Install Lync Server 2010

In a previous blog post with an introduction of Lync Server 2010 I already showed the setup flow. The most important part is the central SQL server, the Central Management Server or CMS. In this blogpost I’ll continue with the installation of Lync Server 2010.

Lync Server preparations

I’ll start with a simple setup (just like most customers tend to do). I’ll install Lync Server 2010 for instant messaging, presence information and (simple) video conferencing. Initially I’ll setup this up for interal use only, but in a future blog post I’ll connect the Lync environment to the internet so users at home can connect. Or parters (federation) can connect to our Lync environment of course.

For a scenario like this only one Lync Server is needed, this server is called the front-end server. On this front-end server SQL Express is installed as well. The Standard Edition of Lync only supports SQL Express. If a dedicated SQL Server needs to be used the Enterprise Edition of Lync Server is needed.

The “heart” of the Lync Server is the CMS or Central Management Server. This is where all configuration data is stored (instead of storing in Active Directory!). The CMS is a central part of the Lync Server setup, which consists of the following steps:

  1. Connect Lync Server to domain (which is only running Windows at this time);
  2. Install prerequisite software;
  3. Change the Active Directory schema;
  4. Prepare the Lync Server;
  5. Build the Lync topology and publish it in the CMS;
  6. Install Lync Server with info retrieved from the CMS;
  7. Request and configure SSL certificates;
  8. Lync enable users;
  9. Deploy Lync clients.

For larger environment Microsoft has a planning tool available which gives a complete overview of the desired configuration, including hardware requirements and firewall settings. This is a separate download and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=bcd64040-40c4-4714-9e68-c649785cc43a

There’s also a capacity calculator available for Lync Server 2010, this is also a separate download: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=6e8342a7-3238-4f37-9f95-7b056525dc1a

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Figuur 1. Overview of the Lync Server installation process.

The first two steps, i.e. joining the Active Directory domain and the installation of the prerequisite software is not too exciting. The requirements are Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, both need the .NET Framework 3.5.1 SP1 and Powershell 2.0 (but both are standard available in Windows 2008 SP2 and R2).

Part of the requirements is Internet Information Server (IIS). The parts of IIS that are needed can be installed with the following command prompt:

ServerManagerCmd.exe –i Web-Server Web-Http-Redirect Web-Scripting-Tools Web-Windows-Auth Web-Asp-Net Web-Log-Libraries Web-Http-Tracing Web-Basic-Auth Desktop-Experience

Installing the Telnet Client can be useful as well for troubleshooting purposes.

Active Directory Schema changes.

When the prerequisites are installed the setup application can be started:

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Figuur 2. The installation wizard main menu

On the left hand side the Active Directory preparation and the installation of the Lync Server are visible. In the right hand column the preparations are visible, including some training stuff, documentation and tools and resources. In the screenshot above the Active Directory schema changes are already made, indicated by the green checkmark.

Lync Server preparation

Preparing the Lync Server is primarily the installation and configuration of the Central Management Store. Click on “Prepare first Standard Edition server” and follow the wizard. SQL Express will now be downloaded and installed:

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Figuur 3. Preparing the first Lync Standard Edition Server

If all prerequisite software is installed correctly the preparation will finish correctly. If not, an error message will be shown, indicating the problem (in red) on the server.

Build the Lync Topology and publish in CMS

For creating the Lync Topology there’s a ‘Topology Builder’ available. In the main menu select “Install Topology Builder”. After installing quit the setup application and start the Topology builder using the Start Menu (Start –> All Programs –> Microsoft Lync Server 2010 –> Lync Server Topology Builder).

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Figuur 4. For the first Lync Server choose “New Topology”

It is possible (of course) to create a new topology, but also topologies that are created earlier can be read from an XML file, or can be retrieved from a CMS that’s already installed. This can be useful when an exisiting installation needs to be changed.

Select “New Topology” and a new wizard will be shown. This is not too difficult, but care needs to be taken. The first is to enter the SIP domain, in my example this is “wesselius.info”, the same my SMTP domain.

Step 2 is to enter site specific details. These are NOT Active Directory site details, but the location of the Lync Server, Datacenter and Clients, in my example this is Amsterdam and The Netherlands. But do not enter “The Netherlands” in the Country field, but 31 as the country code!

