Monday, November 22, 2010

OCS November 2010 Updates Released (CU8)

The latest round of OCS updates are available for download.  There are quite a few updates/fixes for this round.  Most notably are updates to help with issues uncovered in a Lync-OCS coexistence scenario.  Still, important to keep your installation updated. 

Here are the components that were updated for this round of updates:

Server Updates (6907.221) - KB 968802

  • Application Sharing Server
  • A/V Conferencing
  • Core Components
  • Conferencing Attendant
  • Conferencing Announcement Service
  • Mediation Server
  • Standard/Enterprise Edition Server
  • Standard/Enterprise Edition Server Back-End
  • UCMA 2.0 Core Redist

Note:  As always, the easiest way to make sure your server is up to date across all components is to use the Cumulative Server Update Installer (ServerUpdateInstaller.exe package)

Client Updates


Monday, November 15, 2010

Enabling Skill Search in Lync 2010

Lync not only allows you to search for people across your organization by name, but also by skillset.  This is great if I am looking for someone who is an SCCM expert or a Business Analyst.  I don’t always know who I am looking for, but usually know what kind of person I am looking for. 

Skill based search integrates will SharePoint 2007 and 2010.  It is not enabled by default in Lync server.  First let’s look at what is required on the backend to make this work:

  • Requires SharePoint 2007 or later with maintained MySites
  • SharePoint search center URL is provisioned via in-band settings
  • SharePoint must be published to the Internet
  • Requires full version of SharePoint – Windows SharePoint Services are not sufficient
To enable skill based search, a Client Policy must be configured and applied that configures the Lync client to look at the correct SharePoint URLs.  Let’s look at the different parameters that are used to configure the Client Policy:
  • SPSearchInternalURL and SPSearchExternalURL – the URL that Lync will use when the user is logged on either inside or outside the network when conducting a keyword search
Note: the SPSearchInternalURL and SPSearchExternalURL will follow the following format: http://<server>/_vti_bin/search.asmx
  • SPSearchCenterInternalURL and SPSearchCenterExternalURL  – the URL that Lync will display at the bottom of the client that will open up the native people search webpage hosted on the SharePoint site. This can be used to view more detailed results.

Note: the SPSearchCenterInternalURL and SPSearchCenterExternalURL will follow the following format: http://<server>/SearchCenter/Pages/PeopleResults.aspx

To enable these URLs, a Client Policy needs to be configured and applied.  Since I am choosing to make this feature available to everyone, I am going to use the Lync Global Policy that applies to everyone. 

The following commands are run to enable the Skill based search URLs:

Set-CSClientPolicy –SPSearchInternalURL http://<server>/_vti_bin/search.asmx

Set-CSClientPolicy –SPSearchExternalURL http://<server>/_vti_bin/search.asmx

Lync SS - skill url - markup
The following commands are run to enable the Search Center URL that will be displayed at the bottom of the search results:

Set-CSClientPolicy –SPSearchCenterInternalURL http://<server>/SearchCenter/Pages/PeopleResults.aspx

Set-CSClientPolicy –SPSearchCenterExternalURL http://<server>/SearchCenter/Pages/PeopleResults.aspx

Lync SS - peopleresults url = markup
The next time the Lync client is restarted, it will receive the SharePoint URLs through in-band provisioning.  You can verify that your Lync client has received the URLs by holding the Ctrl key down, right-clicking on your Lync system tray icon and selecting Configuration Information:

Lync SS - config info select
The SharePoint URLs are shown in the Configuration Information table:

Lync SS - Config Info - markup
Now back to the Lync Client.  In the search blank, we can enter in keywords to skills that we want to search across and select the “Skill” option:

Lync SS - client search - mark2
Notice the “View results in SharePoint…” link at the bottom of the search results.  Clicking this will take you to the native SharePoint People Search Center for a more detailed view of the results:

Lync SS - SearchCenter = mark
The new Skill Search integration between SharePoint and Lync is a powerful addition to the feature set.  As always, comments welcome.

UPDATE (2/22/2011) - Gus Fraser posted about a publishing the SharePoint URLs through TMG.  Be sure to check it out if this matches your scenario!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lync Conferencing Client Comparisons

Lync brings a much more seamless web conferencing experience to the user.  No longer does the user have to decide whether to create a Live Meeting or a Conference Call, there is now just an Online Meeting.  The join experience is very seamless to the user with an option for a no-download web client to attend the meeting.

Lync offers the user three options to attend an Online meeting.  Lync will check the local computer that is launching the Online Meeting for the best client available and use that to connect.  The order of checking the client follows:

  1. Lync client – this is the full client that is used by domain users and federated contacts for daily use
  2. Attendee client – a downloaded client (much like the Live Meeting client) that gives the user the ability to fully participate in an Online Meeting.  Download here: Admin or User version
  3. Lync Web App – web client that will allow users to connect to a meeting with no download required

So now you are asking: What is the difference between the clients and what is the user experience like?  Note: This table only describes the different functionality of each client within the conferencing experience.

