Snap, crackle, pop. Three
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After you get Microsoft Lync Server 2010 up and running your next question is likely to be this: how well is Lync Server running? Do I have things configured correctly? Is there anything I need to do differently in order to keep things running as smoothly and efficiently as possible? Are my users getting the best possible experience for their audio and video calls?
Those are all important questions, but they're also difficult questions to answer. Are your users getting the best possible experience for their audio and video calls? How the heck are you supposed to know that?
One way, of course, is to simply ask them: "Are you getting the best possible experience for your audio and video calls?' Unfortunately, though, there are at least two problems with that. For one, most users will have no idea what the best possible experience even is; that makes it difficult for them to know whether or not they're getting the best possible experience. For another, any time you ask users a question like that you tend to get a lot of vague answers like "It's OK." So, does "It's OK" mean that everything is great and your users couldn't ask for anything more? Does is mean that everything is terrible, but your users assume there's no point in even asking for anything more? Or does it just mean that, well, everything is OK? It's hard to say, which defeats the whole purpose of having asked the question in the first place.
That's why Microsoft added the Quality of Experience (QoE) feature to Lync Server. QoE metrics track the quality of audio and video calls made in your organization, allowing you to gather statistics and make some quantitative judgments as to audio/video quality. QoE keeps track of such things as the number of network packets lost, background noise, BPST drop ratio (!), and the amount of "jitter" (differences in packet delay) that can be found in your transmissions. But, alas, neither snap, crackle, nor pop.
Note. We're assuming that most of you know that Snap, Crackle, and Pop are the three mascots for Rice Krispies cereal: "Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg's Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle, and pop in a bowl of milk. If you've never heard food talking, now is your chance."
We're also assuming that most of you don't know that there was, briefly, a fourth mascot – Pow – who represented the "explosive nutritional value of Rice Krispies." Pow wasn't around for very long, which makes some people wonder just how explosive the nutritional value of Rice Krispies must have been. We have it on good authority, however, that Pow actually left to pursue a solo career, later turning up as one of the action words – POW! ZAP! BIFF! – that accompanied the fights taking place on the old Batman TV show.
As for QoE, well, QoE "pops" up (Get it? Pops, like Snap, Crackle, Pop?) when you install Monitoring Server; after Monitoring Server has been installed one of the options available to you is to enable or disable Quality of Experience. Enabling or disabling QoE can be done by using the Set-CsQoEConfiguration cmdlet. For example:
Set-CsQoEConfiguration -Identity Global -EnableQoE $False
The preceding command disables QoE monitoring on a global basis. But what if you have one site from which you'd like to gather QoE data? No problem. One of the cool things about QoE, and Lync Server PowerShell, is that you can create additional QoE configuration settings at the site scope, and then enable or disable QoE monitoring as needed, and just for those sites. For example, this command creates a new collection of enabled QoE configuration settings for the Redmond site:
New-CsQoEConfiguration -Identity site:Redmond -EnableQoE $True
It's so easy a technical writer at Microsoft can do it!
If you're looking for detailed information about the kind of data tracked with QoE monitoring, take a peek at the Quality of Experience (QoE) Database Schema. And if you're looking for the localized names of Snap, Crackle, and Pop in other parts of the world, well, here are few examples:
· Belgium - Pif! Paf! Pof!
· Denmark - Pif! Paf! Puf!
· Finland - Riks! Raks! Poks!
· Germany - Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!
· Holland - Pif! Paf! Pof!
· Italy - Pif! Paf! Pof!
· Scandinavia - Piff! Paff! Puff!
· Switzerland - Piff! Paff! Poff!
· South Africa - Knap! Knaetter! Knak!
· Quebec - Cric! Crac! Croc!
· Mexico - Pim! Pum! Pam!
Oh, and did we mention that, in Australia and New Zealand, Rice Krispies are known as Rice Bubbles? Well, maybe we'll mention that in tomorrow's haiku. Until then ….