Microsoft .net 4.7 and Skype for Business Server


During last few weeks, there was lot of confusion going on whether the .net 4.7 is compatible with Skype for Business. When the .net 4.6 was released, it effected the Skype for Business web component which resulted in causing issues with online meetings. Then, there was few bug fixes came up to remedy the situation.

But, Exchange team was first to confirm that the new .net 4.7 is not compatible with Exchange 2013\2016 platforms. But, there were no official recommendation from Microsoft, with regards to the compatibility with Skype for Business.

Few days ago, Microsoft have advised to follow the guidelines that put in by Exchange team, with regards to the compatibility between .net 4.7 and Skype for Business. So the bottom line is, it’s not supported with Skype for Business. If the automatic updates enabled in Skype for Business servers (they definitely should not), use the below method to block the .net updates form being applied

  1. Back up the registry.
  2. Start Registry Editor. To do this, click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.
  3. Locate and click the following subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP
  4. After you select this subkey, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click Key.
  5. Type WU, and then press Enter.
  6. Right-click WU, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  7. Type BlockNetFramework47, and then press Enter.
  8. Right-click BlockNetFramework47, and then click Modify.
  9. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  10. On the File menu, click Exit to exit Registry Editor.

If the update is already applied, use the guidelines that was put in by Exchange team to uninstall the update and repair the .net 4.6.x version on all servers.

I hope this helps 🙂

Skype for Business\ Exchange Hybrid and Polycom VVX calendar integration


I’ve been deploying lot of Polycom VVX devices with different types of Skype for Business typologies. I have never had issues with calendar integration when both Skype for Business and Exchange are in O365 (Skype for Business and Exchange Online).

But, when one of them becomes on-premises, as in users having either Skype for Business or Exchange services in O365 and the other is On-Premises (Hybrid topology), there will be issues with Exchange integration, when try to sign in to the device using the extension and PIN..

So consider Skype for Business Hybrid and Exchange online (most common scenario), to get the exchange integration working between two platforms (OWA integration, UCS), Modern Auth (oAuth) need to be configured between Skype for Business server and Exchange Online. This will allow the Skype for Business users to seamlessly authenticate with Exchange server to get the calendar information and based on the configuration, contact list (UCS).

When VVX device sign in to Skype for Business servers with an extension and PIN, VVX doesn’t do oAuth with Exchange online. As in, the seamless authentication to Exchange online does not work. It will always prompt to enter credentials to connect to exchange. There is no way around this.

Only possible workaround available is, use domain credentials to sign in to the device. Given that the credentials are based on UPN and not SPN, the device will use the same credentials to sign in to Exchange and pull Calendar, Recent calls and Voicemail information for that user.

The easiest way to sign in to the VVX will be using the web portal. By using the “User” credentials, users will be able to sign in to the device and not be able to change any configuration of the device, that been pushed by the Provisioning server. It’s a long winded and not a desired process. But, that’s the way around it for the time being.

Skype for Business Storage Service Event 32054


The well known and annoying Lync\Skype for Business event “Storage Service had an EWS Autodiscovery failure” error event. This event comes up in Skype for business server. 

There are 2 reasons this could happen.

  1. Does not have Partner Applications configured with Exchange server 2013
  2. Having Exchange 2010 with Lync Server 2013\Skype for Business server

The 1st one is relatively easy. Use this Technet article to configure partner applications with Exchange Server. This will allow the features like Unified Contact Store and Exchange end Archiving to be enabled.

If the Exchange is Exchange Online, then it gets little tricky. To get rid of this event, it requires to configure oAuth between Skype for Business server and Exchange Online. This one is little difficult compare to what mentioned above. Luckily, there’s a script written by Aaron Marks to simplify this.

Now, for the reason 2, which is the main reason i’m writing this article. Till last November, there was no cure for this error. As Exchange 2010 does not support partner applications, there was no such integration possible. And the error keep on piling up.

Luckily, this issue is now fixed with Skype for Business Server CU4 update, along with fixes for some other issues. Process to install this CU is exactly the same as before. Follow the steps mentioned the official article and it will be fine. The most important part is that, now we can get rid on this annoying error once and for all.

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Deploy Skype for Business Statistics Manager


Skype for Business Statistics Manager (StatsMan) is a powerful tool that process Key Health Indicator data real time and provide reports in web portal. Statics Manager poll data real time from various different server roles that are deployed within Skype for Business topology. Further information regarding StatsMan and it’s capabilities can be found here.

