Tag Archives: Cloud Connector Hardware Requirements

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition: Release 1.4.1


Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition release 1.4.1 is 3rd release. To learn more about Skype for Business Cloud PBX, Cloud Connector Edition and different releases, click here. Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition version 1.4.1 was released in August 22, 2016 with the following updates:

  • Customization available in CloudConnector.ini file:
Configuration setting Description
Site Name Site name is required and it should be unique for each site and must match with PSTN site name defined in Office 365.
Hardware Type Type of Hardware can be defined, by default it is set to “Normal” but it can be set to “Minimum” for smaller deployments that can support up to 50 simultaneous calls.
CorpDNSIPAddress “CorpDNSIPAddress” must be configured in .ini file to allow windows update for the base VM image. It will be configured on internal interface of temporary VM and should provide the name resolution to the public names. Otherwise, internet connection will fail because of name resolution and deployment will not finish.
WSUSServer The address of WSUS server can be configured for Microsoft updates if required.
WSUSStatusServer The address of WSUS server can be configured for WSUS status update if required.
EnableReferSupport EnableReferSupporyt parameter is used to define the SIP REFER support, either enabled or disabled on the Trunk configuration to your IP/PBX. By default it is set to “True” otherwise it can be changed to “False”. If you are not sure if your gateway supports REFER, please reference Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program for Qualified IP-PBXs Gateways.
ForwardPAI ForwardPAI determines whether PAI (P-Asserted-Identity) field is forwarded from the Mediation Server to the gateways. By default, it is set to “True” but it can changed to “False”
  • New CCE Management service has been added on host server to manage HA Detection/Recover, binary auto-upgrade, and operating system auto-upgrade.
  • There has been 5 new cmdlets introduced and at the same time 3 cmdlets have been deprecated. You can refer to the Cloud Connector cmdlet reference for latest cmdlets. While 2 cmdlets have been updated Install-CcInstance and Uninstall-CcInstance to Install-CcAppliance and Uninstall-CcAppliance.
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Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition: Release 1.3.8


Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition release 1.3.8 is 2nd release. To learn more about Skype for Business Cloud PBX, Cloud Connector Edition and different releases, click here. Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition version 1.3.8 was released in May 24, 2016 with the following updates:

  • This version had resolved the issues related to failures of transferring calls to a phone number. If you are facing following challenges then upgrade to latest version of Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition.
    • Your Office 365 user account is configured to use Cloud PBX.
    • You have an active PSTN call using the Skype for Business client on Windows, where the voice for this call uses Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition.
    • You start a transfer to another phone number by selecting or entering the phone number from a list of suggested phone numbers on the transfer menu.

In this scenario, the other phone number rings, and you can answer the transferred call, but you hear no audio. Additionally, the client window of the existing active PSTN call shows the following error:

Cannot complete the transfer.

  • This version also take care about unnecessary files after finishing deployment process such as
    • The temporary copies of certificates
    • Exported topology files for the Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition appliance
  • There was one major improvement as well in terms of DNS
    • Now, you can specify multiple DNS IP addresses, separated by spaces, in the CloudConnector.ini file for “CorpnetDNSIPAddress” and “InternetDNSIPAddress” values.

Courtesy: Microsoft Technet

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition Releases/Versions


Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition is a revolutionary offering from Microsoft to connect on-premises voice infrastructure with Skype for Business online. I wrote a series of articles about Skype for Business Cloud PBX and Cloud Connector Edition and this post will give you a holistic view of all the Cloud Connector Edition current and upcoming releases (versions).

Below are the series of blogposts related to Skype for Business Cloud PBX and Cloud Connector Edition:

Skype for Business Cloud PBX

Skype for Business Cloud Connector

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Components

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Supported Topology

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Infrastructure Requirements Part I

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Infrastructure Requirements Part II

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition Public DNS, IP and Certificates requirements

Call flow with Cloud Connector Edition

Now, I am going to cover the different releases of Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition in the following table.

Product Release Remarks
Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition 1.3.4 Initial release
1.3.8  Read more
1.4.1  Read more

For the initial release, please read the series of blogposts and for specific release updates read the respective blogposts which covers the changes and enhancement.

