20 MayLync MVPs descend on TechEd North America 2014

Last week a bunch of us MVPs had the pleasure of flying the Lync flag at TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, Texas. I’d successfully landed a session in the Office Servers and Services track and was accompanied by a slew of fellow Lync MVPs from Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, UK, USA and Canada in delivering content in the track. This was my second TechEd North America after last year in New Orleans and I was pumped to visit Texas, eat some great food and see both new and familiar faces again. Read more…

06 MayModality Systems Upcoming UC Webinar Series

We’re pleased to announce that we have a series of upcoming UC webinars for both the US and UK audiences. The series covers a range of topics and will offer attendees practical advice, best practices and a balanced insight into UC and Lync, calling upon a combination of expert knowledge, customer experiences and industry insight.

Read more…

03 AprSpeaking at TechEd North America 2014

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be speaking about Lync at TechEd North America again this year!

I’m_speaking_sky

I’ll be presenting my Understanding How Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Leverages the Complete Microsoft Infrastructure Ecosystem session from Lync Conference 2014 in Houston as part of the 20 other Lync sessions in the Office Servers and Services track.

I’m looking forward to seeing folks interested in Lync from all over Canada and the USA again, and in addition to my breakout session I’ll be working the Microsoft Lync booth and at the Ask the Experts event.

I’ll also be joined by other MVPs like Stale Hansen, Brian Ricks, Johan Delimon, Tommy Clarke, Bhargav Shukla, Paul Robichaux, Ken Lasko and Adam Gent along with Microsoft folks, so there will also be someone on hand to answer your questions or help you whiteboard a solution. I’ll be on the hunt for some good Texas BBQ also. :)

See you there!

27 MarDNS Load Balancing with Lync now supported in Mitel LBG 3.4 SP2

Good news! Mitel recently reached out to me to tell me that my post back in 2012 is now wrong, and that in the latest release of their Live Business Gateway (LBG), they now support DNS load balancing for both Lync Server 2010 and Lync Server 2013 with Remote Call Control (RCC).

We all know we’re seeing less and less RCC with Lync out there these days, with both customers realising that the disadvantages outweigh the positives of RCC and the PBX vendors pushing their client plugins more, but there is still a significant legacy install base of RCC configurations and this news may relieve some pain for those organisations.

To receive the LBG 3.4 SP2 software and documentation, speak to your Mitel provider.

27 DecSpeaking at Microsoft Lync Conference 2014

In addition to speaking at NIC Cloud Edition in January, I’m also stoked to announce that I’ll be speaking at Microsoft Lync Conference 2014 in Las Vegas in February!

I’ll be presenting two sessions along with a host of other fellow MVPs and Microsoft folks over the 3 days from 18th to 21st February at the Aria Resort and Hotel. My two sessions are in the Business Value and Voice tracks and are as follows:

Enhancing your Voice Rollout to Make it a Killer Success for the Business

  • Session Type: Breakout
  • Level: 200 – Feature oriented

Learn about functionality you need to think of to meet all the business requirements during a UC rollout that Lync out of the box doesn’t provide. In this session, we’ll cover options regarding operator console, call center software, voicemail compliance, call recording, SBCs, other products that can enhance your deployment.

Understanding how Lync Server 2013 leverages the complete Microsoft infrastructure ecosystem

  • Session Type: Breakout
  • Level: 300 – Technical

Lync connects to and leverages key Microsoft technologies, driving efficiency through infrastructure and skills re-use . This session, I’ll cover how Lync uses SQL, Active Directory, Exchange Server, Windows Fabric, Office, Windows client, and other Microsoft technologies and the cost savings that result. Note: Some content will be technical in nature, to help make it clear to practitioners how these business benefits are realized.

Modality Systems are also a Silver Sponsor at 2014′s event, so feel free to come meet me and others from the Modality team at our booth in the Expo Hall. Hope to see you there!

10 DecSpeaking at NIC Cloud Edition in January

The guys at NIC have invited me back for a second time in January next year to present on Lync in Oslo. This year’s event was really well done with an impressive keynote (Jeffrey Snover nonetheless!) and 2 days packed with valuable infrastructure sessions. In 2014, the focus is on cloud and I’ll be presenting some Lync 2013 sessions relating to best practice and infrastructure awareness.

nicCE

Fellow Lync MVP Ståle Hansen will also be presenting Lync sessions on video interoperability and how Lync integrates with Exchange Server.

Here’s the two sessions I’ll be delivering:

Enhancing your Lync 2013 rollout to make it a killer success for the business
Learn about functionality you need to think of to meet all the business requirements during a UC rollout that Lync out of the box doesn’t provide. In this session, I’ll cover options regarding operator console, call center software, voicemail compliance, call recording, SBCs and other products that can enhance your deployment.

