In the past few months we have shared multiple advantages of OneDrive enabling people to have ubiquitous access to all their files-online and offline, enhance mobile productivity and effectively share within and outside their organizations. (all related webinars.)
This month, we focus on the deployment and configuration of the OneDrive Sync app at scale so you can successfully implement and leverage the benefits of the intelligent files app for Microsoft 365 – OneDrive.
We often get asked “How has Microsoft configured OneDrive?” or “What would the OneDrive product team propose as best practice for deployment?” So here it is! A set of deployment best practices that result in a great user experience and engagement - what we call the Sync “ideal state”. These are based on us working with many organizations externally as well as our own IT department here at Microsoft. The goal being a move closer to enabling a more “modern desktop” experience.
This blog will help you with the top 5 tips for a successful deployment and configuration to achieve the Sync “ideal state”.
1. Manual installation and easy control
OneDrive is built-in to Windows 10 and included in Office ProPlus and Office 16, and you can manually install on any device as required. If you don’t already have OneDrive, you can download it here.
Our per-machine install of sync client, (which is currently in preview and soon to be GA) installs OneDrive once on the Windows machine under Program Files and can be helpful especially in scenarios where you have many user profiles on a single machine.
For IT admins who are not using tools like SCCM and Intune, you can deploy related administrative settings (GPOs) manually using the admx/adml files or registry keys. For more details read here.
For IT admins managing macOS, you can manage OneDrive settings using property list (Plist files). For more details read here how to deploy and configure OneDrive on macOS. You can also ask Mac specific questions on the Mac Admins slack channel.
Also, in case you want to estimate the network bandwidth needed for syncing here is a helpful article to plan network utilization for the OneDrive sync app.
2. Simplify management with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Intune
Depending on the size of your organization and the technologies available to you, you can choose from the several different options for deploying OneDrive settings on Windows— scripts, AD GPOs, SCCM or an MDM such as Intune.
To make deployment more programmatic, you can choose advanced tools like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or Intune to deploy and manage the sync app as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. For example, within Microsoft, we use both SCCM and Intune.
Read below, for step by step direction on:
We recently announced the general availability of OneDrive administrative templates accessible directly in the Intune portal. This has made deploying with Intune much easier, where you no longer need to ingest our admx/adml files.
3. Get the “modern” experience
Deployment of the OneDrive sync app goes in tandem with the implementation of essential administrative settings or GPOs that will help your employees get all the benefits of the modern desktop - “the best computing experience for business, powered by Windows and Office 365”, and help your organization reach the ideal sync state.
a. Save network bandwidth and diskspace with Files On-Demand & Storage Sense
OneDrive Files On-Demand helps you access all your files-individual or shared, without having to download them and use storage space. By default, this setting is on for Windows and Mac and we don’t recommend disabling it. With Storage Sense (Windows only), you can also save disk space with automated cleanup of “locally available” files the user has not explicitly pinned as “always available”.
Here are some helpful links:
b. Simplify collaboration in the “modern workplace”
Co-authoring Office documents is a huge productivity gain for people, and it’s hard to imagine not having this functionality. Office is more than just a canvas for document creation, it natively supports collaboration with common patterns like comments and @mentions.
Due to the OneDrive and Office integration, you can autosave while editing synced Office files as well as collaborate in real-time and share directly from the desktop apps. Also, everyone who has access to these files, will always have the latest version of the file at hand avoiding any version control issues.
Office uses differential sync making the file synchronization process faster, syncing only the changes for these files – not the entire file each time, and reducing the upload/download speed and consumed bandwidth.
This setting is on by default on Windows and Mac and we recommend leaving it enabled.
For more information check out Office integration policies.
c. Roll out with confidence - test all “rings” of release across early updates
While OneDrive is installed with Windows and Office, updates happen independently. Updates are silent and don’t impact individuals since OneDrive runs in the background. To apply updates, devices must be able to reach the following: "oneclient.sfx.ms" and "g.live.com." These URLs are also required to receive new features and bug fixes. Auto-updates avoid any packaging and deployment effort when there is a new update.
