Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What do we know about Skype for business?

Without breaking any NDAs and with the posture that the product has not been released and everything is subject to change - what can be said about the next version of Lync?

Well, it will get a new name and new logo.


But what will the twitter hashtag prove to be? #s4b #Skype4b #Skypeforbusiness
That remains to be seen, but things are not getting any better due to the fact that "for Bussines" is a translatable term. I have already seen Swedish Microsofters write about "Skype för Företag" aka #SkypeFF ??

So what has been communicated so far?
  • The release date is "In the first half of 2015"
  • It will run on Windows 2012 R2 and with SQL Server 2012 (and will most probably support SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups and Windows 10)
  • It will support "in-place" upgrades - so you can use your current Lync server hardware and SQL and Reverse Proxy, etc.
  • The client will come with two "skins" one new and one "classic Lync" looking interface
  • The "Transfer call" function will be better / easier to use than in the Lync 2013 client
  • Video calling to Skype, the SILK audio codec and support for non-Microsoft account Skype IDs will be there.
    If we take a sneak peak at the sessions at the coming Ignite Event the only thing we find right now around Skype for business / Lync is the "Technical Deep Dive Into Skype for Business Video" session.

Looking back at my list of announcements from the Lync Conference earlier this year we can conclude that "P2P Video with Skype" and "Lync Mobile for Android on Tablets" is already available. So a good guess would be that the "Video Interoperability Server" / "videoation server" will also come with Skype for Business.


Sources:
An online chat with Jamie Stark ( @nomorephones )
Video calling Skype / Lync

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lync on Windows 10 Preview

I have just tested Lync on the new Windows 10 Preview.


It worked fine to install and run the following programs


And even the Lync Server 2013 administrative tools worked fine, the Topology Builder, Lync Control Panel (with silverlight) and the Management Shell.

So, welcome Windows 10!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Boken om IT-arkitektur

I have been involved in a book project that produced a very nice book which is now available, the title is "Boken om IT-arkitektur" (The IT architecture book). The IT architecture book is a unique collaboration, written by a dedicated editor team together with some 30 subject matter experts, IT architects and organizations. Unfortunately the book is currently only available in Swedish.

 

It is a comprehensive book on IT architecture of some 304 pages divided into the following main topics.

  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Business Architecture
  • Solution Architecture
  • Software Architecture
  • Competence

A website about the book is available where you can buy larger quantities of the book to a discounted price. Or you could get it through any regular Swedish online book store like Adlibris.

Go get it - it is a good book!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Attendant Pro for Lync

I finally got the chance to test Attendant Pro from Landis Computer.


Attendant Pro is a switchboard operator / attendant application for Microsoft Lync. It is a small, easy to install client which requires nothing more than a Lync client and Lync environment to run. Attendant Pro can be used with a headset or together with a physical Lync phone edition telephone.

Once installed in about 1 minute you can notice that the application was designed with touch, keyboard and mouse in mind. It means that an attendant can use the keyboard for all call pickup and transferring of calls, the mouse is optional. Up to 8 incoming calls can be presented when the Lync / Attendant Pro user is logged into a Lync response group, and calls are answered by clicking the F6 function key. This works even if the Attendant Pro window is in focus or not. When a call is ongoing, the attendant has the following options to handle the call:

  • Hold
  • Park
  • Blind transfer
  • Safe transfer (the call returns to attendant if subscriber does not pick up)
  • Consult transfer (talk to the subscriber first, then transfer)
  • Transfer to voice mail
  • Transfer to mobile
  • Conference
  • Send email notification of missed call

There is a video demo available which also shows a nice integration with Microsoft Dynamics at incoming calls.

Attendant Pro is available in English, Spanish, German, Swedish, Lithuanian and Dutch.

You can download Attendant Pro here, and on this page you will also find a getting started guide and FAQ.

When first installed, the application will cut ongoing calls after 30 seconds. However, you can order a license key that will give you a fully working application trial for 30-days. The Licensing feature needs internet access.

Answer away!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SUCK - Svenska UC Klubben - meeting 2014-08-26

Post in Swedish about a meeting in our local UC user group in Sweden.

Denna tisdag var 17 personer på plats hos Atea i Kista och käkade pizza från klockan 17:30. Runt 18:00 drog mötet igång och det var ca 10-12 personer med online i Lync mötet under kvällen. Johan hade riggat upp en Polycom roundtable-kamera i rummet där vi satt. Mötet avslutades med spridda konversationer runt 20:30.


Mötet höll en trevlig, avslappnad ton med mycket bra dialog och erfarenhetsutbyte, tack alla som deltog!

