Free Busy for G Suite and Office 365 Tenants

This guide is aimed at system administrators who are capable of connecting to remote systems such as G Suite for Business and Office 365 Admin Panel.

Cloudiway’s Free/Busy calendar coexistence solution is ideal for company mergers, or for companies that require a long-term solution to interoperability. It’s simple to set up and maintain. Cloudiway provides a cloud-based application that manages coexistence without requiring any software installation or overhead.

Overview:

  1. Free/Busy calendar coexistence with Cloudiway
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Set up Cloudiway for coexistence
  4. Configure remote system settings
  5. Test coexistence
  6. Troubleshooting

1. Free/Busy calendar coexistence with Cloudiway

1.1. Free/Busy

Calendar coexistence manages cross-platform communication with no impact on the end-user. It provides a seamless connection between different remote systems, such as G Suite, Office 365, and Exchange.

For example, a G Suite user can check the Free/Busy time of an Office 365 user using Google’s standard calendar interface. Similarly, an Office 365 user on one domain can check the free/busy time of an Office 365 or G Suite user on an entirely different domain.

To achieve this, each remote system needs to be configured to communicate with Cloudiway, including its own ‘connector’ on the Cloudiway platform.

1.2. How it works:

When a G Suite user wants to know if another user on Office 365 is available, the user creates a meeting request and clicks on the Find a Time tab to see Free/Busy time.

  1. G Suite detects that the other user is not on G Suite, then sends the query to Cloudiway
  2. Cloudiway finds the connector and queries Office 365
  3. Office 365 looks up the G Suite user Free/Busy Calendar
  4. Office 365 received back Free/Busy details
  5. Office 365 sends the Free/Busy response to Cloudiway
  6. Cloudiway sends the details to G Suite
  7. G Suite updates the Free/Busy display

You can also use coexistence during mailbox migrations. End users can continue working without interruption.

When a mailbox is migrated, address books are synchronized, the mail is rerouted, and free/busy time is available at both the source of the migration and at the target.

1.3. Supported Systems

Calendar free/busy coexistence can be implemented between two or more remote systems. Currently, the following systems are supported, including any combination and number of these:

  • Office 365/Exchange Online;
  • G Suite; and,
  • Exchange On-Premises 2013 and later.

If you are using Exchange On-Premises 2010 or any other system, please get in touch with our technical consultants here to discuss how coexistence can be implemented with your combination of remote systems.

1.4. Performance & Security

We take your privacy and security seriously at Cloudiway, and we have invested significant effort into making our platform and your data secure. Cloudiway provides a cloud-based application hosted in Windows Azure… For more information about security, please refer to this article.

For more information about migration performance, please refer to this article.

For total assurance, Cloudiway provides auditing tools. Secure, authenticated data connections, and a logging system. Free/busy queries are performed in real-time (with a 2 min cache implemented).

2. Prerequisites

There are four simple steps to configuring a remote system to coexist with another remote system:

  1. set up the Cloudiway connectors;
  2. contact Cloudiway to activate your connectors;
  3. configure your remote system settings to enable communication; and,
  4. test coexistence, add users and go live.

Each Cloudiway connector requires a domain name as well as security credentials to allow two-way communication. G Suite also requires Service Account details (email and private key) before the connector can be saved.

You can set up any remote system to coexist at any time. However, you must adhere to the order outlined in each section below, to avoid coexistence being activated before all the required steps have been completed.

NOTE: If you configure your remote systems prior to contacting Cloudiway, you risk being blacklisted by Google and/or Office 365.

3. Set up Cloudiway for coexistence

For Cloudiway to successfully provide coexistence between two remote systems, you will need to set up a connector for each domain intended to coexist.

The following chapter shows how to setup Free/Busy between Gsuite, Office 365, and On-Premises environments.

3.1. Create Your Connectors

Cloudiway needs to be able to communicate with both your source and target domains. To do this, Cloudiway uses connectors. Please refer to this page to configure your connectors.

When you create your connectors, make sure to select FreeBusy in Coexistence Products:

FreeBusy Connector

3.2. FreeBusyConfiguration

Once your connectors are created. Go to Free Busy >

Free Busy Main Page

Click on a connector:

Activate Free Busy

DETAILS: Enable or disable event details. In addition to the availability status, the platform gives you the choice to display the event details.

Note: This setting can be overwritten for each user in the MANAGE Users and resources list section.

ACTIVE: Enable or disable the connector.

3.3. Manage Users and resources list

Users

It is highly recommended to let the system manage automatically the user list.

Note: if the user list is empty, you can query the Free/Busy of any users of the company. However, as soon as you fill the list, only members of the list can be queried. In order to avoid to have to maintain the list, we recommend to leave it empty.

For testing purposes, you can add a few users in the list, at least one in each connector.

In the Free Busy page, in the Users and resources list, go to MANAGE

Free Busy Users List

Click on CREATE (single), IMPORT (CSV), or EXPORT (CSV) users.

Click on SAVE.

Resources

You can query the Free/Busy of resources (room and equipment).

Note: Please be aware that Google resources cannot be booked outside of a Google client calendar. Office 365 doesn’t have this restriction. Therefore, you may want to manage your resources in Office 365 instead of Google.

That said, if you want to query the Free/Busy of Google resources, just add them in the list as resources.

