Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Welcome Microsoft Teams to the Microsoft Collaboration Portfolio!

Today Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, took the stage in New York City, along with Office CVP Kirk Koenigsbauer and other special guests, to make some incredible announcements. Chief among these announcements was the arrival of a new collaboration tool that will compete against the mounting momentum of rival product Slack: Microsoft Teams!




While Microsoft Teams is probably the single biggest announcement in the Skype for Business world since Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling, it is deeply integrated with the whole Office 365 suite, bringing an incredibly powerful collaboration machine to the enterprise that will be tough to ignore.

A Brief Intro to Microsoft Teams


Teams is in Preview starting today, November 2, 2016, and is targeted for General Availability in Q1 of 2017. Jump on that Preview as early as you can.

Let's take a look at that slick interface, and built-in Power BI functionality:



And of course, the Skype for Business integration is deep. We have Presence, the ability to strike out into existing Video/Audio chats, or create new ones on the fly:





The Need


This announcement has been rumored and anticipated for several months now, but the rumors have finally been put to rest. So what are the impacts of this announcement for those of us in that live and breath unified communications, primarily Microsoft unified communications?

First, many organizations have largely and quickly adopted Slack as an easy, convenient, and readily-available tool to meet the need for persistent conversations among teams within its walls (and sometimes outside its walls). Many who are not as familiar with this topic may be quick to point to Persistent Chat within Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 as a suitable solution. At first glance, yes, Persistent Chat would be a great tool for meeting such a need. Unfortunately, Persistent Chat has not been actively developed for quite some time now, and among it's primary limitations is that it ONLY works on Windows clients. That's right, Mac and Linux users can not take advantage of Persistent Chat, and for some organizations, that fact alone makes Persistent Chat a non-viable option for inner-team chat collaboration.

With the need for persistent chat-like communications among teams with clients of various OS types, and Persistent Chat development not budging to meet this need, organizations began looking for alternatives. Slack happened to be the solution that fit the bill best, and was the easiest for teams to quickly adopt.

This presented a great opportunity for Slack in the market; it had an "in" for taking a larger slice of the collaboration pie. It wasn't long before new features started popping up on the Audio and Video side, which of course, meant stronger competition for Microsoft's Skype for Business and other collaboration tools. Clearly, Microsoft needed to address this, and it needed to do so quickly.

The Office 365 Differentiator


This is where "Teams" comes into play. The beauty of Teams is that it will be made available within Office 365. This means that it will slip nicely into current workflows of the droves of organizations that are already taking advantage of Office 365 for their collaboration needs. It is essentially "Persistent Chat" for the Cloud! 



Purchasing an add-on or additional subscription is VERY easy within Office 365, and assigning it to a user is even easier. This means that the time spent deploying the solution will be greatly improved, in comparison to a completely separate tool.

What about the fact that it is not FREE - that it is a paid subscription, and Slack is free? While it is true that there is a free version of Slack, there are also paid versions of Slack with advanced features and capabilities. Many organizations have opted to pay for these advanced features, and if they can achieve the same functionality while utilitizing their current Office 365 platform, it just makes sense.

The race is now on, to learn as much as we can about this amazing new tool, kicking the tires and learning how it will fit into our organizations at GA. I hope you all enjoyed the presentation from Microsoft today, and if you missed it, be looking for more content. It is sure to come pouring out everywhere!

Stay techy my friends!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Move-CsUser : HostedMigration Fault: Error=(506) - Cannot Migrate Skype for Business User From Online to On-Prem

The Error


I recently had the pleasure of running into this seemingly elusive "506" error when trying to migrate users that had already been configured for Skype for Business Online to a brand new On-Prem environment after configuring Hybrid. I say "elusive" because I could not find a solution on Bing or Google (yes, I started with Bing!). The actual error read as follows:

Move-CsUser : HostedMigration fault: Error=(506). Description=(The user could not be moved because there appears to be a problem with this user account. Please verify the attribute settings on the account and then try again.)





