Skype for Business User Group – Integrated Research It Up

datesThe Skype for Business User Group sessions continue quarterly as normal.  This quarter introduces the Skype community to Integrated Research, often referred to as “IR”.  You’ve seen themIR on twitter, you’ve seen their marketing campaigns, now is your chance to come visit the people behind the scenes. They’ll be presenting their approach to monitoring Skype for Business to keep your environment healthy, which keeps your users happy, which keeps your boss happy, which ensures you keep your job, which keeps your wife happy.  See what I did there?  I gave you a tip on how to keep your life straight.

Now keep in mind IR not only keeps your Skype for Business awesomeness staying awesome, they also watch over legacy systems.  Integrated Research calls this “Support for Multiple Vendor Platforms”, I like to call it “we also watch really old legacy telephony systems.”.  Common systems of which i’m referring that may be currently in your environment and you are probably desperately trying to rip out due to inflated support contracts would be <Insert Vendor Here>.  Yup, any of those.

As normal, the group organizers will also be presenting.  Their sessions are reviewing the all new Skype for Business Qualified Devices and the typical open forums, time permitting.  So pick a group from the link above and come hang out for a few hours, learn about the future, since the future is now and make your life easier.

Skype for Business User Group – Integrated Research It Up

Skype for Business and Office Web Apps

Have you ever wondered exactly how the Lync / Skype for Business client uses Office Web Apps “OWAS” through the Edge? Previously with Lync Server 2010, there was no OWAS server so the PowerPoint was rendered right there on the Front Ends and displayed back via PSOM protocol. I often finding myself trying to explain the difference to customers how OWAS is leveraged with Lync Server 2013 especially when troubleshooting. It never fails that OWAS throws a little fit when it’s first being introduced into a new Lync Server 2013 environment, so that troubleshooting talk always comes up. I’ll try to explain in pretty simple terms the process of which OWAS is used so troubleshooting can be swift if needed.

In a properly deployed environment available to external users, edge servers and reverse proxies will be in place. Through these perimeter devices, media and web service access to the environment are essentially “published” to the external users. For this blog post we assume that both the edge and reverse proxy are deployed in the environment with URLs and public IPs properly defined for each component. We also assume for this blog post that access edge and external web services are working properly. Without them properly configured, you’d never even get a chance to attempt a PowerPoint presentation as you’d be spending time troubleshooting those components.

As you will see from the information below, there is a lot of things at play to allow a PowerPoint presentation.

The call flow generally happens like this:

  1. External presenter chooses to share PowerPoint file
  2. The presenter client first accesses webconf.contoso.com (PSOM)
  3. Once connectivity is established, the PowerPoint is uploaded to the conference
  4. The presenter client is provided the Office Web Apps URL once successfully connected to the web conferencing edge component
    1. Keep in mind, Office Web Apps URLs are not provided during initial sign-in using in-band provisioning. The Office Web App URL is only provided to the client once the presenter starts a PowerPoint presentation and can connect to the web conferencing edge component. If webconf connectivity fails, the Office Web Apps URL is not provided.

      2
      Snooper Trace of URL
  5. Presenter client connects to Office Web Apps URL
    1. If the presenter client fails to connect to the Office Web Apps URL, the presenter will be unable to view the PowerPoint slides, however the PowerPoint slides will still be uploaded to the share for viewing. No participants are able to view the PowerPoint slides until the presenter is able to do so.

A list below outlines the components required for external users to leverage Office Web Apps as well as possible issues with each if you experience problems.

Web Conferencing Edge Component

Error1
Error example when missing PSOM ports

Reverse Proxy Component

  • Used for viewing of the presentation
  • Ensure Proper FQDN is published in public DNS for Office Web Apps URL (e.g. officewebapps.contoso.com)
  • Ensure port 443 is open to the reverse proxy FQDN for officewebapps.contoso.com
  • Common misconfiguration
    • Port 443 not opened for Reverse Proxy / HLB
    • URL Typos in the public certificate
    • Office Web Apps FQDN missing from public certificate
    • Reverse Proxy / HLB misconfigurations
Error
Possible issue with URL not accessible via reverse proxy

 

Internal Front End Components

Internal Web Services URL

  • Ensure Lync or S4B Server internal web services FQDN is properly configured and accessible internally, not publicly
  • Used by Office Web Apps Server for WOPI request to the front end servers even though the request is initiated by a remote client
    • If this fails, the presentation cannot be rendered
3
WOPI Request as seen by Fiddler
  • Common misconfiguration
    • Internal HLB not properly configured for Lync Server / S4B Internal web services URL

Lync / S4B File Share

  • Used by the server to store the PowerPoint presentation
  • Common misconfiguration
    • Permissions not properly applied to the share
    • DFS misconfiguration

Here is a reference diagram of call flows for presenters and attendee’s. One thing to note that is incorrect in this illustration is the missing connection between the presenter and the Office Web Apps farm URL.

TrafficFlow

Skype for Business and Office Web Apps

Nutanix/Lync Server 2013 Virtualization Paper (Free Download)

nutanix

Recently I teamed up with virtualization expert, Derek Seaman (@vDerekS)  to co-author a whitepaper regarding best practices for virtualizing Lync Server 2013 particularly around using Nutanix solution.  Although this was already blogged about once before, I’m writing it again so the paper can be obtained now without signing up to retrieve it.

We all know virtualization  is a “fuzzy” area where Lync Experts and Virtualization experts don’t exactly see eye to eye, so we were able to write this paper from both perspectives; a Lync Server 2013 Expert and a Virtualization Expert.  This guidance isn’t the end-all/be-all, but can definitely lend some good advice in virtualization.  Keep in mind also that Skype for Business 2015 “S4B” hasn’t released any major virtualization differences between S4B and Lync Server 2013, so generally, the same guidance can be followed.  A couple areas of caution however, this Lync Server 2013 whitepaper doesn’t outline any direction for virtualization of SQL Always On or VIS server which are new features in S4B.

Download your Copy Here:
Microsoft_Lync_2013_on_Nutanix_Virtualization

Nutanix/Lync Server 2013 Virtualization Paper (Free Download)

Welcoming all readers.

My personal OCS/Lync/Skype for Business blog has actually been around for about 7 years, but just recently I decided to remove all old content, resurrect the site and hope to start adding in new content.  For the last few years I worked for a company where I spent my time blogging on their site rather than my personal site but that is going to change.

Keep in mind as you visit this blog that my target audience is not other consultants but rather decision makers and system administrators of companies moving to, or currently administering the Skype for Business Unified Communications System.  I say that because most of my peers in the industry have already posted outstanding, technical oriented blogs, detailing how to deploy/fix every nook and cranny of Lync/S4B.

Some of my content may have already been written 3 or 4 years ago, but has since found it’s way to the bottom of the search results.  Not everyone moved to Lync Server 2010/2013 right out of the gates so they may never see that old content unless they really begin to dig into the depths of the inter-webs.  My goal is to help resurrect some of the basics of Skype for Business and offer deep understanding of some area’s with my own content.  I will also be linking to other bloggers I know to resurface some of their material as well.  Skype for Business has a great community who share their stories generously so I plan to leverage that as well.

Welcoming all readers.