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Designing Microsoft Lync 2013 solutions

09/09/2013

One of the tasks of architecture is to determine positioning, loading, roles and configurations of a product.

In many Microsoft products provides applications that allow you to make the topology design with detailed information, and one of these is the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Planning Tool available in http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=36823

The tool is simple to install, but very useful and provides information that formed the basis for the final design. It is important to remember that topology design tools serve as a reference, but it is up to the architect to use this information to make the final design of the desired solution.

This article will detail the tool and each given specified try putting the topology that will be affected depending on the option chosen.

Using the Lync Planning Tool – Roles Definition

When opening the tool we can see various details and start the process. On the left we have a series of links to understand the tool, the toolbar with the generation functionality of Excel spreadsheets (XML) and drawing in Visio. In the Center we have how to read a design saved (File …Open … Display button) or create a new drawing in Design websites:

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To start the drawing of a new topology you will need to enter the data of how the client will use the Lync. The first of these is data about Audio/Video Conference that will influence directly on the number of Frontend Servers required, although peer-to-peer (peer-to-peer) when used the Lync Client:

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Dial-In is the Lync feature to allow a user to enter the Conference directly by a regular phone using a number created for each meeting. It is important to remember that this feature depends on the integration between Communicator and PBX VoIP:

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Web Conferencing are the meetings (meetings) among users of Lync Client and external user on the internet. Unlike the first option (Audio/Video), here we are identifying that the customer will have meetings with non-local users, which is quite different and will impact on Edge Server and Frontend Servers:

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Enterprise Voice is the use of Lync Server integration with VoIP PBX, which besides the integration between the Lync client and the phone also makes the routing of messages to Exchange, the Voice Admissions for conferences (Dial-in Conference) and other resources. Essential to remember that for this it is necessary to have the Lync license Enterprise to the client and the server. Enable this setting impacts the number of Frontend, Mediation and Gateway Server (if the PBX is not directly compatible with Lync):

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When you implement the above feature (Enterprise Voice) it is possible to create integration between the Lync Server and the Exchange Server. For example, when you receive a message in the mailbox of the branch this message is transformed into text by voice recognition Lync Server and sent to the user’s email in text form and sound file attached. This setting requires the Exchange Server 2010 and preferably Exchange 2013, in addition to impacting on the number of Frontend Servers:

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The CAC (Call Admission Control) is a feature of Lync when integrated with the PBX to bring quality links. With Lync controls the band of VoIP routing to common lines (PSTN) when the internet WAN IP connections are used with high traffic. It is essential to ensure quality links in embedded systems:

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Monitoring will generate detailed data quality and use of Lync for statistics and reporting, allowing the administrator to verify the demand and prioritize investments in the topology when you need expansions. This function is a role separate from others, although it is possible to be shared on the same physical server Frontend:

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The Archive is the feature in Outlook creates a folder "Conversation History" or a history button in the Communicator Client. It can be setup to use the SQL Server or Exchange 2013. The ideal is to always use the Exchange, so integration with Outlook is guaranteed, but only with Exchange 2013 it is possible. Use the SQL Server will create a small database, since in IM (Instant Messenger) we don’t use images or sounds. Is a separate roll, and may be shared with other roles as well as the other:

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The Persistent Chat is a feature used to enable a tab on the client where possible Lync 2013 create conversations that are archived and available for later reading public or limited to a list of users specified by the creator of the conversation. Impacts on the number of Frontend Servers and space used in the database of the Communicator:

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Is the role that supports access to mobile devices, noting that Lync 2013 already have customers for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, allowing even voice calls. Impacts on the number of Frontend servers and Edge Servers:

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The Federation feature enables customers to connect internal Lync with MSN and other clients. With this feature it is possible that business users use the Lync to chat with users Microsoft Live and impacts on the number of Edge Servers required, and is available for free at Lync 2013 for the Enterprise license:

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High availability will define the need for SQL Server cluster and Frontend pools and Edges Servers:

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Obviously, serves only as informative for the ranges of IPs reports required on final project:

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Using the Lync Planning Tool – Sites Definition

In the next step it is necessary to define how many sites the client owns, which will be used in each site and for how many users.

Note that the above questions serve to indicate the resources that will be considered at this stage. I.e. it is possible to change the previous options by clicking the checkboxes in each site. Check carefully what each site uses of resources is important at this point, since generally each site has different needs:

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This option serves only as informative for the number of certificates and the final design generated with existing sites in customers:

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The next two screens define metrics and voice that will be consumed. These data are based on experience and track record that can be obtained with the customer’s telecommunications staff:

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For integration with the PBX is possible using gateways (dedicated equipment doing the routing between the traditional PBX and Lync), SIP Trucking (direct integration with the PBX VoIP and Lync) or existing connection. These settings are performed by the staff of telecommunications prior to the Lync design:

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At this point we set the percentage of users who have integrated extensions for Unified Messaging. In most companies are not all employees that have their own branch or who need this feature, e.g. for Rotary service tables. This data is defined by the client in previous questionnaires:

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Set how many users will make external access, which implies more Lync Edge servers:

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Set how many users used the Persistent Chat feature. This fact is hard to be raised, since the company hardly have that before the project. However, you can use the standard percentage of 20% which are those using resources as well, since the vast majority uses only the IM without creating discussion rooms. A good parameter to know of this feature is widely used is for checking the use of Exchange public folders:

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Set the percentage of users who will use Android clients, iOS and Windows Phone:

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Mediation Server is the role that makes integration between the PBX and Lync. Set whether to use a single server or shared for this function. Obviously that impacts on the number of servers and depends on the number of existing PBX extensions:

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Finally set sites that connect to its structure. In this case are places that connect us servers located on the site that was defined and not places where there will be a separate structure of servers, which is considered another site:

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Finished setting site data, you can repeat the operation several times to other sites, noting that it is understood as "Central Site" those locations where there will be Lync servers:

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Using the Lync Planning Tool-Viewing Results

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By clicking the Draw at the end of the questionnaires we can see the basic topology required, with the defined sites.

Note that on the right-hand side there is the total configuration of servers needed, where we have the need of physical servers and roles:

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By clicking on each site it is possible to view the suggested structure, like the example below. See you on the right-hand side in Actions it is possible to return to the global design and have access to Microsoft’s online documents for the planning tasks, as well as the construction of the environment documentation:

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Yet in each site it is possible to see details (3 tabs following), as the IP topology to the Edge servers with the ranges needed, as well as the URLs. Important that the ranges of IP and the names are only suggestions and need to be changed to suit the customer environment:

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Using the Lync Planning Tool – Export Data

Using the Planning Tool toolbar see the possibility of creating a Visio file with all the graphics diagrams shown in previous images or create an Excel spreadsheet with the reports:

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Visio exported concentrates all the global topology designs and separate sites in tabs, and can be useful for presenting visually customer design, since it is possible to change the designs which are based on stencils and graphics:

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The Excel spreadsheet brings detailed data reports in tabs, including additional information as the necessary hardware for each server, and positioning the firewall settings and certificates. This worksheet is essential in the requirements section to be delivered to the client for Lync environment implementation preparation: 2013

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CONCLUSION

The tool Lync Server, 2013 Planning Tool is an invaluable resource for solutions architecture for both small as large companies. Your certificate needs reports, firewall settings and help even when we’re talking about a single server for all functions.

From → Lync Server, Office

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