Deployment of the StatsMan is relatively easy. It will require a dedicated Windows Server to run StatsMan bits. There is no additional Skype for Business license involvement, apart from the Windows OS license that required for the StatsMan server.

Moving on with the deployment, StatsMan requires Redis, which is an open source base that StatsMan runs on. The Redis can be downloaded from here and StatsMan bits can be downloaded from here 

When ready, double click to run Redis-x64-3.2.100.msi file. 

Click on Next and accept license agreement. Set the destination folder, if required the bits to be installed on a specific location.

Click on Next and on the “Port Number and Firewall Exception”, check the “Add an exception to the Firewall” check box.

Click on Next. leave the “Set the max memory limit” box unchecked.

Click on Next and then click on Install to install the Redis bits.

Next, we move on to generate the certificate. It’s not mandatory to do it as soon as installing the Redis. but, i prefer to do it. To generate the CSR for the certificate, in StatsMan server, go to MMC console using Run. Add the Certificates on Local Computer Snap-in to the console.

Right click on the “Personal” store and expand “All Tasks” menu. In “All Tasks”, expand “Advanced Operations”, in “Advanced Operations”, select “Create Custom Request”.

Click on Next to proceed with the certificate enrollment process.

Select “Active Directory Enrollment Policy” and click on Next. 

Select “Web Server” template from drop down. Click on Next to continue.

Click on Next to move on. In :Certificate Information”, “Active Directory Enrollment Policy”, click on “Properties”.

In “Certificate Properties”, Subject component, select “Common Name” and specify the FQDN of the Server. In “Alternative Names”, select “DNS” and specify the server FQDN. If there’s a requirement to access the StatsMan web portal with a specific name instead of server FQDN (reports.domain.com, statsman.domain.com), this name must to be specified in DNS component.

Navigate to General tab and specify a name for the certificate with a proper description. 

In “Private Key”, check the “Mark private key exportable” box and apply the configuration.

Click on Next.

Specify a location to save the CSR and click on Finish.

Browse to the CA web portal and select to submit a custom request. Set the template as “Web Server” and paste the CSR on the request window. Submit to generate the certificate. 

Download the certificate that was issued from CA and import it in to the personal certificates container of the StatsMan server.

Open the certificate and note down the Thumb Print. This will be used later during the install process.

Now the certificate configuration is done, let’s move in to StatsMan installation. On the Server, run Statistics Manager Agent Listener (StatsManPerfAgentListener.msi) application.

Click on Next and accept the license agreement. On next window, specify a Password and Certificate Thumb Print that was previously noted down. Keep the password safe as it will be used during agent installations. Click on “Install” to install the bits.

Click on “Finish” to finish the installation process.

Now, the StatsMan Agent Listener installation is done. To test the functionality of the application, browse to https://localhost/8443. It will display some statistics and most importantly, check the value for the KnownServerCount. This should be set to 1.

Let’s install some agents on Skype for Business application servers. The StatsMan agent application must be installed on all Skype for Business servers that are added in to the topology. Else, those missing servers will not be reporting their KHI information.

To install the agent, run the StatsManPerfAgent.msi application. Click on “Next” and accept the license agreement. Click on”Next” to continue.

Mention the Service Password that was used before setup. Add the Certificate Thumbprint that was noted before. The Service URI will be https://<Agenet Listener Server FQDN>:8443. Click on “Install” to install the agent. Follow the same steps to install the agent on all Skype for Business related application servers.

Next in the agenda is the Web Site. On the StansMan server, run the StatsManWebSite.msi application. Click “Next” to continue and accept the license agreement. Click “Next” to continue.

Specify the Service Port as 8080 (if port 80 is vacant on the IIS, then that can be used as well). Click on “Install” to continue. 

We are almost there. The StatsMan need to be told what the Skype for Business topology looks like and what are the server roles and how many of them exist. To do this, the topology must be exported and then imported in to the StatsMan.

Note: an exported topology file from the topology builder will not fit to this purpose.

To export the topology, from the Skype for Business Management Shell, run the command Get-CsPool | Export-Clixml -Path “C:\Topology\topology.xml”

Copy the .xml file to StatsMan server and in PowerShell, navigate to the StatsMan installation directory. Run the script .\Update-StatsManServerInfo.ps1 -CsPoolFile “D:\Topology\topology.xml”. Enter “Y” when asked to update.

It’s all done now. In web browser, browse to the StatsMan Web Site. If the Servers are reporting KHI information, it will appear as windows on the web page. Note that it will take some time for KHI information to be displayed on the WebSite. 