Call flow with Cloud Connector Edition


Cloud Connector Edition is an option for those customers who are new to Microsoft Real Time Communication and directly adopting Skype for Business Online (Office 365) for real time communication. At present to find an organization without any telephony system is almost impossible. When customers are looking for best RTC solution and adopting SfB online, it is crucial for them to leverage existing telephony investment while maintaining seamless user experience across all RTC modalities. Microsoft is committed to provide seamless PSTN calling experience through Cloud Connector Edition to those users who are accessing all the SfB modalities except PSTN calling form SfB online infrastructure.

Let’s discuss more about PSTN calling. In Skype for Business each conversation is divided into two pieces i.e. signaling and media. When you are using CCE all media traffic for PSTN calling will be managed by CCE and PSTN Gateway while signaling will be managed by CCE and SfB online infrastructure.

Whenever, we talk about telephony communication, it could be either inbound or outbound.

Outbound Calling: If a user place a call from internal network:

  1. Users dial an external PSTN number in E.164 format
  2. SIP traffic routes to Skype for Business online infrastructure
  3. SfB online performs a reverse number lookup for the dialed number
  4. The RNL fails because it is an external number and doesn’t belongs to any SfB user
  5. The call is routed to the Edge component of CCE
  6. If the PSTN routes exist Edge Server relays the traffic through Mediation component of CCE
  7. Mediation component sends the traffic to the PSTN gateway and establish a connection between the user end point and PSTN Gateway through Mediation component for media flow

Inbound Calling: If an internal user receive a call from PSTN network:

  1. PSTN Gateway receives a call from external PSTN number for a SfB online user who is in internal network as of now
  2. Gateway routes the SIP traffic to Mediation component of CCE
  3. Traffic goes out from Mediation component to SfB Online through Edge component of CCE
  4. SfB online performs a reverse number lookup
  5. The RNL passes and SfB online finds that this number belongs to the SfB online user
  6. SIP signaling goes to all the point of presence of that user
  7. Finally, Media traffic will be established between PSTN gateway and Mediation component and between Mediation component and the user end point for media flow

These are the features which are available through CCE as of now.

There are many limitation if you will compare it with Skype for Business on-premises or hybrid. Below are the list of limitations:

  1. No call via work or remote call control
  2. No media bypass
  3. No response group
  4. Active call can’t be transferred to the cell phone which is registered in your Active Directory by picking it from a list of suggested phones in the transfer menu. You can transfer to any other number.
  5. Call between SfB user and PSTN number can’t be escalated as conference call
  6. Users must use full number in E.164 format only
  7. Only specific series of Polycom phones are supported as of now
  8. No integration available with contact centers
  9. Private lines and common area phones are also not supported

I tried to cover most of the stuffs but there is no guarantee if you face any other limitation.

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition Public DNS, IP and Certificates requirements


Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition deploys multiple VMs which allows users to connect with on-premises PSTN Infrastructure. As it contains Edge Server role, then obviously it requires Public DNS, IP and Certificates to function properly.

Let’s discuss internal things first.

Internal IP Addresses: Each CCE VM required one internal IP address, it means, you need four internal IP address for every CCE deployment. Make sure these IPs are from dedicated subnet, must not use existing subnets.

Internal DNS records: As each CCE deploys one ADDS, therefore all the internal dns records will point to deployed CCE internal dns.

Internal Certificates: Each CCE domain controller deploys certificate services with directory services, therefore all the internal certificate will be issued by internal certificate server.

Internal requirement looks simple but there are many more things which you need to plan in well advance to make the deployment successful.

Now let’s focus on external requirements which are very important to work CCE correctly.

External IP Addresses: One public IP address is required for external interface of edge server. This IP will be used by Access Edge and Media Relay Edge. You can use either direct public IP address or NAT IP address, if it is NAT IP address then specify both address. If it is NAT IP address then specify public IP address of the NAT device (one more parameter: “ExternalMRPublicIPs”) for media relay edge.

External DNS Records: External DNS records are mandatory for CCE employment. Onmicrosoft.com suffix is not supported for external DNS entries. You need to create external DNS record for access edge. In single site HA deployment, you need one dns record with multiple ip address and for multisite deployment, you need multiple dns records with multiple IP addresses.

Public Certificates: Public certificate require for each Edge component in CCE deployment. Certificates must have an exportable private key to copy between Edge components. Before you request public certificate, must plan for it properly.

You can have two different scenarios:

  1. Single SIP Domain
  2. Multiple SIP Domain

While choosing certificate, you can choose either SAN certificate with multiple entries or wildcard certificate.

