Message Center Communications Test

To keep track of upcoming feature releases or issues, you have to go to Message center in Office 365. That's where official announcements are posted about new and changed features to enable you to take a proactive approach to change management. Each post gives you a high-level overview of a planned change and how it may affect your users, and links out to more detailed information to help you prepare. It is therefore imperative that you are instantly alerted to every new message that is posted in the Message Center. This is exactly what the Message Center Communications test does!

This test reports the count of active communications in the message center. Every time this count gets incremented, the test automatically alerts you to the same, thus quickly turning your attention to new announcements in the message center. Detailed diagnostics provided by this test provide the complete details of these new communications, so that you can figure out what change has been planned and can prepare for it.

Target of the test : Office 365

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for the Office 365 tenant being monitored.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameters Description

Test period

How often should the test be executed

Host

The host for which the test is to be configured. By default, this is portal.office.com

O365 User Name, O365 Password, and Confirm Password

For execution, this test requires the privileges of an O365 user who is vested with the View-Only Audit Logs permission. Configure the credentials of such a user against O365 User Name and O365 Password text boxes. Confirm the password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

While you can use the credentials of any existing O365 user with the afore-said privileges, it is recommended that you create a special user for monitoring purposes using the Office 365 portal and use the credentials of that user here. To know how to create a new user using the Office 365 portal and assign the required privileges to that user, refer to Creating a New User in the Office 365 Portal.

O365 Domain

To have a personalized business email address, team site address, or even an account name, you set up a domain name with Office 365. A domain is a unique name that appears after the @ sign in email addresses, and after www. in web addresses. It typically takes the form of your organization's name and a standard Internet suffix, such as yourbusiness.com or stateuniversity.edu. Office 365 gives you an initial domain name to use. By default, this will be of the format: *.onmicrosoft.com - eg., abc.onmicrosoft.com. To enable this test to pull metrics, you need to configure the test with the name of this initial domain. Therefore, configure the O365 Domain parameter with the name of the initial domain. To know what is your Office 365 initial domain name, do the following:

  1. Log on to the Microsoft Office 365 Online Portal using an administrative account.
  2. Under Management, click on Domains.
  3. The initial domain should be listed with a name ending with .onmicrosoft.com.

Domain, Domain User Name, Domain Password, and Confirm Password

These parameters are applicable only if the eG agent needs to communicate with the Office 365 portal via a Proxy server.

In this case, in the Domain text box, specify the name of the Windows domain to which the eG agent host belongs. In the Domain User Name text box, mention the name of a valid domain user with login rights to the eG agent host. Provide the password of that user in the Domain Password text box and confirm that password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

On the other hand, if the eG agent is not behind a Proxy server, then you need not disturb the default setting of these parameters. By default, these parameters are set to none.

Proxy Host, Proxy Port, Proxy User Name, and Proxy Password

These parameters are applicable only if the eG agent needs to communicate with the Office 365 portal via a Proxy server.

In this case, provide the IP/host name and port number of the Proxy server that the eG agent should use in the Proxy Host and Proxy Port parameters, respectively.

If the Proxy server requires authentication, then specify the credentials of a valid Proxy user against the Proxy User Name and Proxy Password text boxes. Confirm that password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box. If the Proxy server does not require authentication, then specify none against the Proxy User Name, Proxy Password, and Confirm Password text boxes.

On the other hand, if the eG agent is not behind a Proxy server, then you need not disturb the default setting of any of the Proxy-related parameters. By default, these parameters are set to none.

DD Frequency

Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 1:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated every time the test runs, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against DD Frequency.

Detailed Diagnosis

To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG Enterprise embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option. The option to selectively enabled/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
  • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Active message center communications

Indicates the count of communications in the message center that are currently active.

Number

A non-zero value for this measure indicates that a new announcement has been posted in the message center. In such a situation, you can use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to view the complete details of the new communications.

Using the detailed diagnosis of the Active message center communications measure, you can quickly understand what new changes have been planned. This knowledge will help you instantly analyze the impact of that change on your business operations and on your users. The detailed diagnosis also reveals if you need to take any action on the new announcement. This way, you can plan your future tasks.

Figure 8 : The detailed diagnosis of the Active message center communications measure