Archives March 2010

OCS 2007 R2 now supported on Server 2008 R2

Just a quick post tonight as it’s been kind of busy today!

Ever since Server 2008 R2 came out people have been making the mistake of installing OCS on it! Annoyingly the install worked and then so did some of OCS but clearly not all!

So now, right on schedule Microsoft has released documents detailing how to get things working and providing support for installing OCS both on Server 2008 R2 and also in Server 2008 R2 based Active Directory environments.

The main document is linked below:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982021/

The key thing to be aware of is that Group Chat will still not work and that we are awaiting a patch in mid-April for that.

The next article details the issues faced when dealing with Server 2008 R2 and in particular, what to do when installing Server 2008 R2 AD schema and preparation updates into an existing forest with OCS already installed.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982020/

Cheers

Nathan


Re-launch of Microsoft Messaging and Mobility User Group (MMMUG)

MMMUG

MMMUG

MMMUG

 
 

Installing Exchange Server 2010 in Typical Configuration
“This article will discuss the decisions to be taken when installing Exchange Server 2010 in a single server environment and will show in detail the steps taken to do so….”

– Nathan Winters

OAB Repair Article
“As an Exchange Admin you have probably come accross the newer versions of Outlook that have the ‘cached mode’ feature. This is a relatively new feature that shipped with Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007.”
– Simon Phillips

Exchange DB Corruption blog
“Just a high level overview of a procedure I used a couple of weeks ago to overcome database corruption at a business that had a single server and didn’t want a huge amount of downtime…..”

– Tony Brown

Hi

This post is essentially a re-issue of  he first of many MMMUG newsletters of the year. For those of you who have been regular MMMUG meeting attendees or to be honest for anyone who has looked at the site recently, you will have noticed that things were rather slow! Well, over Christmas I was very glad to be contacted by Tony Brown who offered to help out with the group. In particular he has done sterling work on putting together the new website which we are launching today!

Tony has worked really hard on the new site which has moved away from the Community Server platform to give us a solid base to build on. The site is live now and over the next few months we will be gradually adding functionality. For example, in the future, registration for the events will all be automatic via the website, there’s a calendar which will include lots of information about Exchange related news/releases and forum spam should be reduced.

If you’d like to see something implemented on the website then please let us know in the forum.

To sign into the new site, your old userid should be fine, but you will need to reset your password.

If you can’t login for any reason then please send an email to admin@mmmug.co.uk and we’ll get it sorted out.

We have the first meeting of the year penciled in for early May but we’ll send you more information when it’s confirmed – as long as you don’t unsubscribe of course. 🙂

Thanks for sticking with the group this far and here’s to a much more active future!

Nathan Winters Founder
Tony Brown Leader

Note – You can also find MMMUG on these social networks

   

 

 

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Location of OCS log files

When you work with OCS you will notice that it is quite good at logging information by the fact that you often get prompted to view the log. When you click view, you are presented with an HTML page showing details of what operations have been carried out and success or failure status. However, it is not immediately obvious where they are stored!

Well the location is as follows:

C:\Users\administrator.GAOTS\AppData\Local\Temp

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TechNet 2.0 & The IT Pro Guide – I’m listed as an Exchange Expert!

I have always found Microsoft TechNet website a great resource. In particular the forums are well monitored so validated answers are usually quick to come by!

Now Microsoft has gone even further to support customers by introducing a new site “The IT Pro Guide” and revamping the TechNet site.

The email below from Microsoft explains the aims of the changes, but for me the coolest thing is that I’m listed as an expert on the IT Pro Guide site for Exchange Server! (http://www.microsoft.com/En/gb/itproguide/exchange-2010.aspx

nathan (2)

The Microsoft email:

Exploring Microsoft technology online can be daunting for IT Pros, making it difficult for them to discover Microsoft’s value. To address these concerns the UK DPE Technical Audience Marketing team has made two enhancements to Microsoft’s IT Pro online offering -  the new IT Pro Guide and the redesign of TechNet.

IT Pro Guide

On March 12th the UK DPE AMM team, began piloting a new IT Pro online strategy to  bridge the information gap between feature-driven Microsoft.com product content and technical how-to on TechNet.

IT Pro Guide  provides a focused and managed conversation with ‘unengaged’ IT Pros. These IT Pros may not have purchased Microsoft products recently, but have the potential to recommend and use more. We need to help guide them through the wealth of content  so they can easily find the information they need. 

So why is this site different?

· It’s been designed based on the IT Pro’s requirements not ours. Why would an unengaged IT Pro come to Microsoft? This gave us the 3 titles you see on the homepage.