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Using the Standard Edition means that only one Front-End server is used. Therefor the FQDN of the ‘pool’ should be the FQDN of the Front-End server, in my scenario this is “Lync01.wesselius.info”.

Since we’re only installing a basic Lync environment no additional services will be installed. Later on (in a future article) “Enterprise Voice” and “Call Admission Control” will be installed as well. It is also possible to do “colocation” of server roles on the Front-End server, the Mediation Server role (needed for the SIP trunk) can be colocated on the Front-End server, but we’ll leave that one blanc as well. Just like Archiving, Monitoring and the Edge Pool, these won’t be included at this point neither.

As mentioned earlier all configuration data is stored in the CMS, and in the case of a Standard Edition this is a SQL Express instance. Not much to configure here:

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Take care about the file share. It looks like the file share is created by the setup application but this is not the case. The file share needs to be created in advance (can be done during the setup procedure though).

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So, during the setup of the Lync Server a new file share “CMS_Share” needs to be created. Besides creating the share itself we also have to set additional permissions on the share. Everyone needs to get “Read & Execute” on the directory while administrators need “Full Control”. The share itself must be granted with “Full Control” for Everyone.

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When you perform these steps the setup application will continue later on.

The external base URL that needs to be entered is not the FQDN of the local server this time, but it is the URL that’s needed (in the future) when the platform is externally accessible, so it’s Lync.wesselius.info this time:

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As usual the last step is an overview of all values that are entered so far:

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When everything is as planned the topology can be published in the CMS. In the actions pane choose “Publish Topology…”, select the Front-End server where the CMS is installed (this is only one right now, so it will be “Lync01.wesselius.local Amsterdam”) and the information will be published into the CMS.

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When completed all information is in the CMS so we can continue with the actual server installation.

Install Lync Server with the CMS info;

Looking back to Figure 1 you’ll see that the actions on the left hand side are all done. All configuration data is published in the CMS and can be used to intall the Lync server.

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In the main menu, choose the option “Install or Update Lync Server System” and a new wizard (again) will be started. The content that was generated in the previous steps will nog be copied over to the (configuration store of the) Lync Server. It is possible to import directly from the CMS, but it is also possible to use a flat file for this.

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After the data is imported the various Lync Server roles are installed. Unfortunately the server needs to be rebooted every now and then. If you fail to do so you’ll end up with messages like

The server must be restarted before installation can continue. To continue the installation after the server has restarted, start the Deployment Wizard and complete this step again.

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Nice to see in Lync is the SSL certificate process in the setup wizard (especially when compared to the lousy SSL certificate wizard in Exchange Server 2010). The certificate wizard is a full blown wizard that can generate the certificate request file, but it can also send the request to an internal (Windows 2008 R2) CA that submits the certificate. The wizard will then install the new SSL certificate immediately. You just enter the Subject name of the certificate and the additional Subject Alternative Names (SAN) values will be taken from the configuration data:

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The wizard continues, contact the CA and finishes the request automatically:

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When requesting the properties of the newly created certificate you’ll see that everything is ok:

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The setup is now almost finished, the last step is to start all the Lync Server services.

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And if all went well this will just work. Open the Services MMC snap-in (Start –> Run –> Services.msc) and check the Lync Services:

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Do not forget to change the (internal) DNS to allow the Lync client software to find the appropriate data in Active Directory. The following services need to be configured:

  • Meet
  • Admin
  • Sip
  • Dialin

All four FQDN’s need to point to the Lync Pool, i.e. the IP address of Lync01.wesselius.info:

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The Lync Server 2010 Front-End server is now fully installed. Enable the user for Lync usage and the users can logon to the Lync Server using the Lync Client.

Conclusion

In this article I showed you how to install a simple Lync Server 2010 environment with only Instant Messaging and Presence. My experience is that quite a lot of customers start this way. As mentioned (also in my previous article) the CMS is the heart of the Lync Server and part of the installation is creating the configuration and publishing this in the CMS. The actual installation of the Lync server is using an install wizard that reads the data back from the CMS.

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