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Tag Archives: OCS
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……
Now that we’ve talked through some of the theories involved with analog devices (see part 1 here) let’s roll up our sleeves and configure our environment for Scenario #1.
Our first task is unpacking the Tenor AF gateway from NET. This small form factor device will allow us to plug in eight analog devices to our OCS environment.
Recently a client contacted me a after an OCS Enterprise implementation. The client noticed during their user training sessions that users could not see the Presence of other users when searching in communicator. The issue would resolve itself once the contact they were searching for added them to their contact list. Continue reading
Recently while installing Exchange 2010 in a customer environment I ran into an error related to certificates when I tried to enable the OCS integration in OWA. The client had chosen Godaddy as their public CA of choice and as it turns out this played a role in causing the issue. Godaddy used a ” symbol in the issuer field of the certificate. Although it wouldn’t normally matter, it does when you are using that field in an XML config file, like the one used for IM integration with OWA/Exchange 2010. Continue reading
Since the blog I did on Live Meeting troubleshooting I have seen a lot of queries leading people to the site for troubleshooting OCS. I’ve also seen a ton of questions on the subject on the MS forums. All this has lead me to the conclusion that OCS troubleshooting isn’t that easy to get a handle on. With that in mind I’m writing this post on troubleshooting federation. First and foremost, this article is about troubleshooting a mistake I made during a deployment recently, and if you ask any PSS engineer they will tell you 80% of the problems they face with OCS are based on the same thing: human error/configuration error. As I said in my last troubleshooting post, I’m no expert on troubleshooting OCS, but hopefully this post will help someone out there. As always I encourage you to share your stories and methods if you think they may help someone else.
As everyone who’s ever looked at OCS knows, you need certificates to make it work. Although certificates aren’t really too difficult once you have the hang of it, they seem to be a tough hurdle for a lot of IT folks to get over. I’m not going to attempt to explain PKI today, but I thought I might share a story about a gotcha that got me, twice. Hopefully my pain (although it was only a few minutes of troubleshooting this time) will help someone else. Continue reading
While working with Kevin Re, one of my clients at an OCS shop, he shared a very cool script with me and has agreed to allow me to post it online. Kevin’s script queried for the next 5 available phone numbers in an OCS environment and output them on screen; this helped him streamline new user creation. It also dumped all of the OCS users and their extensions into a TXT/CSV that can be used for other company phone number lists. After seeing this script in action I thought it would be great to take this script and expanded on it just a bit. Continue reading