Migrating Group Chat to Lync Server 2010

Group Chat is a bit of tricky beast in OCS 2007 R2/Lync Server 2010. It can take a bit of caressing to get it operating properly and I regularly see folks with problems on the TechNet forums that need a bit of a hand, so you’re not alone if you have problems deploying it.

Migration Pains

So when it comes to actually migrating your existing Group Chat environment from OCS 2007 R2 to Lync Server 2010, the whole process can be fraught with danger. The Microsoft TechNet library article does a decent job of explaining how to do this, but when it comes to running a SQL query to replace the necessary table entries it can become a bit of confusing.

The Process

In this post, I’ll show you a quick and easy way to get your data across and your GC up and running on Lync.

Moving the database

When you approach this, you might think “ok, let’s deploy a new Group Chat environment and then migrate the data over”, but this is where I stumbled first time also. Contrary to judgement, you don’t provision any new Lync Server 2010 Group Chat servers or databases at all. The first thing you need to do is move the database from OCS 2007 R2 before you do anything on the Lync side by following this process:

  1. Open Group Chat Server Configuration on the old Group Chat server/s and stop the Channel and Lookup services on all servers. This will stop any changes being made to the database like new chats in chatrooms.
  2. Log onto the old SQL server and open the instance that contains the Group Chat database.
  3. Backup the Group Chat database to file and move it to the new SQL server.
  4. Open SQL Server Management Studio on the new SQL server and restore the backup into the new instance you’re using.

Preparing SQL and modifying the database

Next, you need to make sure your new SQL server is setup for the Group Chat database and that your Lookup and Channel service accounts have the necessary access. Following that, you need to manually edit a table to allow a new configuration to be made:

  1. Assign your Group Chat Lookup, Channel and Web service accounts to the instance using this process and make sure they have dbowner rights on the database.
  2. Make your Group Chat Lookup, Channel and Web service accounts a member of the local Administrators group on your Group Chat server.
  3. Find the table called tbl.Config and remove all the rows that reference both your old OCS Group Chat servers and your OCS Front End pool or Standard Edition servers.

This will allow you to populate the table with new data when you install Lync Server 2010 Group Chat. Once you’ve removed all these rows, the fields in the Group Chat Server Configuration Wizard are free to be edited (and are no longer greyed out if you just point the wizard at the database without modifying these rows).

Installing Group Chat

Now that we’ve prepped our database, we can log onto the new Lync Server 2010 Group Chat server and begin a new installation as documented here. When prompted to specify a server and database name, you’ll put in the FQDN and database name of the server and database you just worked with i.e. the new one. The GC Server Config Wizard will pick up some config (from the tbl.Config table), but it will mostly be blank so you can config new settings like your Lync 2010 Front End pool as the next hop.

Once the wizard is complete and you start your services for the first time, you’ll be prompted to upgrade the database from OCS 2007 R2 to Lync Server 2010. Press OK on this and let the wizard do it’s thing. Following this, your services should (hopefully) start (and stay started) OK. If they don’t, check the event log for database access or certificate related issues.

In Summary

As always, make sure you backup and make a copy of your database before you do this, just in case. If you have the resources, test this in a non-production environment beforehand so you don’t incur unnecessary downtime.

Hope this helps you understand Group Chat migration a bit better. I know it was a steep learning curve for me when I first attempted it.

4 thoughts on “Migrating Group Chat to Lync Server 2010

  1. Pingback: Migrating Group Chat in Lync Server 2010 | Justin Morris on UC « JC’s Blog-O-Gibberish

  2. Pingback: Doing it Right - Deploying a Lync 2010 Group Chat Multiple Server Environment | Justin Morris on UC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *