Office 365 Distribution groups with Active Directory

Josh Scoville
Josh Scoville used Ask the Experts™
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How do I create a distribution list that has external email addresses in Active Directory and have it properly sync to Office 365 Exchange online?  We have a notification group that has internal email addresses and external "phonenumber@vtext.com" addresses in it so that when an event happens, we can get a text message and an email.

With just the internal AD users in the group, the email works fine, send an email to the group address and everyone gets it.  

I created an OU for Contacts in AD and then created seperate contacts for the people (who also have AD accounts) and just put in their vtext email address in the email field.  I then added those contacts to the distribution group, but now the group doesn't appear to sync the membership.  How do I go about acomplishing this?  I would like to be able to do it all through my on premise AD and sync it to the cloud.
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Most Valuable Expert 2015
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Check the object properties in the Metaverse: open the MIISClient tool, go on the Metaverse tab, change the filter to groups and find the object. Double-click to examine the properties and check the value for the membercount and member attributes.

If all the relevant users/contacts are listed there, the issue might be on O365 side. Check the corresponding group in the cloud and its membership via Get-MsolGroupMember, and if the membership doesnt match what you see in the Metaverse, open a ticket with O365 support and ask them to force a sync.

If you do not see all the relevant users/contact when looking at the Metaverse object properties, you need to double-check the AD objects as they are being filtered by the sync engine. For example, missing 'mail' attribute, missing alias, etc.
Josh ScovilleSystems Analyst

Author

Commented:
OK.  Thanks for the help there and guidance as I am really new to the whole AD sync to 365 stuff.  I appreciate the hand holding.

I checked the metaverse search (thanks for showing me that) and the results do not show the vtext contacts, only the AD domain user emails.  So I probably need to edit some attributes on the newly created vtext contacts in AD?

Thanks!
Josh ScovilleSystems Analyst

Author

Commented:
I have edited the contact in premises AD to add the vtext email address to the proxyAddress attribute and also edited the displayName attribute to make sure the name was in there.  Neither edit has seemed to make the contact  in the group sync to Office 365.
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Most Valuable Expert 2015
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
All you need populated for a Contact object is the displayName and mail attributes.
Josh ScovilleSystems Analyst

Author

Commented:
I have both of those attributes filled in.  The mail attribute populated automatically, but I had to edit the displayname one.  Still the contacts will not sync.
Metaverse only shows AD users as members, not the external contacts.
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Can you see the contact at all in the metaverse?
Systems Analyst
Commented:
No.  Not at all.

I have gotten around this to make it work by deleting the on premise AD group and contacts and just created them in the cloud and it works perfectly.

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