In a series of articles, I would like to share my experience in the process of scaling up to Office 365. The first part of it is to create a Office 365 test Tenant which can be used for learning, providing POC to customer or testing the features of Office 365 in FastTrack mode before migration.
Office 365 – Creating the First Tenant Environment:
In order to learn or scale up in any MS product, we need a lab environment for the same. Traditionally we use a home server or workstation with a high end configuration to host VMs in Hyper-V environment to learn the technology. With Office 365, the traditional approach does not help and many admins are flummoxed about how to start the learning process. I was with the same thoughts before 18 months when I started to scale up in Office 365 to support a customer environment.
Office 365 Lab Setup:
There are three ways to have a lab setup for Office 365.
- Free Trial of Office 365 Plans [E3&E5] Offered by MS
- Office 365 Tenant simulation available to MPN (Microsoft Partner Network) subscribers
- Office 365 subscription coupled with Azure subscription (helps in simulating migration from On Premise to Office 365)
Starting with a Free Trial of Office 365:
The following guide will provide a step by step approach (Just 3 steps) to have a test environment with the help of “Free Trial Of Office 365 Plans”
For Enterprise environment, Microsoft provides three different plans of today. (Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3 & E5).
Note: Office 365 E5 plan is released very recently which includes the options for Cloud PBX, PSTN Conferencing & BI tools on top of features offered in E3.
- Click on the below link and then click on “Free Trial”. (We shall create a demo environment using Enterprise E3 plan). Refer the boxes highlighted in green for the selection.
NOTE: Unlike Microsoft Azure trial, You don’t need to provide credit card or any sort of payment information for getting the free trial of Office 365.
- Fill in the personal information as needed below as a first step (Step 1). You need a personal email address and a mobile no.
Note: Select the proper “region” from the drop down box highlighted in Red. This cannot be changed once the tenant has been created and this selected region decides the Microsoft datacenter in the same region / nearest datacenter in which the Office 365 mailboxes and User accounts will be kept.
- The 2nd step in the process (Step 2) is to create an Office 365 ID or a tenant as given in the image below.
Note: Choose the below information very carefully if you are planning to transition this trial tenant into production setup after testing.
- The next step (Step 3) is to verify by providing a personal mobile no and then click on “Text me”.
- You should receive a confirmation message in few minutes on your mobile number mentioned in the previous step. Enter the “Verification Code” and then click “Create My Account”
- That’s it. We have an Office 365 tenant created. Information is provided in the below snap.