Microsoft Lync Server: People I Manage Calls for

joost

The last several weeks I received various questions regarding the group ‘People I Manage calls for’. During the roll-out of the Lync client users were confronted with this default group in Lync. For a lot of users the purpose of this group was unclear and raised questions about the colleague’s which were mentioned into this group.

Within this blog I want to answer the questions regarding the purpose of this group and I want to explain the steps which are required to clean up this group and makes sure that the group is filled with the proper colleague’s.

Purpose of the group
The group ‘People I Manage Calls for’ is part of the delegation model for Lync 2010 and 2013. Using this group users are able to receive and make calls on another persons behalf. By using the Lync options the user is able to configure whether or not the calls of the delegates needs to be picked-up. The initial filling of this group is based on the delegation that is configured within Exchange. Within Exchange delegation is also configured on a users mailbox. As Lync and Exchange have some good integrations, the delegates from Exchange are thus synchronized with Lync and will be displayed into this group. However users are still able to change their delegates manually within Lync.

By configuring the delegates section, users are also able to transfer calls to the configured delegates. This is especially useful when the Lync users goes on holiday’s and a direct colleague of the users should respond to the incoming calls. By transferring the calls to this particular colleague the calls aren’t missed and responded immediately.

Disable Exchange synchronization
As mentioned before the initial set-up of the group is done by the Exchange delegation. Within Exchange it is possible to delegate permissions to other users in order to send e-mails and to create and respond on meeting invitations. Setting these permissions will be done through Outlook from ‘Options’ –> ‘account settings’ –> ‘delegate permissions’.

During the implementation of Lync (2010 and 2013) the synchronization of the delegates between Exchange and Lync will be configured automatically. When the delegates in Exchange are configured they will also be added in Lync. In order to stop the synchronization between Exchange and Lync the first command listed below have to be executed. When delegation is not required at all, the second command have to be executed as well.

Set-CsVoicepolicy -EnableDelegation $false
Set-CsClientpolicy -EnableExchangeDelegateSync $false

Delete people from the group
It is possible to manually delete the delegates from this group. However it is important to disable the Exchange Synchronization first, cause if this isn’t done the changes that are made in the Lync delegate group are lost throughout the day when the Exchange synchronization is performed. Therefore it is important to disable the synchronization with Exchange.

Lync Delegation

To delete the people from this group, navigate within Lync to ‘options’ –> ‘Transfer calls’ –> ‘edit my delegates’. From this pop-up it is possible to delete the colleagues which are listed as delegates. See picture below for the pop-up that appears after clicking on ‘Edit my delegates’. By selecting a delegate and hit the ‘remove button’ the delegate is being removed.

Conclusion
Setting up delegates can be a powerful tool when being used within a department. Especially the director, secretary delegation is a powerful tool. However it is important to notice whether or not the Exchange delegation is configured properly and representative. Whenever this isn’t the case, the Exchange synchronization should be turned off in order to make sure that delegation can be configured independently for the Lync user.

When delegation is important into your organization, make sure that delegation is configured properly within Exchange. When the synchronization is configured these settings will be used within Lync as well. Even from the start of deploying Lync, these delegation permissions can be used within Lync in order to enable powerful scenario’s. When using this kind of synchronization, instruct the users very well that the delegation can be edited through Outlook and that this should be the only place where delegation needs to be configured.

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Microsoft Lync Server 2013: Quorum, Directors and Front-End services.

joostDuring recent implementation I was configuring a High-Available Lync 2013 environment. The environment had to be configured using one front-end pool with 2 servers, one director pool with 2 servers and an Edge pool with two servers. Now the issue regarding this configuration is the Lync quorum. For those of you who are not familiar with the quorum, it kind of states that more than 50% of the pool needs to be up and running in order to restart the services. The only service that is impacted by the quorum is the Front-End Service. This service can be found on both the front-end servers and the Director servers. Microsoft recommends using three servers per pool, but also support topologies where 2 servers are added to one pool. For more information regarding the Quorum, please check the blog of Murali Krishnan or TechNet.

After the configuration of the High-Available environment I had to test the environment on high-availability. during these tests the front-end servers were shut-down and restarted again. Doing this in the proper order made sure the quorum remained in good order and the services were started. Using the wrong order resulted in issues, which eventually were resolved by using the below mentioned PowerShell commands. 

Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState –PoolFqdn directorpool.domain.lan –ResetType ServiceReset
Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState –PoolFqdn directorpool.domain.lan –ResetType FullReset
Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState –PoolFqdn directorpool.domain.lan –ResetType QuorumLossRecovery

After the front-end servers, I tested the director servers. During these tests one of the front-end services wasn’t able to start. After a lot of tries and starting up the servers in various orders the service still wasn’t starting. So I moved on and tried several PowerShell commands (Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState). During the execution of the last command I received an error within PowerShell after a while. The notification was weird because the director servers al have a registrar, but due to some reason the PowerShell command thought that this wasn’t the case.

Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState : Could not connect to any server in Pool
directorpool.domain.lan during Phase 1.
At line:1 char:1
+ Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState -PoolFqdn directorpool.domain.lan -ResetType
QuorumL … 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState], Exception
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Error resetting fabric state. For details, see inner exception.,Microsoft.Rtc.Management.Hadr.ResetPoolFabricStateCmdlet

During the execution of the second command the Lync server performed some actions, which could be noticed in the PowerShell prompt. However after the reset of the quorum I noticed the following warnings in the Lync Server event log.

Event ID: 32169, LS User Services
“Server startup is being delayed because fabric pool manager is initializing.
Cause: This is normal when Pool is bootstrapped and indicates that the Front-End is waiting for a quorum of other Front-Ends to be started.

Resolution:
If this event recurs persistently, ensure that 85% of the Front-Ends configured for this Pool are up and running. For 2 or 3 machine Pools, initial cold-start of the Pool requires all machines to be started. If multiple Front-Ends have been recently decommissioned, run Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState -ResetType QuorumLossRecovery to enable the Pool to recover from Quorum Loss and make progress.”

After performing the above mentioned commands I was hoping that the servers were starting, however this wasn’t the case. So eventually we decided to open a support case at Microsoft. During the case, the Microsoft Support engineer asked me to install the Lync 2013 Cumulative Update of July 2013. The installation of the Cumulative Update did the trick. The services were able to start, even though the wrong order was picked. The Microsoft Support engineer stated that there isn’t any publicly available documentation regarding the July 2013 Cumulative update which addresses this issue, however in most cases this Cumulative update resolves the issue.

Normally I am not so confident by installing the latest Cumulative updates on this fast pace. In the past I had to deal with some faulty SharePoint Cumulative Updates, which were eventually retracted by Microsoft. So normally I would recommend a delay of 2 months for installing the Cumulative updates. But as the Microsoft Support engineer stated, the updates improved a lot and especially for Lync the updates can be installed, and is even recommended by Microsoft. After the environment was stable again, and I had evaluated the whole issue, I decided to install the latest Cumulative Updates on all environment I maintained.

TechEd 2013: Wrap up day 1

Two weeks ago I attended the TechEd 2013 Europe conference in Madrid. First of all I have to admit I was quite overwhelmed by the size of the conference. With a huge numbers of attendees, over 450 sessions and a whole conference center being used, it was quite impressive. During the following blogs I want to wrap up some of the interesting points speakers made during the sessions I attended.

Enabling People Centric-IT

During this sessions some further insights were given about the IT that people bring in. One of the trending topics, or issues that IT departments are struggling the most with is BYOD. Using the new software tools Microsoft developed it became a lot easier to manage all kinds of devices. Using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 configuration Manager, users are now able to easily add file shares and apps to their own device. However when the connection with the device is lost (sold, lost or broken) it is very easy to disable the connection after which all company data is erased.

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Source: TechEd Presentation ‘Enabling People-Centric IT’ by Andrew Conway

Looking at the possibilities, I have to admit that I really love those. The ease and simplicity of adding the device to the company’s network and the amount of policies that can be required by the IT department is bringing BYOD to a whole new level, and hopefully more accepted and supported by IT departments.

Overview of Enterprise Social from Microsoft

The next presentation I attended was more in the direction of my daily working experience. During the start of the session a lot of open doors were stepped into, although for me. During the recent years a lot of the numbers mentioned were still impressive, but heard of a lot. However during the presentation an interesting insight was given about the social roadmap of Microsoft, and in more detail SharePoint and Yammer was presented.

The most interesting part of the presentation was that of the announcement of the app which will be released for SharePoint 2013. Using this app you will be able to incorporate the Yammer enterprise flow into you SharePoint sites. Christophe Fiessinger (presenter) also showed some very interesting picture of Yammer integration in Dynamics CRM Online for example.

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Source: TechEd Presentation ‘Overview of Enterprise Social from Microsoft’ by Christophe Fiessinger

At the end of the presentation a basic roadmap is given. For me the most interesting point on the roadmap was the option that the newsfeed of SharePoint can be replaced with the newsfeed of Yammer. Personally I like the idea very much, as Yammer gives the users more possibilities in following and adding stuff. When these messages appear on SharePoint, SharePoint will become the major business platform in the enterprise (in most cases it already is). However discussing this roadmap Christophe mentioned that all new features will be placed into Office 365 first (and with a faster pace). And in alter stages the updates will become available for  on premise SharePoint farms. 

Designing for High Availability and Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Lync Server 2013.

