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Lync Factor: Seek the Little Things

Editor’s Note: Trainer Chris Ward is studying for Microsoft Lync Server certification. This is the fourth in a series of posts during which he’ll share his experiences and advice. 

I don’t know if you’re like me when it comes to learning new things, but I always like little surprises. The little Nuggets of information that all of a sudden make something else you’ve learned click into place.Chris_LyncServerSeries_EMAIL

It’s like you have a huge puzzle in front of you, and have it mostly finished, but there just seems to be a few sections that don’t make sense. The picture is just not complete. Then, all of a sudden, you find a few pieces off to the side that you hadn’t noticed. You plug them in and…Voila! You now have a complete view of your finished product. It might be 10 pieces of a 1,000 piece puzzle, but without them… it’s not complete.

For me this week, it was relearning how you need to keep the Global Catalog server off the Infrastructure Master. I vaguely remember that from the past, but I had no idea WHY it was important. Most people just tell you, “Don’t put the GC on the Infrastructure Master.” Then I was listening to James Conrad talk about it during his Nugget explaining Operations Masters (formerly FSMOs), and he said, “You probably wonder why that’s important… let me show you.”

The quick explanation is that you run into problems when you have both on the same Domain controller. Let’s say you are identifying users from another domain in order to allow them access to resources. You use the Global Catalog server to confirm membership, and the Infrastructure Master’s job is to keep names accurate (the same).

So let’s say that someone gets married and changes their name. Within their own domain (, replication would take care of that for you. However, lets say you have that just married user from another domain ( that belongs to a security group on a different domain ( where the GC and Infrastructure are on the same Domain controller. The GC is responsible to get the username and attribute from the other domain, and with the Infrastructure Master on the same machine, the Infrastructure master will never think there’s a change and never replicate to the other DCs in the domain.

If you stayed with me through that explanation… congrats! If you’re wondering why that was such a big deal, I actually had a problem occur in my test network where I had this exact scenario play out. I couldn’t figure it out to save my life! But once I learned that “small little piece of information,” the entire troubleshooting picture came into crystal-clear focus.

In the words of Hannibal Smith of the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

So as you make your journey through earning certifications, look for those little Nuggets of truth, new info, insight, etc. to give you that “aha” moment that makes learning so fun. I know I’m getting psyched up to be moving on to Lync Server training next month, and can’t wait to take what I’m learning now and use it at the more granular levels.


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