As you may have guessed by the title, I get paid by the acronym….
With the release of Microsoft’s Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) many companies have found a very useful product to securely publish applications such as OWA, Direct Access and SharePoint (among many, many others) from one place. UAG also includes a TMG server built into it, which you can utilize as a reverse proxy for OCS or other applications you don’t want to require authentication for. Microsoft even has a great support article detailing what is and isn’t supported here. The article very clearly states you can utilize the TMG on your UAG server to publish OCS (although it doesn’t specify which roles); however making it all work is not as intuitive as one might hope. With that in mind, I’d like to share what I learned while working on a recent deployment to help others who want to utilize their UAG for other purposes.
For starters let’s talk about the network; here is what my lab looks like for this scenario…..
In the past few months it’s been a bit quiet on the posting front. The major reason being Wave 14 (CS2010) is taking up a lot of my time and there isn’t a lot we’re allowed to show from our labs yet. As the end of the year approaches, the public beta’s and/or release candidates hit the net, and the RTM comes out you can expect a lot more information from all of the UC bloggers, but for now we’ll stick with OCS 2007 R2.
My current lab is an OCS 2007 R2 environment with 2 Front End servers and a Citrix NetScaler virtual appliance (VPX) running as a load balancer. I’m prepping the environment to simulate a migration from R2 to Wave 14 utilizing the document here (this is an RTM version, but it gives you the jist). But as is usually the case, I found a gotcha on the certificate setup on the VPX, and thought it was worth sharing. This particular gotcha even had the citrix support folks scratching their head…. Continue reading
As OCS becomes more popular we find more companies deploying it with diverse needs. During a recent deployment I worked with a client that had over 100 speed dial numbers for various partner companies that they regularly dialed. Each speed dial was a 3 digit number starting with a # (pound/hash symbol), some of the numbers translated to 10 digit dials, others only 6 digits with 4 more digits dialed by the user added to the end. As this was in place with the existing PBX it was important to bring this functionality to OCS as well. After discussing the requirements with the client I used my lab to verify the solution was feasible and consistent to their request. A few minutes of tweaking the normalization rules and I had a plan.
I started with the companies “Location Profile” (in the OCS Snap-in Right click Forest>Properties>Voice Properties), for this example it will be HQ.ocsguy.local:
In recent weeks I’ve had two different clients ask about integrating Cisco systems with OCS. After the initial talks about what OCS can do and how they will use it, the next question always seems to be, can I still use my Cisco phones once we move to Enterprise Voice with OCS?
Thanks to a product from NET called SmartSIP (originally created by Evangelyze and acquired by NET) the answer is yes! SmartSIP is a server based app that allows you to register SIP phones to it, and then proxies that registration back to OCS so the SIP phone can act as an OCS endpoint.
This type of functionality is important on many levels. First of all it gives you a low-cost option (less than 6 Tanjays for the server license) for keeping your existing SIP phones around, lowering the cost to implement a UC solution. Secondly, and this one is more and more important to the environment as each day passes, we get to keep thousands of perfectly good phones out of landfills.
Now that we’ve covered the purpose of this article we can jump right into the architecture. The first question we have to cover is how SmartSIP works. SmartSIP is a SIP registrar that allows devices to connect to it, and then connects to OCS on their behalf. Once registered to OCS, the SIP phone acts as any other OCS voice endpoint, taking advantage of the native functionality within OCS to send calls to all active endpoints.
For this article SmartSIP will be installed on my mediation server, this is a supported configuration for up to 250 seats and was the exact installation method I used during the private beta testing I did with the product. For larger scale deployments it is best to have it on its own box. Here is what my lab environment looked like……
At a recent deployment I ran into an issue with delays in response groups. This time it was a bit different than before, though. This time the delay was only 4 to 5 seconds from the time the agent picked up the phone until audio started, and the delay was only affecting Tanjays.
I started off with the standard stuff: SAN field on the edge server cert, access list on the router between subnets, CRL not valid or not accessible, checking the cert algorithm, etc…
A recurring question when planning for OCS and a common search I see leading people to this site is “how can I incorporate analog devices I already own?”
If you’ve deployed OCS, you’ve no doubt heard the questions like,
How can I still use my fax machines?
What about my Polycom Sound Station (or other analog conference phone)?
And the most common of them all….
How do you do paging with OCS???
In this series of posts I’m going to offer up a number of suggestions to make analog devices work with OCS environments, and even run through the setup of one such device to make it all come together.
Hot off the press
OCS 2007 R2 is now supported on Windows Server 2008 R2; there are a few conditions though. From the wording of the article, it likes look 2008 R2 domains are supported as well now, unless you are using group chat. There are a few pre-req’s you have to run through including the OCSASNFix, but overall not too bad. Please see the link above for detailed information.