Lukas Beran
Lukas Beran

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April 2016
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Office 365 mailbox placement

Lukas BeranLukas Beran

In Office 365, unlike Azure, is not possible to choose a datacenter where will be our mailboxes placed. Datacenter is selected automatically based on our location when we are creating the tenant. So if we are conected from the Czech Republic, we can be sure that our mailboxes will be in EU datacenter, but we are not sure if it will be Dublin or Amsterdam.

But for us it’s not important. We can be sure that our data will never leave European Union and data will be protected by the EU laws. And regarding the latency it’s also not important, because for example from the Czech Republic is my latency to Dublin 62 ms and to Amsterdam 60 ms. And if we connect from elsewhere in the world, Office 365 uses internal DNS geolocation system where is selected the closest datacenter which processes the request and then sends it using fast dedicated internal connection between datacenters to the datacenter where is our mailbox located.

From the information is important that you should not see any difference in latency when you are connected from a different country (different part of the world). But it’s important to mention that when you hide your IP address (VPN, proxy, etc) and physically you will be in Europe, but you will be connected to US VPN with US IP address, you will be connected to US datacenter and your packets will go from Europe to US (through VPN) and from US datacenter to Europe datacenter (and of course back again from Europe datacenter to US datacenter and from US to Europe through VPN) just because you have US IP address.

If you want to test to which datacenter you are connected, you can ping  outlook.office365.com :

From the request we can see that I am connected to emeaeast datacenter with a 23 ms latency.

If we want to find out where are our mailboxes located (datacenter name including servers name), we can use script Get-MailboxLocations from a Technet script center.

Run PowerShell as administrator and first set script policy to RemoteSigned:

Now we can connect to our tenant – let’s save our credentials:

Now connect to Office 365:

and import the session:

Now we can run the script  .\Get-MailboxLocations.ps1. Now we see a list of datacenters with numbers of mailboxes:

I see that my 9 mailboxes are located in 9 servers in 4 datacenters in 4 geographical locations.

If we want to know what mailboxes are in what datacenters, we can modify the script like this:

And the result is:

My primary focus is the security of identities, devices and data in the cloud using Microsoft services, technologies and tools.

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