Tuesday, November 04, 2008

OCS 2007 R2 Planning Tools – Update #2

You may have tried the OCS 2007 Planning Tool, that was Microsoft’s first try at creating a planning tool for OCS. When I blogged about the R1 version of the tool I emphasized that it was a good start, but there was room for improvement. At least one of my suggestions has been incorporated into the product (Not taking the credit for that though), namely removing the requirement for high availability at the small sites.

New features in the R2 Planning Tool are (from my memory of what was in the R1 tool) -

  • Unified Messaging
  • Monitoring Server (The replacement for QoE Monitoring, that includes CDR)
  • The new Unified Communications Applications (New roles)
    • Response Group Service
    • Conference Auto-attendendant
    • Conference Announcement Service
    • Outside Voice Control
  • Group Chat Server (New)
  • Device Update Solution (The new Update Server, that is automagically installed with OCS and includes updates of Office Communicator 2007 clients)

Then the design of how to handle sites is greatly enhanced, it will for each site you deploy ask you a series of questions about what you want to deploy at each site e.g.

  • Online Collaboration
    • Conferencing features
    • CWA
    • Group Chat
  • Users
    • Internal and/or federated (Basically do you want to deploy Edge)
  • Voice
    • Enterprise Voice (E.g. do you want local Mediation Servers)

Lastly you will be asked if you want to use Edge Servers at a specific site or Edge Servers for each site.

So a lot of new features including even better links and explanations for scalability, planning steps and assumptions for users – a very good step forward (although we still need to be able to export the topology drawings to Visio files ;-) and it doesn’t end up with 225 servers for a simple OCS deployment, due to the more detailed questions related to sites. UPDATE #2 – at TechEd we were told that export to Visio will be part of the product.

I haven’t included screenshots in this post as I’m not sure if they are still covered under NDA, but basically the tool looks very similar to the old version.

The Edge Planning Tool will be enhanced for R2 as well, but this wasn’t demonstrated and I haven’t seen it either. Take a look at the current version at Tom Laciano’s blog or Jeff Schertz detailed post on the current Edge Planning Tool.

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