During this presentation Justin Morris started with some kind of horror scenario of what could happen with your data center and why High Availability and disaster recovery is important. Using this setting the attention of the public was gained and the possibilities were easily explained. Starting of with the possibilities in Lync Server 2010 and followed by the changes in 2013.

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Source: TechEd presentation ‘Designing for High Availability and Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Lync Server 2013’  by Justin Morris

During the presentation Justin told that Lync 2013 was more dependent of SQL Server than it predecessors. However Lync is able to work for almost half an hour with now connection to the back end system. When the connection isn’t back at that moment Lync will start to fail as well. A design issues as well is related to the front-end pool. Within Lync 2013 the pool quorum is introduced. This quorum states that more than 50% of the pool needs to be up and running. When this is not the case the the other servers will go down as well. Justin also mentioned pools with two front-end servers. When one of the two are brought down (in case of maintenance) they should be brought up as soon as possible! When it is possible to bring down both of the servers, please plan this carefully!

Justin has mentioned a lot of other issues and pitfalls related to Lync Server 2013 deployments. You can just view the webcast or check the presentation (see hyperlink above).

Search Architecture, Sizing and Migration in Microsoft SharePoint 2013

During the last session of the day I attended a session related to SharePoint Search and the architecture. Within SharePoint 2013 the search architecture is completely changes (this was necessary due to the integration of FAST Search). Search now consists of 4 components (the feeding chain, the Index Core, The query chain and the analytics services). All of these components have their own components and makes SharePoint crawling all bits and pieces.

After all of the components the sizing for search is discussed. Sizing can be done in two manners:

  1. Scale up (more and faster resources)
  2. Scale out, adding more machines and distribute all components over these machines.

Using the some of the benchmarks and tests that are performed by Microsoft consultants it is showed where the load of the different components lays. Using these scenario’s enables you the scale the servers of search components.

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Source: TechEd presentation ‘Search Architecture, Sizing and Migration in Microsoft SharePoint 2013’ by Jan Inge Bergseth.

During the presentation Jan Inge mentioned the Query tool. This tool can be found on CodePlex and gives you insight of the contents that are stored in the index of the SharePoint Search.

After the presentation a lot of questions concerning Search migration were raised. On of the suggestions that were raised by migrating the entire index file was very interesting. However this possibility can only be used when all URL’s will remain the same.

Microsoft Lync Server 2013: Response Groups and RBAC

As mentioned earlier I am involved with several Lync implementations at the moment. During one of these implementation we ran into some issues with the Lync Response Groups. During the configuration of the Response groups we saw them using the Lync Server Control Panel. However a day later we mentioned that the workflows, queues’ and Agent Groups were not longer displayed. Using some of the PowerShell commands  available for Lync Server 2013 (see citing below) we noticed that the Agent groups still existed in the database, as we found the configured Agent groups, Queues’ and Workflows been returned using the PowerShell commands below (see picture below).

Get-CsRgsWorkflow

Get-CsRgsQeue

Get-CsRgsAgentGroup

At first we thought this might be some kind of bug of Lync Server 2013, as this isn’t the first time that a GUI of a program is not showing data. However when talking to some of the folks of Microsoft during the recent TechEd Europe conference, their wasn’t any clue or known issue, so we had to dig deeper into the problem.

Response Groups

Last week during some searches for finding a resolution for the issue I stumbled upon a blog of Phil Sharp. Within this blog Phil describes the possibility to create custom RBAC roles in Lync Server 2013. Creating the custom RBAC roles weren’t part of the solution. However Phil mentioned the two Active Directory Groups which are involved in managing the Response features. As there are two groups (the manager and the Administrator role), it is obvious that managing the groups should be done by members of these groups).

When looking into these groups we noticed that the administrator which we logged into was placed directly into both Active Directory groups. So at first sight we thought this was the right way to configure the RBAC situation. However after some searches without any results we decided to remove the administrator from the CsResponseGroupManager group. By doing this and refreshing the workflow page and the Lync control panel made the workflows, Agent Groups and Queues’ reappear to the administrator.

CsResponseGroupAdministrator Can manage the configuration of the Response Group application within a site.
CsResponseGroupManager Can manage specific response groups.

Source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg425917.aspx

The above mentioned scenario means that the the administrator has indeed all permissions, but these permissions will be overwritten by by managers group. Therefore it is necessary to add the administrator only the the CsResponseGroupAdministrator Active Directory group in order to make sure that the administrator is able to manage these groups. Managing these groups means also managing the unmanaged Lync Response Group workflows!

Conclusion
RBAC is a powerful solution but you have to be careful about where accounts will be added and which groups have permissions to manage certain configurations. This is not only for the access based groups but also for the functionality which is provided to the managers and administrators of the functionality in Lync 2013 and in particular the Response Groups.