Tag Archives: Skype for Business deployment

#Skype4b: Key planning considerations for SfB on Azure IaaS Part III


Part I and Part II of this blog post series covers basic of key designs considerations, typical server configuration in traditional datacenter environment, Azure IaaS nomenclature and mapping Azure IaaS components with traditional datacenter. This part of the blog post covers the limitation of Azure IaaS for Skype for Business Server.

First, let me describe the Skype for Business role wise limitations.

Skype for Business Server Role Limitations on Azure IaaS
Front End Technically feasible
Back End Supported
Mediation Technically not feasible
Director Technically feasible
Persistent Chat Technically feasible
Video Interop Technically not feasible
Edge Technically not feasible

Supported: Server role such as Back End server is fully supported because it uses SQL server in the background and SQL server is a supported application on Azure IaaS.

Technically feasible: Technically feasible server roles are those server role that can be deployed but there is no performance study data exist.

Technically not feasible: Technically not feasible server role are those server roles their recommended configuration can’t be met on Azure IaaS. However, technically you may deploy these roles on Azure IaaS VM.

Above mentioned “technically not feasible” server roles are lacking technically because of network configuration most of the time. As everybody knows that Lync/Skype for Business is network intensive application and network requirement are little complex for Skype for Business deployment. Following are the key limitations in Skype for Business deployment on Azure IaaS:

  • All the VMs type doesn’t support more than one NIC. If you don’t select right VM in the beginning, you will have to redeploy the VM to support more than one NIC.
  • Azure IaaS doesn’t support multiple VNet for single VM.
  • Quality of Services can’t be configured as you can’t access Network switch deployed in Azure datacenter.
  • Enterprise Voice can’t be configured.
  • Video Integration Server configuration is difficult if you have Skype for Business infra on Azure IaaS.

Though, these functionality may be enabled in future but as of now not available. Therefore, Microsoft doesn’t recommend or support Lync / Skype for Business deployment on Azure IaaS.

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#Skype4b: Key planning considerations for SfB on Azure IaaS – Part II


Part I of this blog post series covers basic of key designs considerations and typical server configuration in traditional datacenter environment. Now, let’s discuss first thing first.

Create a mind map or sketch a rough design diagram of Skype for Business deployment and collect all the information that you need to size the application.

Create a rough Bill of Material and Bill of Quantity in your mind or note it down somewhere.

Create a list of things that you need to finish the deployment process such as DNS and Certificate requirement.

Look at the end user connectivity as well because at the end of the day end users have to consume these services.

Now, start mapping your rough design diagram component with Azure IaaS components.

Traditional datacenter and Azure IaaS uses the same logic but has different naming conventions. Below table shows you the right set of Azure IaaS services/component mapping with traditional datacenter.

Traditional Datacenter

Azure IaaS

Server – Physical / Virtual Machine

Server – Virtual Machine

Storage – External (SAN/NAS) / Internal

Storage – Storage Account and Disks

Network – NIC and LAN

Network – NIC and VNet

Load Balancer

Load Balancer

Firewall

Network Security Group

Reverse Proxy

Reverse Proxy

Voice Gateway

NA

Based on the table above, it really looks simple. But in actual, it is not. There are many limitations which you can find while deploying Lync / Skype for Business on Azure IaaS. As of now, you should get familiar with all the terminologies. Next part of this blog post will cover the limitations and will describe why Microsoft does not recommend Lync / Skype for Business on Azure IaaS.

#Skype4b: Key planning considerations for SfB on Azure IaaS – Part I


Microsoft Azure is one of the key Infrastructure as a Service platform in public cloud space. Many organizations are looking at it as an alternative option for traditional datacenter. Therefore, it is necessary for consultant and architects to know about the enterprise application suitability on Azure IaaS. When customer look for Microsoft Public Cloud offerings, most of the time you can observe that customer is looking for Microsoft based applications or custom applications which runs on Microsoft operating system.

Let me take an opportunity to discuss about Microsoft Business Productivity applications and their suitability with Azure IaaS. Microsoft SharePoint was the first enterprise application from business productivity suite which was ready long back to deploy on Azure IaaS. Next precedence had been given to Exchange and now it is chance for Lync / Skype for Business.

In this blog post, I am going to discuss about key consideration for deploying skype for business on Azure IaaS. As of now, production deployment of skype for business is not recommended. I would say, there are technical limitations because of that deployment for Lync / Skype for Business is not recommended.

Below diagram illustrates how traditional datacenter deployment should look like in high level.

