Monday, September 14, 2009

TechEd Australia Should be a Full Week

Last week I attended TechEd Australia in the Gold Coast.  I had a great time learning, connecting, talking, networking, teaching, socialising and presenting.  Having said that I left the Gold Coast both drained and a bit frustrated. 

While there was a lot of content there, there was an awful lot of content that was not there.  I was lucky to be one of the speakers in the UC track.  There were 12 sessions allocated for the UC track.  Nine were focused on Exchange 2010 and three went to OCS 2007 R2.  Now, granted, Exchange is a flagship product and 2010 is an exciting release.  I would not take anything away from Exchange.  But OCS 2007 R2 needed much more coverage.  Rewind a year to TechEd 2007 and all the OCS 2007 R2 content was still under embargo so the result of the lack of sessions at TechEd 2009 is that R2 content has not really had a good airing at a large public conference in Australia.

This is not due to a lack of speakers – I submitted two other sessions that did not make the cut.  I know other external speakers who put sessions forward that did not get a slot at all.  I know the Microsoft UC guys could of done more sessions.  Nor is it due to a lack of things to talk about.  In pulling together content for our overview session Derrick Buckley and I drew content and inspiration from no fewer that 5 TechEd US sessions!  Oh the detail we could of gone into if we had had the time.  Edge Services, Conferencing Solutions, Group Chat Architecture and UC Applications could all easily be sessions in their own right. 

So if we need more room in the UC track (among others) and we can’t trim back on the existing content because we need that too, what’s the solution.  Simple really.  TechEd Australia should be five days long, like the one in the US is. 

Now, I know that events cost money and extending TechEd Australia to five days would not come cheap – but there must be a way.  One suggestion I would put forward would be to combine TechEd Australia and TechEd  New Zealand into one ANZ event.  Surely it would be cheaper to run one event for 4000-5000 people than two for 2500 each.  Also with fewer flights and nights of accommodation for the US speakers that hit Australia and New Zealand perhaps we could get more US speakers out here for the same money?  More days, more colleagues, more experts and more content.  It sounds like a winner to me.

Now – in reality this would probably mean canning TechEd NZ and just having one in Australia since there are no venues in NZ big enough to host an event that size.  I use to live in NZ and I would of crossed the Tasman to attend TechEd in Australia if need be, but I’m sure there will be plenty of naysayers.  Even now, if NZ builds a venue I would happily cross the ditch in the other direction to attend an ANZ TechEd in New Zealand. 

I tweeted this thought the other day and got a few comments back from people who thought two more days would be great if their livers could hold out.  What say you Microsoft?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

UC Lunch at TechEd Australia

Sydney UC and Melbourne UC are getting together for Lunch at TechEd Australia. This grand event is sponsored by Tandberg.

Come along for lunch, a chance to mingle with your like minded peers and a chance to win a Tandberg HD webcam. Click the Register button below to register via


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August Sydney UC Meeting

Well it has been a long time between we’re going to make up for it now!  Today Johann posted details of our August meeting on the SydneyUC site.  It is going to be a call session with Alloy coming along to tell us all about the SNOM OCS range of phones that they distribute in Australia. 

The snom OCS Edition (snom Open Communication Solution Edition) combines the advantages of the open IP telephony standard SIP with the integration into Microsoft’s Office Communication Server 2007  and the complete Unified Communications solution.

snom phones are the first open-standard SIP phones with native Microsoft® Office Communication Server 2007 integration.

We are also hoping to have a TechEd Speaker Rapidfire session where we get all the UC track presenters we can find to present (or record) a 5-10 minute overview of what they will be presenting up at the Gold Coast.  I’ve not heard how we are going at getting said speakers, but Derrick and I will be there, as will John Smith so we should at least have the important ones ;)

We are also scheming a bit of a UC focused meetup at TechEd – so those of you attending this year stay tuned.

Friday, May 8, 2009

TechEd ANZ Call for Papers Out Now

Think you’ve got a good idea for a TechEd session for TechEd Australia and/or TechEd NZ?  Well don’t just sit there – submit your idea and you may get the chance to present at TechEd this year.

Johann Kruse is the UC track owner and he tells us how with this post:

So how do you go about submitting a session? Go to the Call for Content tool and register with your email address and the RSVP code TechEdANZ. Fill in all the details and hit submit. You can come back to the site at any time to update or review the progress of your submission.

TechEd is always a great event – and often the sessions submitted by the community are among the best.  Speaking or attending I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NET Whitepapers available on

A friend of mine from NET Australia flicked me the following on Monday – I’ve just not had a chance to put it up.

Today NET Australia has made its most popular whitepapers available at  The white papers cover a range of topics such as:

  • SIP Trunking
  • Directory Based Call Routing
  • Enabling Resilient, Secure, and High Availability Voice Services in Microsoft OCS Deployments
  • Key Success Factors for Microsoft UC Implementations

NET Australia has made these papers available through as it is the largest subscribed Unified Communications websites in the region, with contributions from thousands of members worldwide.


