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Office 365 Endpoints and Microsoft's Geo-DNS

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eriq vanbibber

on 3 February 2016

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Transcript of Office 365 Endpoints and Microsoft's Geo-DNS

Office 365 Endpoints and Microsoft's Geo-DNS
Are you connecting to the nearest endpoint?
Eriq VanBibber, CTO
Priasoft Inc.

Why care about it?
How does it work today?
A request is made to get an IP address from a name.
Let's consider portal.office.com...
Your local DNS server is contacted and the request made, unless you've been there before - you might have a cached result.
Portal.Office.com is an alias for a real name, meaning that no specific IP address is directly assigned to the name.
Portal.Office.com may resolve to f-0001.f-msedge.net, or b-0004.b-msedge.net, or many other actual names
In DNS 'A' records have IP addresses while 'CNAME' records point at other names
DNS is then queried for the IP address of the resulting 'A' record: f-0001.f-msedge.net
This may result in a single or multiple IP addresses:
So? What's the issue? Seems like it works ok to me.
The determination of the 'A' record - the one with the IP address(es) - is based on the DNS server that finally queries Microsoft's DNS
If your ISP's DNS server forwards the query to Microsoft, Microsoft will estimate your physical location based on what it knows about your ISP's DNS server.
San Francisco
??? ??
How to manage this?
CNAME - setup an alias in your local DNS that points to a specific endpoint name.
Determine best endpoint name through ping or tcp-ping responses to the endpoint.
It's better to be on Microsoft's network than the Internet
A forced IP entry for the generic name is not a good idea - avoid the use of a 'hosts' file
Microsoft has full right to down an IP address and replace it with another - testing has shown they do this
Endpoint Testing Tool
Uses a collection of 24 known endpoints and performs a "tcp" ping to each IP address available for each hostname
List of endpoints come from CSV that is generated once each hour, created from DNS queries across over 40,000 DNS servers worldwide.
Final Thoughts:
Don't ignore, especially if writing code or script - powershell included - where duration of a task is important
High latency can cause timeouts and other weird symptoms
This affects ALL services of Office365
What's the scope?
There are over a dozen common URL names used by various services of Office 365.
Visit http://tinyurl.com/O365Urls for a full listing
Most Common URLs to consider:
Full transcript