Skype4B for Weddings !

Been meaning to blog about this since August. Bit of a non work / work related blog post and a bit of fun for me but wanted to share my experience on how i used Skype for Business at a wedding.

My now sister in law was getting married and the groom (Martin) (not me, my now brother in law is also Martin) asked me if i knew a way of streaming video for their wedding, as the wife to be grandma wouldn’t be able to climb the stairs up to where the actual wedding was taking place and there was no lift either due to the age of the building. Sad smile She would have to sit downstairs.

So immediately i thought i gotta do this !!!! so i was automatically thinking โ€œSkype / Skype for Businessโ€ my initial thoughts also included

  • Skype to Skype (Consumer) peer to peer Video Call
  • Skype meeting broadcast
  • Skype for Business video calls (Using SfB Online)
  • Foscam or another IP Camera and laptop
  • Facetime on two Apple devices

I asked what the Internet was like at the venue and he said NOT good as it was shared and the hotel commented people had to reconnect all the time and it wasn’t reliable. hmmmmm this could be a problem and i dont want to risk a dodgy internet connection killing the video of their wedding live to her grandmaSad smile

I decided i needed a back up plan that included NOT using any internet connections so i would need a local on premise only deployment.

From the initial list of ideas that rules out quite a few:

  • Skype to Skype (Consumer) peer to peer Video Call
  • Skype meeting broadcast
  • Skype for Business video calls (Using SfB Online)
  • Foscam or another IP Camera and laptop
  • Facetime on two Apple devices

That’s left me with an IP camera and a laptop and Skype for Business that’s delivered via an on-premise solution i can take to a wedding.

I tested an IP camera and the results were not great viewing via a browser and the audio wasn’t good and video quality wasn’t either so that option was out the window.

So i needed to design a Skype for Business Server 2015 on premise solution that i can take and setup at a wedding venue, ideally discretely in the corner of the room where the wedding is as we only have access that room and quickly. This is going to be fun !!!! I design Lync / SfB solutions for customers and now my family.lol.

We decided to check out the wedding venue location and check the Internet and we had mixed feelings internet speeds, it was ok i couldnt trust it for broadcasting a wedding that we get one shot at this, we need something we could trust and wouldnt mean Grandma missed out on the actual ceremony.

Also we needed to hide any local equipment in the venue room as the guests were in there as well so no routing of network cables so WiFi network was looking be needed as well, my not preferred choice but may have to be unfortunately.

Wedding SfB Solution Design

I didn’t do a full high level and low design for this solution Winking smile but here some are the details on the design and what i used.

Wedding

  • HP Micro Server running Hyper V 2012 Core
  • Domain Controller running DC / CA and DNS Roles
  • Skype for Business Standard Edition Front End Server
  • Kemp Loadmaster as reverse proxy for internal mobile client connectivity
  • Microsoft Surface (Wedding User) Skype for Business Desktop Client
  • 10 Meter USB extension
  • Logitech 920 USB Camera
  • Samsung Tab 4 using Skype for Business mobile client
  • Kemp Freeloadmaster for reverse proxy for mobile client access.
  • WiFi Access Point to connect Surface and Android to, with seperate SSID.
  • Two SfB users (Wedding and Grandma) IP Audio Video enabled

 

So in summary i had HP Micro Server with virtual servers with a AD deployed, DNS, CA, SfB server Standard Edition deployed and a free kemp loadmaster for mobile client access connected to a WiFi access point.

Initially i had thought of using two laptops so wouldn’t need the kemp but then we were unsure on where Grandma would be sitting and the hassle of carrying a laptop and would there be power there etc. To keep it simple for her i had an samsung Tab4 to use with the SfB mobile client so i deployed a Kemp VLM to act as a reverse proxy for mobile devices to connect to internally. For mobile client access i did have to install the trusted root certificate for the mobile client to sign in as i was using only internal certificates as i wasnt using public certificates.

I also had concerns over the strength of the Wi-Fi Access points i was using and i would have preferred to use a LAN cable for the Surface over USB but i couldn’t. Wi-Fi was local to the room and connection was good. Mobile client i was concerned on Wi-Fi again reaching downstairs and praying for no packet loss but not alot i could do but pray.

Servers were all virtual and under the recommended hardware specs but performance was good as wasn’t really being used as only had two people. SfB Server had 8Gb and a couple of CPUs

The results

In the morning of the wedding i popped up to the venue room, setup and hid the HP Microsoft server under a table and the hid the access point out of sight.

Set the surface up on the floor in the corner and mounted the Logitech camera on top of a speaker already in the room. I used the microphone on the camera itself and it was surprisingly good.

Signed into Skype for Business on desktop and mobile client and set up a peer to peer call just before the wedding and the results are below. Set grandma up and went to my seat with fingers crossed.

Some pictures of how it looked.

wedding device

IMG_7655

wedding device3

We also recorded the wedding as well Smile bonus.

 

Overall i think a great result and grandma said the quality was good and she was very happy to watch it live downstairs and most important she didn’t miss out.

