If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:
Like Exchange server the Lync Server 2010 has several roles and some of them can be combined and added in different stages of the deployment. In the previous article we have covered the basics for the Front-End Server roles using either Standard or Enterprise versions. Let’s check a quick review of the remaining roles to give you an idea. These will be discussed further during the Planning Tool (next section) and then we will be able to understand each role and how they interact within the Lync Server architecture. Bear in mind that we are defining roles here using a couple of sentences; they are far more complex than that. Let’s start with the brief explanation:
This is the role that will allow your users to connect to the Lync Server from the Internet, and share information with External companies and public IM (such as Windows Live, AOL and Yahoo!).
The name is self-explanatory but in a few words it will allow a Lync Administrator to archive IM communications and meeting content. We can archive either internal or external IM.
This role enables CDR (Call Detail Recording) and QoE (Quality of Experience) where the Lync Administrator is able to monitor Enterprise Voice and A/V Conference components, and use the monitoring data to plan the growth of an organization.
Back in the days, we can do an analogy with Exchange Server 2003 Front-End Server where this role is the interface between external users coming from the Edge Server (external) to the Front-End Servers (Internal network). It improves the performance and security in organizations with multiple front-end pools and it cannot host users.
Planning the Lync Server 2010 deployment
You will notice that in order to deploy Lync we have to think twice before actually running the setup and install the product on the server.
Lync Server 2010 has a great tool that helps administrator see the big picture of the environment through the planning wizard. This tool is called Planning Tool and it is a wizard tool where you will be asked several questions about your organization, features that you want to deploy, high availability, and all that stuff.
Using that scenario you can check the hardware requirements, firewall rules, certificates, DNS, etc. Also, the tool can export the design to the Topology Builder where the planning phase of the product is connected to the deployment phase and we don’t miss anything between these two important phases. Another nice feature about the tool is that we can export the server requirements to an Excel File, or export the design to a Visio file and all that is just one click away.
At the time of writing this article the tool was in Release Candidate stage and it can be downloaded from here. The installation process is pretty straight forward and as soon as you open the tool the Get Started page will welcome you to start the process, just click on Get Started button, as shown in Figure 01.
The first question will be about Audio and Video Conferencing, for each question there is a brief description of the feature, and we don’t have to think too much - Yes or No. If you are not sure you can always say yes and go back afterwards to avoid using such feature, or you can leave the feature out in the summary page. This flexibility allows us to check differences in the final design.
In the Figure 02, you can see on the top left the buttons that allows us to Export to Excel, Visio and Topology Builder or Print the design. They will be enabled at the end of this wizard. Also, if you are impatient with all the questions that are being thrown at you, then you should keep an eye at the bottom of the right corner and you will see a bar which indicates how much left you have to complete the wizard.
The wizard is dynamic which means that based on your answers additional questions may be required. A good example is if you say Yes to Enterprise Voice, than Exchange Unified Messaging will show up.
I am not going in to detail for each question but the first round of questions is to understand which features are required in your organization and at this point the Planning Tool has no information or whatsoever about your organization.
Which brings us to the second stage of Planning Tool where we can design sites (Figure 03), basically you just need to type in the Site Name and how many users you will be hosting there, and all features were selected based on your previous answers.
The next question will be about your SIP domain which is the domain that your users will be using to logon in your Lync Environment, on that page you can add as many as you want. You need to enter the SIP domain in the format andersonpatricio.org (do not use @).
The Planning Tool will also ask you about the External Access for a specific site (in case you have more than one) you can select which site will host the Edge Server(s) infrastructure (Figure 04)
If you have more sites you can add them here and click Finish, and then click Draw to see the Global design of your environment as shown in Figure 05. On the right side we have a list of all hardware required for the desired deployment.
If you double click on the main site (in our current article is Porto Alegre) you will be able to see all server roles and their location in the network infrastructure based on your answers (Figure 06). You can go back anytime to the Global Topology clicking on View Global Topology located in the Actions section of the tool. You can always hover the mouse over a specific role and a brief description of that role will be displayed in a balloon.
Are you not sure about which hardware and ports about a specific role for your deployment? Not a problem, just double click on any Lync Server role on the diagram and you will have a summary (Figure 07) of the hardware and port requirements.
Most of the implementation time of Lync Server/OCS spends a lot of time in the Edge Server deployment in previous versions and the main reason is that sometimes the Lync Administrator is not the firewall administrator and there are several ports to be opened back and forth. So, in order to make it easier in this version, you can double click on the Firewall icon on the main diagram, and here you have all ports required for the Reverse Proxy and Edge Server in a back-to-back firewall deployment (Figure 08)
If we look at the bottom of the diagram page we have 3 (three) tabs: Site Topology, Edge Network Diagram and Edge Admin Report. If you click on Edge Network Diagram tab (Figure 09) you will see all the connections based on IP to the Edge and Reverse Proxy server among DMZ, External and Internal networks. The beauty is that you can double click on any item displayed in red and you can edit the information to match your current infrastructure. If you fill out all that information you have a really good idea of all names, IPs and so forth that will be required.
After configuring the Network Diagram to reflect your environment, you can click on Edge Admin Report tab and a complete report containing Admin (a summary of all requirements, as shown in Figure 10), Certificate, Firewall settings and DNS will be available with all information updated from the entries changed in the previous tab. Isn’t that cool?
Finally, as we said earlier you can export all that information to several formats, such as: Visio, Excel, Topology Builder or just print that out.
Using Planning Tools and Topology builder from a workstation…
If you are planning to use the tool on your workstation, and then install both Planning Tool and Topology Builder on Windows 7 and from there you can create the design and use the same process to export and import the information into Topology Builder (Figure 11)
If you are going to install Topology Builder on your Windows 7, the Lync Server 2010 Deployment Wizard will allow you to do just that, we cannot Prepare Active Directory from the workstation at this point.
In this article we went through the process of defining the Lync Server 2010 deployment using the Planning Tool.
If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:
- Deploying Lync Server 2010 (Part 7) - Managing Lync Users
- Deploying Lync Server 2010 (Part 8) - Managing User Policies