Category Archives: 14770

Change Lync Join Announcements to Tone Only



By default Lync Server 2010 announces when users join or leave a dial-in meeting by name.  For example, “Pilar Ackerman has joined the conference.”  Kind of cool, but it can get annoying when attendees join or leave in the middle of the meeting.



You can configure Lync Server to instead play a simple tone instead or turn entry/exit announcements off altogether.



To set the new default entry/exit announcements to a tone, run the following cmdlet from your Lync back end server:



Set-CSDialInConferencingConfiguration -EntryExitAnnouncementsType ToneOnly -EntryExitAnnouncementsEnabledByDefault $true

Note: You must be a member of the RTCUniversalServerAdmins group or have the appropriate RBAC rights to run this command.



To disable entry/exit announcements altogether, run the following cmdlet:



Set-CSDialInConferencingConfiguration -EntryExitAnnouncementsEnabledByDefault $false


Blistering Fast Windows Server – Parts List and Video

Walk with me now, as we take a stroll down Geek lane.  :)








I decided it’s time to replace my old Hyper-V server at home with a new one that’s faster and can run more VMs.  I’ve decided again to build it myself from OEM parts so I can get exactly what I want at a right price.  This article contains my parts list and my reasons for choosing what I did.  Hopefully, this will help you with your own home lab.
I host my private cloud network on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host server.  Hyper-V is perfect for my environment because it allows me to run workgroup applications (Exchange Edge Transport and IIS) directly on the host, as well as host my virtual domain servers.

My current Hyper-V server is an AMD x64 dual core rig with 16GB RAM and two SATA drives, one for the OS and another for VMs.  I built it about 3 years ago when I was on the Windows Server 2008 TAP and it has served me well.  But with Windows Server 8 and Exchange 15 right around the corner, I wanted to be sure I had the capabilities of running these new versions.

My Design Requirements
As with most customers, I have competing requirements for this new server:
  • Minimum of 4 cores
  • Windows Server 8 capable.  Hyper-V for Windows 8 requires hypervisor-ready processors with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), as reported by Microsoft at BUILD.
  • 32GB of fast DDR3 RAM
  • Must support SATA III 6Gb/s drives
  • Must have USB 3.0 ports for future portable devices
  • Must be quiet.  This server is sitting next to me in my office (aka, the sunroom) and I don’t want to hear it at all.
  • Low power requirements
  • Small form factor
  • Budget: ~$1,000 USD
My RAM requirements drove most of this design.  Since this would be based on a desktop motherboard (server mobos are too big and ECC RAM is too expensive), I first looked for 4x8GB (32GB) DDR3 RAM.  Then I looked for a small mobo that would accept that much RAM, then a processor for that mobo.
 
Here’s my parts list, including links to where I purchased each item and the price I paid:
Part Number
Description
Price
Source
Intel Core i5-2400S Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I52400S
$193.00
Amazon

Intel BOXDH67BLB3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$85.99
NewEgg
Komputerbay 32GB DDR3 (4x 8GB) PC3-10600 10666 1333MHz DIMM 240-Pin RAM Desktop Memory 9-9-9-25
$225.00
Amazon
OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-120G 2.5″ 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$129.99
NewEgg
Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB 64MB Cache SATA III 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
$114.99
NewEgg
ASUS 24X DL-DVD Burner SATA II
$19.99
NewEgg
AeroCool M40 Cube Computer Case – Micro ATX, LCD Display, 2x 5.25 Bays, 3x 3.5 Bays, 4x Fan Ports, Black
$79.99
TigerDirect
Antec EA-380D Green 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply
$44.99
NewEgg
ENERMAX UC-8EB 80mm Case Fan
$9.99
NewEgg
nMEDIAPC ZE-C268 3.5″ All-in-one USB Card Reader with USB 3.0 Port
$16.99
NewEgg
Rosewill RX-C200P 2.5″ SSD / HDD Plastic Mounting Kit for 3.5″ Drive Bay
$4.99
NewEgg


