Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Creating Custom RBAC Roles in Lync 2013

One of the many improvements in Lync 2013 over its predecessors is the ability to create custom RBAC roles.  This was a topic that came up often in discussions with large and security-conscious organizations where separation of of administrative roles exist.  In these organizations, Lync administrators do not have elevated permissions within the Active Directory domain.  This can also assist in limiting or enhancing the administrative scope of support personnel, while at the same time granting the necessary rights for them to perform their daily duties.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Windows 8 Shortcut Keys

I recently upgraded my Dell XPS 13 to Windows 8 RTM.  As most of you are probably aware, Windows 8's primary UI is significantly different than the "desktop" we're all used to working with.  So I will be honest and say that it has taken some getting used to.  One of the things that has helped greatly with adjusting are shortcut keys.  I've started compiling a list of these below.  If you find any are missing, please let me know and I will get them added.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Installing Lync 2013 Preview Prerequisites

While getting the Lync 2013 Preview installed in my lab, I followed the instructions for installing the Front End server prerequisites on TechNet exactly as stated.  The differences between Lync 2013 and Lync 2010 are not nearly as great as they were between Lync 2010 and OCS 2007 R2, so I thought nothing of it when I noticed the stated OS Roles/Feature prerequisites were identical to Lync 2010.  (You can find the article HERE.)  However, when the Lync Server Deployment Wizard ran through the pre-installation checks, it kicked out the following error.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lync 2013 Public Preview Released!

The Lync 2013 Public Preview was released yesterday (7/16/2012).  You can register to download the bits here:

The Lync 2013 client is also included in the Office 2013 Public Preview, which you can get here:

Look for some posts that cover new features/functionality in the near future.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lync Databases Stuck in "Restricted User" Mode After (CU) Update

In a few cases, I've seen where the Lync 2010 back-end databases seem to get "stuck" in "Restricted User" mode.  When the databases get thrown into "Restricted User" mode, the database becomes inaccessible and therefore many of the Lync features become unavailable. In my experience, this usually occurs during a failed run of the database update required for Lync Cumulative Updates (CU).  As part of the update, it is important to stop the Lync services using the Stop-CsWindowsService cmdlet on the Front End where you are running the database update command.  In environments with larger pools, it is also a good idea to stop Front End services on all servers in the pool, as I have seen "deadlocks" and other strange issues when updating the Lync back-end while multiple servers continue to access it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to enable Certificate CRL checking through a Web Proxy

In most cases, the certificates for internal Lync servers are issued by an internal Certification Authority (CA).  In some scenarios, it may be required to use certificates from a third party (public) CA.  When issuing a public certificate to an internal server, keep in mind that Certificate Revocation List (CRL) must be reachable.  If the CRL cannot be contacted, it may prevent the internal Lync servers from communicating with each other in a timely fashion.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lync and Forward (Web) Proxy Exceptions

I've run into a situation a few times where there are problems with joining Lync Meetings both internally and externally when a forward or web proxy is in play.  Since the web proxy is typically put in place to control access to external resources, there are a few things to consider when making exceptions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Effectively Managing Lync from a 32-bit Windows OS

Although it is less common these days, occasionally you may run into a situation where you or a customer may need to manage your Lync infrastructure from a 32-bit machine (typically Windows XP or Server 2003).  Leveraging both the Lync Control Panel and Lync Management Shell commands run remotely, this becomes one less obstacle for you to worry about.

I'm a Microsoft Lync vTSP!

I was recently selected to participate in Microsoft's Virtual Technology Specialist Program (vTSP) for Lync.  Every year Microsoft selects a group of from it's top partners to supplement their internal sales and product teams.  The goal of the Virtual Technology Specialist Program is to build a stronger relationship between Microsoft and its Partner Community, and at the same time provide customers greater access to product expertise.  Those selected for the vTSP work closely with the Microsoft teams on pre-sales activities and provide architectural guidance for Enterprise Integration solutions.

So what does this mean for me?  As a vTSP I get access to Microsoft resources, including internal Microsoft technical documentation, VPN access to Microsoft systems, and an email address.

I'm definitely excited to be part of the program and see what new opportunities and challenges it puts in front of me!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Exchange UM Messages are not Delivered to Mailboxes

When MSExchange Unified Messaging Event IDs 1423 and 1446 are being logged on the Exchange Unified Messaging server(s), this indicates that there are issues with the UM server delivering messages to the Hub/Transport server(s).  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Publishing Lync Simple URLs with F5 Big IP as Reverse Proxy

While working with customer to publish their Lync Simple URLs through a F5 Big IP running v. 10.2.0, we were having some issues with getting the page to come up externally.   DNS entries all seemed to be correct and pointing to the proper external IP addresses.  We had verified the firewall rules were configured correctly to perform Port Address Translation from the Public IP on port 443 to the Internal/DMZ F5 VIP on port 4443, and we could see the traffic getting passed all the way through to the Front End server(s).  Wireshark captures confirmed this as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lync Mobile for Android Updated

An updated version of the Lync Mobile application was released to the Android Market today.  The new version (4.1.5014.8880) enables the "Call via Work" functionality that was already available the in the iOS and Windows Phone 7 versions of the client.  You can get the latest version of the Lync Mobile client from the Android Market on your device, or from here:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Using Public Certificates with an AudioCodes Gateway

Recently, I was working on a deployment for a customer who did not have PKI deployed internally.  As you are probably aware, certificates are a crucial component of a Lync deployment.  Due to time constraints, we decided to go ahead and use public certs for all of the servers, including the Front Ends (with collocated A/V and Mediation roles).  I thought the process of getting a public cert onto the gateway would be pretty straight forward.  Man, was I wrong.

Welcome to my UC Blog!

As someone who has worked in the IT field for over 10 years, I have leveraged various blogs to resolve issues and/or clear other stumbling blocks I've encountered along the way.  At this point in my career, I feel like I am at a point to where I can return the favor and impart some of my knowledge to others out there.  In case you haven't already deduced from the title, my plan is to focus this blog on the Microsoft UC platform(s), particularly OCS 2007/R2, Lync Server 2010, and Exchange.  However, you may find other topics covered if I find them worth sharing.  As with anything else technology related, this is a work in progress, so please feel free to give me feedback or suggestions.  

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to hearing from you!