Office 365 SP1 Is Out - Including an Updated Deployment Toolkit! Print E-mail
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, February 28, 2014 3:02pm

I have been working on a project to deploy Office 365 to the enterprise for over 6 months now.  Office 365 SP1 is a significant boost to the ability to deploy an on-premise source approach to Office 365...

If you've cracked the box on Office 365 (yeah, I know there isn't really a box for 365) you know the servicing model very different the before.  With 365 both security and functional updates are delivered in an always-on, incremental, trickle down updates similar to security updates.  These updates, however, are not done via Windows Update, but rather through a dedicated built-in update client.

Microsoft talks a lot about three main provisioning methods:

  1. Install and auto-updates from Microsoft's global content distribution network (CDN) for Office 365.
  2. Install and auto-updates from an on-premise source.
  3. Install and IT controlled updates by re-running setup.exe

Now before you blow your stack about having to re-run setup.exe to get control of when office is updated - you should know that re-running setup.exe still has all the efficiencies of auto-updates.  So nothing is uninstalled and reinstalled - it is simply a way to "kick off" the updates engine when you want to do it and with the version of Office you wish to have installed.

Although Microsoft downplays it, I feel most enterprise should be using this third method.  There are a bunch of practical and theoretical reasons why this makes sense - here are a few of them:

  • It allows IT to take an ITIL approach to Office updates by qualifying the releases they wish to adopt.  If desired they can quality the release with the amount of UA or compatibility testing they feel is merited.
  • It allows rate control over the bandwidth consumed.  Initial install is about 1GB pulled from the installation locations.  Subsequent updates are a delta, but I have measured the delta as high as 425 MB for two months worth.
  • It allows control over the backend replication of on-premise locations for office source files.  Although a single install of Office 365 pulls about 1 GB, 175-250 MBs of that is a language pack.  So if you support 10-12 languages, the source files you need to replicate could be 3-4 GB.
  • It allows selective targeting - your Office testing or your software distribution methodologies may require targeting specific geographies, business units or computing devices.  By re-running setup you decide who gets what versions and when.

Up until service pack 1 I was having challenges getting the Office 365 Deployment Toolkit (actually just a setup.exe and a config.xml file) to behave nicely.

One frustrating behavior was that setup.exe would hand off to the "Microsoft Office Servce" (IntegratedOffice.exe) to complete the install.  Setup.exe would say "Success!" - while the office service continued to chug along.  Sometimes the office service would have some problems.  The problems seemed even worse when using setup.exe to update a previous version of Office 365.

After service pack 1, Setup.exe now hands off to the Microsoft Office Service (now Officeclicktorun.exe) - however, it says in communication with the service until the entire install is complete.  It also seems to be doing more checks to prevent locking conditions and other situations that could cause problems with updating an existing Office 365 install using setup.exe

So if you've been waiting for the bugs to be worked out before taking a shot at Office 365, you are - as usual - going to get better results if you start your journey with Office 365 SP1.

If you are already familiar with downloading Office 365 updates using setup.exe, then use version number "15.0.4569.1507"

Office 365 / 2013 SP1 Description (KB2817430)

Download the Service Pack To Apply to Local MSI Office 2013 Installation

Office 365 (2013 Click to Run) Latest Version Page - Noting Version 15.0.4569.1507 as SP1

Download the SP1 Office 365 Deployment Toolkit


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