Frequently Asked Questions
What is School Data Sync?
School Data Sync is a free service in Office 365 Education that reads the rosters from your SIS, and creates classes for Microsoft Teams, Intune for Education, and third party applications. Microsoft Teams brings conversations, content, and apps together in Office 365 for Education.
What SIS/MIS vendors does School Data Sync support?
Because School Data Sync imports data in CSV files, it supports virtually every SIS on the market. SDS also supports importing roster data via the PowerSchool API, and the industry standard OneRoster API. Customers have deployed SDS with over 70 SIS vendors and data providers, including the below:
|Cloud Design Box||MMS Generations||SomToday|
|Cornerstone/TADS||Oracle Campus Solution||Sycamore Education|
|Eduarte||Progressbook||Teams Pro logic|
|Engage United||Pronote from Index Education||Trillium|
|eSchoolPLUS||Prosolution (Compass CC)||TxEIS|
|Genesis||Ruler Connect/Locker Connect||Visma Primus/Wilma|
|Gradelink||Salamander Soft||Vulcan UONET+|
|GRICS||SAM Spectra by Central Access||WCBS Pulse|
|IlluminateEd||School Tool||WIS WEB|
|Infinite Campus & Scholarship||Schoolmaster|
Where is School Data Sync available?
School Data sync is currently available in all regions worldwide except for China and Germany.
What apps work with School Data sync?
School Data Sync imports school, section, student, teacher, and roster data from a SIS to Office 365 so it can be used by numerous 1st party and 3rd party applications. Visit https://sds.microsoft.com to see a list of the EDU apps that use Office 365 and School Data Sync data for Single Sign-on and Rostering integration.
Will SDS automatically sync changes or do we have to restart sync to synchronize changes as they occur?
Sync runs continuously after a sync profile is created, unless manually stopped. For PowerSchool API and OneRoster API, the connection to the SIS is continuous and always polling for changes in data to be synced. If you’re running a sync profile which uses one of the available CSV based sync methods, changes within your data can be synchronized by uploading new CSV files that contain the data changes. You can upload new files through the SDS portal or through the SDS toolkit. Once new CSV files are uploaded, the sync process will begin automatically if no errors are encountered. If you’re new data set contains errors, you may need to remediate them first and reupload the files, or hit the resume sync button on the sync profile to continue syncing regardless of the errors found.
What are the permission requirements for accessing and managing School Data Sync?
To access and manage SDS, your account must be a Global Administrator within the tenant.
What is the School Data Sync schema (object and attributes) available through REST API?
The Education Attributes Reference contains the full list of potential data available. The CSV files reference explains the required fields available for import via SDS.
How can we export data from our SIS to Microsoft’s required CSV format?
Since each SIS is different, we encourage School Data Sync (SDS) customers to contact their SIS vendor for support and assistance with building the appropriate export from the SIS to CSV files in one of the acceptable formats (SDS format, Clever format, or OneRoster format). Many SIS’s already have CSV export functionality, and do not require custom tools or database extractors to complete the export process. Microsoft does not provide support however for SIS extractor tools built by SIS vendors. Please contact your SIS vendor for assistance with data exports.
What is the proper format for the Term StartDate and Term EndDate attributes?
School Data Sync does not restrict the Term StartDate and Term EndDate attribute format beyond the currently allowed .NET options, however we recommend using a format of mm/dd/yyyy (i.e. 11/19/2016 or 6/12/2016). Future development efforts may align to this recommendation for features and functionality which leverage these attributes.
Can I export the sync issues/errors generated by SDS?
Yes, you may export the list of errors generated on a profile by profile basis within the SDS UI. To export the list of errors, log into sds.microsoft.com > select your sync profile > click on the Download all errors as .csv file button.
Does Microsoft provide extractor tools for my SIS data?
Microsoft does not build or maintain extractor tools for any SIS vendor. Many SIS’s have data extraction tools built into the SIS already. If your SIS does not include an extraction tool, and you need assistance extracting data from your SIS into our schema CSV format, please contact your SIS vendor for support.
Why is there a character limitation on email addresses in SDS?
Email addresses for all objects in O365 must adhere to several RFC standards for internet email addressing, and SDS is simply aligned to the character limitations within each of the core Office 365 services, including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Azure Active Directory.
How many sync profiles do I need to create when setting up School Data Sync?
