Plan for Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo

This guidance is designed for administrators of Tenants preparing their Microsoft 365 Tenant to be expanded to additional Geographies in accordance with the company's need to meet data residency requirements.

In a Multi-Geo configuration, your Microsoft 365 Tenant consists of a Primary Provisioned Geography location and one or more Satellite Geography locations. This is a single Tenant that spans across multiple Geography locations.

To help you understand the basic concepts of the Multi-Geo configuration, please review terms in the Definitions section of the Overview and Definitions page.

Enabling Multi-Geo requires four key steps:

  1. Work with your account team to add the Multi-Geo Capabilities in Microsoft 365 service plan.

  2. Choose your desired Satellite Geography location(s) and add them to your Tenant.

  3. Set your users' Preferred Data Location to the desired Satellite Geography location. When a new OneDrive for Business site or Exchange Online mailbox is provisioned for a user, it is provisioned to their PDL.

  4. Migrate your users' existing OneDrive for Business sites from the Primary Provisioned Geography location to their Satellite Geography data location as needed. (Exchange Online mailboxes are migrated automatically when you set a user's PDL.)

See Configure Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo for details on each of these steps.

Please see the Availability section of the M365 Multi-Geo Overview page for the Geographies that can be a Satellite Geography location where you can host OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online sites, Exchange Online mailboxes, and Microsoft Teams. As you plan for Multi-Geo, make a list of the locations that you want to add to your Microsoft 365 Tenant. We recommend starting with one or two satellite locations and then gradually expanding to more geo locations, if needed.

Best practices

We recommend that you create a test user in Microsoft 365 to do some initial testing. We'll walk through some testing and verification steps with this user before you proceed to onboard production users into Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo.

Once you've completed testing with the test user, select a pilot group – perhaps from your IT department – to be the first to use OneDrive for Business and Exchange Online in a new geo location. For this first group, select users who do not yet have a OneDrive for Business. We recommend no more than five people in this initial group and gradually expand following a batched rollout approach.

Each user should have a preferred data location (PDL) set so that Microsoft 365 can determine in which Geography location to provision their OneDrive. The user's preferred data location must match one of your chosen Satellite Geography locations or your Primary Provisioned Geography. While the PDL field is not mandatory, we recommend that a PDL be set for all users. Workloads of a user without a PDL will be provisioned in the Primary Provisioned Geography.

Create a list of your users and include their user principal name (UPN) and the location code for the appropriate preferred data location. Include your test user and your initial pilot group to start with. You'll need this list for the configuration procedures.

If your users are synchronized from an on-premises Active Directory system to Azure Active Directory, you must set the preferred data location as an Active Directory attribute and synchronize it by using Azure Active Directory Connect. You cannot directly configure the preferred data location for synchronized users using Azure AD PowerShell. The steps to set up PDL in Active Directory and Synchronize it are covered in Azure Active Directory Connect sync: Configure preferred data location for Microsoft 365 resources.

The administration of a Multi-Geo Tenant can differ from a non-multi-geo Tenant, as many of the SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business settings and services are multi-geo aware. We recommend that you review Administering a multi-geo environment before you proceed with your configuration.

Read User experience in a multi-geo environment for details about your end users' experience in a Multi-Geo environment.

To get started configuring Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo, see Configure Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo.

Once you've completed the configuration, remember to migrate your users' OneDrive libraries as needed to get your users working from their preferred data locations.

Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo eDiscovery configuration