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Our newest release of Atria is our biggest release to date and comes with UI changes and a taste of what’s to come with a set of new administrative functions for Office 365. 

Here is a quick overview of what we have added… 

Updated UI and Navigation 

As the next stage in our modernisation we have introduced a new UI framework, the old Atria and new Atria operate side by side with a new navigation menu which ties the two sides together.  We have tried to ensure that there is consistency between old and new but there are a few elements where you will notice a difference. 

The new UI model will be more responsive and haa more modern look and feel. 

The navigation menu has moved from the top to the left-hand side, at this stage the menu contains the same items, but we have plans to simplify this in the future.

The top navigation now shows the current customer selected, for service providers this will also show the reseller associated with the end-customer.  Quick links from the customer and reseller will take you straight to the associated customer in Atria.

In all new pages, clicking on the customer name in the navigation allows you to type and search directly for any customer you have permissions to view.

Exchange online administration features

We have added new management features for Exchange Online, these empower helpdesk users and end-customers to manage core Exchange features without requiring Exchange access or expertise.  No Exchange Management Console or Global Administration Permissions required!

Exchange Contacts

  • Create, update and delete Exchange Contacts
  • Hide contacts from address lists

Exchange Shared Mailboxes

Quick and easy for your customers to add and amend shared mailboxes.  Save Support staff minutes on every request which reaches the helpdesk, no need to log in to tenants – easy to find and use.

Resource Mailboxes

Resource mailboxes can be viewed and added in seconds

Azure AD Connect compatibility for managed and unmanaged Active Directories

We have amended our provisioning processes to better cater for Microsoft 365 license management for tenants using Azure AD Connect.

Managed Active Directory (An Active Directory which is managed by Atria – i.e. Atria provisions active directory users and associated services)

Atria provisions users into Active Directory, Atria leaves users provisioning into Azure AD to Azure AD Connect, Atria will then find the user and provision licenses in Azure AD. 

Managing Licenses for Unmanaged instances with Azure AD Connect

In situations where you want to use Atria for license management and delegated administration of Microsoft 365 services, Atria Azure AD Sync can be used to synchronise the accounts which can subsequently be managed through Atria.

Azure AD tenant scripts

Azure AD tenant scripts is a new feature that allows you to execute a baseline configuration for each of your Azure AD tenants.  This can help you achieve a higher standard baseline when setting up new tenants, and also ensure that when you bring on new customers they conform to your standard.

You can define a script by policy – in the policy you can

  • Switch off – i.e. don’t run a script
  • Use a standard/default script
  • Customise to suit for different configurations

The script is executed every time you provision the Azure AD service to the customer.

Rest API

We have added a Rest based API, this includes a bearer token based authentication mechanism.  The API at present has limited features and its main function is for accessing billing and usage information.  We will however continue to build on this. 

The CortexAPI still remains and is the main point for Atria integration.

Install process improvements

We have learnt from all of the 12.x upgrades to date, our learning has gone into a new set of installers – these are now fully PowerShell based and no longer require Chocolatey, we are still using Nuget as a distribution mechanism and much of the process is similar. 

The important thing is that there are now Atria PowerShell Cmdlets which are familiar in behaviour and also provide contextual information about the task in hand.

  • I asked for a list of improvements made, there are lots of things in here but the end result should be a higher degree of automation of install and update processes.
  • We no longer use DSC for SQL Server, this makes SQL updates easier and resolves previous issues we faced when updating SQL clusters.
  • A set of useful Atria Powershell commands which help with managing your Atria instance.
  • Import customers and users via Powershell
  • Credential checking ahead of performing install to ensure account has the correct permissions
  • More environment checking and more options for greater control
  • Installer Credentials asked for only once, then re-used for all other components (less input needed to complete the installation)
  • Secondary Atria Locations can be fully installed by running a single cmdlet
  • Installers will now handle installing Web Components into DMZ.
  • Service Schemas can now be imported with a single cmdlet
  • Improved support for upgrading from Legacy CPSM environmnets.
  • Better support for DNS Alias creation
  • Uses locale specific AD object names rather than assuming EN-US names.
  • Separation of Customer specific appSetting.Config settings stops upgrades from overwriting customer specific settings.
  • Scheduled tasks permissions fixed to allow Run-Now
  • Provisioning Manager is added to the Start Menu on Provisioning Server
  • Auto updates the Atria.Tools module to ensure latest module is always being used
  • SQL Connection String updated to support TLS1.2

The Future

We have more enhancements in the pipeline which will be out very soon, they are in testing but need a bit more time.  Our goal is to get back to more frequent, smaller updates which will be released on a 2 week basis or as needed.

  1. Microsoft Online reporting – This shows the licenses assigned and consumed across tenants, particularly useful for Indirect Microsoft CSP Providers wanting to understand if they have an excess of licenses. This will also be available via API.
  2. Convert to Shared Mailbox, this feature will allow you to easily convert a user with Exchange Online services to a shared mailbox in a similar way to the Microsoft interface.
  3. Shared Mailbox Permissions, this will be added to allow full mailbox permissions to be assigned through the User Interface.
  4. Audit data – much asked for, we are working to make it easier for you to get to the audit information stored within Atria.

We are also working on a larger project to allow improved management capability for single tenant infrastructure – our goal is to make it as easy to manage customers in their own AD tenants as it is in your shared AD. 

Group management we are looking to consolidate the number of places that groups are currently managed, Azure AD will fit into this – if you want to have input on how you’d like to see this work, please get in touch.