Feature/Capability Lync Client Attendee Client Lync Web App
Computer Audio X X  
Video X X  
Use Presenter Controls X X X
Access detailed meeting roster X X X
Multiparty IM X X X
Share desktop X X X (plug-in)
Share application X X X (plug-in)
Add anonymous participants X X X
Use dial-in audio conf. X X X
Initiate a meeting X    
Add and present PowerPoint files X X  
Whiteboard X X X
Polling X X X
File Sharing X X X

The following are some screenshots of a meeting that has a user joined from each client.  Note the options available and “look and feel” of each client.

Lync Client

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - LyncOptions

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - Lync-ppt

Attendee Client

Login Page:

LyncConf - AC-Launch

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - Attendee-Options

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - Attendee-ppt

Lync Web App

Login Page:

LyncConf - LWA-Launch

Sharing Options:

LyncConf - LWA - Options

Phone Options

LyncConf - LWA-Callme-markup

PowerPoint presentation upload:

LyncConf - LWA-ppt

The new conferencing experience is a welcome improvement.  Hopefully less of our meetings will be troubleshooting connectivity problems as it was in the past!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lync Environmental and Server Prerequisites

Now that Lync has RTM’d, it is time to start preparing for the introduction of Lync into your environment.  Let’s discuss what is required in your environment before getting started with Lync.

Active Directory Requirements

Even though Lync uses the new Central Management Store (CMS) to store configuration data for servers and services (instead of relying on AD Domain Services as in previous versions), Lync still stores items in AD DS.

Items stored in AD DS:

  • Schema Extensions
    • User object extensions
    • Extensions for OCS 2007 (and R2) classes to maintain backwards compatibility
  • Data
    • User SIP URI and other user settings
    • Contact objects for applications
    • Data published for backward compatibility
    • Service connection point (SCP) for the CMS
    • Kerberos Authentication Account

Supported Domain Controller OS:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 32-bit or 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 32-bit or 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2003 32-bit or 64-bit

Forest and Domain Functional Level:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2003 native mode

Supported Certificate Authorities:

  • Internal
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system CA
    • Windows Server 2008 operating system CA
    • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition operating systems with SP1 CA
    • Windows Server 2003 operating systems with SP1 stand-alone CA (supported, but not recommended)
  • Public
    • Must support use of Subject Alternative Names (SANs)

Supported AD Topologies:

  • Single forest with single domain
  • Single forest with a single tree and multiple domains
  • Single forest with multiple trees and disjoint namespaces
  • Multiple forests in a central forest topology
  • Multiple forest in a resource forest topology

Lync Servers Requirements

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (Stan./Ent./Datacenter)
  • Windows Server 2008 with SP2 64-bit (Stan./Ent./Datacenter)

Software installed automatically by the Lync Installer:

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable
  • Microsoft Visual J# version 2.0 Redistributable
  • URL Rewrite Module version 2.0 Redistributable
  • SQL 2008 Express SP1
  • SQL 2008 Native Client

Additional Windows software required by all Lync Roles:

  • Windows Powershell 2.0 (already installed on 2008 R2)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with SP1 (Windows Feature in R2)
  • Updates to .NET 3.5 SP1 available in Windows Update
  • Windows Installer Version 4.5 (already installed on 2008 R2)

Additional Windows software required by Front-End or Standard Edition Servers:

  • IIS (Required)

Static Content

Default Document Windows Authentication
HTTP Errors Request Filtering
ASP .NET Static Content Compression
.NET Extensibility IIS Management Console
Internet Server API (ISAPI) Extensions IIS Management Scripts and Tools
ISAPI Filters Anonymous Authentication
HTTP Logging Client Certificate Mapping Auth
Logging Tools  

You can install the above components from an elevated PowerShell command by running (assuming Windows 2008 R2):

  1. Import-Module ServerManager
  2. Add-WindowsFeature Web-Server, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Default-Doc, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Net-Ext, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Mgmt-Console
  • Message Queuing (if Archiving or Monitoring will be deployed)
    • Message Queuing Server
    • Directory Service Integration
  • Windows Media Format Runtime (if conferencing will be deployed)
    • Installer will automatically install, but will require a reboot –OR-
    • %systemroot%\system32\dism.exe /online /add-package /packagepath:%windir%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-Media-Format-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.1.7600.16385.mum /ignorecheck

SQL Servers for Lync Enterprise, Archiving, Monitoring databases

  • SQL 2008 Stand./Ent with SP1 (64-bit)
  • SQL 2005 Stand./Ent with SP3 (64-bit)

Hope this helps get you started.  As always, comments welcome!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lync Launch Event – Nov. 9th







I will be speaking at a Lync Launch event for Catapult Systems on Nov. 9th in San Antonio, TX.  If you are in the area, please register and stop in.

Here is the invitation and registration link.

Catapult Systems will also have Lync Launch events in Austin (11/10), Orlando (11/16), and Ft. Lauderdale (11/18). If you are in those areas, go to our events page to find the invitation for your city.