OCS Tips and Tricks

Over the last couple years I've picked up a lot of tips and tricks with OCS. I constantly find myself having this conversation:I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some common tips and tricks. They are especially helpful for those of you looking to deploy OCS for the first time. This is part one of a multi-part series.

"oh, you need to do <insert tip here>?

"Where's that documented?"

"It's not"

"oh"

SRV records are important, mmkay?Office Communicator 2007 uses DNS SRV records to find the OCS server by default. Sure, you can set the login to manual, TLS and enter the server FQDN, but that’s not nearly as elegant as making it just work. You’ll need an SRV record for each SIP domain you support in the format _sipinternaltls._tcp.<domain.com>. By default, OCS uses port 5061 for TLS but check your implementation to ensure it hasn’t been changed. You’ll need to create a second set of SRV records if you allow TCP. It’s all about certificatesCertificates are the heart of a good OCS implementation. You can use an internal CA for interserver MTLS and internal clients, but a public CA certificate is desirable for external and federated access. Most public CAs now support SANs (subject alternative names) to allow for multiple SIP domains. It’s important to map out your certificate needs well in advance of deployment. [url=http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/19695]More info here[/url]I installed OCS, what else do I need?Presence – Out of the box, Office Communicator doesn’t sync presence with Outlook/Exchange. You have to download [url=http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926776]Hotfix 926776[/url] for the integration to work. Without it OC won’t automatically show “busy” when you have a meeting scheduled which is a very nice feature. If you don’t have the hotfix you’ll also see an Outlook integration error in the Office Communicator top bar.The Web Conferencing role is installed by default in an OCS Standard Edition deployment however there’s no built-in way to connect to it. OCS Conferencing doesn’t support the same web-only LiveMeeting as the LiveMeeting service. You’ll need to download the [url=http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA101733831033.aspx]Office Live Meeting client here[/url].– Oh, you want Communicator Web Access too? This is a two part process. First, you’ll need to deploy the CWA server role. If you deploy it on the same server as OCS SE you’ll need to choose a different ip/port combination for the virtual server (often 8443). You’ll also need to install the Communicator Web Access client on any systems that want to use this instead of the standard Office Communicator Client.

Web Conferencing –

Communicator Web Access

Access levels are fun and easyMany people overlook the power of setting access levels for contacts in Office Communicator. This allows you to filter who can bother you, when, and under what circumstances. I give people on my team more freedom than some of my friends/clients/etc. Most people seem to throw everyone in the same “barrel” but it’s pretty easy to give a little organization to access levels and drastically increase the value of Office Communicator as a business tool.

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