Microsoft Lync Server 2010: Deploying Monitoring Server Reports

During recent weeks I have installed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 at various customers. During one of these deployments we have been struggling a lot with the deployment of the reports belonging to the monitoring server.

The reporting services reports are used to get an overview in the Usage of Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and the Quality of Service provided by Microsoft Lync Server 2010. For example reports are available for the amount of conversations that are being held and how this amount is divided over IM and audio/video conversations. Using the reports for the Quality of Services gives you information about the quality of the conversations that are being held from headset to headset and everything in between.

Deploying these reports requires that Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is installed. A license for this feature is acquired whenever a SQL Server Database license is purchased. This means that Reporting services can be installed without any additional costs. It is possible to combine reports for various applications on a single instance of SQL Server reporting service, it is also possible to create various instances for the various reports.

The deployment of the reports designed for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 is executed from the Lync 2010 Deployment Wizard. using this wizard a Hyperlink is available from where the reports can be deployed. During the deployment several fields are required to be filled in. All of these fields are properly described in the wizard and it is hard to make any mistakes.

However during the deployment a very specific error can be obtained. As some more error message within Microsoft products are not that clear it is a hell of a job to get the right fix for the error. In some cases you might run into the error, which is stated below.

Could not get objects from namespace root\Microsoft\SqlServer\ReportServer. The RPC server is unavailable. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BA)The RPC server is unavailable. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BA) Cannot get the ReportServerWebService URL. Verify that Reporting Services is deployed and configured properly on the target SQL instance:"SQL\REPORTING", and that WMI is included on the exception list of firewall setting on the server that is running Reporting Services.Invalid parameter

A lot of suggestions are made on the internet. These suggestions varies from open your entire Firewall to create a new SQL instance to add permissions on the SQL server on which the databases of the reporting services are installed. A lot of these suggestions are not a resolution (for example: reinstall the SQL reporting services) or doesn’t work (for example: add permissions the SQL server).

The actual resolution of the above mentioned error can be found on the account that is signed into the server. During the installation several tokens are send to the SQL Server Reporting instance that is defined. In normal circumstances this doesn’t matter when the proper permissions are configured. However the combination of Microsoft Lync and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting services are using specific tokens. In order to make sure the proper tokens are send back and forth it is important to log into the server with the SQL Server Reporting Services service account that you configured during the configuration of the SQL Server Reporting instance you have chosen. using this account makes sure that you can deploy the reports without any problem.

When the principle of least privileges is required, it is important to define the proper permissions after the deployment. This means that the proper accounts are added to the proper SQL reporting group. Doing this makes sure that users who only need read access, only gets this permissions.

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Microsoft Lync Server 2010: Presenting phone numbers to contacts

JoostAt the moment I am involved in several Microsoft Lync 2010 implementations. During these implementations I got a lot of questions which weren’t addressed during the courses I followed for this product. Some of the questions are relatively simple to answer, some aren’t. In order to answer the most common questions, I will post several blogs related to these questions. This first blog was a question of colleague. This colleague is using federation a lot during his normal work. He asked me how he could ‘hide’ certain contact details as these should be only available for the internal organization. In order to answer the question above there are two possible options you have in Lync 2010 (but also in OCS and Lync 2013). First we have the ‘Phones’ option and second there is the privacy relationship option. I will explain both of them.

imagePhones option

When entering the Lync Options Menu (press the wheel and then choose for options), there are a lot of tabs visible. One of them is called ‘Phones’. From this tab the user is able to add phone numbers, when they are not provisioned from other sources. In most of the cases the mobile phone will be filled in, as this phone number is supplied through the Active Directory. Other phone numbers can be entered by pressing the correct button and supply the phone number. Now behind the number on the options menu, there is a checkbox displayed. This checkbox enables to user to choose whether or not the phone number is included in the contact card. When checking or unchecking this checkbox an notification will appear. The text on this information box is quite important. As the text states that:

“Phone numbers you publish will be available to your contacts depending on their access level. Phone numbers supplied by your corporate address book are available to people within your organization regardless of their access level”.

This text states two things. First of all, you are able to choose whether or not phone numbers will be displayed based on the access level (also known as privacy relationship, see below). So by unchecking the checkbox next to a number that you have supplied manually, the phone number will not be displayed on the contact card (not even for colleagues). Second whenever information is published through the Active Directory (or corporate address book) the contact information is always visible. As already mentioned before some information is supplied through AD. As this information is accessible through other applications as well (SharePoint, Outlook etc.) this information will be always available for colleagues.

imagePrivacy relationship

Besides the earlier mentioned options the user is able to define a privacy relationship for each contact. By clicking with the right mouse button on a contact in the contact list a menu appears. In the menu an option called “Change Privacy Relationship” is available. When hovering over this option, several privacy relationships and their descriptions are shown (see picture on the right).

As there are 5 relationship statuses available the correct one is always available. By default all contacts are assigned with a certain status. Whenever adding an internal colleague (internal contact) the privacy relationship ‘Colleague’ is added. Whenever an external contact is added,  the privacy relationship external contact is also added to the contact. Whenever the contact has too much (or maybe too little) information the relationship with the contact can be changed. In order to change the relationship, just click another relationship, and the status is changed.

Using this settings enables the user to define which contacts sees which information. However there are some another advantages in dividing contacts with these kinds of relationships:

  1. Do not disturb. When you set your presence status to ‘Do not Disturb’ normally no notifications will be shown. However, when a contact is set with the relationship type ‘Workgroup’ the contact is considered as important. This means that you will receive messages from this contact whenever he or she is setting up a conversation (whether it is instant messaging or audio/video).
  2. Sorting of contact list. When all contacts are set with certain privacy relationships, a special view is available. The default view of Lync 2010 client is based on the contacts list you created. When looking at the bar above the contact list, the text ‘Relationship’ is shown. Whenever pressing this link the contact list will be sorted to the privacy relationships. For each privacy relationship a group is shown, with all users assigned to that privacy relationship.

In the table below an overview of all information that is shown to contacts with certain privacy relationships is added.

Presence Information

External Contacts

Colleagues

Workgroup

Friends and Family

Presence Status

Display Name

Email Address

Title *

Work Phone *

Mobile Phone *

Home Phone *

Other Phone

Company *

Office *

SharePoint Site *

Meeting Location #

 

Meeting Subject #

 

Free Busy

Working Hours

Location #

Notes (Out-of-Office Note)

Notes (Personal)

Last Active

Personal Photo Web Address

  • An asterisk (*) next to a presence information item in the table above indicates that if this attribute is defined in the Active Directory, it will be visible to all contacts in your organization, regardless of privacy relationship, and to external contacts (if configured and recognized by your organization’s network).
  • A pound sign (#) next to a presence information item in the table above indicates that this attribute is visible by default.

Source of table: http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/communicator-help/control-access-to-your-presence-information-HA101850361.aspx