Office 365 Price Cuts

Office 365, Microsoft’s online services offering has had a price cut.

Effective immediately, the new pricing is thus:


     Was £6.50         Was £10.50      Was £15.75        Was £17.75


K1 has stayed the same but K2 has been reduced from £6.50.

The E3 SKU has been reduced by 16% and E1 by 19%.

Other pricing:


The US price lists I’ve seen show that additional SharePoint storage has been reduced by 92%, from $2.50 to £.20! The UK site doesn’t currently contain pricing for this but I’ve asked for UK costs, so I’ll update this post once I hear back.

Some people will say these cuts are due to it not being as popular as hoped but I believe Microsoft’s reasoning about economy of scale & improved efficiency being the key drivers. We’re seeing some really great interest in Office 365 so far this year so I’d advise taking the naysayers with a pinch of salt Smile

Symantec Backup Exec 2012 Changes

Backup Exec 2012 has been released and brings with it a few changes.

1) There is now an “Agent for Applications & Databases” which protects

a. SQL

b. Exchange

c. SharePoint

d. Active Directory

e. Oracle

f. Lotus Domino

2) There is extended Mac support with the “Agent for Macintosh”.

3) There are now 2 server options:

a. Backup Exec Server Edition – Same as always.

b. Backup Exec Server V-Ray Edition – This includes the ability to backup all virtual Application & Database servers without requiring the additional options inside each VM. There are then 2 variants of the V-Ray Edition:

i. 2 to 6 cores per CPU

ii. 8 plus cores per CPU

· Point 1 makes it easier to license for organizations with multiple App & DB servers.

· Point 3 can make licensing much easier & cost effective for companies with heavy use of virtual App & DB servers.  The move to core based licensing won’t really add any complexity – just remember to count up the number of cores before requesting/providing a quote.

It’s interesting to see another vendor make the move to core based licensing to better fit with virtualization…I wonder who else will do this too.

You can learn more at:

Microsoft Windows Server 8 Online Backup

The Windows Server 8 beta has been out for a week or so and people are still finding new features in the Operating System.

Aidan Finn has uncovered an Online Backup Service that is available as an installable component of Windows Server 8.

What is it?

Microsoft Online Backup Service (as it is known) is an installable service to back up files & folders to the cloud.

Why is it?

Microsoft Online Backup Service provides a new way to deliver business continuity benefits to Windows Server "8" Beta customers by providing a backup solution that requires no upfront hardware cost (other than an internet connection).

Extra Points:

One thing to note straight away is that this isn’t a free service…not even Microsoft can backup everyone’s data for free! That said, the current beta IS free and is limited to around 10GB.

Here it is in the start menu:


Encryption passphrases must be at least 16 characters long and:



Recovering Data

Any server running Windows Server "8" Beta can recover data from Microsoft Online Backup Service onto any server running Windows Server "8" Beta connected to the Internet.


It’s interesting to see this as Computer Associates (CA) have just launched an online backup service that using Microsoft Windows Azure as its cloud platform. I’m not sure, off the top of my head,how these 2 services stack up features wise but I’m going to try and find out Smile Will Microsoft’s service be positioned more as a low end, entry level package while CA take the mid-market/Enterprise sector?


You can download the Online Backup Beta Guide document here:

Aidan’s great original post can be found here:

Thanks to Mary Jo of ZDnet for tweeting this Smile

My Anywhere Working Tips

Anywhere Working is getting more and more attention, and rightly so.

The idea that you have to be at your desk to be productive is as Old School as hi-top fades and Adidas trainers with no laces:



I remember seeing on Twitter that someone, I believe from L’Oreal said:

“Work is something you do, not somewhere you go”

and do you know what? I couldn’t agree more!


I know for a fact that there are some days where I get more done working from home than the office. Despite people’s homes being full of gadgets, they are almost always less distracting that a building full of people.

People asking questions, people falling over*, people knocking drinks over their keyboard*, people dragging you into ad-hoc meetings, people falling upstairs*, people saying that Spurs will beat United just loud enough that you HAVE to get involved and set them straight… there’s none of that in my house!

(*I say “people” it’s pretty much just 1 person here who does all that!)

So now that we all agree that it’s awesome and should be implemented immediately, what tips are there for making it a success? Funny you should ask Smile

1) Make sure you know your login details.

Sounds simple but the number of people I’ve heard of who’ve tried to work remotely only to realise they can’t get into their VPN, is actually quite big!

2) Make sure you’ve got your RSA dongle.

We get a lot of vendors in here working with our sales teams and they all log on to their vpn, for emails etc. and many use RSA dongles for 2-factor authentication. On more than one occasion, people have forgotten their dongle and had get back in the car, drive back to the office/home and pick it up. This can often mean 4 hours of driving for no reason at all!

3) Use Cloud Storage

Making sure you can access your data wherever you are is super important. I like to use SkyDrive / SharePoint Online to make sure that all my documents, notes, pricefiles etc. are easily available wherever I choose to work. There are SO many to choose from (Google/DropBox etc.) that there’s bound to be one that works for you.

4) Power

Make sure you’ve got access to a plug. These days when I travel by train, my number 1 mission is to get a seat with a free plug. Even if my device has got full battery and it’s a short journey, I still do it – just in case. Between using 3G, sending email, twitter, listening to music/podcasts etc. batteries have a LOT to contend with so here’s the mantra you should always repeat:


5) Food

If you’re at home, make sure the fridge* is full as it sucks if there’s nothing to eat. Another benefit of home working is being able to “graze” throughout the day and not have the big lunchtime rush…so makes sure you’ve got pepperamis/carrots/whatever you like and you’ll be sorted.

*image <—Not this Fridge!

6) Family

If you’re going to be at home, make sure they understand that you’re still actually working! For kids especially this can be hard for them to believe but I do believe that’s why Starbucks was invented Winking smile

7) Windows Phone

I’ve got a Nokia Lumia 800 and I find that Windows Phone is far and away the best smartphone OS for Anywhere Working.

I’ve got Exchange, Hotmail, Office 365 accounts all on there. I’ve got Office…that’s right OFFICE! Onenote syncs with my desktop at work keeping everything neat and tidy, Sharepoint hooked up to Sharepoint Online giving me access to all those documents, that are shared with colleagues for collaboration, nice and easily. Plus Excel & PowerPoint!

I find that I can do the vast majority of my Anywhere Working tasks just from my mobile – which is amazing and very 21st century Smile 

So all in all, make sure you’re prepared with passwords, batteries, dongles and food and you’ll be all sorted Winking smile