The Scenario

Let's get a good handle on what this environment looked like, and what it was currently at the time of this error, as this information is key. This organization had Hybrid Exchange setup, but all the mailboxes were homed in Exchange Online. They had also been using Skype for Business Online exclusively; there was no on-prem Skype for Business infrastructure. Lastly, Azure AD Connect was properly set up, and syncing without errors. All good and pretty!

Now, the goal here was to implement an on-prem Skype for Business deployment so that users in a particular geography could use the on-prem voice infrastructure. The plan was to implement the on-prem infrastructure, configure Hybrid for Skype for Business, and then move the users in this particular geography to the on-prem infrastructure while leaving all other users in the Online environment. Everything up to the step in which users are moved to On-Prem worked fine.

The Troubleshooting

So, Hybrid was configured, the on-prem environment worked well on its own, and the Online users were registering through the on-prem environment without a hitch. Why then, could we not simply move the users to the on-prem environment? Looking at the above error, the complaint seems to be centered around a problem with attributes. Ok, first thing, go back and ensure that your Azure AD Connect configuration is syncing successfully.

A quick look in Office 365 Admin Center verifies that the sync is happening at regular intervals, and happening successfully. Next, lets go to the actual AADC server, and make sure that the attributes for Skype for Business are all syncing successful...WAIT!!! Of course the Skype for Business attributes are not syncing! Remember, AADC was setup and configured to sync BEFORE the on-prem Skype for Business infrastructure was ever in place! Remember, one of the first things we do when installing Skype for Business Server 2015 is to extend the Schema so that all the new Skype for Business-specific attributes will be present within AD. Since AADC was installed and configured before this Schema Extension took place, AADC is not aware of these new Skype for Business attributes.

So, we go onto the AADC server, and from the START menu we find the Synchronization Service for Azure AD Connect:





Click on it to open up the GUI:




Now, let's navigate to Connectors at the top of the tool, and for each Connector (we'll do both for good measure, but highlight one at a time and perform the action), click on Refresh Schema from the list of action items on the right side of the tool:




Read the warning text, and then click OK to implement the Schema Refresh:




You will then need to provide credentials to connect to the Directory for the specific connector. The below image reflects that we are attempting to connect to the on-prem Active Directory, and the password must be provided. Don't forget to change the User name to a Domain Admin in your org as well; I did not do this for the below image, but did afterwards:




As you can see below, the Schema's are compared, and in the case of my test lab, there were no Schema updates, but in the scenario described in this blog post, you will see the Schema changes that were detected.



The Fix



Ok, once I updated the Schemas I waited for the next sync to occur from AADC, to make sure all the new attributes were synced to Skype for Business Online. However, after waiting for the successful sync, and trying the Move-CsUser operation once again, it STILL failed!

This is the point at which I put in a ticket with Microsoft through the Office 365 Admin Center. As usual, they responded very quickly. After going through the environment together for a while, the Microsoft tech zeroed in on one fact that I did not think anything about when I saw it. First we opened up Azure AD Connect, and then clicked on View Current Configuration:



Finally, something on the next screen stuck out to him. Can you guess what it is from the below image:





Well, if you didn't guess it, welcome to the club. It was the fact that Exchange Hybrid Deployment was disabled! Yep. EXCHANGE HYBRID.

Of course, I argued that this shouldn't matter, as this should be for Exchange Hybrid settings; there is no checkbox for Skype for Business Hybrid. At this point, the tech acknowledged that even though this field is labeled as "Exchange", it actually pertains to the environment as described above as well. Unfortunately, there was no technical documentation to back this up, at least that he knew of, but at this point I figured, "What the heck, what will it hurt to try it at this point?!" Hitting Previous in the Azure AD Connect GUI, I then clicked on Customize Synchronization Options, and then Next.