Total:  $925.91


I was a little worried about the Komputerbay RAM.  I’ve never heard of them before, but they offer a lifetime warranty and 32GB DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) RAM was $54 cheaper than what I could find at NewEgg.  In the end I’m very pleased with my decision.
I chose different sources for the best price.  NewEgg is my go-to vendor for most items.  They charge sales tax in California, but I have a ShopRunner account that gives me free 2-day shipping on all these items.  Amazon was the smart choice for the bigger ticket items since they don’t charge tax and I could get them delivered with a 30 day free trial of Prime 2-day shipping.  Not to mention the fact that I had a $500 Amazon gift card that I won at TechEd 2011 from my good friends at Vision Solutions!  TigerDirect was the only source for this great AeroCool micro ATX cube computer case.
All the items were delivered the same day and started putting it together that night.  Careful assembly took about 90 minutes and everything went together perfectly. 
It’s a Geek Christmas!

All the parts freed from their cardboard prisons

The only other item I added was a dual port Intel PRO/1000 MT Server Adapter that I already had.  I also used L-bend right angle SATA cables instead of the two that came with the Intel motherboard, due to the short clearance between the PSU and the back of the drives (I knew this going in).
The innovative AeroCool M40 micro ATX case opens up like a book for easy access.  The power supply, hard drives and DVD drive(s) are in the top half and everything else is down below.  It includes a nearly silent 120mm front fan and has room for one more on the top rear section and two 80mm fans on the bottom rear section.  I added a single silent 80mm fan on the bottom to push warm air out.  The case temperature has never gone above 26.4C and it’s completely silent.
View from above showing the Antec PSU, the 3.5″ and 5.25″ drive cages and the unused PSU cabling

View from the hinged side, showing motherboard placement

I’m using the OCZ 120GB SATA III SSD drive for the operating system and pagefile, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise for now.  I’ll upgrade the server to Windows Server 8 when it goes RTM.  In the meantime, I’ll build and test beta versions as VMs.  I have to say that this SSD drive was one of the best choices for my new system.  It’s blistering fast!  Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 installed in just 6 minutes!!  Take a look at the video below to see that it takes only 20 seconds to get to a logon screen from a cold start, and half of that time is the for the BIOS POST!

The Intel I5 4-core Sandy Bridge processor has amazing graphics built in.  I’m able to run Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Aero theme at 1920×1080 HD resolution with no difference in performance.  It’s possible to overclock this system, but it’s plenty fast for me and I value stability over speed.  I love the fact that it draws only 65W!  This not only saves electricity, it keeps the case cool which lowers the cooling requirements.
The bottom half with the case split open. The I5-2400s CPU came with this huge low profile CPU cooler.

As a desktop motherboard, the Intel DH67BL motherboard came with drivers that did not work out of the box with Windows Server 2008 R2.  I downloaded the latest drivers from Intel and most installed fine.  The only items I had trouble with were the built-in Intel 82579V Gigabit network adapter and the integrated Intel HD Graphics drivers.  Intel “crippled” the NIC driver installer so that it won’t install on a server platform.  See this article which explains how to re-enable it.   The video driver installed most of the way, but the installer crashed when trying to register a DLL.  It was able to install again fine after a restart.
I also used a Western Digital Green 2TB SATA III drive for storage of my Hyper-V VMs.  I’ve always used Western Digital drives and I’ve never had a problem with them.  The WD Green line saves power, runs cool and quiet, and delivers 6 Gb/s performance.
Photo of the completed server.  I placed a DVD on top to for scale.

This is by far the fastest sever I’ve ever worked on, bar none.  I’m extremely happy with it.  I haven’t bothered running any benchmarks* on it – I just know that it’s fast enough for my needs and has plenty of RAM so I can run more VMs.
I hope this article helps you to build your own home lab server.   Please let me know if you have any questions.

