Thursday, January 15, 2015

Skype for Business and Lync Monitoring for Enterprise Voice

Monitoring, a component in Lync which is most important.
Not only collecting information about the servers and their services. Since here are users directly involved with their end devices, like phones, headset or computers. In between of those components sits the network and routing devices. Not enough here, mostly Lync or Skype for Business work in an environment where other voice solutions, e.g. PBX's or SIP Systems are running in parallel. During a migration for example, if you move users towards Enterprise Voice, the PBX and e.g. SIP Trunk Providers are in the loop for quite some time.

This makes monitoring of the entire Voice solution essential.

Lets see hat Lync and Skype for Business offers:
Microsoft has introduced a two databases, the CDR and QoE database. Those are databases where Call Details are recorded and the entire environment quality data, like Server and service health, as well as the quality relevant information about call, either a P2P or Enterprise Voice call, and data about conferences.
With predefined SQL Reports you can query those data. And they are essential not only for troubleshooting, they are essential monitoring trends as well.
You have a dashboard providing an generic overview and the individual reports allowing you having a deep inside view of each call and component.

But here the main question comes into place: If I'm in the midst of an migration, or even having two UC solution in place, where can I see and monitor the entire environment of my company.

The answer is you cannot do this with the Microsoft Monitoring components. You need either multiple different systems, where you will encounter difficulties bringing those information together.

Saying a Skype for Business user is calling a user still not migrated from an AVAYA PBX. Both system are connected via SIP Trunk or via the SBC.
Now you cannot monitor this call.
The only solution is you take the Microsoft site and the Avaya site combine possible reports and try your best.

Now what I personally recommend to customers addressing this problem:


This is the only solution able to utilize every source in your environment, the Microsoft Reporting databases, the SDN APIs, and the most PBX and UC vendors. Consolidating all information into a single system and provide you the entire, overall view.

Lets have a look into it:

With Prognosis I can address all components in Lync and Skype for Business, including the SDN API too. Therefore I also collect the CDR and QoE database information.
But that's not enough, in an UC environment, we learned that the user experience is quite important. This the user has a sensitive organ, the ear. Therefore he has subjective sense to a call he made. It is helpful, if we can identify those calls too. We know that the Skype for Consumes offer those function. With Prognosis, we can integrate this feature also into Lync 2010 and Lync 2013.
From here we can validate the call in more simpler way than we could do with the integrated reporting in Lync/ Skype for Business. 
As mentioned earlier, having a view over all involved components, we call this feature in Prognosis Voice Quality 360. The call can be monitored from end-to-end over all solution, e.g. from Lync to Avaya, or from CCM to Skype for Business.

As the path is important we also need trace those call with e.g. SBC. here is an example tracing a call from Cisco Call Manager to Lync, End-to-End. Have the SBC from AMCE in place. This can help us to clearly identify where we would have the problem located, e.g. a lower MOS Score. From this point onwards we simple click down to the component identified.

Conference are another issue. How often I was asked to identify a "bad" call in a conference, even with more than 100 participants. Wow difficult task and a lot of work.
With Prognosis, it made my life easy, as I could see the call was bad on the sending path.

if you are the Administrator in company, you should be able tracing your environment entirely and have the right tool to support your work, so you can approach the correct troubleshooting way directly.
Additionally, we can deliver those information also to our support partners which than save a lot of time doing their parts.

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