Planning Tools for OCS – Originally Posted Aug 28, 2009

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to remind everyone that there are some great planning tools for OCS 2007 R2 and that they really should be used before deploying OCS. The more pre-planning and testing that is done results in fewer surprises and fewer resume updates.
 
The main tools include:
  • Planning Tool for Microsofot Office Communications Server 2007 R2
  • Edge Planning Tool for Office Communications Server 2007 R2
  • Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Capacity Planning Tool
  • Office Communications Server 2007 R2, PreCallDiagnostic Resource Kit Tool
The first tool is the Planning Tool for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. This tool provides hardware requirements as well as topology diagrams for the proposed environment. This tool will ask a few questions including About the OCS services that will be used in the environment, including:
  • A/V Conferencing
  • Web Conferencing (Live Meeting)
  • Communicator Web Access (CWA)
  • Enterprise Voice
  • Monitoring
  • Archiving
  • Response Group Service
  • Conferencing Attendant
  • Conference Announcement Service
  • Outside Voice Control
  • Group Chat
  • Device Update
  • Federation, including Public IM
Then the wizard will ask for more information regarding:
  • High Availability – is it needed?
  • Number of Sites
  • Number of Users per Site
  • Number of External Users
And finally it asks about the services that will be needed for the users, such as how many will be using CWA and how many will be using Enterprise Voice.
 
When finished, you get a nice diagram of the enironment and sizing requirements.
 
The next planning tool is the Edge Planning Tool for Office Communications Server 2007 R2. This tool provides several reports for the configuration of the Edge environment.
 
The wizard asks several questions that include information on:
  • The firewall configuration
  • Using a single Edge or multiple in a redundant configuration
  • Type of certificates: internal certs or third party certs
  • SIP domains that will be supported
  • Web and/or A/V conferencing
  • Number of NICs per Edge server
  • Name of the Access Edge, i.e. SIP.CompanyName.com
  •  and IP addresses
  • Conference Edge name and IP addresses
  • A/V Edge name and IP
  • Edge server name and IP address (meaning the name for the server itself, not the roles on it)
  • Director: None, Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition?
  • FQDN of the Director
  • Internal pool name
  • Remote access
  • Anonymous access
  • Automatic discovery
  • Federation: automatic discovery for federated partners
  • Allow list and Allow list information
  • PIC and its provisioning information
  • Reverse Proxy information
After the information is input, the Edge planning tool spits out several reports, including:
  • Best Practices Report
  • OCS Admin Report
  • Certificate Report
  • Firewall Report
  • DNS Report
  • Custom Documentation Report
The reports that are provided are excellent. They provide a great deal of information and the steps on implementation. I really like that you can take the reports and give them to the proper administrators when you have a large organization with delegation of administrative rights.
 
The Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Capacity Planning Tool can provide some good guidance when it comes to planning the environment for the number of planned users. It should never be used in a production environment.
 
The StressConfig.exe tool is run on a back end server (yes, SQL) and not on an OCS front end server. The documentation walks you through setting up client computers for the stress testing and is configurable so that you can stress based on Enterprise Voice implementations as well as other OCS services.
 
The last tool that I use on a regular basis for planning is the Office Communications Server 2007 R2, PreCallDiagnostic Resource Kit Tool is part of the OCS Resource Kit for the 64-bit version and there is a separate download for the 32-bit version. This tool is fantastic for helping troubleshoot voice issues for users that are outside of the office and for branch offices that have relatively slow WAN links to the main office. Running the tool will tell you what you can expect for your call quality.
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