På Lyncconf 13 i San Diego sade Microsoft att "Enterprise Voice kommer i Office 365 om 18 månader" och nu är det ganska precis 18 månader sedan. Ingen verkade dock veta något speciellt som är på gång eller hänt, ingen verkade heller veta något i detalj om nästa version av Lync (Lync 2015?) Vi efterfrågar samtliga mer info från Microsoft kring dessa ämnen.

En lång diskussion kring Lync och Skype, video och Lync Room System följde. För- och nackdelar med LRS och andra system analyserades. Vi var inte helt överens kring kostnaden för sådana system, är de "dyra" eller "prisvärda"?

Några bra exempel och länkar dök upp under mötet.

Samtalen gled in på Office 365 och Office 365 med Enterprise Vocie. Problemet med avsaknaden av QoS på internet och på WiFi-nät togs upp. Peter från Cellip berättade om ett kundcase där kunder kör hostad Lync via MPLS över halva världen och det fungerar fint. Även kommunikation över internet fungerar bra i Sverige.

Arubas Wifi-lösning för Lync verkar bra, det funkar för Cellip, men de hade visserligen inte problem med WiFi innan de implementerade detta. Håkan nämnde också en kund som kör med Aruba Wifi och Lync där det funkar finfint.

Alexander påpekade att konferenser som körs via VPN-anslutningar fungerar sjukt dåligt i jämförelse med att strunta i VPN-klienten, trots att bandbredd inte är ett problem. Detta beror troligen på att VPN lägger på kryptering / dekryptering av de redan krypterade Lync paketen vilket alltid kommer påverka kvalitén. Lösningen är att inte använda Lync över VPN, utan att använda Lync edge server. En bra artikel kring detta finns här.

Nya intressanta saker är på gång från Apple som t.ex. "Handoff".

En lång session kring enbart Lync kontra Lync integrerad med PBX följde.
Vi tycktes relativt eniga om att det behövs en långsiktig plan när man ger sig i sådana projekt. Användandet och nyttan för slutanvändaren får aldrig glömmas bort under planering och införande. Delade meningar fanns kring planer på att sluta använda PBX till förmån för Lync kontra att PBXer fortfarande har funktionalitet som saknas eller fungerar annorlunda i Lync. Ska man köra både Lync och PBX eller bestämma sig för en av dem? Perspektivet större / mindre organisationer togs även upp, samt skillnaden mellan IT-avdelning kontra telefoniansvarig. Diskussionen flöt på bra med många kommentarer och med högt i tak.

Enskilda funktioner som hänvisning, mobilanknytning, telefonistkonsoler och upptagethantering diskuterades och det känns som vi kört den diskussionen tidigare.

Lite trender hann vi också med. Det verkar vara en generationsfråga med hänvisning, och huruvida man föredrar IM framför röstsamtal.

En ny trend som några sett är hur tillgången och behovet av bandbredd fluktuerat? över tiden. När Voip var nytt hade "alla" QoS problem, senare hade få det problemet i och med att alla uppgraderade till 100Mbps nät. Nu har vi nya applikationer som käkar upp all bandbredd och de gamla kvalitetsproblemen är tillbaka igen. Ett sätt att få bättre insikt i hur det egentligen ser ut i ett nät där vi har Lync är att slå igång CAC (Call Admission Control.) CAC kan användas utan att sätta några policies för alternativ när bandbredden är slut. Nyttan med det då är att man kan kolla rapporter för hur mycket bandbredd Lync använder. Då ser man vart man ska börja leta efter problem med dålig bandbredd i nätet.

Ytterligare en stark trend som gått lite under radarn men har en stor påverkan för Lync är att så gott som alla numera kör bärbara datorer över Wifi.

Klubben verkar vilja ha ytterligare ett möte under hösten, samt att vi alla kan ses på Techdays November 19-20 i Kista, håll koll på Linkedin-gruppen för kommande events.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lync Deep Diving - part 4

Today we discussed call quality. Do not miss to read the Network Planning, Monitoring, and Troubleshooting with Lync Server - updated in June 2014, and make sure you do not miss Appendix C! Especially if you are thinking about doing the 74-335 Exam: Lync Network Readiness Assessment this document is a must!

We have some tools.
Lync 2013 Pre-Call Diagnostic Tool

We have a a methodology.
Lync Call Quality Methodology

And we have the amazing
Lync Call Quality Methodology poster / game


Get your six-sided die out and invite the family to play!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lync Deep Diving - part 3

In case you missed it and have good Lync ideas that you would like to share, please visit the site: http://lync.ideascale.com Here you can enter your own ideas as well as "vote" for ideas you like. So far I have posted 5 ideas and have a few more in mind.

