Sunday, May 31, 2015

MS Ignite BRK3110 - Skype for Business Networking

As promised in my Microsoft Ignite 2015 - Sessions, Venue, Expo post, here comes the first summary / review of the Ignite Skype4B sessions.

This session presented by Korneel Bullens - a Dutch MS guy.

"A well working network is the foundation of any Skype for Business Deployment."

Users of consumer Skype often say that Skype at home, over Wi-Fi, works great. Yes, when you are the only guy on that Wi-Fi network and Internet connection of course it will be better than sharing a network with maybe hundreds of people at an office.

Call quality on an IP-network can be a bit tricky.

The three networking issues we need to deal with:
  • Jitter
    The amount of time the packets are delayed before processing to compensate for packets arriving later than other packets. This time gets added to the network latency.
  • Packet loss
    The amount of packages that never survived the trip from A to B, got malformed, or simply arrived outside of the jitter buffer.
  • Latency
    The time it takes the packet to get from A to B. When talking about networks this is usually round trip time and noted as network latency.

Networking is not an exact science, context is key, it is about getting satisfied end-users. Example: a 100ms delay within a small country is bad, a 100ms delay halfway around the world is good!

Desktop sharing in Skype for business Online in Office 365 is often a problem due to low bandwidth between your network and the closest Office 365 datacenter.

Good documentation to download and study:

 QoS is one key technology to achieve satisfied end-users.
Implement it, document it AND verify it!

Don't trust what your network engineers tell you, check the network yourself as well!

DSCP and Port based tagging is the recommended approach, but you might get issues with BYOD devices.

Don't do audio over Direct Access or VPN (the double encryption (encrypted traffic over an encrypted channel) will eat up the precious milliseconds you need to achieve good audio.)

Document your network! All network guys are saying they have a network overview document, but most of them will require 4 weeks to "find it" :-)

A big struggle is to maintain call quality as the organization scale up. Call Quality Methodology was built to address this problem.

Software-defined networking (SDN) is a coming key technology to achieve satisfied end-users. Five partners already have solutions using SDN with Skype for business: Aruba, Prism, Extreme, HP and Nectar.

We have DSCP values set by group policy and it works fine with domain joined windows computers, but what would we do on a MAC? Use SDN.

How do we use QoS when traversing several networks? It does not work. Can SDN help? In 2016 Skype4B and Skype4B online will have feature parity, so probably SDN will become available for Skype4B online in the future.

Telephony over sketchy unmanaged IP networks is not working as well as copper based connections via a PBX, should we tell our customers to go back to the PBX? Not really answered - I would say: Connect a gateway to your managed network rather than trying to use telephony over an unmanaged IP network that is causing you trouble.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Skype for business Server 2015 prerequisites on Windows 2012 R2

This article is based on the official documentation found here:
Install Skype for Business Server 2015 and here Install prerequisites

To install Skype for business Server 2015 make sure to use Windows 2012 R2 (Windows Server 2008 R2 reached the end of mainstream support in January 2015.)

First of all, run Windows Update.

Second, open a PowerShell command window as Administrator and run the following command:

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

Or if you rather use the GUI check the following boxes in the Server Manager.

And the following boxes to configure the Web Server part.

Next, download and install the following patch (not included in Windows Update as of today) IIS crashes occasionally when a request is sent to a default document in Windows Server 2012 R2  This requirement is documented on this page: Server requirements for Skype for Business Server 2015 If you forget this requirement the deployment wizard will stop and alert you half-way through the installation process, like this:

If this happens you can safely download and install the patch and restart the deployment wizard.

Finally as you open the Skype for business Server 2015 Control Panel, it will prompt you to download and install Silverlight.

Happy Skyping!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Microsoft Ignite 2015 - On twitter

I really like twitter, it is fast, easy and fun. So during Ignite (and other events I go to) I tend to tweet and retweet quite a lot. Twitter is also fun for the statistics you can get from it. Toni Pohl created a very nice summary of what was happening on the #MSIgnite hashtag during Ignite.

Since the 2nd of May untill May 10th there were almost 109.000 tweets containing #MSIgnite sent by approximately 17.000 Twitter users. A rough estimate gives that #MSIgnite should have reached at least some 5 million users. I sent around 1000 tweets and retweets during the event and this made me the second most active tweeter during Ignite.

Follow me on Twitter at @mkressmark

Another great use of twitter came from companies in the expo hall telling people to take pictures or tweet to certain hashtags and their followers of course. I tried to win a trip to Australia in a contest hosted by Recordpoint, but I did not make it, instead I won a license from Landis Computer.