I am describing this traditional deployment first because you easily can correlate it with Azure IaaS later point in time. Now, let’s assume customer has basic infrastructure in-place such as Active Directory, Office Web Apps or Office Online server and Reverse Proxy. Therefore, it is a time for you to design or size Skype for Business server roles. I am taking a simple example of Skype for Business Enterprise Edition pool with three servers. In this example, I am collocating server roles wherever possible and not focusing on few additional server roles such as persistent chat and VIS.

Below table shows the typical server configuration based on Microsoft recommendation.

SfB Server Role

Processor

Memory

Network

Storage

Front End

12 core

32 GB

1 NIC

Based on the MS recommendations

Back End

12 core

32 GB

1 NIC

Edge

8 core

16 GB

2/4 NIC

Numbers of network card mentioned in above table consider basic configuration. You can opt for NIC teaming for all the server roles. Skype for Business edge server role can have either 2 interfaces (one for internal and one for external) or 4 interfaces (one for internal and 3 for external).

Apart from this you need to consider many other factors in datacenter such as Network, Firewall, Load Balancers and Quality of service configuration capability. Next part of this article, maps these requirements with Azure IaaS and covers the best possible configuration.

Step by step Skype for Business Server 2015 Enterprise Edition


Skype for Business Server 2015 Enterprise Edition supports large enterprise pools which provides high availability, scalability and resiliency. Enterprise edition supports scalable front end pools which can be extended up to 12 front end servers per pool while you need minimum 3 front end servers to setup enterprise edition front end pool. Mediation Server can be collocated with front end pools while rest of the server roles can be deployed either as a standalone server or as a pool.

In this post, I’ll collect all the information which is required to deploy an enterprise edition pool. For step by step Standard Edition deployment click here

Before starting the deployment process please make sure infra is ready and you have designed your Skype for Business solution properly as per your business requirements. Below image represents a design example for generic Skype for Business deployment.


Common Prerequisites for Skype for Business Server: Download and keep the things ready for deployment.

Download Windows hotfix

KB article 2858668 for windows server 2012 and KB article 2982006 for windows server 2012 R2

Download Silverlight

Windows features prerequisite (Windows Server Installation Media is mounted as D: in my steup)

Front End Server:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core, RSAT-ADDS, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Server-Media-Foundation, BITS -Source D:\sources\sxs

Mediation Server:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core, RSAT-ADDS, Windows-Identity-Foundation, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45 -Source D:\sources\sxs

Persistent Chat Server:

Add-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core, RSAT-ADDS, Windows-Identity-Foundation, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, MSMQ –Source D:\Sources\SxS\

The sequence and step by step deployment links are given below:

Deploy Office Web Apps Server

Deploy Skype for Business Back End Server

Configure SQL Server (if using SQL mirror for Back End databases)

Prepare standalone file store or configure DFS

Deploy Skype for Business Front End Pool (Part I, II and III)

Deploy Skype for Business Server Mediation Pool (Part I and II)

Deploy Skype for Business Server Persistent Chat Pool (Part I and II)

Deploy Skype for Business Server VIS Pool

Deploy Skype for Business Server Edge Pool

Deploy Reverse Proxy for Skype for Business Server

Deploy Skype for Business Persistent Chat Server


This blog post continues Deploy Skype for Business Archiving and Monitoring Server and talks about Persistent Chat Server deployment. These steps can be used for collocated persistent chat server deployment with Standard Edition server or can be used for dedicated persistent chat server deployment. In my setup, I have one Standard Edition Server and one sql database server for archiving, monitoring and persistent chat databases.

For persistent chat collocation best practices please see Microsoft Recommendations.

In preceding post we have covered SQL server deployment and best practices. Now, we will continue with the requirement for persistent chat server. If you are installing persistent chat server on standard edition server install messaging queuing (MSMQ) features before attempting to start the persistent chat server installation.

Open Skype for Business Server 2015, Topology Builder.

Go to the Persistent Chat pools under Skype for Business Server 2015 > Right Click > New Persistent Chat Pool…

“Define New Persistent Chat Pool” window will open.

Write the FQDN of Standard Edition Server and select “This pool has one server”.

[Note: If you are deploying persistent chat server on standalone machine then write the FQDN of that server.]

Write the display name of persistent chat pool and click on next if you don’t want to use persistent chat compliance.

If you want to have persistent chat compliance as part of the installation, select “Enable compliance”

If this is not first persistent chat server in Lync/Skype for Business infrastructure then you can deselect “Use this pool as default for all sites”

Don’t deselect this checkbox if this is the first persistent chat server in your infrastructure otherwise you can see below error while publishing topology.