Understanding how Lync Server 2013 leverages the complete Microsoft infrastructure ecosystem
Sometimes we forget how many other products Lync connects to and leverages. In this session, I’ll cover how Lync uses SQL, Active Directory, Exchange Server, the network, DHCP, DNS, Windows Fabric, Office, Windows client and much more!

NIC Cloud Edition is on January 16th-17th at Oslo Spektrum and offers not just UC topics but sessions on System Management, Virtualisation, Cloud Services, client management and loads more. For more info check out the agenda here.

02 DecUnderstanding Lync 2013 Branch Site Voice Mail Survivability

Recently I was working on a customer’s global roll-out of Lync 2013 and we were designing how their branch sites would work from a voice perspective. Each branch site would have an SBA for voice connectivity to the legacy PBX/ISDN and for survivability, but we also had to map out how voice mail would work in the event of WAN failure.

Here’s how things would look like in a normal scenario with the WAN up:

vm reroute

With the Exchange Unified Messaging servers being in the central data centre along with the main Front End pool, this meant we needed to configure voice mail survivability. This is a feature Lync 2013 provides out of the box, but not one I knew a lot about or how to configure it. Outlined at the bottom of the TechNet Library article Branch-Site Resiliency Requirements, we can determine how Lync still provides voice mail deposit and retrieval in the event that the SBA cannot contact the central Exchange UM server/s. Read more…

21 OctExtending existing Kerberos authentication to a new Lync Server 2013 deployment

Recently I was deploying Lync Server 2013 into an existing Lync Server 2010 environment that had Kerberos authentication configured for web services. Based on TechNet documentation, I was under the impression the new servers would take up the Kerberos account assignment automatically, but I was wrong.

We found that Lync 2013 failed to sign into the Lync Server 2013 pool. When we checked Fiddler, we were getting back an Unauthorised response from the Lync Server 2013 pool.

Synchronise the Kerberos Authentication Account to Lync Server 2013

After a deeper dig into TechNet (specifically the article Synchronize a Kerberos Authentication Account Password to IIS), I found that I needed to synchronise the existing Kerberos account from a Lync Server 2010 server to the new Lync Server 2013 Front End servers.

To do this, I ran this cmdlet to synchronise the Kerberos account from the 2010 pool to the 2013 server:

Set-CsKerberosAccountPassword -FromComputer 2010pool.contoso.com -ToComputer 2013fe1.contoso.com

I repeated this for each Lync Server 2013 Front End server just to cover all the bases.

Validation

Finally, I validated that the 2013 servers had the Kerberos account synchronised to them using the Test-CsKerberosAccountAssignment cmdlet from the TechNet article Test and Report Functional Readiness for Kerberos Authentication.

To do this, I ran the following cmdlet to generate a report that showed me that the 2013 servers had the account synchronised to them:

Test-CsKerberosAccountAssignment -Identity “site:UK” -Report “c:\logs\KerberosReport.htm” -Verbose

Once the report was generated, I opened it up to check that the new Lync Server 2013 Front End servers were listed and were marked as Successful.

When this process was completed, Lync 2013 successfully signed into the new Lync Server 2013 pool.

07 OctLync 2013 Monitoring Reports Fail to Load with “Query execution failed for dataset” Error

I was deploying Lync Server 2013 Monitoring Reports last week in a 2x Standard Edition deployment (pool paired – my architecture of choice for organisations under 2000 users) with a single SQL 2012 backend server. I deployed the reports like normal, went to access the URL and got this:

report server 1

I was thinking “this doesn’t usually happen, I am perplexed. Monitoring reports are usually bulletproof!”.

The error read (for those that enter it into Google/Bing when this happens to them):

An error has occurred during report processing. (rsProcessingAborted)
Query execution failed for dataset ‘CDR_SyncTimeZone’. (rsErrorExecutingCommand)
The EXECUTE permission was denied on the object ‘RtcSyncTimeZoneInfo’, database ‘LcsCDR’, schema ‘dbo’. Read more…

16 SepNext MUCUG London – October 2013. Lync Room System and Architecture Best Practices

Autumn has arrived, so we’re back for another instalment of London’s Lync User Group, MUCUGL. In this event, we’ll be covering Lync Room System and Lync Server 2013 architecture. We’ll also have Will Rowe from MSemploy during the networking session to give us a run down of the Lync job market. As usual, we’ll be heading to the pub after.

Registration at Eventbrite.

Where: Polycom Executive Experience Centre, 16th Floor Dashwood House, 69 Old Broad St London

Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

When: 6pm, 16th October 2013

Look forward to seeing you there!