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New and Improved Reporting

It’s been a touch over five years now since I started down the path of documenting Lync (now Skype for Business) via PowerShell scripting, my original “Making sense of a TBXML” post went up on September 11, 2011. I remember publishing the big update to it in February of 2013 in San Diego at the first Lync Conference. Since then, the script and it’s updated versions have been downloaded over 8,200 times since I last checked. I’m dreadful at being consistent with updates; unfortunately, I will fix bugs that I find but have a habit of not pushing those updates publically regularly.

With all of that being said, I have finally gotten around to my latest update, or I guess I should say iteration as it has been about a 95% ground up rewrite. For that reason, I am not updating the original script version or post but instead publishing this as a new version.

  • The largest change is to the structure and formatting of the Visio diagram. The previous version used an isometric layout that I spent weeks if not months trying to perfect, only for Microsoft to come along and update the stencils and change the style to the flat Metro UI style.
  • I’ve reworked the Visio diagram to show the firewall traffic ports required for Edge services within the environment; this has been a big request for some time now. It is not 100% complete as I have not implemented the reverse proxy traffic flows entirely, so I have some work for the next update.
  • An example of the Visio diagram is displayed below. I am open to comments, criticism, and suggestions so please feel free to share your thoughts.
  • The Excel workbook containing the voice documentation and configuration is mostly unchanged apart from better data parsing on the backend and some cosmetic changes for presentation.
  • The Word report includes additional information for things like Database Mirroring state, Topology Replication details, Windows Hotfix install details, and a few other new items. I have tried to format the tables in the document better to ensure a cleaner more legible design, but it still may require some manual correction depending on the complexity of the environment.
  • Finally the data collection script itself. I have completely re-done the data collection script to store and sort the information more efficiently. The result is that in my lab, where the previous version of the script generated an XML file that was about 11MB uncompressed, the XML from the new version clocks in at 38MB uncompressed. Don’t worry; it’s still compressed for storage and transfer in a ZIP archive resulting in the file compressing from 38MB down to just 910KB.
  • Before everyone asks, no the data files generated from the old version will not work with this version and vice-versa. I wanted to make it compatible but ultimately it was just too much work for too little benefit.

Download HERE on the TechNet Gallery.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust the Math

It’s been over a year again since I last posted an update. My bad. Hopefully, today makes up for it.

I’ve got quite a few tools in my toolkit that I have developed over the years designing and building Lync and now Skype for Business deployments. Some of those are things like the documentation script I developed while others are people way smarter than myself willing to answer oddball questions. One of those people is Tim Harrington, who has spent a ton of time working with me on developing, debugging, and tuning this whole thing.

Alright enough of that, let’s get down it. Most anyone that knows me knows that I love automating things, oddly enough it seems I’ve started at the end of the deployment and worked backward. First was the as-built documentation script, followed by the install and deployment bits (not yet publicly released), and then finally actually was the design and planning phase.

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WAIK Up

I almost forgot how much I preferred MDT and SCCM over vanilla Sysprep Windows deployments. OSD is so much easier when you don’t have to modify the reference image, and you can just use the install.wim from the disk. meh