The Skype for business team arranged a live competition on twitter on the hashtag #Skype4BTrivia, which I unfortunately missed. However, there were some nice questions and answers in that competition which I will reiterate here. See if you know the answers without cheating, have fun!


1. When was the official announcement made that Lync would become Skype for business?
2. Where was the last Lync Conference held before Microsoft Ignite?
3. What is the name of the default Skype for business font?
4. Which version of the product introduced the concept of Public IM Connectivity (PIC)?
5. What was the codename for Lync Server Control Panel?
6. What command would be used to return a Skype for business server to service after performing maintenance?
7. What is the new server role introduced in Skype for business?
8. When did Microsoft overtake Cisco in the leaders position of Gartner's magic quadrant for UC?
9. Which Skype for business port and protocol is used for incoming SIP requests for IM?
10. What is the default video codec for Skype for business?
11. When moving a user to a new pool using PowerShell, what is their new pool referenced as?
12. What is the sum of the PSTN country codes for these two countries (identified by their flags below - (Netherlands and Italy))?
13. Where can you see address book normalization rules in Skype for business?
14. In the Skype for business client, what is the default ring tone for Private Line?
15. What feature does call monitor NOT provide?


And answers!


1. November 11, 2014
2. Las Vegas
3. Segoe UI
4. Live Communications Server 2005 Sp1
5. Bigfin
6. Invoke-CsComputerFailback
7. Video Interoperability Server
8. August 4, 2014
9. 5062 UDP
10. H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10
11. -Target
12. 70 (31 + 39)
13. Get-AddressBookNormalizationRule
14. Duotone
15. Hold/Unhold

Congratulations to the winner Brett Ondrey (@Xabulon)!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Microsoft Ignite 2015 - Sessions, Venue, Expo

Last week I joined some 23,000 IT professionals at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago to attend Microsoft Ignite.


I did not get to catch too many sessions since I was working, but the few I went to were very good. I learnt new things even though not so much is new in Skype for Business, and yes, I only went to Skype for business sessions :-)

Jamie Stark held a good presentation around voice in Skype for business, presented some news like SLA and ran some nice demos. My Norwegian friend Ståle Hansen held a session on Phone Number Management in Skype for business which was so popular it had to be run again, good job dude! Tommy Clarke talked about media and Johan Delimon explained SIP signaling. Just for the record - I gave all you guys the highest score available :-)

There were some 69 sessions around Skype for business in total, counting customer stories and partner sessions. Below is a list of some that I found interesting. The plan for my continued Ignite series is to watch these sessions on demand and give you summaries here on the blog, just keep refreshing this blog for updates.

BRK3110 - Skype for Business Networking
BRK3128 - Ensuring Media Quality in Microsoft Office 365 Skype for Business
BRK3138 - Getting to Skype for Business- Everything You Need to Know to Upgrade from Lync
BRK3140 - The Voice of Skype for Business - An Overview
BRK3142 - Planning and Deploying Call via Work for Enterprise PBX Users
BRK3151 - From Voice to Video, All about Interoperability with Skype for Business
BRK3167 - Skype for Business Management Tools for the Customer Lifecycle
BRK3174 - Real-Time Call Quality Metrics via Software Defined Networking (SDN) on Skype for Business
BRK3184 - Common Questions and Concerns about Skype for Business
BRK3198 - Skype for Business - Doing Very Large Online Meetings Very Easily!
BRK3200 - Deployment Strategies and Integration Scenarios with Exchange and Skype for Business
BRK3205 - Deep-Dive into Skype for Business and Microsoft Office Integration
BRK3208 - Mobility Deployment and Security with Skype for Business
BRK3211 - Skype for Business IT Pro Tools and ISV Solutions - Demo fest
BRK4100 - A Technical Deep Dive into Building Web Apps with the Skype Web SDK
BRK4102 - SIP Signaling, Negotiation and Media Flows in Skype for Business
BRK4103 - Meetings and Media - The Detailed View
BRK4107 - Enterprise Voice- An Experts Session
BRK4108 - Skype for Business - Server Vital Signs
BRK4112 - Automate Phone Number Management in Skype for Business
BRK4118 - Skype for Business - Call Quality Management and Operations
BRK4119 - A Technical Deep Dive into Skype for Business Video and Interoperability
BRK4120 - Troubleshooting Skype for Business Scenarios
BRK4122 - Managing Backup and Restore in Skype for Business
BRK4128 - A Deep Dive into Skype for Business Mobility
BRK4129 - Hybrid Configuration Deep Dive of Skype for Business

If you were at Ignite and want to download all the sessions there is a script to Download All Videos and Slides from Ignite 2015. Just be aware - when I downloaded it all I got 164 GB of files on my computer.