Select SQL Server store, if you want to have new database server for persistent chat deployment click on New…

In my case, I am using the same database server which I had used for archiving and monitoring.

Select the database server for compliance store.

Select the file store.

Select the next hop server, in my case it is Standard Edition Server.

Now once you are done with above process, publish the topology.

Select database, click on Next and finish the process.

Now, open Skype for Business Server 2015, Deployment Wizard and Click on “Install or Update Skype for Business Server System”

Run step 2 “Setup or Remove Skype for Business Server Components” and follow the process.

 

 

 

Now, you can open services console and start “Skype for Business Server Persistent Chat” & “Skype for Business Server Persistent Chat Compliance” services.

 

Deploy Skype for Business Archiving and Monitoring Server


This is an extension of Step by step Skype for Business Server Standard Edition deployment, covers Archiving and Monitoring Server deployment for Standard Edition Server. This post does not cover Call Quality Dashboard.

Archiving server creates Lcslog database to store instant messaging and conferencing data while monitoring server create CDR (call details record) and QoE (quality of experience) databases. Therefore to start with the deployment process, first deploy SQL Server Standard Edition for archiving and monitoring server databases. Features which you need to select are given below:

  • Database Engine Services
  • Reporting Services – Native
  • Management Tools – Basic
    • Management Tools – Complete

Once you are done with SQL server deployment, configure SQL server. By default SQL server uses dynamic port for deployed instance, it is better to use static port.

Open Sql server configuration Manager.

 

Go to the SQL Server Network Configuration > Protocols for “Instance” > Go to the TCP/IP Properties > Select “IP Address” tab and scroll down

 

Remove TCP Dynamic Ports and assign static TCP Port such as 1433 > Apply > OK

 

Go to the SQL Server Services > Restart “SQL Server (Instance)” service.

 

You can expect below error while publishing topology or installing databases if don’t create any rules or disable windows firewall.

Either create firewall rules to open required ports and protocols or disable windows firewall. To disable Windows firewall is not a best practice for production environment. Create Inbound and Outbound firewall rules as given below:

Inbound

Allow Port 80, 443 – TCP and UDP

Allow Port 1433 – TCP

Allow Port 1434 – UDP

Enable Firewall rules which already exists.

Outbound

Allow Port 80, 443 – TCP and UDP

Turn on network discovery & file and printer sharing.

Now, you are done with SQL server configuration.

 

Go to the Skype for Business Server Standard Edition and open Topology Builder.

 

Go to the Standard Edition Server.

 

Right click on SE server and Edit Properties.

 

Select Archiving Server.

 

Click on New to add SQL Server.

 

Write SQL Server FQDN and Instance Name.


 

Now, Select Monitoring Server and drop down for SQL Server. Click OK.

 

Now Publish Topology.

 

Click on Next.

 

Select database.

 

Select database and click on Advance if you want to change database file location. In my case, I am going with default.

 

It will create databases for archiving and monitoring.

Once it is completed successfully, click on Finish.

 

Now, open Skype for Business Server 2015 Deployment Wizard. Click on Deploy Monitoring Report and follow the steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you are done with the process, you can use monitoring repots or can enable/create archiving policies based on your requirements.

Done J

Step by step Skype for Business Server Standard Edition deployment


Skype for Business Server 2015 deployment steps are as same as it was in Lync Server 2013. In this blog post, I will cover all the steps which are required to install Skype for Business Server. First, have a look on high level deployment steps which will help you to keep your infra ready for successful Skype for Business Server deployment.

1. Domain joined Windows Server 2012/2012R2 with all recent updates. Better to use Windows Server 2012 R2, latest and greatest server operating system.

2. Download and install hotfix KB article 2858668 for windows server 2012 and KB article 2982006 for windows server 2012 R2.

3. Download and Install Silverlight.

4. Install Skype for Business Server prerequisite.

5. Run setup.exe from Skype for Business Server installation media.

6. Prepare Active Directory for Skype for Business Server. If you have Lync Server 2013 infrastructure, no need to update the Active Directory as it will display you “Complete”.

7. Create required DNS records. Assign Skype for Business Server admin rights.

8. Create Share folder and assign required permissions.

9. Install Administrative tools.

10. Prepare first Standard Edition server.

11. Create and Publish topology.

12. Install or Update Skype for Business Server system.

a. Install Local Configuration Store

b. Setup or Remove Skype for Business Server Components

c. Request, Install or Assign Certificates

d. Start Services.