Therefore, now you can have four different options;

First option: Single SIP domain with multiple SAN entries.

SN = <site1-accessedgepool>.sipdomain.com, SAN = sip.sipdomain.com, <site1-accessedgepool>.sipdomain.com, <site2-accessedgepool>.sipdomain.com

Second option: Single SIP domain with wildcard entry.

SN = sip.sipdomain.com, SAN = sip.sipdomain.com, *.sipdomain.com

(Note: With the above configuration, you must not create any sip.sipdomain.com entry in external DNS because this name belongs to the Office 365 deployment)

Third Option: Multiple SIP domain with multiple SAN entries.

SN = <site1-accessedgepool>.sipdomain1.com, SAN = sip.sipdomain1.com, sip.sipdomain2.com, <site1-accessedgepool>.sipdomain1.com, <site2-accessedgepool>.sipdomain1.com, <site1-accessedgepool>.sipdomain2.com, <site2-accessedgepool>.sipdomain2.com

Fourth option: Multiple SIP domain with wildcard entry.

SN = sip.sipdomain1.com, SAN = sip.sipdomain1.com, sip.sipdomain2.com, *.sipdomain1.com, *.sipdomain2.com

I hope this blog post will help you to plan IP addressing, subnets, dns records and certificates for CCE deployment.

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Infrastructure Requirements Part II


This blog post is a 2nd part of my preceding blog post. Part I covers H/W & S/W requirements and basic of DNS, certificates and permissions etc. In this post, I’ll cover the Ports and Protocols requirement for cloud connector edition deployment.

Below illustration shows high level logical deployments scenario with Cloud Connector Edition. Maximum 4 cloud connector can be deployed with one PSTN site. As shown in the diagram, cloud connector edition is deployed in perimeter network. Once you deploy cloud connector edition in perimeter network, required ports and protocol should be open to make it functional.

 

Below illustration shows the ports and protocol which should be open in internal firewall.

Below illustration shows the minimum ports and protocol which should be open in external firewall.

Below illustration shows the recommended ports and protocol which should be open in external firewall.

Note:
This solution will not work if the user end point is behind a symmetric NAT.

For more detailed information, please refer https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt605227.aspx

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Infrastructure Requirements Part I


My preceding blog post discuss about different version on Cloud Connector Edition. Cloud connector edition comes with two different versions which support small to large number of calls. Single small version of cloud connector supports 50 simultaneous calls while large version supports 500 simultaneous calls.

3+1 configuration of cloud connectors provide scalability and high availability, 150 simultaneous PSTN calls can be supported in small version and 1500 simultaneous calls in large version.

Both the versions contains 4 VMs and can be downloaded from here.

Hardware requirements to deploy Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition:

Components

Small Version

Large Version

Processor

Intel i7 4790 quad core with Intel 4600 Graphics (no high end graphics needed)

64-bit dual processor, six core (12 real cores), 2.50 gigahertz (GHz) or higher

Memory

32 GB DDR3-1600 non ECC

64 gigabytes (GB) ECC RAM

Storage

2: 1TB 7200RPM SATA III (6 Gbps) in RAID 0

Four 600 GB (or better) 10K RPM 128M Cache SAS 6Gbps disks, configured in a RAID 5 configuration

Network

2: 1 Gbps Ethernet (RJ45)

Three 1 Gbps RJ45 high throughput network adapters

Host Operating System

Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center

Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center

Hypervisor

Hyper-V

Hyper-V

Guest Operating System

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard / Data Center

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard / Data Center

PBX

Qualified PBX/Trunk or qualified SBC/Gateway (a minimum of two gateways is recommended)

Qualified PBX/Trunk or qualified SBC/Gateway (a minimum of two gateways is recommended)

 

Apart from all of the above H/W requirements, you have to meet following requirements which are mandatory for Cloud Connector Edition deployment.

Local Server Administrator account for Hyper-V hosts

Domain Administrator information will be asked for new Active Directory to create Domain credential and assign required permissions.

External DNS records will be required for Access Edge per PSTN site and must add all the Edge Servers ip addresses of that particular PSTN site.

Public certificate required for external edge access.

Internet access required for all cloud connectors VM.

Required firewall ports and protocol should be open to execute the cloud connector edition deployment.

Part II of this blog post covers firewall requirements in detail.