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Office Telemetry – Overview of the set up prerequisites

Jason Zandri

One of the objectives of the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification for Office 365 (70-347 exam – Enabling Office 365 Services) is:

  • Set up telemetry and reporting
    • Enable telemetry through Group Policy, set up telemetry service, report user issues, and deploy agent

This blog post will be a short overview of Office Telemetry set up prerequisites as it applies to Office 2013 / 2016 install and use as well as its tie into Office 365 ProPlus.

Office Telemetry, supporting Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007 versions of the Office suite, is a new compatibility monitoring framework that replaces the Office 2010 (and prior) compatibility tools including Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM), Office Code Compatibility Inspector (OCCI), and Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT).

In the past, the Office Telemetry tool also supported Office 2003, but as of April 15, 2009, mainstream support was no longer available for Office 2003 and extended support ended five years after that on April 08, 2014. Due to this, while the tool will still produce results for the products if installed, it is no longer officially supported.

With respect to Office 2007, mainstream support is no longer available, having ended on October 09, 2012. The applications within the Office suite are all slated to reach end of life on October 10, 2017. (In order to be considered as a supported application, Office 2007 needs to be at Service Pack 3, which was released in October of 2011.)

Office Telemetry records corresponding data from the action taken (document or other data being accessed, opened, closed, an error thrown, etc.) Office Telemetry adds a record about the event to a local data store. Each record includes a description of the problem and a link to more information. Inventory and usage data is also tracked.

Telemetry Dashboard is an Excel workbook that is configured to connect to a telemetry database. Telemetry Dashboard is installed together with Office Professional Plus 2013, Office Standard 2013, and Office 365 ProPlus editions of Office 2013. It can also be found on Office 2016 versions of the software suite as well via the Start menu / or through the search option.

Telemetry for 2016 2

Telemetry for 2016

 

You can view telemetry data by using the Telemetry Dashboard or the Telemetry Log. The Telemetry Dashboard Administration Tool is a command line tool that helps you to manage the Telemetry Dashboard database.

The Telemetry Dashboard offers the combined view of all the inventory and telemetry data that is available once the tool is set up for collection and to do that, you need to configure a system to function as a Telemetry Processor and to host one of the compatible versions of SQL, which are:

  • SQL Server 2005
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2008
  • SQL Server 2008 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2012
  • SQL Server 2012 Express

The Getting started worksheet in Telemetry Dashboard provides a link to download SQL Server 2012 Express.

Telemetry for 2016 3

Once installed, the Telemetry Processor runs as a Windows service and collects inventory, usage, and telemetric data from the telemetry shared folder and imports the data to the telemetry database.

The Telemetry Processor service can be installed and run on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 client operating systems, but the number of concurrent connections is limited to a maximum of 20 by design.

In order for the complete range of functionality and the most robust performance the following operating systems are recommended for use:

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

NOTE: Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 was available at the time of this writing, but compatibility use and testing of The Telemetry Processor service was not yet complete.

Once installed, you will continue these next steps via the Telemetry Processor set up wizard:

  • SQL Server instance name.
  • SQL database. A new database will be created if you don’t specify an existing database. (SYSADMIN role permissions are needed to create a database).
  • At least 11 GB of hard disk space (needed to temporarily store telemetry data during the collection process).
  • Permissions to create a shared folder, or the UNC path of an existing shared folder.

The Telemetry Processor wizard can create the shared folder outlined above if it has the correct permissions. If you opt instead to use an existing shared folder, any currently set NTFS and shared folder permissions are overwritten with permissions set by the wizard.

To create and configure a new database, the account that runs the Telemetry Processor wizard must be a domain account that is a member of the SYSADMIN role on the SQL Server as discussed above. Regular use of Telemetry Dashboard does not require the same permissions as the SYSADMIN role and can be removed once the database is created.

The following table lists what Office Telemetry collects while the service is running versus an Office 2013 installation.

 

Type Office Application(s) Description
Active Documents Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013 Active documents are any Office document files that are not included in the other solution types that are listed in this table. This can include the following:

  • Office binary format files (.doc, .ppt, .pps, .xls)
  • Office OpenXML format files (.docx, .pptx, .ppsx, .xlsx)
  • Macro-enabled files that contain VBA code (.docm, .dotm, .pptm, .potm, .xlsm, .xltm)
  • Files that contain ActiveX controls
  • Files that have External Data Connections
COM add-ins Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013, Outlook 2013 COM add-ins include Microsoft Office development tools in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 application-level add-ins.
Excel Automation add-ins Excel 2013 This solution type includes earlier versions of Excel-supported Automation add-ins, which are built upon COM add-ins. Functions in Automation add-ins can be called from formulas in Excel worksheets.
Excel XLL add-ins Excel 2013 XLL add-ins (.xll) are specific to Excel and are built with any compiler that supports building DLLs (dynamic-link libraries). They do not have to be installed or registered. XLL add-ins also include DLLs that contain user-defined commands and functions.
Excel XLS RTD add-ins Excel 2013 XLS real-time data (RTD) add-ins are Excel worksheets that use the RealTimeData worksheet function to call an Automation server to retrieve data in real-time.
Word WLL add-ins Word 2013 WLL (.wll) add-ins are specific to Word and built with any compiler that supports building DLLs.
Application add-ins Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013 Application add-ins are application-specific files that contain VBA code. These include macro-enabled Word templates (.dotm), Excel add-ins (.xla, .xlam), and PowerPoint add-ins (.ppa, .ppam).
Templates Word 2013 Templates include document (.dot, .dotx), worksheet (.xlt, .xltx), or presentation (.pot, .potx) templates that are attached to an Office file.
Apps for Office PowerPoint 2013Excel 2013, Word 2013, Outlook 2013 These are apps for Office that are hosted in a task pane, content, or email within the client application.

 

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