Shortly after i had to rip out everything for the next event in the room and dash for pictures so i now have a mobile wedding solution based on Skype for Business where internet connections cant be trusted. Let me know if you want to hire me out Smile

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as i did building this Smile

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SEFAUtil.exe released for Skype for Business

Great to see SEFUtil.exe is released for Skype for Business as some people have been waiting for this. A little util that means alot to some but it seems similar to the Lync 2013 command line based and the installation and setup requirements are the same as they were.

In the download it says supported on

  • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2

Download Link below

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=47704

I do wonder when the rest of the SfB resource kit tools will be released.

Lync 2013 Mobile Client Update 5.9.137.0 mentions Skype for Business coming soon – Windows Phone

Before you read and get excited the mobile client is still Lync 2013 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ were not there yet BUT this update now has Skype for Business mentioned in it so were getting closer !

This update does inform users of the renaming of Lync to Skype for Business and a new mobile client is coming soon.

Some screenshots before and after the update.

wp_ss_20150623_0001ย  wp_ss_20150623_0004 wp_ss_20150623_0005 wp_ss_20150623_0006

on the Read Moreโ€ฆ It also includes a link to more information on Skype for Business Mobile Client the URL is here if you want to check it out

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Skype-for-Business-is-coming-to-Windows-Phone-6f48a22d-b064-4f2f-beab-25b4744af5c4?ui=en-US&rs=en-GB&ad=GB

Skype for Business Enable Server Side Conversation History

Following an In-Place upgrade we wanted to enable server-side conversation history as its a new feature in Skype for Business and we already had Exchange 2013 available which is a prerequisite for this feature.

Server-side conversation history allows conversation history to be shared between desktop and mobile clients which was often a major pain that conversations on your Lync mobile client was separate and a nightmare to manage ๐Ÿ˜ฆ boo.

Prerequisites

  • Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Exchange 2013 or Exchange Online
  • Exchange Partnership and integration setup and working on both Exchange and Skype for Business. Details here https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj688151.aspx
  • Test Exchange Connectivity to ensure it configure and working correctly Test-CsExStorageConnectivity -SipUri “sip:kenmyer@litwareinc.com”
  • Enable settings in Skype for Business.

Enable Server-Side Conversation History in Skype for Business

1. Enable Client Policy option

Theres an option in the Client policy that requires enabling use

Get-CsClientPolicy

image

This was set to false and i used to enable this in the global policy. Please note all client policies will need this to be true if more client policies exist.

Get-CsClientPolicy -Identity global |Set-CsClientPolicy -EnableServerConversationHistory $true

Following these changes it worked ๐Ÿ™‚

The experience i have found using the most up to date Lync Mobile clients for Windows Phone, IoS and Andriod.

  • ios โ€“ works great and seems to work the best user experience of the three clients.
  • Windows Phone โ€“ works but wasn’t refreshing. Removes option for delete all conversations and adds a refresh button instead but i couldn’t get this to work.
  • Android โ€“ did not work at all

Items to check and are also required if not working following client policy enabling.

1. From Skype for Business Management Shell check is Server Side conversation history is enabled first. This was enabled by default for me.

Get-CsConversationHistoryConfiguration

image

2. Check Mobility Settings

Ensure Allow Save IM History is enabled

Get-CsMobilityPolicy

image

3. Check Client Policy

Check that disable saving IM is not enabled using

Get-CsClientPolicy again

image

4. Check Exchange

Partnership and use test connectivity to ensure all exchange tests are succesful.

Skype for Business Server 2015 Antivirus Exclusions

Following an In-Place upgrade to Skype for Business we wanted to update the antivirus exceptions. Microsoft were quite late to post the Lync 2013 Servers below and im unsure on the timescales for the Skype for Business exclusions list.

Lync 2013 Antivirus Exclusions List from TechNet

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn440138(v=ocs.15).aspx

So im taking a guess following the new directories created etc and updating the existing Lync 2013 exclusions, feel to let me know any more you find and need.

Skype for Business Antivirus Exclusions

I’ve highlighted any new changes to the Lync 2013 exclusions below

As with Lync server 2013 exclusions Folder and file locations listed below are the default locations for Skype for Business. For any locations for which you did not use the default, exclude the locations you specified for your organization instead of the default locations specified in this topic.

  • Skype for Business processes: (One additional for sfb HealthAgent.exe)

    • ABServer.exe

    • AcpMcuSvc.exe

    • ASMCUSvc.exe

    • AVMCUSvc.exe

    • ChannelService.exe

    • ClsAgent.exe

    • ComplianceService.exe

    • DataMCUSvc.exe

    • DataProxy.exe

    • FileTransferAgent.exe

    • HealthAgent,exe ( Skype for Business Server 2015 Health Agent)

    • IMMCUSvc.exe

    • LysSvc.exe

    • MasterReplicatorAgent.exe

    • MediaRelaySvc.exe

    • MediationServerSvc.exe

    • MRASSvc.exe

    • OcsAppServerHost.exe

    • ReplicaReplicatorAgent.exe

    • ReplicationApp.exe

    • RtcHost.exe

    • RTCSrv.exe

    • XmppProxy.exe

    • XmppTGW.exe

  • Windows Fabric Host Service processes: (Believe all the same for Skype for Business so valid)