Most often, schools will only need to create a single sync profile in School Data Sync (SDS) to synchronize all Schools, Sections, Teachers, Students, and Rosters. There are a few reasons that would require you to create additional sync profiles:
Multiple Domains for Identity Matching – When configuring SDS you must match users from your source directory to users in Azure Active Directory (AAD). Within each sync profile, you can specify a single domain for teachers and a single domain for students. If your teachers or students are configured with more than a single domain for the attribute being used in the identity matching configuration, you may need to create multiple sync profiles to ensure a match for all users within your tenant. We recommend minimizing the number of domains configured across student and teachers for core identity matching attributes such as the UserPrincipalName and Mail attributes.
Multiple Sync Methods or Source Directories – SDS allows you to synchronize objects and attributes in a few different ways. We currently accept three different types of CSV file formatting (SDS format, Clever format, OneRoster format). SDS also allows for two different types of API connections to sync objects and attributes (PowerSchool API and OneRoster API). If you need to import data from more than a single source directory, you will need to configure multiple sync profiles. For example, you may need 1 sync profile to sync objects from PowerSchool and another sync profile to sync objects from SDS format CSV files. We recommend minimizing the number of sync profiles whenever possible.
Mix of Create New Users and Sync Existing Users – SDS allows you to either create new user accounts in AAD from your source directory data, or synchronize against existing users that are already present in Azure AD. If you need to create some new users, and synchronize against some existing users, two or more sync profiles will be required. You can only choose one of these two options within a single sync profile.
More than 2 million rows in a csv file – SDS has a limit on the number of rows that can be contained within a set of CSV files uploaded within a single sync profile. The current limit is 2 million rows per CSV file. If you have CSV files that contain more than 2 million rows, you’ll need to split the entire set of CSV files up along school lines (all sections, teachers, students, rostering associated with the school(s) being split). Once split, create additional sync profiles with the same settings, and upload the split files accordingly.
Can I have additional headers and columns in my CSV files beyond what I intend to sync?
Yes, your CSV files may contain extra headers and data. Only the attributes selected within the sync profile setup wizard will attempt to synchronize. Any extra headers and columns of data will be ignored.
If we remove a user or section from Classroom will they reappear when we sync again?
Manually updating a class roster through Classroom will not be overwritten when the next sync runs. School Data Sync makes changes to the roster based on the last sync, and not based on manual changes, with the exception of two actions: Reset Sync and Recreating a Sync Profile. Aside from those exceptions, here is how SDS treats manual additions and deletions.
- A class is synced with a teacher and students
- The teacher goes to Classroom to add a co-teacher to the class
- The class is subsequently synced with no changes to teacher enrollment
- (Correct behavior) The co-teacher's membership is unaffected
- The class is subsequently synced with the co-teacher added
- (Correct behavior) the co-teacher's membership is unaffected
- The class is subsequently synced w/ the co-teacher removed
- (Correct behavior) the co-teacher is removed from the class
- A class is synced with a teacher and students
- The teacher goes to Classroom to remove a student from the class
- The class is subsequently synced with no change to the student enrollment
- (Correct behavior) The student's non-membership is unaffected
- The class is subsequently synced with the student removed
- (Correct behavior) the student's non-membership is unaffected
- The class is subsequently synced w/ the student re-added
- (Correct behavior) the student is re-added to the class
What do Azure AD Connect and SDS do and how can they work together?
Azure Active Directory Connect (AAD Connect) syncs on-premise AD Users, Groups, and Objects to Azure AD (AAD) in Office 365.
School Data Sync (SDS) syncs additional Student and Teacher attributes from the Student Information System (SIS) with existing users already synced and created by AAD Connect. Adding Student and Teacher attributes evolves the identity and enables apps to provide richer user experiences based on these distinguishable attributes and education personas. SDS allows you to automatically create Class Teams within Teams for Education, School based Security groups for Intune for Education Device policy, OneNote Class Notebooks, and class rostering for 3rd party application integration. AAD Connect and SDS will never conflict, as SDS will not sync or overwrite any attribute managed by AAD Connect. SDS also provide the option to create new users, so if you don’t want to sync and create them with AAD Connect from your on-premise AD, you can use SDS to sync and create them directly from your SIS.
Both AAD Connect and SDS also sync and create other object types, like Groups, Administrative Units,and Contacts, but unlike Users, these object types are not combined to form individual and unique objects in AAD.
What special characters are not supported by School Data Sync?
There are several special characters that are not supported within School Data Sync. During profile creation, you will have an option to have SDS automatically replace unsupported special characters found with an “_”. The following link explains unsupported characters.