I’ve blogged about School Data Sync before and I know lots of schools are using this to quickly and easily populate O365 with their student, teacher and class information. Therefore, it was great when I read earlier this morning that there have been improvements to the file synchronization process, removing the need for PowerShell and Scheduled Tasks to refresh the content.
As always, for those in a hurry, here are the important links:
- Free SDS Support for your school – a great starting point if you need some technical help
- Flow Connector for SDS – this is the new piece of the puzzle that should make life easier for your IT admins keeping data fresh!
- Documentation for SDS Flow Connector – I do suggest you read this!
Why Use The New SDS Flow Connector?
As per the documentation:
- Makes managing and monitoring file uploads easier.
- Provides nice visualization to see a history of file uploads and the result of each stage of upload process.
- No more cached credentials of the AAD global admin on the local server.
- Manage entire upload process via UI in the cloud, which is much simpler to use than PowerShell scripts.
- All monitoring and management of the solution happens in Office 365.
- Server OS Support for better reliability.
A couple of things are worth pointing out at this time. To use this, you will need the on-premises data gateway installed on a local server – for some schools that are going truly cloud and removing all on premise infrastructure this may be a problem.
The second point is that there is very clear, step by step documentation that will walk you through how to configure the Flow for SDS. Again, suggest you really do read this.
My Point of View
This will be hugely helpful for those who are already using SDS, as well as those that wanted to, but found the process too difficult to configure/maintain. The GUI nature of Flow connectors does away with the need for PowerShell and opens this to a wider audience to use.
I’ve demo’ed SDS countless times in conjunction with Intune for Education and know that look of delight on teacher and IT admins faces when they log into a freshly provisioned Win10 device, joined to AzureAD, enrolled into Intune for Education and opening the Edge browser to the Office365 Portal they are seamlessly signed in automatically, and when they click on the Microsoft Teams icon they automatically see all of the classes they teach or are students in. That’s the beauty of SDS – accurately mapping the relationship between teacher, student and classes and pre-populating O365 Teams and Class NoteBooks – it’s a game changer.
Drop a note in the comments below if you give the new SDS Flow Connector a try and let me know your experience.