MarkC on UC Microsoft Skype for Business, Lync, Exchange & Everything Else

06-05-13 Weekly Tech Update

Technical round-up to Monday 6 May 2013.

Still getting mail over the couple of slightly negative Apple articles I wrote - what's that about? Anyway, onwards and upwards.

This week I've had a surprising number of conversations about Active Directory. I find it interesting that the functions and capabilities of AD are not always as highly utilised as you'd imagine - often they're relatively vanilla installations. Of course it works perfectly well in that set up - but there's so much more you can do with it.

I had an email from somebody this week who was in the unfortunate position where they'd had a power outage during a schema upload for Exchange 2013 - how unfortunate is that? He was stuck in the position where he couldn't run the schema update again, and nor would Exchange install as it didn't think the schema updates were done! Unfortunate situation to be in - messing with your schema shouldn't be taken lightly. Fortunately, we were able to work out which bits of the schema update had failed using something I'd written a while ago for my demo systems:

Removing an Exchange 2013 Schema Prep

Of course it's massively unsupported - I'm not quite sure what Microsoft PSS would say about editing the schema directly like that! Glad I wasn't in his shoes anyway.

The other thing I've been advising somebody on this week is simplifying their management of users. If you find your admins are doing the same thing repeatedly, manually, you're doing it wrong. It's simple to automate tasks with a bit of scripting knowledge. With a bit of basic scripting we've enabled configuration of Exchange Mailboxes, policies, and configuration of Microsoft Lync too. Saves a few steps and keeps all of the user enablement in the AD Users & Computers tool. There's an example of this process here:

Enabling Users for Lync Inside ADU&C

Also, Microsoft has updated and published guidance on securing Active Directory - you can see that here:

Best Practices for Securing Active Directory

Blog Stuff
As you've probably worked out, I spend a lot of time working with Microsoft Lync - it's a great product, and fun to demo. It's also one of those products that people don't 'quite' get what it's for initially. On that front, I've done a number of small demo clips running through the major functionality points. You can see them here:

Lync 2013 Functionality Demos

This one is an oddity - a weird little big in Apple IOS on the iPhone 5 - it misses out words! Hardly important, but vaguely interesting. It would appear that the width of the characters can sometimes mean words should be pushed on to line 2, but it doesn't show.

Odd Apple IOS Bug

I've also been playing with the sleep modes on my Macbook Pro - you can see how to do that here:

Turn off OSX SafeSleep

UC Goodies
Lots of good stuff coming through again this week - some of the more interesting bits I've seen:

Firstly, I love reading articles like this - Lync really is on the up:

Unified communications Battle Royale: Cisco, Avaya feel the heat from Microsoft Lync

The Lync dial optimiser is handy for working out dial-plans:

Dialing Rule Optimizer

Don’t Fight BYOD – Join It At The Desktop! Interesting points on BYOD.

Having issues with your conferences while implementing Lync 2013? Have a read of this:

Lync 2013 MCU and Old Conference Directories

Now, this product caught my attention this week -
The ShoreTel dock for an iPhone. My first reaction was 'Not sure if serious'. My second reaction is still in its infancy - I'd be curious to hear other's opinions!

The UC Summit has been running this week over in California. I'm going through the outputs of that right now. There's an interesting article below that was driven out of the summit:

Three Things You Need to Know About UC Today

There's a great article here by
Justin Morris explaining the behaviour of Lync conference expiry:

Lync Conference Expiration and Deactivation Explained

This one is only really relevant for SIP Providers, but Microsoft have now released details on the SIP Headers used by Lync - hopefully this should help providers provide better billing & reporting structures:

Lync 2013 Headers for SIP Trunk provider billing

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