We’re excited to announce that System Center Advisor is now available for Lync! Not familiar with System Center Advisor? Let’s start with some background.

System Center Advisor is a cloud service that enables IT pros to assess their server configuration and proactively avoid problems, while helping support staff to resolve issues faster by accessing current and historical configuration data, all with the security features that meet their needs. Additionally, System Center Advisor helps reduce downtime by providing suggestions for improvement, and notifying customers of key updates specific to their configuration.

Authors: Kaushal Mehta, Microsoft Senior Support Escalation Engineer and Nick Rosenfeld, Microsoft Principal Escalation Engineer

Publication date: November 26, 2012

Product version: Lync Server 2010

System Center Advisor Benefits

Proactively Avoid Problems

  • Increase awareness around the state of server deployment through assessment of configuration, and alerts for configuration-related issues.
  • Resolve issues before they become critical through ongoing assessments of the server environment for undetected configuration issues.
  • Assess and understand server configurations from virtually anywhere using a secure cloud service with security features that meet customer needs.

Resolve Issues Faster

  • Decrease time to resolve issues by viewing configuration changes over time with historical data.
  • Decrease time to resolve issues with the ability to share server configuration data with internal support staff or Microsoft Customer Support Services.
  • Accelerate problem solving with instant access to step by step guidance, self-help information, and community forums related to identified issues.

Help Reduce Downtime and Improve Performance

  • Increase performance and availability of servers by understanding configuration state and receiving suggestions for improvement to help ensure availability.
  • Help reduce server downtime by getting notifications for key updates specific to the configuration of the server environment.
  • Increase collaboration between IT professionals through centralized data of an organization’s deployment configurations.

Offers and Licensing

System Center Advisor is available as a benefit of Software Assurance for supported entitled server products. This service brings new support and maintenance value to Software Assurance coverage at no additional cost. For additional information on purchasing software assurance, please see Software Assurance.

System Center Advisor for Lync

As mentioned earlier, we’re thrilled to add Lync Server 2010 to the list of products that can take advantage of System Center Advisor. This service provides you with up to date information about your Lync Server environment and alerts you when there is a potential issue. Here is the complete list of products currently supported by System Center Advisor:

  • SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, and SQL Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V
  • Exchange Server 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • Lync Server 2010

Lync environments can be impacted by missing Windows hotfixes, server certificates expiry, SQL backend and more. System Center Advisor can alert you to a possible issue and recommend a fix for all these scenarios. These rules are written by Customer Support Services Escalation Engineers based on the common issues that they see while supporting Lync Server. New rules are added regularly and downloaded automatically by the System Center Advisor agent.

For example, Figure 1 shows an alert related to the Windows firewall being ON and there is no exception for Windows PowerShell.

Figure 1. System Center Advisor alert screenshot.

Figure 2 shows an example of certificate expiring on the Lync server in less than 7 days.

Figure 2. System Center Advisor certificate expiration alert.

Figure 3 is an example of an alert for a mobility related rule.

Figure 3. System Center Advisor alert.

Understanding the SCA UI

Figure 4. System Center Advisor User Interface.

The following list provides descriptions of the UI options illustrated in Figure 4.

UI option

Description

A

Active alerts in the Lync Server environment. This should include SQL Backend Servers as well. If the environment includes SharePoint, Exchange, and the like it is encouraged to also run the System Center Advisor agents on those servers.

B

Current configuration in the Lync environment.

C

Configuration change history that reports the date when the configuration was changed, server where it was changed, old value and new value.

D

Servers present in the Lync Server environment along with their status and reporting type (gateway vs. agent).

E

Manage user accounts that are authorized to receive email alerts and have permissions to view the portal.

1

The three servers that reported the shown alerts.

2

Sort the alerts based on severity, server name and so forth.

3

Server name where the alert is thrown and configuration changes needed.

4

Send feedback about a particular rule.

5

Copy the alert to the clipboard (similar to event viewer copy option).

6

Contextual information collected to evaluate this rule.

7

The flag’s value as reported.

8

The complete alert description. The goal is to proactively help Lync admin make the right configuration change well in advance of issue occurring.

Summary

We’re excited to have Lync Server 2010 added to the System Center Advisor family and hope that you are too. As you can see, SCA is a great tool that can proactively alert you of potential issues in your Lync deployment. Give it a try and leave us your feedback here.

Additional Resources

FAQs on System Center Advisor for Lync Server 2010

  • Does System Center Advisor support my Office Communications Server 2007 R2 environment?
    • No. System Center Advisor only supports Lync Server 2010.
  • Does System Center Advisor support my greenfield Lync Server 2013 environment?
    • Not yet. Look for announcements in the future around Lync Server 2013 support
  • I have a mixed Communications Server 2007 R2 and Lync Server 2010 environment; will the complete environment be supported for System Center Advisor?
    • Currently System Center Advisor supports Lync Server 2010 only; therefore install the agents only on all Lync Server 2010 server roles.
  • I have a mixed Lync Server 2010 and Lync Server 2013 Lync environment; will the complete environment be supported by System Center Advisor?
    • Currently System Center Advisor only supports Lync Server 2010; hence install the agents only on all Lync Server 2010 server roles.
  • Will my Lync client (end-user) configuration be collected by the System Center Advisor?
    • System Center Advisor is a server-side advisor and is not installed on the end-user’s machine, therefore, client settings can’t be collected. However, we do collect and maintain the client policies and other server configurations that impact end-user’s settings leveraging in-band push.
  • If I have multiple Lync Server pools or sites, will the System Center Advisor report multiple alerts for a given configuration check?
    • No, when multiple Front End Servers are in a pool, the System Center Advisor collects environment specific configuration information from only one Lync Front End Server.

Lync Server Resources

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