About Me

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TsooRad is a blog for John Weber. John is a Skype for Business MVP (2015-2016) - before that, a Lync Server MVP (2010-2014). My day job is titled "Technical Lead, MS UC" - I work with an awesome group of people at CDW, LLC. I’ve been at this gig in one fashion or another since 1988 - starting with desktops (remember Z-248’s?) and now I am in Portland, Oregon. I focus on collaboration and infrastructure. This means Exchange of all flavors, Skype, LCS/OCS/Lync, Windows, business process, and learning new stuff. I have a variety of interests - some of which may rear their ugly head in this forum. I have a variety of certifications dating back to Novell CNE and working up through the Microsoft MCP stack to MCITP multiple times. FWIW, I am on my third career - ex-USMC, retired US Army. I have a fancy MBA. One of these days, I intend to start teaching. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone.

2017/05/31

SQL Change Ports

The Port Change Issue

On a project where the SQL team has a policy of changing the SQL port away from the default of 1433? 

This does not pose a huge problem for your intrepid Skype (or Lync) deployment engineer.  If you are needing to know what to do, and maybe you have, oh, 30 or so front ends to modify, then maybe I can help you out a tad.

The issue is modifying the registry to tell your host server where to go to access the requisite port on the target SQL server.  As it turns out, I had to remember this, as it has been a bit since I had to last do this task. 

The Simple Fix to the Simple Issue

Luckily for you and me, it seems that every copy of a Windows operating system I looked at for this post (Win7, Win8, Win10, Server 2008+) have a utility in \windows\system32 called cliconfg.exe.  You can read up on that utility here.

A wonderful tool.  Here is it in Windows 10 form.  Which looks the same as Win7, so I think they will all pretty much appear to be the same. Actually, the Win7 version has a different set of window frames, so the appearance is more rounded instead of the ugly-ass Win10 metro crap.  But I digress.

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What we need to do is select the Alias tab…the select Add.

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For the purposes of this exercise, I need my system to talk to my SQL server (FQDN = sqlalwayson-a.tsoorad.net) on port 49001.  So, you set it up like this and then say OK.

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Follow up that OK with an APPLY and your newly modified operating system will for thereafter talk to SQL server sqlalwayson-A.tsoorad.net on port 49001 vice 1433.  Simple.  Easy.  Works well.  Less filling.  Man, I am thirsty!

But Wait!  What if…

…you have like four user pools, and they all need to talk to the same monitoring server, but different archive targets per pool?  And what if there are like 30 front ends that need this modification, and every time you type this stuff in there is the possibility of spelling errors that mean system failure.  Now, I am sure there is some folks out there in techie land that are starting to chant “PowerShell!  PowerShell” -  but in this case, I am going to ignore them, and simply export a registry key, and then incorporate that into my server build process – which can be PowerShell-ized if you wish.

Here is the registry key to export.  HKLM\software\microsoft\mssqlserver\client\connectto

In my project, we had four SQL AG clusters, each with two nodes, a cluster name, and the AG name; all that needed to resolve by DNS.  So, our registry key looked somewhat like this: 16 entries with AG, cluster, node1, and node2 per supporting SQL cluster.  We then simply imported that into each server at build time.

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Summary

The SQL mavens might well change ports on you.  If they do, there is an answer in form of cliconfg.exe.  If the scale is a tad larger than manual typing will cover, you can regedit your way to success.

YMMV








Pressure

I originally posted this to a different type of forum; but it got some unexpected responses.  Posting here by request.

I am mindlessly watching ESPN. Some sports center-ish athlete interview with what I thought was a worthless jock. And then, in the middle of talking about stress, Julie Foudy (the supposed worthless jock) comes out with the following:

“Pressure is a privilege”

Wow. That is a deep one. Like, it may not have a bottom. And certainly, no top.

Think it through just a bit in relation to your life. I know that when I look at my life, pressure has been a part of it. In reviewing the pivotal points in my career, I had choices to make that the majority of people in this country don’t get to make. I was in a position to make those choices because of what and where I was. I never thought that was a disadvantage. And then Foudy utters the words that make it all ring true. I had the privilege of pressure.

How many of us can claim something similar in our everyday work? We don’t punch a clock. Other than the processes and procedures we develop for our customers – no real set routine. We pressure ourselves to exceed expectations. We are not flipping burgers, pushing an idiot stick, or grinding through a personal episode of “Dirty Jobs.”

Don’t get me wrong. All those jobs need doing. Somebody does them and I am glad it is not me. But there are whole rafts of job categories that the doer just drones through – the same thing every day, every week, every month, year after year.