Lync Edge and User Replicator


It seems as the Lync Edge server is running the User Replicator without actually needing it. In some cases it even causes the Lync Server 2013 Access Edge service to fail to start or hang. You can read more about it in the KB article:

Lync Server 2013 Access Edge service fails to start or stops responding after it starts

Now since the Edge server sits in the DMZ, and for performance reasons, you want to run as few services as possible on this server. So, the recommendation would be to always switch off the User Replicator on the Edge server.

Set-CsAccessEdgeConfiguration -EnableUserReplicator $False

Working with the Edge server, many are the occasions when you need to check, and double-check, ports.

This can be done with PortQry and PortQryUI, which is a user Interface for PortQry. This tool gets even cooler if you download a PortQueryUI Config.xml File for Lync from Flinchböt. The config file is for Lync 2010, but can easily be modified to work with Lync 2013.

Happy port scanning!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lync Deep Diving - part 2

Second day of diving is done. Glad to see that we have Andrew John Price (@legendarytechy) in class. Follow his blog at http://lyncme.co.uk

Tools


First we discussed some nice tools that are free for anyone to download:


The collection of Debugging Tools includes...

  • Snooper
  • OCSLogger
  • OCSTracer
  • ClsController.psm1

...and a question that came up about the difference between OCSlogger and OCStracer?

OCStracer is the cmd line version of OCSdebugger. For example you could use...

OCSTracer.exe List /Filter:All
OCSTracer.exe start /Component:SIPStack
OCSTracer.exe stop /Component:SIPStack

...rather than using the GUI.

Lync client logging


Some logging settings were added to the client policy in Lync 2013.



Lync Contacts


Got a good question on Lync Contacts from a friend (thanks Robert!) Here is how Lync Contacts works for a user that is disabled or removed from Lync. If the user is "Temporarily disable for Lync Server" in CSCP (Set-CsUser -Enabled $False) and then enabled again - the user WILL retain the list of Contacts in the Lync 2013 client.

However, if the user is "Remove from Lync Server" in CSCP (Disable-CsUser) and then added to Lync again - the user WILL NOT retain the list of Contacts in the Lync 2013 client.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lync Deep Diving - part 1

Being an active PADI Rescue diver with some 250 logged dives, I like to dive... deep...
and this week I am diving into Lync :-)

Diving in the kelp forests at Catalina or into Lync - same thing!

I recently passed the 74-338 Lync 2013 Depth Support Engineer exam, and this week I am attending a training class on the subject. Good course, and I think I will learn a lot this week. I will try to summarize some questions and good points day-by-day.


Why should we not mix physical and virtual servers in a Lync Enterprise Edition pool? 

 (and why should we not mix physical and virtual server pools in pool paring?)

On page 29 of the paper Planning a Lync Server 2013 Deployment on Virtual Servers we can read:

Mixing physical and virtual servers in the same pool is not a supported configuration.

The reason has not so much to do with the actual virtualization technique, but rather the fact that all servers in a pool should have about similar performance. So it would be just as bad to keep an old slow server in a pool with new high performing servers, users would get inconsistent response times and would maybe complain about this. Even virtual servers should have equal performance capabilities. Also, things like latency and virtual servers competing for resources on a physical host play into this. (The same reasons even apply to pool pairing.)


Some notes on Lync load balancing


Lync uses DNS Load balancing for SIP.

Reading this article on how to Configure DNS for Load Balancing, it states that DNS round robin should be turned on if using a windows DNS server.

However, reading this great old article on DNS Load Balancing in Lync Server 2010, we learn that the order in which these are returned to the client is irrelevant. The client chooses an IP address from the list of returned IP addresses at random.

So, the conclusion must be that for DNS Load Balancing in Lync, using round robin or not on the DNS server does not matter at all.

When building Lync lab environments with Enterprise pools the load balancing of non-SIP traffic in your Lync often poses a problem. However, checkout the Kemp Virtual LoadMaster VLM-2000. It is actually a software based "hardware" load balancer that will run on Hyper-V, and the best part is that as an MCP you get a "Not for resale" license for free for MCPs.

Happy balancing!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lync Callback Reminder

I have to write about this cool little tool for your Lync client!

 
The Lync Callback Reminder by Graham Cropley 

This tool allows you to right click any contact in Lync 2013 to create an Outlook task that will remind you to call this contact about something. Works with Outlook 2010 or 2013.

Download the MSI package here: Lync Callback Reminder

Here is how it works in pictures with a Swedish Lync 2013. 
Right-click a contact and you will find a new menu option.