Venue / Food

The McCormick Place convention center is huge and confusing, it was hard to find the rooms to the north and south and in other buildings. It is probably a good thing that we are coming back next year, maybe we will find our way around better next time around.

Now where is N227B???

My one and only complaint on Microsoft Ignite was the food. In the Yammer group for Ignite the rating of the food scored between "Not good at all" and "I refuse to eat it". This must be an easy fix for next year and I'm sure Microsoft got this message.

The Expo hall

The Expo hall was of course huge as well. A very nice sized Skype for business booth was surrounded by many Skype for business partners and vendors. I got to meet with Audiocodes, and BTW did you know CloudPro is now an APSS Partner to Audiocodes? Unified Communications had the best Ignite t-shirt this year - "Don't hate - Federate", I just love it!

Look at that mans fine t-shirt!

My friend Matt from Landis Computer had a lot of people at all times in their booth showing their nice AttendantPro application.

I got to meet with Polycom, Jabra, Verba and Plenom, all of them showing interesting solutions for Skype for business. I also said a special hello to the Swedes from Competella, Gridpro, PointSharp and Specops, hope you had good Ignite like me!


My Ignite trip report would not be complete without mentioning the parties. It was great fun to meet with Mr. Ingels from Sweden, with Advania-Robert from Göteborg accompanied by Giso the girlfriend and GKN-Cecilia who performed live on stage at the House of Blues. I also enjoyed the Svenskkväll (Swede-evening) hosted by Microsoft and Specops, thanks! And as always I had lots of fun with CGI-Lena, CGI-Trolle, Cellip-Mårten, Atea-Johan S and Atea-Johan D.

I hope to meet you all again at Ignite 2016 which will be held at the same location in May 9-13, 2016.

 Cecilia was rocking!

Mårten was chilling!

Johan was certified!

Giso the girlfriend met a crazy rabbit!

Hope to see you in Chicago next year!

Looking forward to the next #MSIgnite!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Microsoft Ignite 2015 - keynotes

Last week I joined some 23,000 IT professionals at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago to attend Microsoft Ignite 2015.

I was working in the Hands-on-labs department as I have been the past couple of TechED conventions. We had around 150 labs available during the week and over 70 Microsoft Certified Trainers worked with the labs, mainly helping attendees getting started with and finishing labs. It was a lot of fun as usual! If you attended Ignite these labs will be accessible through "My Ignite" for 30 days after the event.

 The keynote hall was huge!


The first day started out with a keynote filled with many nice announcements of just released and soon to be released products. "Empowering" seemed to be a major buzzword used throughout the keynote. A lot of shorter demos and videos made the three hour keynote really enjoyable, but a Seventh-inning stretch would have been nice.
Satya Nadella the CEO of Microsoft opened and Joe Belfiore did a lot of the demos, and among some of the new things announced were:

Office 2016Public Preview, Windows Server 2016, System Center 2016, Exchange Server 2016 and also SQL Server 2016 were also discussed of course, so lots of new technology is on its way for sure.

A nice one note sketch of the keynote.

Several cool demos of an improved Cortana, the voice activated assistant were shown. Cortana have now learnt how to use windows as well, so that we can ask her: "How do I project my screen?" for example. Adding Business Intelligence to Cortana makes her feel a bit like "HAL" in the 2001 movie - cool, but a bit scary as well.

Windows Hello is a new way of logging in simply by letting the computer look for your face, and as soon as the computer sees your face you logged in to the system.

Next Gurdeep Singh Pall talked about Modern productivity, which is teams, human mobility and meetings. Julia White came on stage to show the new Surface Hub which is a huge touch-sensitive screen with cameras that can be used for running Skype for business meetings. Gurdeep also stated: "If you’re still using WebEx and GoToMeeting, and products from the last decade, stop doing that.  You can use your money on better things." His entire speech can be found here and here you can read more about how Skype for Business gains momentum.

Other Skype for business news and announcements that came during Ignite were:
  • Skype for Business Broadcasting - broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 users simultaneously.
  • A new, not an upgraded, Skype for Business for Mac client will be delivered this year.
  • In-call co-authoring allows multiple people to work together on a single document during a meeting.
  • Shared Line Appearance - multiple devices share calls and state information.
  • Intune integration is coming for Skype for Business mobile clients.
  • Reiterated: PSTN calling is coming to Office 365, soon.

Between 5:00 and 6:00 PM the first day there was a second "showcase" keynote which showed things that Microsoft research is working on. Very interesting thoughts on big data, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, speech recognition and computer vision. I recommend you to watch this keynote in case you missed it at Ignite, also check out if you have not done so already.

Watch out for a coming blog post on the Ignite sessions, venue, expo hall, networking, tweeting and parties!