Of course, we must authenticated again:



After putting in credentials for Office 365, making sure that your on-prem AD domain is already added in, and skipping on down to the Optional Features tab, you will see that the Exchange hybrid deployment checkbox is not checked. (NOTE: in my lab environment, I do not have Exchange or Skype for Business installed, so this option is Greyed out. In the real-world environment described throughout this post, this option is NOT greyed out.) Check it, and then click Next:





On the Ready to Configure screen, make sure that you leave the checkbox checked for starting a sync, and then click Configure:





When the configuration is complete, just click Exit, as seen below, and wait for the synchronization to finish. Depending on the size of your environment, the synchronization could take a while. I want to say it took at least 15 minutes to re-sync an environment of about 1,400 people with all the new attributes.



Now, I wish I had some big fancy finish to this post, but honestly, the fact is that after I enabled Exchange Hybrid Deployment in Azure AD Connect, all the needed attributes finally synced to Office 365, and I was then able to successfully move users from Online to on-Prem. Honestly, I am still a little skeptical, simply because the setting is so blatantly labeled as "EXCHANGE" Hybrid, but I suppose it wouldn't be the craziest thing I have seen from configuration settings on Microsoft products...

At any rate, if any of you find yourselves in this so-called "Reverse Hybrid" process, and get the 506 Error due to attributes being off, it is likely that your Azure AD Connect config needs to be updated to:

1. Refresh Schema

And/or

2. Enable Exchange Hybrid Deployment checkbox.

Stay techy, my friends!



Thursday, October 6, 2016

UPDATED: Skype for Business Hybrid Handbook, Version 2.1

I have just published Version 2.1 of my FREE eBook on the TechNet Gallery, the Skype for Business Hybrid Handbook. This is a minor revision, with various updates and tweaks throughout the book. Most notably, though, are the updated Features Comparison sections for both Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX, and Exchange Integration.

If you have never grabbed your free copy of the earlier versions of this eBook, you just may find it to be one of the most comprehensive resources for your various Hybrid needs in the Skype for Business world. If you have downloaded a copy in the past, its time to get the most up-to-date version!

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Skype-for-Business-Hybrid-9218205e

As always, feedback is key. Feel free to let me know what you think here, but also don't be shy about leaving a Rating on the TechNet Gallery site!

Stay Techy, My Friends!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

RESOLVED: Transfer External Call From Polycom VVX Fails in CCE Environment

My Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) adventures appear to be far from over, and that is a good thing in my book. While the thoughts and opinions on CCE and its purpose have been varied, I personally see a lot of geographically-dispersed companies digging right on in, as they are wanting to become full-Office 365 adopters, but must account for the fact that PSTN Calling is still quite limited in its availability across the globe.

As this adventure continues, however, there is obvious product maturity that is taking place, not just on Microsoft's part, but also on the side of the Vendors whose products will integrate with the environment. In this brief post I want to call out a very specific scenario that some Polycom VVX users might find themselves in when they are kicking the tires on a brand new CCE environment. (Yes, this was a painful troubleshooting experience)

The Scenario


Note: This has only been tested on Polycom VVX 500 and 600s, though it may also pertain to the lower-end models, or other Polycom handset series.

Imagine a situation in which you have a Skype for Business user in your CCE environment, let's call them Jim Bob, and they have not adopted the "No More Phones" mentality yet. They have been using handsets for years, and they simply LOVE their Polycom VVX 600. After all, it is a pretty slick handset! At any rate, your CCE environment is set up properly, everything is working, and this user has been otherwise happy as a clam (I want to know who the psycho is that allegedly determined that clams are even generally happy creatures. Seriously, think about their existence; how on earth can that possibly...I digress).

One day, some one external to the company calls Jim Bob over the PSTN, and this call gets routed through CCE and to Office 365. At this point, Cloud PBX knows which endpoints Jim Bob is active on, and dials him on those. This is when his Polycom VVX 600 rings. Jim Bob cheerfully answers the phone, and after a few minutes of stimulating conversation, he realizes that the call actually needs to be forwarded to a colleague in a different department. No problem; Jim will just transfer the call!

