We’re at the end!

The end of the “20 Tasks” series, I mean, (Hah, I scared you! No, the blog’s not going anywhere.)

For the final entry in this series, let’s talk branch appliances.

Branch appliances are Lync Servers running at branch offices. They handle communications between the branch office and the main office, including phone calls, for up to 1,000 users.

(If you have more than 1,000 users at a branch site, you’ll need a Branch Server instead – slightly different installation.)

The main value of a branch appliance is Enterprise Voice. Namely, that branch offices can continue using Enterprise Voice – even if the link to the main office goes down.

If you’re in a position where you need to add a branch appliance, celebrate! It means things are going well!

And then, keep reading.

How to Deploy a Branch Appliance

Part 1: Prepare the Branch Site

We start preparation by adding a new branch appliance to Active Directory. Make sure the physical server is in place beforehand though!

  1. Log on to Lync Server as an Enterprise Admins Group member.
  2. Click Start, and then click Administrative Tools.
  3. Click Active Directory Users and Computers.
  4. On the Actions menu, click New –> Computer.
    In the New Object-Computer dialog box, type in a name for the Survivable Branch Appliance computer object (i.e., “OliveBranch1”).
  5. Click Change.
  6. In the Select User or Group dialog box, add the RTCUniversalSBATechnicians group and then click OK.
  7. Click OK to save the Survivable Branch Appliance computer object.
  8. Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click ADSI Edit.
  9. In ADSI Edit, right-click the computer object that you created in the previous steps, and then click Properties.
  10. In the attribute list, click servicePrincipalName, and then click Edit.
  11. In the Value to add field, type HOST/. (without the brackets) is the FQDN we just set for the branch appliance. For example, “HOST/OliveBranch1.mysite.com”.
  12. Click OK to save the servicePrincipalName attribute setting. Then click OK to save the computer object properties.
  13. In Active Directory Users and Computers, right-click Users.
  14. Click New –> User.
  15. Enter information into the wizard to create a domain user account for a Survivable Branch Appliance technician. (They’ll be responsible for adding the physical device to the domain.)
  16. In Active Directory Users and Computers, click Users, right-click the user object. Click Add to a group.
  17. In Enter the object names to select, type RTCUniversalSBATechnicians, and then click OK.
  18. If you want to add more technicians to this branch site, repeat Steps 12-15.

Part 2: Add the Branch Site to Lync Topology

Next up we’ll add the branch site to your Lync topology.

  1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Microsoft Lync Server 2010, and then click Lync Server Topology Builder.
  2. In the console tree, expand the central site, right-click Branch sites, and then click New Branch Site.
  3. In the Define New Branch Site dialog box, click Name, and then type the name of the branch site.
  4. If you want to, click Description and enter a description for the branch site (so you can distinguish later).
  5. Click Next.
  6. (Optional) In the next Define New Branch Site dialog box, do any of the following:
    • Click City, and then type the name of the city in which the branch site is located.
    • Click State/Region, and then type the name of the state or region in which the branch site is located.
    • Click Country Code, and then type the two-digit calling code for the country/region in which the branch site is located.
  7. Click Next.
  8. If you are using a Survivable Branch Appliance or Server at this site, make sure the Open the New Survivable Wizard when this wizard closes box is checked.
  9. Click Finish, and then follow the directions in the wizard that opens. You’ll need the following information:
    • The new branch appliance’s FQDN
    • Which Edge Server this branch appliance will connect to
    • The FQDN or IP address for the gateway you’ll associate the branch appliance with
  10. If you want to see what the wizard will want ahead of time, see this page: Define a Survivable Branch Appliance or Server.

Part 3: Determine What Voice Routing Method to Use

There are three options when it comes to routing method. A PSTN gateway, or SIP trunking with or without media bypass. I’ll link to TechNet posts on each for greater detail:

  1. Define a PSTN Gateway at the branch site,
  2. Configure Media Bypass on a SIP Trunk,
  3. Or configure the SIP Trunk without Media Bypass.

As of yet we haven’t performed #2 for any clients. We have done 1 and 3. Neither is difficult. But be sure to test your branch appliance thoroughly, just in case!

After all this, your new branch appliance should be in place and running.

I’m not sure what next week’s post will be on. We’ve received a lot of questions (and Lync issues) lately, so the field is fertile. Do you have a question about Lync Server–or a problem? Email me, or leave a comment. I like digging for the answers.

Hope everyone in the US has a good Labor Day!

Deploy a Survivable Branch Appliance: 20 Tasks Every Lync Administrator Should Know

One thought on “Deploy a Survivable Branch Appliance: 20 Tasks Every Lync Administrator Should Know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.