Great initiative NET.  Thanks for contributing to the community!  (not to mention making such great products in the first place)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exchange 2010 Beta Released

Microsoft have released the public beta of Exchange 2010.

There is a good overview that outlines the improvements you can expect in areas such as storage, availability, administration, access, compliance and more.

There is a wealth of additional information on the official Exchange 2010 site.  I strongly encourage you to explore that site. 

If you just want to jump straight in, however, you can download the beta here.

Have Fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Case Sensitive Certificates in OCS?

I had a heck of a time getting OCS R2 and Exchange Unified Messaging playing nicely together.  I had set up both environments and I could dial extensions in the OCS environment, but I could not dial the subscriber access number for Exchange UM.

In the event logs on the OCS Front End server I was seeing the following events.

Source: OCS Exchange Unified Messaging Routing

Event ID: 1040

The attempt failed with response code 504:
Failure occurrences: 3, since 18/03/2009 11:34:48 AM.
Cause: An attempt to route to an Exchange UM server failed because the UM server was unable to process the request or did not respond within the allotted time.
Check this server is correctly configured to point to the appropriate Exchange UM server. Also check whether the Exchange UM server is up and whether it in turn is also properly configured.


Source: OCS Protocol Stack

Event ID: 1001

TLS outgoing connection failures.
Over the past 28 minutes Office Communications Server has experienced TLS outgoing connection failures 3 time(s). The error code of the last failure is 0x80090322 (The target principal name is incorrect.) while trying to connect to the host "".
Cause: Wrong principal error could happen if the peer presents a certificate whose subject name does not match the peer name. Certificate root not trusted error could happen if the peer certificate was issued by remote CA that is not trusted by the local machine.
For untrusted root errors, ensure that the remote CA certificate chain is installed locally. If you have already installed the remote CA certificate chain, then try rebooting the computer.


Source: OCS Exchange Unified Messaging Routing

Event ID: 1040

An attempt to route to an Exchange UM server failed.
The attempt failed with response code 504:
Failure occurrences: 4, since 18/03/2009 11:34:48 AM.
Cause: An attempt to route to an Exchange UM server failed because the UM server was unable to process the request or did not respond within the allotted time.
Check this server is correctly configured to point to the appropriate Exchange UM server. Also check whether the Exchange UM server is up and whether it in turn is also properly configured


On the Exchange UM server I was just seeing the following event:

Source: MSExchange Unified Messaging

Event ID: 1088

The IP gateway or IP-PBX "" did not respond to a SIP OPTIONS request from the Unified Messaging server. The error code that was returned is "0" and the error text is ":Unable to establish a connection.".


This all pointed a certificate problem.  But the certificates were all issued by an internal CA and both servers trusted the Root CA Certificate.  The names in the event log matched the subject names on the certificates, in that they both have the FQDNs of the servers.

I tried reissuing the certificates but the problem persisted. 

Then I noticed something – in a couple of events on the OCS Server it referred to the Exchange Server like this:

The error code of the last failure is 0x80090322 (The target principal name is incorrect.) while trying to connect to the host "".

But in my case the certificates had the FQDN all in lowercase like this:

Now – it shouldn’t matter but by this stage I was clutching at straws.  So I changed my powershell command and requested a new cert with the servername in uppercase.  After I assigned this certificate to the UM server I restarted the Exchange Unified Messaging service and checked the event logs and low and behold – none of the events were logged.

I tried to make a call to Exchange UM and got a new error – which was progress and will be the subject of another post.  At any rate the certificate issue was resolved.

HowTo: Install a new language pack for Exchange UM

Installing a new language pack for Exchange Unified messaging is pretty easy.  In addition to the default English US there are a number additional language packs on the installation media. 

The following files are in the \UM directory on the media.

  • umlang-de-DE.msi
  • umlang-en-AU.msi
  • umlang-en-GB.msi
  • umlang-es-ES.msi
  • umlang-es-MX.msi
  • umlang-fr-CA.msi
  • umlang-fr-FR.msi
  • umlang-it-IT.msi
  • umlang-ja-JP.msi
  • umlang-ko-KR.msi
  • umlang-nl-NL.msi
  • umlang-pt-BR.msi
  • umlang-sv-SE.msi
  • umlang-zh-CN.msi
  • umlang-zh-TW.msi

Each of these MSI files is a language pack.  These are also available for download from Microsoft.

Once you have your language pack you need to install it onto each Exchange UM server you want the language pack available on.

This is done by running the setup command on the CD.  The command format is: /AddUmLanguagePack:xx-YY /s:<path to language pack>

where xx-YY is the language you want to install, which is in the name of the MSI file.  For example I used the command below to install the Australian English on my Exchange UM server.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SydneyUC Meeting – the Good and Bad

The March Sydney UC meeting was a blast.  An absolute roaring success!  As long as you were actually there.  You see we were all hooked up to the Live Meeting well before the scheduled start time.  And then 5 minutes before the start – the Live Meeting session dropped and we could not get back in.  The irony of it all.

