Sunday, 16 August 2009

OCS R2 Web Scheduler

On Friday (August 14th ‘09) Microsoft released the OCS R2 version of the Meeting Web Scheduler.

This allows users who can not use the Outlook Plugin, to be able to schedule meetings, it does have some limitations such as not being able to schedule recurring meetings and it is also limited to the English language.

This can be downloaded from here, once installed an Installation Document can be found in the installation location, I am not sure if this is available as an independent download or if it has been added to the Documentation Libraries.

The Web Scheduler is installed on the Front End Servers for a Consolidated Enterprise Edition, on the Web Components Server for Expanded Enterprise Edition and on the Standard Edition Server.

Once the Web Scheduler has been installed it needs to be activated, this is done using the LCSCMD command.

For a Standard Edition Server this is:

LcsCmd.exe /web /action:Activate /role:Meeting /poolname:<pool_name> /User:<user_name> /Password:<password>

For an Enterprise Edition Server this is:

LcsCmd.exe /web /action:Activate /role:Meeting /poolname:<pool_name> /User:<user_name> /Password:<password> /guest:<guestuser> /guestpassword:<guestpassword>

This Username and Password should be the same account used to activate the OCS Web Components, by default this is “RTCComponentService”. For the Enterprise Edition Servers you also require the Guest Username and Password, by default this is “RTCGuestAccessUser”

The LCSCMD command can be found at cd "%commonprogramfiles%\microsoft office communications server 2007 r2" (The installation document missed out the Microsoft part of the path).

One things to note is that during our installation the FrontEnd Service did not restart after it was shutdown by the installer.

Once installed and activated the SMTP Server needs to be set, this is done using a VBS file to modify the web.config file; the web.config file can be edited directly as well.

There are two web.config files one for the Internal users and one for the External users, you need to modify both files.

These are located at:

"%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2\Web Components\conf\int"

"%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2\Web Components\conf\ext"

To set the SMTP Server address, using the VBS script the syntax is:

cscript WebSchedulerConfig.vbs /Action:SetSmtpServer /SMTPServer:SERVER_FQDN

Only a single SMTP Server can be specified, so this should be taken into consideration for High Availability deployments.

The Web Scheduler will send the email as the user that is creating the conference and uses the RTCComponentService account to do this or the account name you choose to use. Therefore you will need to ensure this account has the relevant permission to do this. In Exchange this is done by granting the “Send As” right to the RTCComponentService Account.

The last thing to do is to ensure that conf/ext is available from the outside world, if using ISA this should be the addition of a Path on the Web Components publishing rule.

Most of the information above is available in the Web Scheduler Installation document.

I have come across the following during installing and testing.

  • Having the same user in the Presenter and Attendee list will result in a “Server Error has Occurred” message.
  • The installation document mentions that users can join meeting be navigating to “https://ocsfqdn/conf/int/join.aspx”, this web page does not exist.
  • It will use different PSTN Conference IDs for Conference Calls unlike the Outlook Plugin.
  • The attendees get sent a meeting request which they can accept, decline etc. For the person setting up the meeting, the request appears to be incorrect as no meeting enters the calendar, so any responses from participants result in an error of “The meeting is not in the Calendar, it may have been moved or deleted” . I am not sure if this is due to running the CTP of Office 2010 or due to our SIP Addresses not matching our Primary Email Addresses, or if it is a general issue.

One of the useful items in Web Scheduler is that it lists all conferences a user has scheduled, either via the Outlook Plugin or by using the Web Scheduler, this allows users to easily see what is scheduled; it also lists the expiration date of the conference which users are unable to see any other way.

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