I hope the information that i was given above is clear. If there’s any problem, please comment below. I’ll make sure to reply to them.

Configure Skype for Business Hybrid with Office 365 (O365)


There are a lot of blogs out there explaining how to configure the hybrid relationship between on premises Skype for Business Server and O365 Skype for Business Online. But, not most of the blogs contain all the information that requires to complete the configuration. Because of this reason, I thought of writing a post to cover end to end configuration without holding anything back.

In high level, Hybrid configuration requires;

  • Edge server with Federation enabled
  • Hosting Provider configured for Skype for Business online
  • DNS SRV (_sipfederationtls._tcp.domain.com) resolve to on premises Access Edge.
  • Port 5061 allowed from\to internet on the corporate Firewall for Access Edge interface
  • Enable SharedAddressSpace in O365
  • Skype for Business Hybrid setup in Skype for Business Control Pannel

Edge Server with Federation

Before even thinking about configuring Hybrid, The Skype for Business Edge server role must be deployed within the organization. Edge server is the component that act as a gateway in between On-premises servers and O365 Skype for Business Online.

If the Edge server exist, then the Federation need to be enabled in the Topology. Once federation is enabled, running below script will prepare the external services to support Skype for Business Hybrid;

Set-CSAccessEdgeConfiguration -AllowOutsideUsers 1 -AllowFederatedUsers 1 -EnablePartnerDiscovery 1 -UseDnsSrvRouting.

Hosting Provider Configuration

O365 is a hosted platform and Skype for Business Online is deployed on that platform. So, the Skype for Business Online need to be added as a Hosting Provider for On-premises server. Below command can be run on Skype for Business Management Shell as it is to configure the Hosting Provider;

New-CSHostingProvider -Identity SkypeforBusinessOnline -ProxyFqdn “sipfed.online.lync.com” -Enabled $true -EnabledSharedAddressSpace $true -HostsOCSUsers $true -VerificationLevel UseSourceVerification -IsLocal $false -AutodiscoverUrl https://webdir.online.lync.com/Autodiscover/AutodiscoverService.svc/root

Once configured, running Get-CsHosingProvider will show the current configuration.

DNS SRV configuration

Up in Edge server Federation configuration, the routing was set to DnsSrvRouting. This is where the SRV part comes in. System uses DNS SRV record to route traffic that suppose to be sent to the O365 Skype for Business Online. The SRV record that in question is _sipfederationtls._tcp.domain.com record. This record must be configured in public DNS and must resolve to Access Edge FQDN.

Also, is it mandatory that the Edge server resolve this DNS record externally. This means that the external interface of the Edge server must have public DNS configured. Usually, when Edge server deployed, the internal server names that it should resolve, will be added to the local host file. And the DNS is left blank on the internal interface. The external interface will have public DNS configured so that it can properly resolve external DNS entries and route traffic to the relevant destination.

Firewall Rules

When enabling federation on Skype for Business servers, TCP port 5061 must be opened both ways on the perimeter firewall against the Access Edge DMZ IP address. The same port will be used for Hybrid communication as it leverage Federation services on Skype for Business platform.

O365 Side Configuration

Specifically, Shared Address Space need to be enabled within O365. This attribute was enabled above, when configuring the Access Edge services. Once enabled, both Skype for Business Online and On-Premises servers will use the same domain name space as the SIP Domain.

To log in to O365 Skype for Business Online, use below commands in Windows PowerShell. Note that Skype for Business Online Connector Module must be installed before running  below commands. Replace the proper domain name in “OverrideAdminDoamin. Use a global tenant administrator account when prompt for credentials (user@domain.onmicrosoft.com)

$credential = get-credential

Import-Module MSOnline

Connect-MsolService -Credential $credential

Import-Module SkypeforBsuinessOnlineConnector

$lyncSession = New-CsOnlineSession -Credential $cred -OverrideAdminDomain domain.onmicrosoft.com

Import-PSSession $lyncSession -AllowClobber

Once connected, run below command to enable SharedAddressSpace in Skype for Business Online;

Set-CsTenantFederationConfiguration -SharedSipAddressSpace $true

Hybrid Setup in Skype for Business Control Panel

We are almost there. To complete the Hybrid setup, the configuration need to be completed in Skype for Business Control Panel. This bit is often getting missed out on most of the blogs out there.

Open Skype for Business Control Panel and then click on “Setup Hybrid with Skype for Business Online”

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Notice that it mentioned the prerequisites the need to be completed before setting up Hybrid. Confirm the first 3 points are addresses before moving forward. Else, it will come up with an error when configuring each stage.

