Why You Should and Shouldn’t Configure Unique Conference IDs in Lync

In a previous post Understanding Conference Security in Lync Server 2010, I detailed the difference between public and private meetings, how assigned conferences work in Lync and the user experience. When you first deploy and configure Lync, users schedule meetings with the same meeting join URL and conference ID every time. However there are some scenarios where this ease of access exposes a vulnerability, especially if there is heavy conference usage. In this post, I’m going expand to on my last post to cover the business reasons why you’d want to configure unique URLs/conference IDs and what the pros and cons are of configuring this. Continue reading

Video – Lync Server 2013 Database Mirroring and Pool Pairing

As part of my preparation for TechEd 2013, I recorded my demos using Camtasia as a backup in case the internet went down during my breakout sessions. Fortunately it didn’t, and I was able to do my demos live, but I did still have the videos on hand. So rather than deleting them, I thought it’d be a good idea to upload these for reference. Hope they’re helpful.

Database Mirroring in Lync Server 2013

This demo shows how database mirroring is configured, how to fail over databases manually and how mirroring works during an unplanned database failure. Apologies that the quality isn’t fantastic in this one.

Pool Pairing in Lync Server 2013

In this video, I demo how pool pairing is configured to provide disaster recovery, how you can failover users from one pool to another and what the user experience looks like.

Lync 2013 Client and Server July 2013 Cumulative Updates Released

The July 2013 cumulative updates for both server and client (CU2) are now available for download. This update delivers the following new features:

  • IM Mute
  • Question and Answer (Q&A) Capability in Meetings (remember this from Live Meeting?)
  • Inline Images within IMs (so you can paste photos straight into Lync)
  • Meetings Tab (so you can see your Lync meetings from directly in the client)

Richard Brynteson does a great job of showing these new features including screenshots.

You can download your flavour (e.g. 32-bit or 64-bit) of the client here and the server side bits here.

One thing to note when updating the server side if you have database mirroring configured. Previously you needed to break the mirroring for the Application databases (CPS, RGS) and recreate them after the database update was applied. This is no longer necessary in CU2.

TechEd 2013 Wrap Up

During the first and last weeks of June I had the pleasure of presenting Lync breakout sessions at TechEd 2013 North America and Europe in New Orleans and Madrid respectively. Being Microsoft’s premiere event for IT professionals and developers, TechEd is kind of a big deal when it comes to tech conferences. They’re a great event for in-house IT staff and consultants alike to attend to brush up on the latest and greatest products and also meet a few of their peers. The last TechEd I attended was TechEd Australia back in 2008 in Sydney when I was still living in Australia, so I was excited to get involved as a speaker for the first time and meet people from the community.

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Awarded Microsoft MVP for Lync in 2013!

Hot off the heels of TechEd Europe, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) again for Lync in 2013!

To give you a bit of information about what the MVP Award is, here is Microsoft’s description:

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is our way of saying thank you to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.

I’m massively honoured to be recognised for my community contributions over the last year and I thank you for reading my blog and sending in your questions/comments. I’m excited to continue to write and speak more about Lync and help more and more IT Pros learn about the product. You can check out my MVP Profile here.

Next MUCUG London – July 2013

Summer is (apparently) here! Which means it’s time for our July 2013 event at MUCUGL. In this instalment, fellow  Modality consultant Tom Arbuthnot will be presenting on call recording solutions for Lync first up. Then Polycom’s Adam Jacobs will be covering hybrid solutions and how you can deploy a split domain between Office 365 and your on-premises deployment. Then I’ll round off the night by talking about Lync-Skype federation and what does and doesn’t work, how the architecture fits together and some commonly asked questions.

As usual, we’ll be heading to the pub after. We look forward to seeing you there.

Registration at Eventbrite.

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

Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

When: 6pm, 15th July 2013

Look forward to seeing you there!

Update 14.0.5 for Lync for Mac 2011 Released – More Voice Enhancements

Whilst I was away at TechEd North America, another new update for Lync for Mac 2011 was announced by Microsoft, further closing the gap between the Windows and Mac clients.

The big-hitting improvements I’ve identified are:

  • Visual voicemail in the Phone tab.
  • Client recording notification (you’ll see a “Others are recording” notification when someone else starts recording the call or conference).
  • Delegate (boss/admin) functionality (no team-call group control yet though).
  • Call history is now displayed in addition to IM history within the Conversation History window.
  • Local ringback tone for outgoing PSTN calls.

I haven’t had a chance to download and install this update yet (combination of now running Windows 8 on my MacBook Air and getting a Surface Pro), but will write up a full First Look post when I get a chance.

Further information and examples of new functionality are available on Nexthop and you can download it directly from Microsoft Support.

Lync to Skype Connectivity Now Available

Microsoft have recently announced that Lync to Skype connectivity is now available. Meaning you can now send IM and make audio calls to Skype users (provided they are logged into Skype using their Microsoft account). Video calling is not yet available unfortunately.

This integration is achieve using your existing Lync to Windows Live PIC (Public IM Connectivity) federation, hence the requirement for the Skype user to be logged in with their Windows Live/Microsoft address.

Once you’ve added the user’s Windows Live/Microsoft address, you can IM them like this:


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Sonus SBC 1000/2000 3.0 Software Released

Sonus have released the long awaited version 3.0 of software for their SBC 1000/2000 (formerly NET UX 1000/2000) series of Lync gateways/SBAs.

This new version includes a load of new features like branch survivability using 3G/4G (this is the new Remote Branch Appliance specification), lots of WebUI usability changes, call forking/forwarding enhancements and lots of bug fixes. It’s also the first version to be re-branded from the NET look and feel to Sonus colours in the WebUI.

SIP Licensing Changes

Another important change is how SIP licenses are allocated to SBC 1000/2000 devices now. When you buy an SBC with a TDM module, you will no longer require or receive SIP licenses with the TDM card. If you require SIP-SIP licenses, you will need to purchase them separately. If you have any SIP licences provided with TDM cards today, you will be able to retain them. You’ll need to coordinate a new license file from Sonus through your support/distributor. Note that SIP calls between Sonus devices (VX, UX, SBC) do not consume a SIP license.

Upgrade Process

The upgrade process for this version is a bit more involved than previous versions of code, requiring an upgrade to the base image in addition to the firmware upgrade. See the SBC 1000-2000 3.0 Upgrade Notes for further details. If you’re using the SBA component, there is a separate step also that you need to consider.

For further information on this software release and the SIP license changes, check out the SBC 1000/2000 3.0 Release Notes.

I’m speaking about Lync at TechEd 2013 North America and Europe!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be speaking about Microsoft Lync at both TechEd North America (June 3rd-6th) and Europe (25th-28th June) this year! TechEd is really Microsoft’s premier conference for IT Professionals and Developers worldwide, and with over 5,000 attendees registered already, I’m really excited to visit New Orleans and Madrid to spread the Lync love.


Here’s a rundown of the sessions I’ll be presenting at each conference:

TechEd North America 2013

TechEd Europe 2013

In addition to my breakout sessions, I’ll also be manning the Lync booths in the Microsoft Solutions Experience along with participating in the Ask the Experts evenings at both conferences.

You can check out all my sessions in the one place along with my bio on my Speaker page on Channel 9. Take a look at the list of 18 sessions and hands-on labs in the Office 365 and Unified Communications track for TechEd North America and TechEd Europe too.

So if you’re coming to either conference, come along to my sessions or the Lync booths and say hello. I’d be happy to talk tech with you over a coffee/beer.