* There are lies, damn lies, and benchmarks.

How to Force Using the Lync Web App

If you have the Lync 2010 client installed it will automatically launch when you click to join a meeting using the meeting URL.  If you don’t have Lync 2010 installed you will see a Microsoft Lync 2010 join page similar to the following:






From this web page you can join the meeting using your browser (Lync Web App), download the thick Lync 2010 Attendee client, or use your OCS 2007 Communicator (with reduced functionality) if it’s installed.



Lync Web App is supported on multiple Windows and Mac platforms (see Lync Web App Supported Platforms for details).  It also requires the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in version 4.0 or better installed.  Lync Web App will download various ActiveX components as needed to add functionality, such as screen sharing.  Previously, Lync Web App used to be called the reach client.



The Lync 2010 Attendee client is a thick client (it must be downloaded and installed), so it requires rights to install software.  The Lync 2010 Attendee is very similar to the Lync 2010 client, but it does not allow you to create buddy lists or create meetings.  Both Lync Web App and Lync 2010 Attendee allow you to join as guests or with your corporate credentials.



As mentioned earlier, the Lync 2010 client will automatically launch if it is installed when you click the “Join Online Meeting” URL.  However, you may find that you need to use Lync Web App instead.  Maybe your want to demo the web join page, above, or you’re in an environment where the firewall blocks access using the Lync 2010 client.  To do this, simply add ?sl= to the meeting URL.  For example:



https://meet.extrateam.com/jeff/3MK1BW1F?sl=



Viola!  The Lync Client will not launch and you can choose to run Lync Web App.

Deploying the Lync 2010 Mobility Service Step-by-Step




Now that Microsoft has released the Lync 2010 mobile clients for Windows Phone 7, Android and Apple IOS devices, you’re probably wondering how to deploy the Lync 2010 Mobility Service.  Normally that’s something I might cover here on this blog, but Lync MVP Jeff Schertz has already done an excellent job on his blog. 



Grab a cup of coffee and head on over to Deploying the Lync 2010 Mobility Service.  Jeff has done a fantastic job of explaining how to set this up!

Microsoft Lync Mobility is Coming Soon!

Microsoft is planning to release the Lync mobile client for various platforms soon.  The PowerPoint presentation below come from a Microsoft presentation

this morning.  Microsoft confirmed that this information is not NDA and can be shared with others, so here you go!



Lync Mobility will provide a mobile client for Windows Phone 7, iPhone, iPad, Android and Symbian devices.  There is no ETA for these clients at this time.  Microsoft is dependent on the various partner marketplaces for actual client availability.






Enjoy!

How to get Lync Control Panel to Remember Password




Whenever you launch the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Control Panel you are prompted for credentials, even if you select the check box to “Remember my credentials”.



You can easily make Lync Control Panel remember your username and password by adding the Lync Server pool FQDN to your Local Intranet site.  Here’s how:



  • Make note of the Lync Server pool FQDN listed in the Windows Security dialog box (in the example above, LYNC1.theguillets.com).
  • Open Internet Explorer and go to https:\\<Lync Server FQDN>.  You’ll probably get a “HTTP Error 403.14 – Forbidden” page — don’t worry about that.
  • Click Tools | Internet Options in IE.
  • On the Security tab, click Local intranet and then the Sites button.
  • Click Advanced on the Local Intranet dialog box.
  • Add the Lync Server FQDN to Local intranet, as shown below:


  • Click Close and OK twice.  Then close Internet Explorer.

Now Lync Control Panel will use the credentials of the logged on user, using Windows Authentication.  If you want to logoff and use another set of credentials, click “Sign Out” in Lync Control Panel and then “Sign in as a different user”.

