Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lync Resource Kit Server Administration Chapter Published by Microsoft

I just got email that Microsoft has published another Lync Resource Kit chapter or your edification. This chapter, Server Administration, was written by Indranil Dutta and Jens Trier Rasmussen. I was, with others, one of the technical reviewers. You can either download just this chapter, or download all 8 of the published chapter from here.

There are three key aspects to this chapter. First, the chapter covers Lync’s Central Management Store, including the data stored in the CMS, how replication of CMS occurs, and how to manage the CMS. The second section looks at the Lync Server Control Panel and how it works. The final section talks about Role Based Access Control and how to create custom RBAC scopes.

IN looking at it, one thing kind of missing is  Management using PowerShell – perhaps an introduction to PowerShell’s object model inside Lync. RBAC is based on PowerShell, so using RBAC and creating custom roles is covered. With over 600 cmdlets, I would have preferred some more details in the Server Administration chapter. Call me fussy!

The writing in the chapter is good, and it’s illustrated by some excellent diagrams. This chapter is 24 pages long – and well worth a read if you are architecting or implementing Lync Server.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reflections on TechEd 2011

I’m back in the UK after a week of TechEd 2011 in Atlanta (USA). I’d been quite ill before TechEd so just getting there was some effort – but well worth it! I spent most of my time on the PowerShell product booth in the Expo hall. It was quite a privilege both to hang out with members of the product team and meeting customers who both were using PowerShell and those who were just getting into it.

Overall, TechEd for me was pretty low key. There was virtually no sex appeal (and an amusingly failed demo during the keynote). But I suppose that that is not too surprising as we’re in that quiet interim between major OS and Office waves. The Wave 14 stuff (Win7+Office 2010 et al) have all shipped and are slowly being deployed (and was the focus of TechEd by and large). But there’s still an awful lot of XP out there now wondering if they should wait for Windows 8. Sadly, thanks to the ‘Cone of Silence’ being imposed within Microsoft, details of wave 15 are very thin on the ground. Heck, last week, some folks had to keep saying “Windows V-next” (i.e. couldn’t even say “Windows 8”).

But much like super-injunctions, the word eventually will eventually get out – so at last we can talk about both there being a Windows 8 and it coming in 2012, which means we can begin formally to speculate on a PowerShell V3 (assuming there is going to be one, etc., etc.).

It would have been nice to have had the Windows 8 announcement, as well as the news of 500 new features in the next edition of Windows Phone at TechEd, rather than a more obscure Japanese developer’s conference. There sure were a lot of big companies at TechEd getting very little forward information – and that was a huge disappointment for them and me. MS’s spin doctors need to remember who their friends are and open the kimono a bit. 

From the PowerShell perspective, the types of questions being asked on the stand differ from the last couple of years. I guess it was to be expected, but I got a lot of really great, depth questions – how to actually do clever stuff with PowerShell. It showed that for many, PowerShell is now a given and they are starting to leverage it. I even got a really good bug reported during the week – and that’s kind of cool (although I still need to file it) as it shows that people are pushing the product.

Having the chance to chat at some length with PowerShell team members is also very useful. First, it reinforces just how smart these guys are but second, it helps to communicate community concerns back to the folks best equipped to resolve them. That alone makes it worth coming to TechEd!

There were still a large number of PowerShell newbies, and those who kind of understand what it’s all about, but are not comfortable using it (yet). The folks I talked too walked away really understanding more (even if what they found is a bug in PowerShell!) and I hope just a little more excited about the product.

It was also great that the PowerShell team kindly gave me two minutes during a couple of breakout session talks to say a few words about PowerShell and it’s rich and diverse community. It was great to be able to evangelise the great folks out there who live and breathe this stuff – I just love sharing their passions and skills.

As ever, the social and networking side of TechEd was awesome. It was a great chance to meet up with old friends, and make some new ones. The PowerShell geek dinner, always a highlight for me of TechEd, was especially good this year with a lot more fellow PowerShell-aholics! The MCT community was very much in evidence too – it was great to meet so many old-time MCTs and meet so many new ones. The MVP community, on the other hand, seemed muted – not sure there was even an MVP event this year! The Attendee party was cool – I really enjoyed seeing the Whale Sharks. The Atlanta aquarium is a pretty impressive place. Oh – and the food (well the food I ate) was good – excellent.

All in all, it was a good week – I’m glad I went and am looking forward to next year!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Lync Server 2010 Resource Kit

One of the neat aspects of the Lync Server 2010 Resource is that it’s being published online, chapter by chapter as each chapter is finished. I suspect there will eventually be a physical book, in the meantime, Lync admins can get the deep technical and management info direct from the web.

Today, the latest chapter, Troubleshooting Lync, was released. To get this and the other released chapters, navigate to and download from there. You can download each of the 7 chapters published so one by one, or get a 12MB ZIP file with all the chapters.

If you are using Lync, or considering it, these downloads are mandatory reading.