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TsooRad is a blog for John Weber. John is a Skype for Business MVP (2015-2018) - before that, a Lync Server MVP (2010-2014). My day job is titled "Technical Lead, MS UC" - I work with an awesome group of people at CDW, LLC. I’ve been at this gig in one fashion or another since 1988 - starting with desktops (remember Z-248’s?) and now I am in Portland, Oregon. I focus on collaboration and infrastructure. This means Exchange of all flavors, Skype, LCS/OCS/Lync, Windows, business process, and learning new stuff. I have a variety of interests - some of which may rear their ugly head in this forum. I have a variety of certifications dating back to Novell CNE and working up through the Microsoft MCP stack to MCITP multiple times. FWIW, I am on my third career - ex-USMC, retired US Army. I have a fancy MBA. One of these days, I intend to start teaching. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone.

2016/02/09

SfB Patch/Upgrade Outline

Skype for Business (SfB) Server 2015 embodies several server-side enhancements beyond Lync Server 2013. The patching cycle for the SfB environment will need to be modified to allow for these enhancements. SfB contains five layers of servers, each of which will need to have separate handling:

  • Front End Pool Servers
  • Persistent Chat
  • Edge Servers
  • OWAS (Office Web Apps Servers) Servers
  • SQL Server and File Shares.

Host Server updates also need consideration – primarily because rebooting SfB servers can cause Windows Fabric errors that can affect the ability of the SfB server to recover into a running state.

Host Servers need to be patched to corporate standards; however, the application host servers cannot just be rebooted at will. Rebooting servers that host SfB services will result service outages and potentially in service failures where the servers may not recover services after rebooting.

Accordingly, phase one in the entire setup for patching SfB and related servers is to set the Windows Update to download but require administrator to install. For ORGNAME this may require moving servers away from containers to which GPO applies and controls WUPDATE settings.

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This guidance will not apply to the SfB Edge servers as they are not domain members. However, the SfB Edge servers should be checked to ensure that the WUPDATE is set as shown.

Locate and download the latest SfB server updater from this site: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn788954 - as of this writing, November 2015 is the latest SfB 2015 update.  The consolidated server update installer is preferred over the individual updates. 

Note that the file name show is mostly correct, but that I rename them to help me keep track of what is what.

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Place the update file in a separate folder on each front end, persistent chat, and edge server.  The update process generates log files which are kept in the origination location. Having a separate folder for each updater constrains the log file location and makes the entire thing easy to delete or verify later.

SfB Front End Servers

Reference:

  1. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3061064
    1. Find the section labeled: “Upgrade or update the Enterprise Edition pool that has at least three front-end servers” and READ IT.
  2. Read the following TechNet guidance: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj204736.aspx
  3. Then execute those instructions ONE SERVER AT A TIME.
  4. After each server reboots wait until ALL indicated services are running before moving to the next server in the pool. Keep in mind that these services are on delayed startup, and there could be a significant (10-15 minutes) delay before the SfB Front-End service starts.

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SfB Persistent Chat Server

SfB Persistent Chat requires only that the services be running after the persistent chat server is patched and rebooted.

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SfB Edge Servers

Edge servers are easy. Execute the serverupdateinstaller.exe on one Edge server at a time. Reboot if requested. If a reboot is needed, monitor the reboot process until the SfB services are restarted (about 10 minutes). Otherwise, verify the following services are running.

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Do the next edge server.

Office Web Apps Server (OWAS)

The OWAS requires different handling from the other servers. See the following articles:

Assuming the two OWAS servers are hlbwowasp101 and hlbwowasp102, the following commands will recreate the OWAS farm when the time comes:

1. From server hlbwowasp101.corp.domain.com, open PowerShell as administrator, and execute the following (command wrapped):

    • new-officewebappsfarm -internalurl https://hlbsfbowas.domain.com -externalurl https://hlbsfbowas.domain.com -certificatename sfbwebext

2. From server hlbwowasp102.corp.domain.com, open powershell as administrator, and execute the following command AFTER the previous command on the other server:

    • new-officewebappsmachine -machinetojoin hlbwowasp101.corp.domain.com

After patching, reboot, and recreation of the WebAppsFarm, verify the following service is running on each server:

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SfB File Shares

ORGNAME runs the SfB file share (\\corp.domain.com\sfb-fileshare ) on the OWAS servers. Care must be given to handling the DFS in that the entire environment is relying on the sfb-fileshare for various functions and downtime on the OWAS servers will affect all other servers. Other than the update process shown above, the OWAS servers should only be updated one at a time.

SfB SQL

ORGNAME is using a single SQL server. This server should be patched along with the other SfB infrastructure with the following caveat: The SQL needs to be back online within 30 minutes or there will be impact to the users. The impact will be the clients entering “resiliency mode” due to the SQL server not being available to the front end servers. For more information, see this: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj205184.aspx.

If you have mirrored SQL or perhaps Availability Groups in SQL, then you will need to investigate the SQL patching process from a slighlty different aspect – namely, keeping the active node where you want it.

Summary

SfB has changed the patching process from how it was done in Lync 2010 and Lync 2013.  Each layer of the system needs something that is just a little different from the other layers of the system.

YMMV

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