Fun with NSLOOKUP

Microsoft Exchange and Lync Server use TXT and SRV records in DNS to publish domain and service connection point information.  Exchange 2007 and 2010 use TXT records for federation and Sender Protection Framework (SPF) records.  Lync 2010 uses SRV records for automatic client sign in and protocol configuration.  Often these records are published in both internal and external DNS zones.  It’s important to know that these records are configured properly and have propagated throughout the Internet.  This article explains how to use the Windows built-in tool, nslookup, to confirm the records.



Nslookup can be used both as a single line query or in interactive mode.  It normally returns results for A or CNAME (alias) records.  To view TXT, SRV, or MX records, you must change the nslookup type.  The following single line query looks up the TXT records for a domain:

nslookup -q=txt domain.com



This example shows all the TXT records for the domain theguillets.com:






Note that this query was run against the primary DNS server, 192.168.1.1.  What if you want to run the query against another external DNS server?  Try the following command:

nslookup -q=txt domain.com 8.8.8.8

where 8.8.8.8 is the FQDN or IP address of the DNS server you want to query.  8.8.8.8 is one of the Google DNS servers and returns the following:






This is a good way to check that your DNS data is propagating across the Internet.  On a side note, I’ve found that Google’s DNS servers sometimes take a long time to update.  I use it as my worst case propagation test — If it’s propagated to 8.8.8.8, it’s probably propagated everywhere.  Of course, you can substitute the query type ( -q=txt ) with SRV or MX in the command above to lookup those record types.



You can also run queries in interactive mode.  This is useful when you want to look the same query type for several domains.  You start interactive mode by just entering nslookup at the CMD prompt, setting the query type, and entering the domain(s) to query.  The following example displays the SRV records for theguillets.com according to the remote Google DNS server:



C:\>nslookupDefault Server:  UnKnown
Address:  192.168.1.1


> server 8.8.8.8Default Server:  google-public-dns-a.google.com
Address:  8.8.8.8


> set type=srv> _sip._tls.extrateam.com
Server:  google-public-dns-a.google.com
Address:  8.8.8.8

Non-authoritative answer:
_sip._tls.theguillets.com SRV service location:
          priority       = 0
          weight         = 0
          port           = 443
          svr hostname   = edge.theguillets.com
> _sipfederationtls._tcp.theguillets.com
Server:  google-public-dns-a.google.com
Address:  8.8.8.8

Non-authoritative answer:
_sipfederationtls._tcp.theguillets.com    SRV service location:
          priority       = 0
          weight         = 0
          port           = 5061
          svr hostname   = edge.theguillets.com
> exit

C:\>

Notice that I changed from the default primary DNS server to Google’s using the server 8.8.8.8 command and I set the query type to SRV using the set type=srv command.

Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010

Microsoft released Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010 today. Tabbed Conversations is an application that provides a tabbed Lync 2010 conversation window to allow multiple instant messaging (IM) conversations in a single window, as shown below.





This is a separate application from Lync 2010 and must be launched after the Lync 2010 client is launched.  If you close Lync, you’ll need to launch it again.  See the Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010 Getting Started Guide for more details.



Once you start the application and you start an new IM for the first time, Lync briefly opens a normal IM window and then replaces it with the Tabbed Conversations window (above).  It then works exactly as the normal IM conversation window, with a few additions.



You can start a new tabbed conversation by clicking the “+” button at the end of the row.  This will pop-up the Send Instant Message window for you to choose a new contact.  You can also detach a conversation from the tabbed interface by clicking the up arrow icon in the tab.  This will open the conversation in the standard Lync IM window.  You can bring it back into the tabbed application by re-adding that contact as a new tab.



As expected, you can only do one screen share per tabbed IM conversation at a time, but you can have multiple contacts in that conversation.



It would be nice if the integration was a little smoother.  I don’t like having to open the application after I launch Lync, and the way it briefly shows the normal Lync IM window before it kicks in is a little annoying.  But overall I like the way that it decreases the surface area of Lync, especially on smaller screens.