The Problem


As Jim moves to transfer the call via the Call Control mechanisms on his VVX 600, he dials the number of his colleague, and goes to transfer the call. Unfortunately, though, the transfer does not go through, and Jim Bob now needs to figure out what to do with this caller! Please note, Jim Bob already confirmed that he was able to transfer a call from another internal user in his Skype for Business Online tenant within the same CCE deployment, so he was completely stumped about why he could not transfer a call from an external user.

The below diagram shows how the initial call came in, how it was routed to Jim Bob, and then how it would have traversed before being successfully transferred to his colleague. It also shows a big red "X" where the call ends up failing (if you do your homework and trace all the logs through CLS Logger on the CCE VMs):


The Resolution

 
Now, hopefully you found this blog before doing a whole lot of troubleshooting and digging into the logs, because if you did, you will realize that the issue is fixed by something as simple as firmware upgrade. You see Jim Bob's company tries to keep their phones updated with the latest firmware as much as they can, but there was a new firmware version from Polycom for the VVX phones, 5.4.5, that did not get released until October 3, 2016. While Jim Bob was experiencing the issue, this version was still and Beta and not publicly available, making the Call Transfer problem a difficult one to work around.

Version 5.4.5 is certified for Skype for Business, and will most definitely fix this issue if you have come across it. In addition to this issue, there are a good couple of pages of bugs that are addressed in this version. If you have a moment after updating your phone, check out the Release Notes; there is a LOT going on there.

Finally, here is a link to the latest Polycom UC Software Releases: http://support.polycom.com/PolycomService/support/us/support/voice/polycom_uc/polycom_uc_software_release.html  Please note, you do NOT want to go for 5.5.0; stick with 5.4.5, as it is actually certified for Skype for Business.

Well, I hope this has helped at least one or two of you on the CCE pioneering front! Till next time...

Stay Techy, My Friends!




Monday, October 3, 2016

Skype for Business at Microsoft Ignite 2016 - All the Right Information


The Expo floor at Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta, GA











 

Catching up on Microsoft Ignite 2016...


You might think that fresh off the heels of my trip to Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta, my first post would be about all the Skype for Business news coming out of Ignite this year. However, there is already a lot of good info out there from very reputable people on the subject, so I don't want to continue beating a dead horse. Instead I want to point you to the spots where the good info already exists.

 For a really good recap of all the Skype for Business-related news from Ignite, check out Mark Vale's (brand new MVP, BTW, Congrats!!!) blog post detailing the various topics:

https://skype4b.uk/2016/09/29/skype-for-business-microsoft-ignite-what-you-need-to-know/

Also, MVP Matthew Landis always has a great collection of notes from these conferences:

http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/2016/09/matts-msignite-2016-skype-for-business.html

Now, if you want a REALLY good in-depth breakdown of the MAC news coming out of Ignite, check out Mr. John Cook's post (he is rumored to be an unashamed Apple fanboy):

https://johnacook.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/so-you-say-hate-the-lync-2011-mac-client/

Lastly, while I did not blog on the happenings at Ignite, I did interview Jamie Stark, Technical Product Manager of Skype for Business at Microsoft, and Matthew Landis of Landis Technologies. I also managed to get an Ignite-Edition of the #Skype4BRecap recorded on Thursday. Check out all that fun below:

Jamie Stark Ignite Interview:


Matt Landis Ignite Interview:


And the #Skype4BRecap Ignite Edition:


Finally, Tom Arbuthnot put together an amazing tool for downloading all the video content on the sessions that you could possibly want. Check out the tool, and be sure to leave some love in the comments for him http://tomtalks.uk/2016/10/skype-business-ignite-conference-videos-youtube-playlist-download/.

Stay Techy, My Friends!