 

I will cover step by step installation process from step 4 onwards.

Insert or map windows server installation media and open Powershell with administrative rights.

Note: In my setup, using D: for installation media. Change drive letter in below powershell cmdlet according to your setup.

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core, RSAT-ADDS, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Server-Media-Foundation, BITS -Source D:\sources\sxs

 

 

 

After installation restart server.

Run setup.exe from installation media. Or you can use powershell cmdlet to run the setup.

 

As Skype for Business Server 2015 support SMART setup. Therefore you can use “Connect to the internet to check for updates” otherwise select don’t check for updates right now.

Select Installation Location for Skype for Business Server and follow the steps.

Press “Windows + F key” and search for Skype for Business Server Management Shell and Deployment Wizard.

Open SfB Management Shell or Deployment Wizard to prepare active directory.

If you are using Deployment Wizard then click on prepare schema. (Make sure current user should be member of schema admins)

If using SfB Management Shell then run Install-CsAdServerSchema

Once schema is prepared then run Get-CsAdServerSchema. If you get SCHEMA_VERSION_STATE_CIRRENT as a result, it means you are good to go.

Check Schema Version from ADSI.

Open ADSI (adsiedit.msc) > Connect to Schema > Search for CN=ms-RTC-SIP-SchemaVersion and go to properties and search for schema lower and upper range.

rangeLower    3

rangeUpper    1150

Run “Prepare Forest” from Deployment wizard or run Enable-CsAdForest from SfB Management Shell. (Make sure current user is member of Enterprise Admins)

To verify run “Get-CsAdForest” and if the result comes “LC_FORESTSETTINGS_STATE_READY” then you are good to go. You can also open Active Directory Users and Computers and find group which has been created for SfB.

Run “Prepare Domain” from Deployment wizard or run Enable-CsAdDomain from SfB Management Shell. (Make sure current user is member of Domain Admins)

To verify run “Get-CsAdDomain” and if the result comes “LC_DOMAINSETTINGS_STATE_READY” then you are good to go.

 

Once prepare active directory step is completed successfully.

  • Open Active Directory Users and Computers and make current user member of CSAdministrator
  • Open DNS and create SRV and A records

i) Create _sipinternaltls service location record.

Open DNS Manager and select domain under Forward Lookup Zones. Right click on domain or right click on right pane and select other New Records

Select “Service Location (SRV)” and click on Create Record

Service: _sipinternaltls

Protocol: _tcp

Port number: 5061

Host offering this service: FQDN of your Standard Edition Server (Ex: se02.uc.lab)

ii) Create following Host(A) records

Dailin

Meet

Admin

Sip

Lyncdiscoverinternal

  • Create Share Folder and Assign permissions

Create folder and go to the properties.

Click on Share.

Add local administrators group and assign full rights.


As well as go to the Advanced Sharing…

Add local administrators group and assign Full Control.

 

Now you are ready to start the installation of Skype for Business Server.

Open deployment wizard and click on “Install Administrative Tools”.

Once installtion is done. Press “Windows + F key” and search for Skype for Business Server. Now, you can see Skype for Business Server Topology Builder and Control Panel.

Now click on “Prepare first Standard Edition server” and follow the steps.

 

 

 

 

Press “Windows + F key”, open Skype for Business Server Topology Builder and follow the steps. Please enter the required details as per your environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will cover Archiving and Monitoring Server installation in Part 2.

 

You can define Edge pool later in the topology.

 

Define file share which we created in previous steps.

You can define External Base URL for Web Services as per your requirements. (Ex: SEWeb.domain.com)

 

Right Click on “Skype for Business Server” and go to properties.

Assign “Administrative access URL” and “Central Management Store”. Click on Ok

Right Click on “Skype for Business Server” and “Publish Topology”

 

 

 

Now, it is time to install Skype for Business Server System. Click on “Install or Update Skype for Business Server System”

Click on Run “Install Local Configuration Store” and follow the steps.

 

 

 

Click on Run “Setup or Remove Skype for Business Server Components” and follow the steps.

 

 

 

Now Request and Assign Certificates. Click on Run “Request, Install or Assign Certificates” and follow the steps.

Click on Request.

 

Fill the form as needed. Click on Advanced and follow the steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the same process for OAuth Certificate.

Once Certificates are assigned open SfB Management Shell.

Run “Start-CsPool –PoolFqdn <poolfqdn>

Type “Y”

Once, services are running open Skype for Business Control Panel and play with it. J

 

Part 2 of this article will cover Archiving and Monitoring; and Persistent Chat Server deployment.