Deploying Skype for Business Server (Part 4) – Server Deployment

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to:

So far in this series, we planned and prepared the environment including the Operating System requirements and Active Directory to support the first Skype for Business Server in our environment. All those steps bring us to the final step which is the actual deployment of the Skype for Business Server on the new server.

In this stage, we need an internal CA (Certification Authority) in place, Skype for Business will use the internal CA certificate to create the certs required internally, and that CA (if it is an Enterprise CA) will have all certificates issued accepted automatically by the clients.

The final step will use the same Deployment Wizard, at this point we will have Complete checks on Prepare Active Directory and Install Administrative Tools on the first page. In order to start the deployment, click on Install or Update Skype for Business Server System.


In the Install or update member system page. We need to perform all steps listed on this new page.


In the Step 1: Install Local Configuration Store, click on Run.  This step will configure a local replica of the Central Management Store (CMS), and the information to be synchronized can be retrieved directly from the already existent CMS database or using a file (only used when there is no connection from the server being installed and the CMS which is the case of an Edge Server role that typically stays on a secure DMZ).

In this case the CMS and the Front End are the same server, so we will use the default option which is Retrieve directly from the Central Management store (requires read access to the Central Management Store) and click Next, check the results on the following page and if everything was successful click on Finish.


Back to the Deployment Wizard / Install or update member system, click on Run located on the Step 2: Setup or Remove Skype for Business Server Components. The first page of the wizard will inform that this process will configure the server as it was defined in the Topology. We already configured the topology and when we click on Next the server will install the Skype for Business bits.

In case of a missing component, the administrator will be informed, in the example depicted in the image below we can see that a hotfix is missing and a link is provided, if that is the case download the recommended link (a restart may be required) and run the same process, until we get the status of Task Status: Completed, then we will be ready to continue the deployment, click on Finish.

Note: If a Foundation error is presented, make sure to install the Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 feature is installed on the server using Server Manager or Add-WindowsFeature cmdlet.


The next step is Step 3: Request, Install or Assign Certificates page. Click on Run.  The new window will be the Certificate Wizard where the administrator can manage certificates for the local server. Click on Request.


The new Certificate Request page. This is huge improvement when compared with previous versions, now we have a single page that summarizes all the certificate requirements, such as: Certification Authority, Friendly Name, Organization information, SAN (Subject Alternative Names) and so forth.

The Certificate Wizard is smart enough to list all the names already defined in the topology, which means that planning well pays off on this wizard.  After filling out the requested information, click on Next.


In the Certificate Request Summary page. A summary of all decisions made so far will be listed, click on Next.

In the Executing Commands page. All output of the operation will be listed, click on Next.

In the Online Certificate Request Status page. The information that the certificate was added to the local store of the server will be informed as well the certificate thumbprint. Leave default settings which includes the option Assign this certificate to Skype for Business Server certificate usages, and click on Finish, and that will trigger another wizard to start automatically to complete the assignment process.


In the Certificate Assignment page. The wizard that we have just requested and stored on the local computer will be the one that will be assigned to the Skype for Business services, just click on Next.

In the Certificate Assignment Summary page. A summary containing the thumbprint and details of the cert will be displayed, click on Next.

In the Executing Commands page. The output will be all tasks that were performed to assign the certificate, if everything went okay (the Task Status should show Completed), then click Finish.


The result of the certificate request and assign wizard, should be a couple of green checks on the Server default, Web services internal and web services external on the main page of the Certificate Wizard, as depicted in the image below. Click on Close.

Note: If you have just installed the Certification Authority on your environment, make sure to force the group policies on the Skype for Business Server by running gpupdate /force and give some time for the Active Directory replication to take place before working on the certificates.


Back to the Deployment Wizard, we can track down our success by glancing at the Complete tasks for each step that we have just performed.


The next step is to start the Skype for Business Services, we can do that using PowerShell. Open Skype for Business Server Management Shell as administrator, and first run the following cmdlet to check the status of the services, you will notice that most of the services are with Stopped status.


In order to start all services, we can run the following cmdlet listed below and after that we can run the same command to check the services and at this time we will see that all of them will be running. One of the benefits of checking the Skype for Business Services using the cmdlet is that besides of checking only the essential services required, we can have some measurements of the utilization, such as how may active conferences, calls, connected users and messages.


We can always check the services by looking at services.msc. All Skype for Business services start with the Skype for Business Server prefix.


One last step is to configure Microsoft Updates, and we can do that using the Enable Microsoft Update section. The administrator has the choice to configure Windows Update to include Skype for Business Server.


The final step to make sure that everything is working is to open the Skype for Business 2015 Control Panel, and authenticate with an user that is member of the CSAdministrator group.


At this point, we have the first Skype for Business Server up and running in our environment and the next steps is to create users and manage the client side which are the topics of our next article.

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