Friday, September 16, 2016

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition Fails on BaseVM Windows Update

Well, my adventures in Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) just keep on unfolding, and I must say, learning on a curve can be tricky, as the technology is so new, and things are changing between versions so much. I came across one tricky situation with a very specific fix, and I figured this may help some of you out if your are not as geeky on the Networking side as you are on the Skype for Business side.

The Issue


This problem is not specific to any version of CCE. Let's say you have made it as far as prepping your Hyper-V host with all the appropriate settings. You have downloaded CCE, you have downloaded the S4B bits, you have uploaded the Windows OS ISO that you will be using, and properly filled out your entire CloudConnector.ini file (along with all the other required preparation steps). Finally, you are ready to convert that ISO file into a BaseVM that will be used to create your final 4 VMs in the CCE configuration. You run the following cmdlet:


Convert-CcIsoToVhdx -IsoFilePath <Windows ISO File Path, including file name>

A lot happens now. The original ISO is extracted, stuff is happening in the background, then a new VM gets built and the OS is installed. Of course, the configuration information is pulled from your CloudConnector.ini file, so make sure you have that properly filled out ahead of time. During the original OS install, the PowerShell window does not show you much at all, and doesn't update you with the progress until it is finished. If you are like me, and don't have a lot of patience, or just like to know what is going on, pop open the Hyper-V Manager, click on the BaseVM name (it is named some horrible GUID-looking name), and click Connect from the VM options on the right side. This will let you see the VM as the OS gets installed and the machine restarts over and over again - it is more to look at that PowerShell where nothing seems to be happening.

Finally, in your Powershell window, after the OS is fully installed and the machine has gotten through some initial configuration, you see that it is attempting to download and install Windows Updates. But it fails! NOOOOO!!!! It says it will retry again after 30 seconds...



No Bueno...

The Resolution


So, at this point you are racking your brain. You did everything to prep that you needed to. You cleared all the IPs and Network segments with your Network guy. All the DNS settings are accessible, so you know it is not DNS. The Networking guy even did you a favor and setup the firewall rules correctly on the first try (sorry Networking guys, had to throw that friendly zinger in there). So why is the machine still not able to connect to the internet, resulting in the above cmdlet ultimately failing on Windows Updates?

Well, if your situation was like mine, it was because you did not realize VLAN Tagging was at play! Yep, all your IPs and network information is correct, but the individual vNICs on each VM have to set up with the properly VLAN ID. Luckily, this can be done with the machine still running and doing its thing. With the VM still highlighted in the Hyper-V Manager, click on Settings under the VM options, and then click on the name of the Corpnet NIC as you have set it up on the VMs properties. Once there, you will need to check the box next to Enable virtual LAN identification, and then enter the proper VLAN ID in the box below it. Don't forget to hit Apply before closing the window!




Wasn't that nice? I even added numbers to show you the order to set those VLAN IDs! ;-) 


Once you do this, the VM will almost instantly pick up its connection, and if you are still on the WIndows Update step, you should see updates detected:










And that's that! VLAN tagging is one of those things that is not really covered in the CCE documentation, at least that I have seen, so be aware that you will have to figure it in if it is in use in your environment, or your clients' environments. Please remember, you will need to set it on ALL VMs, not just the BaseVM. On that Edge VM, though, you will have two NICs to set it on, and they should likely each be on different VLANs, thus different tags for each NIC.

Hope this helps at least one or two of you fumbling through a CCE deployment out there!

Stay techy my friends!



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) Deployment - Lessons Learned

Hey everyone! Yes, I know, it has been STUPID long since I wrote a blog post, and my excuses are pathetic. Pathetic as they may be, let me list a couple out to try to redeem myself a bit:
  • I changed jobs. Again! - Yep, I my stay at Deloitte ended up being a little shorter than I originally thought it might be, but an opportunity at Integration Partners came my way, and I just couldn't pass it up. While I worked with an amazing team at Deloitte, and was very grateful for that opportunity, this new role has been a pretty awesome ride already, with an awesome team to boot!
  • I've been keeping up with my weekly #Skype4BRecap webcast. -  Yes, I know, webcasting alone is not good enough, but with a weekly schedule, it does actually take up quite a bit of time!
  • My family did a cross-country move. - You have to admit, that is a pretty big task, moving an entire household from NC to TX. And all the packing/prepping was being done while keeping the house in "Showing" condition for potential buyers.
  • And the lamest excuse of all... I was a bit burned out on "written" material after Version 2.0 of my Skype for Business Hybrid Handbook. - I know, cry me a river, but hey, Version 2.0 was a pretty big increase in content, with an entirely new chapter devoted entirely to Cloud Connector Edition! Which leads me to today's topic.

One of the more recent projects I have had the pleasure to dive into has centered around a Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) deployment. The situation was that the company was deploying a greenfield Skype for Business Online environment in Office 365, meaning they did not already have Skype for Business (or Lync Server) on-prem, and wanted to bake in PSTN calling capability for their Skype for Business users. This was all fine and great for their U.S.-based users, who could simply use Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling. However, this company also had a small group of users in a South American country, and with no PSTN Calling functionality outside of the U.S. and U.K. (ok, AND technically Puerto Rico), they would not be able to place PSTN calls via Skype for Business for their South American users.

Enter CCE! The plan was to move all users into Office 365, with all U.S. users using Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling, and all South American users using Cloud PBX with a new on-prem CCE deployment (the CCE would be connecting to a Sonus SBC as the PSTN Gateway, but that doesn't really matter much for this post). So far, all is well! Below is a nifty little network diagram of how CCE was to be deployed (networking info changed to protect the innocent, of course!):


As you can see above, there was only going to be a single PSTN Site created (a single CCE instance); there was no HA to plan for, or other potential complications. A simple deployment was right up my alley, though, as this would be my first production CCE deployment. I was quite excited.

About those "Lessons Learned"?


Alright, I know you are ready for me to quite blabbing and get on with my pointers already, so I want walk you through this step-by-step - we'll save that for another time! Today is simply about a few lessons that I learned when deploying CCE.

1. Plan your networking ahead of time.


This may seem silly to even call out, as it should be obvious, but I found it really helpful, and almost necessary, to have Visio or other diagram that gave you a good visual of how all the networking components were going to be layed out, and more specifically, what IPs would be assigned. Unlike a Skype for Business Server 2015 on-prem deployment, where you can deploy certain pieces in phases, coming back for things when you are ready, CCE requires you to modify a single text file (CloudConnector.ini) with ALL the necessary values for building out your ENTIRE VM environment before deploying your build script.

This means that you needed to prepare your SSL and have it issued and placed on the server prior to running the script, whereas you could simply execute Step 3 in the Skype for Business Deployment Wizard when you were good and ready for on-prem. You needed to provide the public IP for your Access Edge component, as well as the IPs for each of the 4 VMs, and an additional public-facing (but internal) IP for the Edge server, on a separate network than the 4 IPs assigned to the other VMs. You needed to provide the DNS server IP addresses that your VMs would use for public name resolution (I used Google's public DNS servers at 8.8.8.8 for all public name resolution). As you can see, there were plenty of variables to have completely laid out before pressing that Enter button to execute the PowerShell cmdlet for building the environment.

2. No Errors on the build script doesn't mean everything deployed as expected.


After getting all the requirements gathered and documented in your config file, running it smoothly, and seeing that the cmdlet finished without any errors, you may think the execution was flawless. You may be especially tempted to think this when you see those 4 shiny new VMs in the Hyper-V manager, and start accessing them, noticing the presence of all the right software. Sweetness! Or maybe not so much...

Let's say you go to make that call after getting your user configured completely and logged into a client, and bummer of all bummers, the call doesn't go through. First you try an outbound call from the client, and it doesn't even ring; it pretty much just kills the call after a couple seconds. Then you try an inbound call, dialing the assigned LineURI of this new CCE user. Unfortunately, it may start to ring, but never gets through.

