Office 365 Integration Module for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Beta now available

by Nigel Wilks on November 1, 2011 · 4 comments

in News

For some time now since the launch of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials there have been hints of Office 365 integration in the works. Today Microsoft add integration to the product finally putting an end to the rumoured cloud integration. For those not aware of Office 365, it is a great way of moving businesses away from traditional on premise servers and letting Microsoft host them in the cloud. Currently, Office 365 can give you access to Web versions of Outlook, Lync 2010, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, a Team SharePoint site and a website. Pricing is based on a per user instance and starts around $6 and moves to around $27 dependant on the features you need. There are lots of different scenarios to go through when choosing a plan and Microsoft recommend you talk to one of their partners to ensure you get the correct plan and don’t end up paying for features you won’t use.

Installation of this Beta (remember this is a Beta, and shouldnt be used in production!) is pretty straightforward. Just ensure you have Update Rollup 1 installed on the server (KB2554629), copy the file to the server and run it from the server. Once the install has completed, the server needs to be restarted.

To give you an idea of the integration if you don’t have a pre production system available we’ve included some screenshots below.

You can see in the image below, there is a new task to complete, Set up Microsoft Office 365 integration.

When you click the Set up Microsoft Office 365 Integration link, you get a wizard that will enable you to setup an Office 365 account if you don’t have one already. These are available for a 30 day trial, or you can put your current live details in.

Once you have signed in with your Office 365 account, you will receive a warning that the password policy on your server will be set to Strong as detailed in the image below.

Clicking Next will start the configuration of your server. This takes a couple of minutes.

And after a couple of minutes, you’ll get the dialog box below and the dashboard will close and open.

When the Dashboard re-opens, you will see a new Office 365 Tab has been added as below.

Clicking on it takes you to the Office 365 Administration Center.

Now, to integrate a user with an Office 365 account you can click on the users Tab, and then on the right click Assign Office 365 account.

And finally, I can now login to the Microsoft Portal and use some of the Office applications.

Now that user has access to an Office 365 account, and you can integrate everything via the one console rather than multiple web pages. All in all, I think this is a great addition for the SBS product. Office 365 is perfect for the Small Business and takes a large chunk of costs away in terms of Hardware and Licenses and any associated operating costs. These are then replaced with a simple payment plan where you effectively lease your requirements from Microsoft who take care of the Data Centres, Hardware and Maintenance for you.

Before you ask, I’m not aware of any plans for the module to be made available for WHS.

Article by

I'm a Technical Architect based in the UK predominantly working on Windows Server and Active Directory based solutions. I'm also a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP and moderator/author at I've released the FirePlay for Windows Home Server, WHS PHP Installer, MySql Installer for WHS and Wordpress Installer for WHS Add-Ins as well as co-author of the SanEncore and WHS Health Add-Ins with Alex Kuretz.


JohnBick November 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Several of my clients are looking into “cloud” solutions, thinking that as they outgrow their HP MSS hardware (or a couple custom WHS servers) they might be better served with less hardware! (No, they have not SAID that that will require less consultant time, but that is expected and fine with me!) I believe this is a great opportunity for the small business market and Office 365 is the key product to get it rolling.

Kind of “back to the future”, isn’t it? Just like the old time sharing services of the mid-20th century!

Andrew November 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm


Is it possible to sign up and pay for an Office 365 account online, or do you have to go through a preferred partner for it? Currently using WHS1 with an cloud-based Exchange account in the UK, and when renewing this a couple of months back I looked at going Office 365, but don’t want to work with a partner for only 5 users.


Nigel November 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Andrew, You can sign up for a P level account direct to Microsoft at for £4 per user per month.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: