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Lync Factor: Lync Lessons Through Losing

Editor’s note: Trainer Chris Ward recently earned Microsoft Lync Server certification. This is the 13th in a series of posts during which he’ll share his experiences and advice. 

I’ll be the first to admit that at times I’ve felt like the kid who’s facing his first jump into the deep end of the pool. It’s scary! There might be sharks!!! Lync Server 2013 is a HUGE product with lots of bells and whistles, and that means lots of things to learn. It also means quite a bit of integration with other products and devices. So how to learn it all?Chris_LyncServerSeries_EMAIL

Well, my instructor, Ken, an Office Communications Specialist/MCSE – Communications/all-around guru, told me that he is STILL learning all the intricacies of Lync. So, have hope my dear friends if you are getting ready to do a cannon ball off the diving board. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a belly flop.

However, I’ve learned more from my belly flops than any of the precision dives into this product. This blog post is about Lync Server 2013 Edge Server. My first foray into this technology was less than pretty, however, I learned several cool best practices that might help you.

What is the Edge Server? Technically, it is four separate services: Access Edge Server, Web Conferencing Edge Server, A/V Edge Server, and the XMPP Gateway. When you break it down into the four parts, it isn’t as scary or “ginormous” (that’s a word…really…watch the movie “Elf”). Each one of those services gives you some different functionality — AND you don’t really need all of them if your company doesn’t need that level of functionality. It’s very similar to Windows Server products, in which you add the roles and features you need depending on what you’re requirements are.

The new-to-Lync Server 2013 part is that the XMPP Gateway can be on the Edge Server and not have to be its own separate machine. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open, XML-based protocol that helps provide near real-time IM and Presence information. It has been around since OCS 2007, but now it’s tightly integrated.

All cool stuff, right? Except I couldn’t get mine to work correctly to save my life. Just couldn’t get the stuff to work. You might be thinking, “Chris, you told us to check the services…that must be your problem.”

James Conrad to the rescue!! (Check out his many CBT Nuggets Windows and CEH courses for pure awesomeness). During the process of earning my MCSA, I remembered him mentioning that if you’re trying to get something to talk on the network and it’s not responding, you might have a DNS problem.

 Bingo!!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

First…check to make sure your pool is resolving.

 Then open up an elevated command prompt and type (using your pool info):


Set type=a

 You should see an IP address and correct name for the Edge Server(s) or load balancer. Make sure you don’t have any mystery IP addresses in there!

 If that’s right, then check your SRV records with a slightly different command:


Set type=srv

 If you set it right, you should see a priority, weight, port, and server hostname. If the server name doesn’t match the Edge Pool Access Edge FQDN (mine did not) you have an incorrect SRV record. Go to DNS and make sure the IP address is correct for the pool and make sure the SRV records are set correctly.

On the Public DNS side of things, you’ll need to make sure you can resolve the Access Edge, Web Conferencing Edge, and A/V Edge FQDNs. For the private side you’ll need the clients to resolve to the Internal Edge pool FQDN.

That process took me a day. Talk about a belly flop! However, this can help you with other issues in your environment. So, check your services, and check DNS!

And as always, Lync on, my friends!

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