    • Fabric.exe

    • FabricDCA.exe

    • FabricHost.exe

  • IIS processes: (Believe all the same for Skype for Business so valid as its IIS)

    • %systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\w3wp.exe

    • %systemroot%\SysWOW64\inetsrv\w3wp.exe

  • SQL Server Back-End processes: (Depends on SQL Versions and Instances names so be careful here to add them correctly)

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn\SQLServr.exe

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS11.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\ReportServer\Bin\ReportingServicesService.exe

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSAS11.MSSQLSERVER\OLAP\Bin\MSMDSrv.exe

  • SQL Server Front-End processes: (Requires updating as SQL 2014 is installed now) MSSQL11 need to be MSSQL12

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL12.LYNCLOCAL\MSSQL\Binn\SQLServr.exe

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL12.RTCLOCAL\MSSQL\Binn\SQLServr.exe

    • Standard Edition Install don’t forget RTC Instance as well

    • %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL12.RTC\MSSQL\Binn\SQLServr.exe

  • Directories and files: (New Directories to be added for Sfb)

    • %systemroot%\System32\LogFiles

    • %systemroot%\SysWow64\LogFiles

    • %systemroot%\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL

    • %programfiles%\Skype for Business Server 2015

    • %programfiles%\Common Files\Skype for Business Server 2015Watcher Node

    • %programfiles%\Common Files\Skype for Business Server 2015

    • %programfiles%\Common Files\Skype for Business Online

    • %SystemDrive%\RtcReplicaRoot

    • File share store (specified in Topology Builder). File stores are specified in Topology Builder. (Still valid for sfb)

    • SQL Server data and log files, including those for the back-end database, user store, archiving store, monitoring store, and application store. Database and log files can be specified in Topology Builder. For details about the data and log files for each database, including default names, see SQL Server data and log file placement for Lync Server 2013 in the Deployment documentation. (Still valid for sfb as database names are the same)

    • SQL Server data and log files, including those for the Front-end database, Lync store, and RtcDatabase store. They are normally under %localdrive%\CSData. (Still Valid for sfb)

  • Enable Skype for Business Directory Search

    Following a Lync 2013 to Skype for Business Server 2015 side by side Migration we wanted to enable Skype Directory search. Having previously federated with Skype i thought this wouldn’t require many changes but it does.

    After a review of TechNet i found a couple of things you need to do and be aware.

    IMPORTANT if you have Skype federation already setup you still need to do the following to get Skype Directory search working.

    • Enable Skype-Skype federation search on Edge Servers in topology builder (screenshot below)
    • Port 4443 between FE and Edge must be working (Same port as CMS uses so should already be open)
    • Allow Port 443 outbound on Edge Server (Access Edge) (additional firewall port from Lync 2013) (this is visible on Skype for Business Protocol workload poster)
    • Remove and re add the existing Skype hosting provider
    • Require Skype for Business Edge, Front End and Client.

    If configuring Skype federation from scratch

    • You still require to sign up for Skype Federation at https://pic.lync.com
    • During the Sign up process you need your Microsoft Agreement Number ,Access Edge service (FQDN) for your SIP domain(s).
    • Deployed Edge Server role
    • You have enabled Federation for Your Edge Server and enabled Skype-Skype federation search in topology builder and published.
    • Allow federation in your external access policy with Public Providers. (Setup is below)
    • Add the Skype as SIP Federated Provider
    • Allow Port 443 outbound on Edge Server (Access Edge)
    • Allow user external access policy that allows Public IM.
    • Deployed Skype for Business 2013 Client, Edge and Front End Servers

    I wont details all the setup here from scratch but the changes it required to get it working from Lync 2013 with Skype federation already working.

    1. Allow port 433 Outbound on Firewall
    2. Skype-Skype federation search port enabled in topology builder

    image

    3. Remove and added existing Skype public provider

    We had already got all the above setup as we previously were federated with Skype and already had a public host provider for Skype but i found this important note on TechNet

    To configure Skype Connectivity when upgrading to Skype for Business Server you must remove and re-add the existing Skype public provider.

    So if you have already enabled Skype federation and have the hosting provider already created you need to remove and recreate it! boo

    Steps

    1. From the Skype for Business Management Shell check the identity name using

    Get-CsPublicProvider

    image

    2. To remove the provider use the following

    Remove-CsPublicProvider -Identity Skype

    3. To re add use

    New-CsPublicProvider -Identity Skype -ProxyFqdn federation.messenger.msn.com -IconUrl https://images.edge.messenger.live.com/Messenger_16x16.png
    -NameDecorationRoutingDomain msn.com – NameDecorationExcludedDomainList “msn.com,outlook.com,live.com,hotmail.com” -VerificationLevel UseSourceVerification -Enabled $true -EnableSkypeIdRouting $true -EnableSkypeDirectorySearch $true

    Test with Skype for Business Client โ€“ you have to search for a contact for Skype directory tab to appear.

    image

    If you get any errors please check firewall port 4443 between Edge and Front End and the CMS replication is working. Also check Port 443 outbound from Edge Server to internet.

    Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