scaling Multi-Geo for all M365 customers.