Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners – PSLP

Microsoft Premiere Support for Lync Partners represents a change in the support model for Lync Enterprise Voice features. Registered partners are required to undergo additional training, certification and to have the necessary systems and processes in place to provide a “Premier” level of support to customers.

Let’s be honest here, this is not a box ticking exercise, this is Microsoft’s answer to making sure businesses can sign up for support from third-party organisations that not only have an advanced level of in house engineer but are backed by Microsoft Expertise. In order to escalate calls to Microsoft it is necessary to be a  registered PSLP partner. So before you enter that next Lync support contract or purchase a cloud based Lync solution make sure the company you buy from are on the list!

You can view the current members here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lync/hh965532

Companies must have two levels of engineer and varying quantities of each. Those types are called Support Engineers and Depth Support Engineers. The eligibility criteria to sit the exams is stringent and involves attending one week and two week training courses respectively in addition to possessing various Microsoft certifications.

This week I sat (and passed) the Support engineer exam. It was good to see Microsoft ramping up the difficulty on their exam track with an exam that really tests in depth knowledge of a complex product.

So when you are choosing a company to help you realise your unified communications ambitions make sure they can walk-the-walk, so you get a system that allows you to talk-the-talk!

The Lync “To-Do” Checklist

This is a repost from Tim Harrington’s excellent Blog @ http://howdouc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/lync-to-do-checklist.html I’ve added a couple of notes, enjoy 😉

Have you ever asked yourself…?

  • I have published the Lync Topology, now what?
  • When is it required to re-run Step 2 (Install role components from the Deployment Wizard) on my servers?
  • Have any of the changes I made in the Topology affected anything else?

A much over-looked feature in the Lync Topology Builder is the To-Do list. This list only appears after you have published your topology and action needs to be taken directly on the server components to reflect the updated topology. This means that more is needed than just Lync replication.

View if action is needed:


View if no action is needed (Lync replication will take care of all changes):


After clicking on the “Click here to open to-do list”, a text file is opened and will explain the changes needed to your environment.

Note: If you ever need to look at that file again, it’s located in %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\TopologyBuilder in a folder that matches the time and date you published the topology, such as \2012_04_25_00_35_27. The file is called NextSteps.txt


Looking at this closer, I have changed the Simple URLs for one of my SIP domains. The to-do list shows that I will need to update DNS, possibly modify my certificates and also run local setup on two of my servers: lablyncfe01.homelab.local and lablyncfe02.homelab.local.

This means running Step 2 from the Deployment Wizard on these two servers:


After re-running Step 2, my Front-End servers will pick-up the changes to the Simple URLs and be able to serve traffic to them.

The Lync To-Do list from the Topology Builder is a great check to make sure nothing needs to change locally on your Lync servers to support configuration changes made in the Topology Builder.

 

 


 

Profiles for Lync – Manage Multiple Lync Profiles with Ease

For those of us developing and managing multiple Lync environments changing between various test profiles can become frustrating. I wanted to make this easier but it turns out I was beaten to the punch by Profile for Lync!

“Profiles for Lync” is a small Windows application that manages, and allows you to switch between, multiple Lync client profiles.

This tool allows me to easily switch between environments and test accounts.

You can read about it and download it here: https://greiginsydney.com/profiles-for-lync/#more-740

Many thanks to Greig!

Diagnose Lync and OCS connectivity with the RUCT Tool

The guys over at Inside OCS have released an updated version of their great RUCT tool. I highly recommend you head over and check it out!

The new version now supports the Lync Mobile DNS records specifically:

  • Lyncdiscover.<domain.com>   (both CNAME or A record)
  • Lyncdiscoverinternal.<domain.com>  (both CNAME or A record)

 

The tool offers 4 primary features:

Easily Query Important DNS Records used by Microsoft Lync Server and OCS.   DNS queries for the following Lync and OCS records are issued:

  • All Lync and Communicator internal and external records used for automatic sign-in.
  • Lync sign-in records used for Lync Online (in Office 365).
  • Lync simple URL records used for Dial-In, Meetings, and Administration.
  • Home registrar location records used by Lync devices.
  • The automatic partner discovery record used in an Open Federation configuration.

Test Network Availability.

  • The hostname and port belonging to any matching DNS SRV record, or IP address belonging to an A record, can easily be tested for network connectivity.
  • A TCP connection is attempted for hostname’s and ports, and a ping is attempted for IP addresses.

Certificate Retrieval, Installation, and Export.

  • The tool can remotely retrieve X509 Certificate information on any Lync or OCS port that is secured using TLS (or SSL).  Certificate information returned includes the Common Name (CN), Subject Name, Issuer, Certificate Authority, Expiry Date, Creation Date, and Subject Alternative Names (SANs), and the complete certificate chain.
  • The remote certificate can also be installed locally or exported to a file.

Easily Retrieve Important Client-Side Troubleshooting Information.

  • Important client-side environment settings such as O/S version, 32-bit or 64-bit, current domain credentials, and Lync/Communicator sign-on settings are automatically retrieved and consolidated in one place.
  • Recent Lync and Communicator specific event log errors and warnings can be retrieved with one-click.

Definately one to add to your Swiss Lync Knife!

Lync MCITP Certification

Today I passed the second Microsoft Lync 2010 exam 070-665 and upgraded my MCTS to a MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) . I hadn’t used Lync since 2005 when it was known as Live Communications Server 2005 (LCS) , I missed the whole generation of of Office Communications Server (OCS) products and had to work hard to bridge the gap in my knowledge.

Those of you that have had the pleasure of using Lync will know what an amazing product LCS has grown up to be. LCS used to require allot of effort to enable federated services, OCS was better but hardware requirements were often off-putting and there were , rightly placed, concerns over its use as a mission critical voice platform. Lync 2010 has seen those concerns disappear, not only is the platform more scalable, it requires less hardware and provides a much better user interface. Microsoft have once excelled in creating a unified communications platform that integrates perfectly within any organisation.