In my case, I ended up installing Skype for Business Debugging Tools on the Mediation server VM, and using CLS Logger. With CLS Logger I could not see any attempts at all when placing an outbound call. Looking at the diagram above, we see that the CCE user would first hit Office 365, and then the call would attempt to route through the Edge role and then the Mediation role before moving on to the SBC (my test users was external to the corporate network). Since I saw nothing on the Mediation server via CLS Logger, this meant that the traffic was only getting as far as the Edge role. I then installed Wireshark on the Edge role, and discovered that a Reset was being sent back to Office 365 from the Edge server every time the outbound call was made.

At the same time I noticed that INBOUND calls were getting further, making it to through the Sonus SBC and to the Mediation server, but were not getting any further as the CLS Logger revealed a 503 error, stating that the Invite failed via the proxy, and that it was unable to establish a connection. With both issues, the Edge server appeared to be the common denominator. This confused me, as I would have figured that any problems with the build would have been reported on the PowerShell window during the build. After all, there wasn't any custom config; all config was done by the script, using the values provided in the config file.Well, I thought I would check out the Edge server for the heck of it.

What do you know, there were several Skype for Business services stopped on the Edge, including the Access Edge service! Trying to start these services failed, and further analysis of the Skype for Business event log showed that the reason for the services not starting was missing certificates. How could this be? The CCE cmdlet succeeded in building the environment, and didn't complain about any certificates...I opened up the Skype for Business Deployment Wizard, go to the certificates section, and sure enough, all of the external certificate fields were blank!

Alright, I don't get how that happened at all, but when I highlighted the External section and clicked "Assign", the external certificate was present as an option. This means that the script did in fact install the certificate on the server, but just didn't assign it during the Skype for Business deployment on the Edge. *SIGH*. I assigned it, restarted services, and BOOM. Traffic started to flow through, and calls started ringing. There were still issues to deal with at the carrier level, but the CCE portion was now fixed.

3. Location, Location, Location (for Office 365 License assignment)


Remember how I said that some of the users in this company were in the US, but others were in South America? Well, when this test account was setup, it was configured like most of the other accounts, leaving the default location as US when assigning licenses. No big deal at first, but remember, I was getting ready to test dialing from with this user, making the assumption that the user was located in this South American country. Well, when I try to dial out international, using the expected format for the specific country, the dialing did not work. At all! Never made it to the Edge server. As a matter of fact, the only way I could dial and make it to the Edge was to start out dialing an E.164 formatted number.

I then used the following cmdlet to view the user's properties:

Get-CsOnlineUser -Identity <user>@<sipdomain>

Looking at the output, I could see that the user's DialPlan was set to "US". Clearly this would not work. So, I went back into the Users section of Office 365, into the Properties for the test user, and went to edit the assigned licenses. When prompted for Location, I changed this to the proper country in South America. After saving the settings, I could now see that the user had the DialPlan that reflected their respective country. Perfect! After waiting about 10 minutes for replication, I signed the user back in, and was able to dial as expected, as if the user was in the South American country.

The thing to remember of this point is that many adopters of CCE are going to be global or international firms that want to make a move into Office 365 for most of their services, but are still not able to move many non-U.S. or non-U.K. users into PSTN Calling; they will be interested in moving as much as they can into Office 365, while leaning on CCE to provide PSTN capabilities to the geographically-dispersed portion of their user base via on-prem infrastructure. With this in mind, specifying the correct location when assigning Office 365 licenses will be very important.

In Summary


Well that's about all the lessons I have to share for now from my recent adventures in CCE. However, I feel like there will be more of these in my future, with maybe other factors to consider, so I may just update this post as I come across any more interesting things to watch for as you wade into the fairly new waters of CCE. Hope this has been helpful in some shape or form. If you have run into any of your own interesting "Gotchas" in a CCE deployment, feel free to share your experience in the Comments section!

Stay techy, my friends!