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Click on “Sign in to O365” and type the user name and the password on the prompt. Note that the user name must be a tenant admin user (user@domain.onmicrosoft.com).

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Couple of “Next”s after, confirm that the all components are checked in green. If all above bits in this article was configures, the checks will come up as green.

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Now, the Skype for Business hybrid configuration with O365 Skype for Business Online is done. But, if the users that are enabled in O365 Skype for Business Online will see the presence of On Premises users. But the On Premises user will not be able to see the presence of online users.

To fix this, Online users need to be configured as “Hybrid” users. The below command will set the user’s msRTCSIP-DeploymentLocator attribute with Skype for Business Online server value so that when an On Premises user search for an Online user, the SUBSCRIPTION will forward to O365 and will not look at the On Premises server for that user.

Enable-CsUser -identity <SIP Address> -SipAddressType <Email, UserPrincipleName> -HostingProviderProxyFqdn “sipfed.online.lync.com”

Once the command completes, this users will be shown in Skype for Business Control Panel as an “Online” user. Give it a go and post any question on this one, if there’s any.

Skype for Business Server CU3 with 3 most wanted features


Microsoft have released the Skype for Business Server CU3 and it’s packed with 3 most wanted features, among the general bug fixes. The new features that it introduced are;

  • Busy on Busy (the most wanted)
  • Multiple Emergency Number Support
  • Video Based Screen Sharing

CU update it self and deployment information can be found in official Microsoft Support site. 

Busy on Busy

I get this feature asked all the time, when i replaced a legacy PBX with Skype for Business Server. Most of PBX users are not fond of getting multiple calls while they are in call with someone else and most of the time, it was raised as a concern.

Devices like Polycom VVX series have this feature built in to it. It was not really usable as it only works when the user only signed in to VVX and not Skype for Business and VVX at the same time. With this CU update, administrators have the capability to configure the voice policies to react in 2 different methods when user is busy with a call. These are;

  • Busy on Busy (Busy signal sent to calling party as the user is busy with another call)
  • Busy with Voicemail (Incoming all will be notified that the desired endpoint is busy and the call will be sent to the Voicemail)

Further information regarding the Busy on Busy option can be found here

Video based Screen Sharing

Video Based Screen Sharing (VBSS) is introduced as a better and efficient way to handle desktop sharing, oppose to the current RDP method within conferences. VBSS was already there with Skype for Business 16.xx as a default methodology for P2P desktop sharing. With the CU3 addition, VBSS will now be available to use within the conferences as well.

Further information regarding the VBSS functionality and enhancements can be found in Jeff’s blog post.

Multiple Emergency Number Support

Skype for Business Server only supported single emergency number. Some countries like Australia, there are multiple emergency numbers. Apart from the general 000, there is 112 that is widely used as well. With the new CU3 addition, both of these numbers can be configured within the Skype for Business Server.

Further information regarding the Multiple Emergency Number Support can be found here

The Skype for Business CU3 update can be download from official Microsoft site. The deployment instruction can be found here. It’s important to read the deployment instructions first. Also, this CU requires a back end database update. Do not forget that. Happy CU updating everyone.

Updating firmware of Polycom Trio 8800 using Provisioning Server


RealPresence Trio 8800 device is becoming one the most popular choice of conference room device that came from Polycom. Under it’s pretty looking skin and 5″ LED colour display, it has Polycom VVX firmware running on it. Which means that it can be managed via the Provisioning Server.

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Thinking of Firmware upgrade for the device, there are several ways to skin the cat. If the device is meant to work with Skype for Business Server platform, then the Skype for Business device update service can be utilise to upgrade the firmware of the device.

If the requirement is to update a standalone device, the it can be upgraded by using a USB stick that have required files copied to it. Jeff Schertz have written a nice blog post covering this method.

The method that i’m going to  explain here is to leverage Provisioning server to update the firmware of the device. Most of VVX deployments would have a local Provisioning server deployed to support the device fleet and same server can be used to push the firmware to Trio 8800 as well.

Latest firmware version that’s available as of 25/05/2016 can be downloaded from here. Upon downloading the .zip file. Extract and copy the 3111-65290-001.sip.ld file in to the root folder of the Provisioning Server.

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Open the 000000000000.cfg file using XMLNotepad and include the new .ld file in to the APP_FILE_PATH.

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Reboot the device. It should be able to fetch the .ld file and update the running firmware version. You can verify the current running firmware version from either logging in to the device web portal or navigating though the Settings>Status menu of the device. Hope it’s helpful and happy updating.