Here is the phone call and/or page that I always dreaded –  OCS is down, no one can make calls, call the situation desk for more details.  So I call the SIT desk and while I was in meetings all day, Enterprise Voice has been down for three hours, no one got any alerts and no one reported it to the help desk (if you can’t make any calls, how can you call the help desk?).  More typical is this happening with Voicemail – calls aren’t going to voicemail, but no one is leaving themself a message, so people just think it’s strange they haven’t gotten a voicemail all day.

Ideally, you want to fix problems before anyone notices, or at least anyone cares to report them as a problem.  Now, in OCS 2007, you could monitor in SCOM for a service being down or events in the event log.  But, what if the service is alive but not doing anything and hasn’t logged anything to the event viewer?  Trust me, it isn’t as far fetched as it may seem…

This perfect storm of a really bad day can be completely avoided in Lync 2010.  Let me marry a couple of TechNet blog posts and underscore their combined significance.

First, from Lync Powershell people, an atricle and script to enable test users for Synthetic Transactions:

New Script: Create and Configure Users for Synthetic Transactions

Quote:

“With the introduction of Windows PowerShell cmdlets to Lync Server 2010 comes a set of cmdlets referred to as synthetic transactions. These cmdlets begin with the verb Test, such as Test-CsDialInConferencing, Test-CsLocationPolicy, and Test-CsRegistration…Synthetic transactions are used in Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to verify that users are able to successfully complete common tasks such as logging on to the system, exchanging instant messages, or making calls to a phone located on the public switched telephone network (PSTN).”

Hey, that sounds really useful to see if everything is working right!  Not just in theory, but with real tests done from actual user accounts.  But why not make this an automated task, and report to everyone if something fails?  Why, that’s what System Center Operations Manager is for.  Now, mind you, they may already plan to have this in the Management Pack for Lync Server 2010, since they do synthetic transactions for other stuff.  Let’s for fun say they don’t, or what’s in SCOM isn’t as good as what you can write yourself in PowerShell.  Enter second TechNet blog post:

PowerShell Scripts in a Management Pack Part 2

Hey, we can make a PowerShell script a part of a monitor doing this!  We can run our battery of tests against Lync 2010 every few minutes or every hour or whatever gives you peace.  Sweet.  Now you can know when stuff isn’t working right before anyone noticies or reports it.  Quick notification results in quick resolution.  Voice is a critial service, anything that can be done to keep that 99.999% uptime your business needs – priceless.

Thomas Kisner, MCITP

thomas.kisner@RBAConsulting.com

Disclaimer:

I work at RBA Consulting. Everything here, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of RBA Consulting.

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