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Using WAN Optimization Controller or Traffic/Inspection devices with Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 does not require you to use WAN Optimization Controller devices (also known as WAN acceleration and caching devices) or traffic shaping/inspection devices (also known as packet shaping/inspection devices), nor can we comment on the effectiveness of these solutions. Customers may decide to use such devices to increase performance under conditions of high latency or low bandwidth for Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online. We advise customers to use their discretion in deploying these devices with Office 365, whether in multi-tenant (MT), dedicated (D), or ITAR service configurations.

Microsoft does not offer first-party technical customer support for WAN Optimization Controller (WOC) devices. As with other network infrastructure equipment, we do not test the use of these devices with Office 365 to make sure that they work, nor do we take any responsibility for making sure that they continue to work as part of regular service updates. Customers should work directly with their WOC vendors to receive technical support.

During support incidents, we do require customers to inform us if they are using WOC devices. We also require that customers have an easy way to bypass the WAN optimization or traffic shaping/inspection services for Office 365. When we try to resolve a customer service issue in Office 365, we may ask that these devices be put in bypass mode before we continue with diagnosis and issue resolution. By bypass mode, we mean any combination of network or device configuration that logically or physically removes the device from the infrastructure path between the customer and Office 365.
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Office 365 dedicated/ITAR customers can install and use WOC devices together with their service at their own discretion. The devices can be installed in the edge site that is used to interconnect a customer's private network with the data networking presence that is provided by Microsoft. (In this case, the edge site is a third-party-carrier meet-me room [MMR] facility that is associated with a carrier hotel or anchor site.) Be aware that this option is available only for Office 365 dedicated/ITAR deployments and not for the multi-tenant service. To achieve the same results, some vendors offer the option of deploying their WOC in the customer's data center instead of in the edge site. Because the use of WOC devices can potentially affect the reliability of the Office 365 service, customers must agree to the following terms when they opt to use these devices:
  • If a customer's support request involves diagnosing a service access issue, the customer must disclose WOC devices that are being used when he or she contacts Microsoft Online Services Support by online submission (see or by telephone (see
  • If a WOC device is found to affect the performance or availability of Office 365 service components during troubleshooting by Microsoft, we may ask the customer to bypass the WOC device to make sure that service availability is maintained.
  • Before a customer re-enables a WOC device, he or she must directly engage the technical support resources of the device vendor to investigate issues that are caused by the device.
  • Any event that adversely affects service and that we determine to be caused by the existing WOC device will be identified as a Service Level Agreement (SLA) exclusion.
For all customer deployments, Microsoft does not provide first-party technical customer support for the integration and use of WOC or traffic shaping/inspection devices with Office 365 (in multi-tenant, dedicated, and ITAR configurations). Our position and rationale are as follows:
  • We cannot provide proactive support for these devices or for related third-party software that we do not control. These devices sit between the client and our servers. They affect every network communication and can potentially affect our service. We cannot take responsibility for any issues caused by these devices.
  • Because we cannot diagnose the devices directly, we may ask to bypass them during support diagnosis or troubleshooting. If bypassing the WOC devices fixes a problem, the customer must work with the device manufacturer to obtain a long-term resolution (such as a code update) and to then re-enable the device.
  • We realize that our customers may have to deploy such devices. But because of their complexity, these devices remain the customer’s responsibility when any issues arise. 
In summary, WOC or traffic shaping/inspection devices are considered part of the customer’s on-premises landscape, and if they are used, any related issues are the customer's responsibility. As we continue to improve the Office 365 service, changes can potentially affect the performance of these devices. It is the responsibility of the customer and the device manufacturer to make any necessary modifications to support our service changes.

Article ID: 2690045 - Last Review: 06/29/2015 08:39:00 - Revision: 16.0

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