Shift to the Cloud: Moving a school to OneDrive and Teams

Six years ago we started a migration to cloud services at work. In this post I’m going to go through the steps we took and what our network looked like back then, now, and the future steps.

We ran a traditional network – three node VMWare cluster with shared storage (fibre channel SAN), desktop PCs in most areas with a small laptop deployment, Exchange Server on-premises,  and home and shared drive maps to a local file server. Remote access to documents was via a Remote Desktop Services cluster, and this was the only remaining use for RDS as we have previously migrated to a cloud based MIS.

We initially wanted to shift the Exchange workload to Exchange Online and take advantage of the fact that – for education customers – it was free. We followed this up, once Office 365 had matured a bit, with migrating home drives to OneDrive, and then shared drives to a mixture of SharePoint and Teams. Finally we started piloting Teams in 2019 and were thrown into a full roll-out in March 2020 with the surprise of Coronavirus. Continue reading “Shift to the Cloud: Moving a school to OneDrive and Teams”

Automatically syncing Teams/SharePoint libraries

There’s been a Group Policy setting to sync Team/SharePoint libraries for a while although last time I looked at it the functionality didn’t actually work yet – I think it was meant to be available from Windows 10 1909 but didn’t quite make it. Besides the fact that the setting didn’t do anything, all the documentation claimed it could take “up to 8 hours” for the library to appear in the user’s sync client/Explorer – clearly this is no use especially if you’re in an environment where people hot desk and share machines. I’ve had another look at it to see if it’s any better now.

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Automating Teams School Data Sync – iSAMS

My two SDS profiles, automatically updated from the MIS

I don’t like things that can’t be automated. I started looking at School Data Sync (SDS) last year, however the templates provided by iSAMS, which is our school Management Information System, just gave a set of CSVs and you had to manually click to get them, then click to upload them into SDS. Since iSAMS has an API, I thought this was a bit of a silly way of doing things – who wants to go through a manual process every time a pupil changes class? So instead I wrote my own powershell to pull the data through the iSAMS API, then run through the New-Team cmdlet to create a team per class, and populate it with teachers and students.

As we’re a school we need our new teams to be running the Edu_Class template, but the template parameter on New-Team only exists in the preview (and in Graph, on the beta endpoint) where it has much harsher limitations on how often and fast you can call it – a nightmare trying to call it in a loop. Anyway with the addition of “Start-Sleep 30” in the loop I eventually got them all created. However this time I am having another look at SDS and using Power Automate (previously known as Flow) to make the process completely automatic.

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Applying Teams Policies to a group

(Updated 4th Sept 2020: Use New-CsBatchPolicyPackageAssignmentOperation instead of Grant-CsUserPolicyPackage now)

Teams Policy Packages

I’ve recently needed to apply a PolicyPackage to a group of users (well 2 packages to 2 groups) using PowerShell – as the Teams Admin centre only allows you to apply to users by typing in all the names one at a time and pressing Add and discovered the New-CsGroupPolicyAssignment cmdlet, which looks good – however this applies a policy to a group, but I want to apply a policy package.

Instead we can use New-CsBatchPolicyPackageAssignmentOperation and pass it an array of UPNs (max 5000 in one go) along with the policy package name.
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