Our recommendation is to have several devices opted into the Insider ring within the IT department as early adopters so you can receive features early. We recommend everyone else in the organization be left on the default Production ring to ensure they receive the latest bug fixes to improve reliability and performance as well as the new features in a timely fashion. This recommendation applies even if you are on the Semi-Annual Channel for Windows and Office.
For more information check out OneDrive sync app update process.
d. Get changes to the file faster with Windows Notification Services
The OneDrive sync app uses Windows Push Notification Services (WNS) ,across Windows and macOS, to sync files in real time. The previous OneDrive sync app (Groove.exe) used a polling service to check for changes on a predetermined schedule. Polling can lead to system lag and slowness because it requires a lot of computing power. WNS is a pipeline used by the service to deliver silent push notifications to the client about new files or files changed in the cloud. WNS is a significant enhancement as faster changes and better performance are delivered across devices, network utilization is lesser as well as battery life wastage is decreased.
Our recommendation is to allow traffic to *.wns.windows.com
4. Help people sign in
The sync “Ideal state” is more than just deploying and configuring the sync client. It also encompasses driving user engagement.
Once you are ready for people in the organization to use OneDrive, you can deploy the “Silent account configuration” policy to sign in automatically. With this functionality, they need not think about launching OneDrive or entering their credentials. Once signed in, they can access all of the files that are already in their OneDrive.
It also means a higher percentage of people are now signed in and configured properly. For more information read up on using silent account configuration.
5. Help people stay backed up
What we’ve found is that people are very familiar and comfortable with saving files to their Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders from years of developing that as a habit. OneDrive protects your files alongside consistent productivity benefits by implementing PC folder backup (previously referred to as Known Folder Move). Employees can continue saving files to the folders they are familiar with as well as have access to their files in these important Windows folders from anywhere.
This is also great for your organization as it increases user engagement with OneDrive, and you can easily protect their files with the enterprise level security and compliance that comes with OneDrive.
For existing machines, we recommend deploying PC folder backup in three phases:
For new machines, you can configure KFM from the start, so all new files are uploaded to the cloud.
So, whether it’s a hardware refresh or replacing a malware infected laptop- you never need to worry about losing data.
We are also glad to announce support of cross volume moves while backing up known Windows folders allowing people to back up their important folders even when they are on a different volume than the OneDrive folder.
Here are some helpful links:
Bonus Tip : Be a super admin with Windows + OneDrive
Consider a situation where an employee is on a work trip and misplaces their device. Normally, people will go into a state of panic in such a situation as they have lost all their necessary apps and data (probably extremely important for the customer meeting they need to attend) BUT Windows Autopilot can empower you as an admin to be their savior.
With Windows Autopilot you can set up and pre-configure new devices- providing the operating system, base apps, drivers, and with UEV, all the users personal settings. Autopilot enables IT to help people they may have never met provision a fully powered PC - all they need is an approved device and WiFi. As an admin, you can register the device in Azure Active Directory and with Intune deploy apps such as OneDrive to the device automatically. OneDrive and Files On-Demand ensure that every document is available to them seconds after log-in.
We have one final superpower for you! You can also do all of this for virtualized environments. In the past year we announced several features to improve the experience when using OneDrive in VDI environments- - so be it Files On-Demand or backing up your PC folders- everything can be implemented in a virtualized environment as well.
For more details check out the below resources.
To summarize, here is the Sync “ideal state” checklist:
Make sure you implement these to realize the full potential of OneDrive both from admin and user perspective.
We also prescribe admins to plan data migration and adoption much in advance to land a seamless transition for your employees. We hope the below resources will come in handy to plan your journey.
We are very thrilled to showcase the best practices and recommendations on OneDrive deployment and configuration. Join us in the upcoming, related webinar and AMA:
To learn more about how OneDrive is implemented within Microsoft do read up the latest IT Showcase blog, “OneDrive for Business feature shifts how employees save files within Microsoft.”
We continue to evolve OneDrive as a place to access, share, and collaborate on all your files in Office 365, keeping them protected and readily accessible on all your devices, anywhere.
Thank you again for your support of OneDrive. We look forward to your continued feedback on UserVoice and hope to connect with you at Ignite or another upcoming Microsoft or community-led event.
Thanks for your time reading all about OneDrive,
Ankita Kirti, Gaia Carini, Anam Javed
OneDrive | Microsoft
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