Erica Toelle & Tony Redmond

Video Transcript

And we’re coming at you live from the European SharePoint Conference in Prague. I’m Erica Toelle office apps and services MVP. Hi Erica. hey how’s it going? Yeah good so hi I’m Tony Redmond another random MVP even. Excellent. So, we were chatting earlier about PowerShell. So why would anybody want to learn PowerShell? You particularly or an office 365 admin? Give me some context here come on? Okay sure well my personal journey I started out as a SharePoint person now moving on to compliance and I found there’s a lot of things that you need PowerShell in order to accomplish. So you know what else should I know getting started? Well that’s a great question. I think the thing about PowerShell that you got to remember is that why it exists okay why did Microsoft build it. Originally has a project called monad when back 2005-2006 its first implementation in a server product – in exchange 2007 the reason why it exists is to automate management operations. So if you look at office 365 there’s a lot of stuff the Microsoft is built in the GUI but they haven’t built ever err everything and there’s a lot of gaps that they leave to be filled and one way you can fill them is with PowerShell that’s the reason why it exists do it everybody should do it.

So what advice do you have for somebody getting started like how can you figure out what it can do and so that you know even yeah how to start? Yeah, we’re not helped in office 365 that because PowerShell is a little bit how would I say it it’s not well joined up. You know we’re you know lots of different PowerShell modules and so forth and so on. So if you go and you read PowerShell training material that’s out there on the net there’s very little of it that’s actually really needed office 365 there’s a lot of stuff that talks about the basics which is goodness because it teaches you how to deal with commandlets had to deal with objects how to deal with the pipeline etc. But there’s very little that actually Till’s how do you do with mailboxes how do you do with sites how do you with teams and channels how do you deal with policies it’s after etc. So it’s a bit of a voyage of discovery I’m afraid there’s lots of good blogs out there but written by various people and in fact there is MVPs like Damian Scoles who’s written good books about PowerShell for office 365 so that’s the kind of place I would go looking for. But I think the biggest thing that anybody should do is that they should give it a go because there’s only one way to learn PowerShell and that’s to actually use it and if you use it every day and you find something to do every day with it be it simple stuff like give me a mailbox report and tell me how much people are using in their mailboxes that could be one-liner script they could be 10 lines of script it could be even 200 depends how complicated you want to be. But at least you’re getting things going and so that’s what I would do just do something every day. That’s great advice.

So, another thing we were discussing earlier being the compliance geek that I am those are the PowerShell commandlets that I’ve been investigating. Yep. And it’s pretty fascinating how I need to go through exchange for everything that what I’m doing in exchange with retention policies is been affecting SharePoint. Could you like talk a little bit more I know you’re having a strong exchange background? Yeah so, I think the reason why a lot of the PowerShell part of this is revolves around exchanges because exchange essentially is the foundation of the office 365 substrate. So exchange was the first work load to bring in compliance and data governance and all the rest of it goes back a lot to exchange 2010 that was the first time we saw things like mailbox retention policies etc so what you see today and inside the office 365 data governance framework which is where all the compliance stuff belongs a lot of it came from exchanges and has been adopted to deal with different workloads. So, you’ve got OneDrive in there you get SharePoint in there you’ve got Skype for business online in there and teams in there they’ve all actually adopted the model that was set down and taken forward over maybe from 2010 to 2013. That’s the reason why it’s just historical and I guess you know the way the reason why that is so is that Microsoft looked and they said hey this works now if this worked can we take it forward can we apply to other workloads and of course SharePoint was they the second large workload so that was the natural target to gopher and after that has just gone to the other ones and Yammer is going to pick it up next year as well so that’s oh absolutely in fact out the way Yammer will work with retention policies stuff like that be the same as the way teams works and that’s great back you’ll get compliance records to be captured into substrate stored in exchange mailboxes operated on by exchange mailbox policy synchronized back to the workload Yammer and process there so it’ll all work all the PowerShell work that you do in today to understand the commandlets it will all be good with Yammer as well. Excellent.

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So any other advice would in summary give to somebody who’s just starting out with PowerShell? If you’re just starting, I don’t know if you look through thin places like the Technic gallery and stuff like that. That’s where I’ve been getting all my advice. Ok yeah so there clearly there are some people who are very active in PowerShell for office 365 so they have blogs I’d be looking at the blogs of the writing and find out the problems they’re trying to attack and finding out what they’re doing to attack those problems. You will learn something new every day that is without doubt I mean last week I published a blog about how my personal approach to writing sample PowerShell which is basically show that the thing works and then leave it to professional programmer to get on with. But one guy from Poland he contacted me, and he said hey I don’t like the way that you are doing this. And Im saying hey well it works so why don’t you like it. He’s all a little work for say 200 objects is about screen string concatenation very really exciting subject but he says you know what there are people out there are going to be trying to run this code against 100,000 mailboxes or whatever and then it’ll be really slow. And that was a great point that I got from the community to say if you make this little change then everything will work better. So, I got that by putting yourself out there listening to what people were doing going to their blog find out how they attack the problem and just building into my own little I don’t know bag of tricks for how I approach PowerShell and you will find that over time you will accumulate your own bag of tricks they be things that you do time and time and time again and there’s nothing bad on that if it works use it.

Well that is one thing I really enjoy about your blog is you’re able to find those hidden gems of information that aren’t published anywhere else about how office 365 works. It’s true. Could you let the audience know how to find your blog I think it’s great reading material if you’re really interested in how office 365 works behind the scenes. Well I’m not sure that we find stuff that isn’t documented or isn’t known I think what we do the blog by the way is office 365 IT pros .com. I think what we do is that we keep our eyes out on what’s happening, so we do fairly basic stuff we look at for example the change notifications Microsoft makes in the office365 admin Centre to see what they’re looking at. We see what they publish in their blogs and what we try and do is look at it and say okay so who’s written this blog yeah it could be somebody that we know in which case we probably have a higher degree of trust in it. Let’s put it like that. It’s somebody that we don’t know or somebody that works for a particular organization we might say well you know that’s putting the best possible spin on let’s find out and you just go and kick it around and if we kick it around we find stuff that may not work quite as well and we try and document that because it’s probably easier for people like the office 365 for IT pros team to go and find those lurking landmines and to detonate them than it is for hundreds of thousands of office 365 admin who don’t have the time interest or opportunity that we do so we just do we just do it I mean it’s second nature now and it’s fun it really is really is fun when you report the problem back to Microsoft they say ooh fancy that. That’s great. Well Tony thank you so much for joining us today for this interview and have a great rest of the conference. Okay thank you enjoy Prague some great beer downtown. Looking forward to it.  

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