Read more: https://help.cloudiway.com/article/how-to-set-coexistence-google-rooms-and-resources/

3.4. Generate Cloudiway credentials

The systems (Office 365, Google, Exchance) that will be connected through the platform need to authenticate.

Go to Free Busy > Manage to create your credentials:

Free Busy Credentials

Note: Free busy alias is the URL used to access the platform, it is communicated by Cloudiway.

4. Configure remote system settings

4.1. G Suite Configuration
Follow these steps to set up Google.

  1. Go to https://admin.google.com and from the Home page, click on Apps, then G Suite, then Calendar
  2. Scroll down and click on Calendar interop management
  3. In the Exchange Web Services URL field, type the Cloudiway URL that has been provided to you:Google Admin Calendar
  4. In Exchange Role Account, enter your Consumer Key.
  5. Click on Update Password and paste your Consumer secret.
  6. Ensure that the checkbox for Show event details and Room booking are checked
  7. Click on Save to complete the process

4.2. Office 365 Configuration
Follow these steps to set up Office 365.

The configuration of Free/Busy requires an AvailabilityAddressSpace.

In the steps below, we will create an AvailabilityAddressSpace.

Launch Windows PowerShell and connect to Exchange Online.

Enter the script:

# Connect Exchange Online #
$admin = $Host.UI.PromptForCredential("Office 365 Administrator Credentials","Enter your Office 365 user name and password.","","") 
Get-PSSession | Remove-PSSession 
$ps = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName microsoft.exchange `
 -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell `
 -Credential $admin -Authentication basic `
 -AllowRedirection 
If ($error[0] -ne $null) 
{ 
   Write-Host $error[0] 
   $error.Clear() 
   exit 
} 
Import-PSSession $ps

Before you can create an availability address, you must run the following command at least once:

New-AvailabilityConfig -OrgWideAccount limitedUser@company.com

Note: Cloudiway is not using limitedUser@company.com, therefore you can enter any existing user without specific privilege.

The script will output something similar to the text below:

Copy the commands below

$adminCredsId = "\ConsumerKey" 
$adminCredsPassword = "ConsumerSecret" 
$securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString $adminCredsPassword -AsPlainText -Force 
$adminCreds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($adminCredsId,$securePassword) 
Add-AvailabilityAddressSpace `
-AccessMethod OrgWideFB `
-ForestName domainname.com `
-Credentials $adminCreds `
-TargetAutodiscoverEpr "https://<customer-coex>.cloudiway.com/autodiscover.xml"

Note:

  • “\” in “\CustomerKey” is important.
  • Replace domainname.com by the remote domain: if Office 365 users want to be able to query Free/Busy of bob@remotedomain.com, you must enter -ForestName remotedomain.com
  • customer-coex is the alias provided by Cloudiway

If you receive any error messages, check TechNet online (eg, https://technet.microsoft.com/enus/library/bb124122(v=exchg.160).aspx) for more details.

4.3. Exchange On-Premises Configuration

The steps below work only for Exchange On-Premises 2013 and later. If you have Exchange OnPremises 2010, please get in touch to discuss calendar free/busy coexistence implementation.

Launch Exchange Management Shell to connect to your Exchange server

Copy the commands below

$adminCredsId = "\ConsumerKey" 
$adminCredsPassword = "ConsumerSecret" 
$securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString $adminCredsPassword -AsPlainText -Force 
$adminCreds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($adminCredsId,$securePassword) 
Add-AvailabilityAddressSpace `
-AccessMethod OrgWideFB `                          
-ForestName domainname.com `
-Credentials $adminCreds `
-TargetAutodiscoverEpr "https://<customer-coex>.cloudiway.com/autodiscover.xml"

Note:

    • “\” in “\CustomerKey” is important.
    • Replace domainname.com by the remote domain: if Exchange users want to be able to query Free/Busy of bob@remotedomain.com, you must enter -ForestName remotedomain.com
    • customer-coex is the alias provided by Cloudiway

If you receive any error messages, check TechNet online (eg: https://technet.microsoft.com/enus/library/bb124122(v=exchg.160).aspx) for more details.

5. Test coexistence

Office 365 and Exchange can only query the free/busy time of objects that exist in the global address book.

In order to test the free/busy time of the remote system, you must:

  • In the Office 365 address book, create a test contact that represents the remote user (with domain name matching the ForestName of the AvailabilityAddressSpace)
  • Assign an Address Lists management role to an admin user
  1. Create the test user in your Exchange/Office 365 global address list
  2. Login to the Office 365 portal with your administrator account
  3. Go to the Exchange admin center, then click on permissions and the admin roles
  4. Click on the plus sign (+) to create a new role
  5. Give your group a name and assign it the role of Address Lists, then add an admin user to the group:
  6. Click on the Save button to save your group
  • Update the address book (using PowerShell).
  1. Run the command get-addresslist and verify that it’s working
  2. Run the command Set-AddressList -Identity “All users”
  3. Check that the global address list now contains the test user

At this point, your system configuration is complete and you’re ready to test coexistence from your calendars.

Once you’re satisfied that coexistence is working as expected, you can import your remaining users and go live (or empty the list to open it to all users).

6. Troubleshooting

We provide a command-line utility to test the Free/Busy here.

Cloudiway provides an extensive knowledge base with many resources, including common error messages, guides, and downloads. Please visit the knowledgebase here (where you can search for keywords or read through topics).

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