And then you and I get to make our own schedule, find and create lasting customer and professional relationships, and have an upside only limited by our own ambition, drive, and motivation. Not everyone can claim even part of that.

Give me the pressure to succeed. We have serious mental exercise. We must be agile, think on our feet, and sometimes work odd hours. 40-hour week? Rarely. But, flip all that around, It’s a privilege.

 

 

YMMV

2017/05/20

Windows 10 Battery Life

The Issue

I use a Lenovo Yoga 14 for my personal stuff.  A few weeks ago I ran updates.  I noticed that battery life dropped from nearly 10 hours to less than 3.  Closing the lid puts the Yoga to sleep, so opening it is a breeze and I have a working desktop in about 20 seconds or less.  After the updates, closing the lid still did the sleep thing, but on opening the lid the Yoga was dead.

The Problem

So, I started poking.  I discovered the latest rounds of updates had installed a Lenovo Screen Updater.  Holy Battery Drain.  The CPU was grinding away at 50%+ constantly.

The Fix

Remove it.  Now I get this here:

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Seeing as how this was associated with the touch screen concepts, I imagine that this might help Win7, Win8, Win 8.1, et cetera – anything else that runs a touch screen with Lenovo and Windows.

YMMV

2017/05/18

Stupid SfB Tricks

In a fit of angst, today I recreated the infinity mirror exercise from several years ago.

Yes, I was testing with a customer and not just bored.

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YMMV

2017/04/19

New SfB SE won’t start

Usually I see this problem with EE pools, but in this case I have now seen it with two different SE installs.

The Problem

RTCSRV won’t start.  It just sits there for a bit, like 10 minutes and claims it is “Starting”.  Then the service status goes to “Stopped”.

Nothing in the event log, nothing shows in Powershell.  If you try to start from services.msc, it just sits there.  Nothing.

How did we get here?

A fairly locked down environment.  OK.  A severely locked down environment.  The tin-foil hat types have found a home in this place.  New install – new as in greenfield deployment.  Standard Edition installs, and before starting services for the first time, we ran the February 2017 CU into place.  All of that seemed fairly normal.

But the service wont’ start.

The Fix

Again, I usually see this with EE pools, but here is what fixed it:

Reset-CsPoolRegistrarState –PoolFqdn poolfqdn.domain.com -ResetType FullReset

YMMV

2017/03/16

Skype Test Matrix

As part of a project, Thaddeus Kurowski (CDW) and I put together a Skype test matrix to ensure that the implementation worked as designed/expected.

You may find it useful as well.

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Skype-Implementation-Test-e11edf07

YMMV.

Skype Edge Server and 2:1 NAT

This morning, we resolved an issue that I have never seen before, and hope that I never do.

The Background

I tell customers during design sessions that if there are existing network issues, Skype (or Lync) is going to find them.  If there is something a bit wonky, we are going to discover the wonkiness.  And here we go.

Skype edge with 1:1 Nat.  Public IP is 71.16.x.x.  Edge server is doing the classic 3 IP thing.  Remote logins are fine.  Everything seems to be ducky.  Except we cannot talk outbound. 

Go check all the network again.  Looks good. Check the topology, servers, IP assignments, paths.  All good.  Certificates, the common culprit behind one-way federation and presence look good.  We are now scratching our heads.  We know now we are looking at something wonky, but what?

The Fix

I was under the impression that 1:1 NAT is 1:1.  But it turns out that a Watchguard Firebox is capable to doing 2:1 NAT.  Inbound to the Edge server worked because the firewall had 1:1 NAT from public to DMZ VLAN.  Edge trace logs showed subscriptions and connections timing out on the far side.  The connections were being made, just no return traffic.  No SYN.  Telnet client testing outbound from the edge server on 5061 ad 443 worked.  Clearly inbound connections were working or there would be no remote logins.

As long as the traffic originated from outside the organization, things worked fine and the Edge server, via the 1:1 NAT was responding as expected to the source IP.  But traffic originating from INSIDE the organization was failing.  One way presence, presence unknown, cannot send to user, etc.  Apparently…

…according to www.ipchicken, the Watchguard was sending all traffic from the DMZ external VLAN out via a completely separate set of addresses!  HUH?  Whaaaaat?  So inbound would work, but outbound went out on a separate address?

So their firewall guy fixed that, we are back to 1:1 NAT and all is good. Something to be aware of, eh? Go figure.

YMMV

SQL Change Ports

The Port Change Issue On a project where the SQL team has a policy of changing the SQL port away from the default of 1433?  This does not po...