· The IT Pro can be guided through the site through the path they choose, rather than the way we think is best.

· It has a flat structure, meant to guide the IT Pro through to the most appropriate resource, rather than keep them within the site.

· We have only have 3 resource links per solution.

· We are using MVPs and Microsoft product experts to help start a conversation. Links are not just links but intros to their expertise.

Of course the best way to experience IT Pro Guide is to check out the site.  So go to the Microsoft UK Home Page, select the For IT Pro tab, and hit the link to IT Pro Guide.  Or go directly to www.microsoft.com/uk/itproguide

Thank you goes to the UK Community Council who helped shape the content on this site.

TechNet 2. 0

You’ll already be familiar with TechNet, Microsoft’s site for IT Professionals, but TechNet 2.0 is packed with even more of the best technical content, essential tools for the job, and connections to Microsoft product groups and the technical community.

TechNet went through a global redesign, changing the look and feel across all of TechNet sites. This new version of TechNet is a lot lighter, with many old and redundant pages deleted, and now a new look slimmed down version of the homepage.

Look out for a new version of the TechNet Flash to match.

Its not all about a pretty new blue colour, there is also the launch of the TechNet Wiki , TechNet Search with meta-data enabled search results for TechNet Forums (see Hyper-V example), and new "finder" features for Troubleshooting resources and Downloads (both top IT Pro Tasks)


Installing Exchange Server 2010 in Typical Configuration

As some of you may know, Tony Brown and I have recently re-launched my user group MMMUG. As part of that launch I wrote a new article for the site.

The article discusses the decisions to be taken when installing Exchange Server 2010 in a single server environment and shows in detail the steps taken to do so. I show how to install the typical Exchange roles; Mailbox, Hub Transport and Client Access roles, as I will provide a later article detailing the installation of the Unified Messaging role.

The article covers only the install of Exchange to the point where the server is operational in its default configuration. Both patching and basic configuration steps will be covered in later articles.

The article can be found on the new MMMUG site here:

http://www.mmmug.co.uk/articles/installing-exchange-server-2010-in-typical-configuration


Activation Fails on new OCS Standard Edition Installation – Failure [0xC3EC78D8] Failed to read the Office Communications Server version information.

When installing a new OCS server recently I got these errors first in the deployment log:

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And drilling down further:

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So what on earth causes that! I thought, given that I had installed OCS no differently than usual. Turns out this harks back to the issues Microsoft caused when they released an update to the CryptoAPI in KB974571.

Essentially this caused OCS not to be able to read information about itself (like it license info) which was encrypted in with the CryptoAPI. This meant that OCS services wouldn’t start and lead to quite a few disgruntled customers!

Well there was a fix for that called OCSASNFix which not only fixed the services not starting issue but also fixes this new server activation error. The fix is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center. To obtain the fix, visit the following Microsoft Web page:

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=168248

Here is an extract from the KB article describing what it does: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/974571

The fix (OCSASNFix.exe) is governed by the Microsoft Software License Agreement for Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Office Communications Server 2007, Live Communications Server 2005, Office Communicator 2007 R2, Office Communicator 2007, and Office Communicator 2005.

This fix works for both clients and servers, and it is applicable to the following roles for all versions of Office Communications Server and Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 and for evaluation versions of Office Communicator:

· Standard Edition Server

· Director server role

· Enterprise Edition Consolidated

· Enterprise Edition Distributed – Front End

· Edge Server

· Proxy server role

· Office Communicator 2007 Evaluation version only

· Office Communicator 2007 R2 Evaluation version only

· Office Communicator 2005 Evaluation version only

This fix sets the OCSASNFIX DWORD value to 1 for the following registry subkey on the OCS 2007/R2 and LCS 2005-SP1 Server:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\RtcSrv\InstallInfo\OCSASNFIX

Having downloaded the fix from the link above, navigate to its location in a command prompt and run it by typing the following command, and then pressing ENTER:

ocsasnfix.exe

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When you run it you will see what it thinks is installed on your system and what it has fixed:

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After that, as a precaution I rebooted the server.

Hope that helps people get over, and hopefully prevent a most annoying issue!

Cheers

Nathan


Changes to Microsoft OCS Public Internet Connectivity (PIC)

Microsoft have given a few warnings recently about changes who restrict PIC traffic via IP address lockdown. Here is the final update as the changes happen tomorrow!