Write a note and click set reminder to save it as a task in outlook.


And here is how the task looks like in Outlook 2010.


Read more about the tool here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Automatic-translation, speech-recognition and neural-networks in a cool mix

I like languages - but I hate to learn them.

Microsoft Research Translating Telephone

When I first saw this video back in 2010 I said to myself - hey! OCS 2007 R2 is a cool product, wonder when this will be released. Well, in our fast paced business I am still waiting for it.

Now at yesterday's Code Conference a new demo were shown

Skype Translator: Breaking down language barriers

Let's just hope they change the name to Lync / Skype Translator before release.

Have a nice day
Ha en bra dag
Miłego dnia
Heb een goede dag
좋은 하루 되세요

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Using IIS ARR as a Reverse Proxy for Lync Server 2013

There are several nice guides available on how to configure IIS ARR as a Reverse Proxy for Lync.



For example:
Using ARR for Reverse Proxy with Lync 2013
Using IIS ARR as a Reverse Proxy for Lync Server 2013
Installing and configuring IIS ARR Reverse Proxy
Using IIS Application Request Routing (ARR) as a TMG Replacement

All these guides will take you through the steps of installing ARR, creating a server farm and configuring caching, proxy, and routing rules for the farm.

 
When adding a server to the server farm you need to specify on which ports the reverse proxy should pass on the traffic to the internal side. In Lync we have internal webservices, to be used by internal clients using ports 80 and 443, and we also have external webservices (i.e. an IIS Web site) using ports 8080 and 4443. Hence, you should set these ports to 8080 and 4443, and also make sure your internal firewall allows this communication.

Now once this server is added there is actually nowhere in the IIS ARR user interface where you can go back and validate these port settings. So if you need to double-check what port numbers you used, you will actually have to open up the applicationHost.config file, found in C:\Windows\System32\inetsrv\config. At the end of this file you will find the <webfarms> settings and check what ports were configured.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Profiles For Lync 2013 - Swedish edition

Swedish version of P4L

With Profiles for Lync you can preconfigure and store up to 40 Lync sites and credentials. Then with a click on a button logout and log back in to Lync with another set of credentials, and even into another system, including Lync Online.

I have been reporting about this great tool before here on the blog.

What is now new, is that you can download the tool with support for the following languages: Danish, American English, Parisian French, Italian, Bokmål Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Swedish. I got the chance to help out with the Swedish translation of the tool, quite interesting since a lot of the lingo in this business will be more of Swenglish than proper Swedish.

The tool will simply follow the language setting of your regional settings in the Windows control panel and display in the language of choice.

Download the tool from the Office gallery here.

Translated by yours truly

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The great Lync Conference of 2014


Lyncing like a swede!


So it was time again for the great Lync conference of 2014 or #Lyncconf14 as some of us called it. The conference were held in Las Vegas at the Aira - a Vegas sized hotel with some 4000 rooms and 15 restaurants. The number of conference attendees almost doubled from last year; around 1600 persons were here.

The main message from the keynote with Gurdeep Singh Pall (Corporate Vice President for Skype and Lync) was "The era of Universal Communications is here!" You can watch the keynote on demand here: http://www.lyncconf.com

Some of the major points and announcements were:

  • Updates to Lync will happen faster in the future and new features will continue to be released in Cumulative Updates for Lync. Hence, do not forget to keep up with the updates for Lync.

  • P2P Video with Skype will be coming sometime during the summer of 2014.
    This will become available for existing Skype integrations.

  • Video Interoperability Server - a "videoation server" sort of a mediation server for video is coming.This server role will make it possible for third party video endpoints to join Lync video meetings, the server could be installed on a separate server or collocated with a Lync front end. The server role is coming in the next version of Lync.

  • Universal Communication Javascript API or UCJA (aka jLync) is a web based Lync API that could be used to create rich featured Lync clients for websites. This could be seen as "WebRTC for Lync" the feature will arrive in a coming Lync Server CU.

  • Lync Mobile for Android on Tablets - Lync Mobile is currently only supported on phones when it comes to the Android OS.

Then followed two days with a lot of good technical and non-technical sessions, and meetings with all the people in the expo area. To me, one of the best things with the Lync conference was to hang out with all the great people.


With Pat Richard and Matt Landis

Nordic people: Martin, Tommy, Ståle ; Daniel, Mikael, Daniel, Daniel

Peter from CellIP, Silje from Dolphin and Johan from Cygate

If you would like to get hold of the sessions from #Lyncconf14 I can recommend you to use Tom Arbuthnot's excellent script found here.