Colin’s IT, Security and Working Life blog

July 27, 2009

The worlds smallest extreme OCS deployment

Filed under: Uncategorized — chaplic @ 10:34 am
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I’m working on a fairly complex IP Telephony deployment for a client, the complexity comes because of their security requirements, plus the level of services they require.

At present, it’s pretty much about dialtone but immediately round the corner will be the requirement to deliver all wonderful services atop this such as presence, IM and Unified Messaging. This is where OCS comes in.

Now, over the years I’ve installed a number of integrated voice solutions for clients, years ago thinking a voicemail ending up in Exchange 5.5 was almost black-magic. However, I’ve never actually used such a system in anger (the companies I’ve worked for prefer eating pizza rather than dog-food, it seems).

Therefore, it seemed like a good-a-time-as-any to install OCS and have a play.

As I run a new-wave business, my office is also my home and the communications requirement consists of a business ADSL line and normal POTS, with a smattering of Blackberries, windows mobiles and 3G. First challenge was getting “permission” to play past the “boss”. I offered the idea that wouldn’t it be nice if when someone left an answering machine message, instead of being left at home, it was emailed to us. She agreed!

Firstly, it’s not much use if I cannot communicate with the outside world (and meet the key requirement of voicemail to email).

In a “real” scenario, this would either be delivered as a SIP provider assigning a number of trunks over an IP connection, or something like an ISDN30 with media convertors. But a quick Google tells me there are little boxes that’ll convert a simple analogue line to IP/SIP. And better still, they are cheap on ebay!

So, to the OCS deployment. Being ultra cutting-edge, I chose Windows 7 Server ….. Sorry Windows 2008 R2 as my OS of choice. Turns out OCS 2007 R2 doesn’t support that without a little hacking of the installer with orca.

The installer is certainly heavyweight and demanding. The out-of-the-box stripped down roles feature of 2008 is great, but if you are wanting to have a geeky play with tech it certainly adds a lot of hoops to jump through. In fact, it reminded me of installing an app in unix, where you find you have to download and make a dependency, which in itself needs another program……

But we get there. Just. Then I find out that realistically OCS is a 3-box deployment, and there’s no way to coexist. And I realise my Sunday should probably be better spent doing something than playing with technology.

Tune in for the next episode where hopefully I’ll have OCS talking (to something!)

July 21, 2009

Windows 7 is ace….. even if I’m not sure why!

Filed under: Uncategorized — chaplic @ 5:42 pm


Sometimes it requires doing something you don’t like to appreciate what you do.

I’ve never had much involvement with Vista. XP did the job for me, and certainly for a long time crucial security-related software I used wasn’t compatible.

My last laptop-but-one didn’t run vista smoothly enough, so I installed XP64 Bit, my current machine quickly had the manufacturers build wiped and 2008 Server installed (plus bluetooth hack, plus desktop experience of course) so that I could do some dev with Hyper-V.

However, I installed Windows 7 pretty much as soon as the RC came out and never really looked back (apart from when I want to run Hyper-V VMs!). It’s never really annoyed me which is possibly the biggest compliment I can pay it!

My wife just got herself a new laptop which comes with Vista, and of course as the resident techie, I get the job of setting it up right.

Oh My goodness.

Despite the fact that the machine is basically built, the OOBE basically seemed to take as long as the bare-metal install of Windows 7.  For the first time in a while when using a machine if felt sluggish – despite being a middle/top of the range machine.

Clicking on control panel, wait… programs…wait. And then, of course there is the great-idea-now-implement-it-properly UAC. And, despite the machine having a fairly spanky “real” graphics card, the in depth “performance testing” vista done decided we couldn’t get any of the pretty UI!

Comparing the two OSes side-by-side does not do justice to how much better W7 is (or, how poor Vista is?). It’s like comparing a BMW 318d to an M3 – comparable architectures, shared heritage and they both do the same job. But I know which one I want.

My wife is not as bleeding edge as me, so the acid test will be how long she can put up with vista… will W7 make it past RC before I’m installing it ! ?

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