This is the one week reminder that the scheduled additional IP Address is on track for implementation on Friday, March 26, 2010.  For organizations restricting this traffic to specific IP addresses the updated list in the KB below MUST be in place by March 26, 2010 or PIC connectivity to MSN WILL fail.

897567    Known issues that occur with public instant messaging and Communications Server

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;897567

Barring an unforeseen issues, this is the final notification on this change.

REFERENCES:

http://tinyurl.com/yja9vod

http://blogs.technet.com/tlyons/archive/2010/02/26/reminder-additional-windows-live-messenger-pic-federation-ip-address.aspx


Microsoft Communications Server 14

Hi,

Yes that’s right it has finally launched! And note the new name…..that’s going to screw up the #OCS tag on twitter!

So what’s going on then?

Today at VoiceCon in Orlando Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President, Unified Communications Group, Microsoft Corporation announced the next version of the Microsoft Real Time communications platform.

You can watch the keynote here: http://tv.voicecon.com/

So what’s so exciting?

On a personal note it’s great to be able to talk publicly about a product which as an MVP we have seen a fair bit about over the last few months, in particular in February at the MVP Summit. It’s fair to say at the time, the overwhelming opinion was that CS14 was pretty darn good, so it’s great we can now go into a little more detail:

One of the things which really hit me was that Gurdeep mentioned a couple of times that over a total solution CS14 would be around 50% less expensive than a tradition IPPBX system, food for thought indeed. Apparently there was a session later in the day where details were discussed so it would be interesting to see more about that especially when talking about the SME space.

Diving into features, presence is extended to incorporate more detailed location awareness. When outside the corporate network a user is able to specify a location manually, whilst within the network, it is possible to have the location mapped to the building area automatically.

This then ties nicely into another key feature (well for the US market at least) E.911 support. This is the capability of a phone system to notify emergency services of a calls location. IP telephony creates challenges for this in that an IPPBX could be centralised with all calls going out of a central trunk. This way a third party (911 Enable and Intrada) can be notified of the location info via additional signalling info and will then ensure that emergency services are targeted to the correct location.

The next new feature shown really highlights the overall UC platform MSFT can provide when CS14 and Exchange 2010 are put together. In the new Communicator client, you get a type of visual voicemail so you see exactly who has left a message directly in the client. Taking things further there is still a link to view the voicemail in Outlook where you can use the great functions such as text preview and presence awareness.

Something which people will already be familiar with is the new contact card featuring photos and a square presence icon. The key thing is that this is the same across the whole platform, Office, SharePoint, Outlook etc and can be easily added to your apps too!

Again on the theme of a whole UC platform, is another of the key features in the new client. This time it is a window into SharePoint, making use of the indexing and searching facilities to locate key information about peoples’ skills. It allows you to allow you to search on keywords to find all people who have relevant interests expertise and then gradually narrow that down to the people/person you want all the time based on presence! What’s really cool is that SharePoint is clever enough to do a phonetic based search to get around poor spelling!

The last big piece discussed was one of the main features that enterprises expect, Call Admission Control (CAC). This promises to be one of those features which removes a blocker from corporate deployments where network managers are really concerned that although the OCS RTAudio and RTVideo codecs are adaptable, they never the less can still overwhelm a network link given enough calls.

So the CAC functions, enable CS14 to sample the available bandwidth and make decisions based on both type of traffic (voice and video) and number of sessions. It would seem that on various conditions (slow machines, poor camera, low bandwidth etc, a number of decisions can be taken, to either lower video quality (or stop it totally), or to reroute the call over another link.

All in all today’s demo has only scratched the surface of the product, I for one am really looking forward to the first beta drop when we can get hands on with WC14.

Cheers

Nathan


Welcome to my new blog!

Hi,

It’s taken a long while but over the last few months I have had the great fortune to meet Tony Brown, who has offered to help me get my (or should that now be our??) user group MMMUG up and running again. As part of that offer he has worked really hard to put together a new website for MMMUG, and finally also helped me to get my blog moved away from Community Server to here, on WordPress!

This is something I have been wanting to do for a while now and I believe that it will give me much more flexibility as a platform to link into other media types, like Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and the like.

My aim for this new blog is to establish a site under my own name, which regularly comments and explains the current issues/developments in the Unified Communications space, and no doubt also has a sprinkling of posts about what I am up to, including my favourite hobbies, badminton and photography.

There is still a bunch of development work to do but given that today was the launch of Microsoft Communications Server 14, I thought now was a good time for my first couple of posts!

Looking forward to writing here, and of course also for the new MMMUG site and hope that people find my posts useful.

Cheers

Nathan