Apologies to the people who were unable to attend via Live Meeting.  This is, unfortunately, one of the key challenges with cloud based services.  You are utterly dependant on the cloud actually being available. 

That aside we had a good session.  I gave an overview of the portable OCS R2 lab I have been building.  It has been an interesting experience and I encountered and conquered a few issues along the way. 

Then Jeff Wang from Tandberg gave a great overview of the OCS R2 and Tandberg integration and interoperability story.  It was a great story and Jeff presented it brilliantly.  Scenarios demonstrated included:

  • OCS MOC client to room based system video call
  • Video phone to MOC client call
  • Video call forking to MOC and Video phone
  • Multiparty ad-hoc video including Tandberg and OCS endpoints
  • Scheduled multiparty video calls.

After that Wayne Lee from GN (Jabra) gave a session about Jabra’s background and product range.  Wayne highlighted the benefits of using OCS certified devices and gave a good overview of the devices that Jabra offer today.

Over all it was a great session and we had a good turn out.  We are planning another session in April, so keep an eye on the Sydney UC site, the RSS feed, our Facebook page or the #sydneyuc twitter tag.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Moving the Transport Dumpster in E2k7 SP1

Chris Goosen has a great post about the Exchange Transport Dumpster and how to move it from its default location.

I won’t repeat it all here – check it out here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March Meeting of Sydney UC

Details of the March Sydney UC meeting are on the Sydney UC blog.

To save a click:

At the March Sydney UC Community meeting TANDBERG will demonstrate how the ubiquitous Microsoft Office Communicator video capability can be easily integrated into an organisations visual communication platforms. Specifically, the group will see how user friendly the TANDBERG-OCS integration is and how it can reduce user training requirements and increase usage and adoption of video to improve workflow and communication.
In addition TANDERG will share our roadmap showing the exciting additional features that are upcoming with the imminent release of Microsoft OCS 2007 R2, and how TANDBERG will integrate into Microsoft OCS R2 further to be one step closer a vision of completely Unified Communications.
Jabra will also be presenting on some of their new UC hardware including the M5390 and Dial 520 OC.

Sydney UC is also on Facebook, become a friend and register for events on our profile page.

Remember that if you can’t physically make the event the session will be available via Live Meeting around the globe.  There is a link for the live meeting on the Facebook event.

Also – if you are using Twitter – keep an eye on the #sydneyuc tag for updates = we’ll be using that as well going forward.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great post or OCS R2 licensing

Mike Stay has a great post about OCS R2 licensing. It covers the ins and outs of R2 licensing including what has and hasn't changed from OCS 2007. Of course Mike also covers off the obligatory MS Licensing nuance. Great Post.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The First Actual Meeting of SydneyUC

After announcing the group at TechEd Australia we've been waiting for the right time to kick it off proper.  What were we waiting for?  Content of course!

On the agenda will be Microsoft’s announcement of OCS 2007 R2, a discussion on the recent Microsoft/Telstra S+S announcements, as well as updates on the latest UC and mobility devices and hardware.

Where: Gen-i’s offices at Level 23, World Square, Sydney (World Square is 680 George St).

When: Tuesday, November the 18th.  1:30 Eastern Daylight Time

Hope you can all make it - but if you can't don't fret!  This is a UC user group!  As Johann posted on the Sydney UC site...

However for those of you who can’t make it or have prior commitments – we will also be making the meeting available through LiveMeeting and it will be recorded so you can watch later (details to come later).

See you then - and make sure you subscribe to the Sydney UC Feed

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

At last! Two Exchange profiles open at the same time

While it is possible to have two Outlook profiles on one machine and to configure these profiles to point to different Exchange environments it has always bugged me that you can only have one profile open at one time.  Until now.

Nick Randolph pointed out a really great little tool that allows you to launch a second, independent instance of Outlook in which you can open a different Outlook profile.

So, without further adieu, we are proud to present you with our "ExtraOutlook" tool that allows you to launch as many Outlook instances as you want. All you have to do is configure the profiles you want, and then type: ExtraOutlook.exe "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE"

ExtraOutlook is available from HammerOfGod.  Groovy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Unified Communications will Transcend the Language Barrier

There is an interesting new bot available for Windows Live Messenger that provides translation between English and several other languages.

Simply add "" to you Windows Live Messenger contacts, then send a message to Tbot.

Tbot will ask you what language you want to translate from and to and then respond with translations when you type.

image Now, you can always invite another person to the conversation, who writes in the language you are translating to and then chat back and forth.

This is very cool, even though it is still a bit clunky.  However, I can see a time in the not too distant future where the translation service will be server side in the corporate instant messaging products.  Imagine a US based employee chatting with an employee in Spain, with both parties typing in their own language.  Or an English speaker collaborating with a business partner in China via instant messaging with real time translation.  It does not seem that far fetched, does it?

Now ask yourself - what about speech?  Today we can turn speech into text with a fair degree of accuracy.  We can also translate text from one language to another and we can synthesise text back into speech.  How far away are we from two people having a real time spoken conversation in which each participant speaks their own language and hears a translated version of the other party?

I believe it will happen one day.