About Me

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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.

2017/09/12

What Vacation Taught me


I took vacation this year; a formal thing with travel, schedule coordination, planned activities, and days full of interacting with others. Sounds pretty much like work, with the minor exception that this was all family-focused, with my SO being the only arbiter of success. The other differences were the realization that HughesNet has some serious speed constraints, and that I had to stand in just the right spot in the driveway or there was no cell service.

I thought that Virginia on the main corridor between the state capital and the population center on the coast would have had at least nominal cell coverage. But no. Minimal access to internet and cell service. Both restrictions were perfect for me as the whole point to a vacation is to change pace, viewpoint, and take the load off, right?

Too bad for me that my ki does not work that way.

What happened is that my spare brain cell kicked in and started doing the random thought comparison thing. If this has not happened to you before, it is very annoying. In this case, I was watching some sci-fi show about time and travel, another show about fighting the bad guys before they got bad and not getting the task done as promised (hence the protagonist being railed on by his boss). Yes, I was flipping channels.

The random thought comparison thing comes in when all that gets contrasted with my real life. Note that I did not ask for this to occur, it just does. My SO is used to me going blank and starting to drool; coworkers know to stay away. My children just run.

So here are the world-shaking insights that banged into me in those exacerbating moments. Time, fight the fight that needs fighting, under promise and over deliver, “what is the other guys’ perspective”, and my personal need to re-focus.

Time: it is the one thing the we all possess, and once spent, we cannot get back. How are you spending your allotment?

Not every fight needs fighting. Determine which is which. Live with one, pursue the other. I will let you decide which path to take with which fight. Picking which fight to fight is sometimes more about which weapon to choose.

I find an approach to the recalcitrant project counterpart is to leverage some of my limited consulting skills and make my counterpart think that all of what I want is because he/she thought of it. Mostly you can do that with the “help me understand…” sentence preface where you get them talking. A few suggestions along the way and their explanation of their perspective will start aligning with the answer you need them to give. It works, it really does.

How many times have you had someone say “just a sec”? That is an extreme case of over promising, because we all know that waiter is not getting back to our table in “just a sec.” Expectation setting is crucial to positive outcomes. If you layout what you will be able to do, and then exceed that, everyone is happy. If you do the layout and cannot deliver the minimums, everyone is not happy. Very simple. So simple it appears to be in the same vein as “common sense.”

Finally, the re-focus thing cropped up again. How I spend my time, what goals are important enough to survive the latest round of life objective updates, and what am I doing about those goals and objectives needed some introspection.

Goals and objectives simply need to be refreshed on a regular basis. We have our personal goals, our professional goals, and the goals our manager says we have. Review, re-prioritize, shuffle, juggle, change, delete, and add objectives to achieve your goal. If you don’t pay attention to this process, the process will do it for you, and probably not in the way you want. You must do it. Or it will do you.

Just so you know, Stargate (the movie) is a lot deeper than the genre might suggest, and NCIS: Los Angeles has a few spare angles as well.

2017/09/06

AudioCodes X-UM

By now, I hope you already know that as of July 2018, Office 365 will no longer work with SBC connections linking your off-brand PBX to Exchange Online UM services (read voice mail).  For an actual read of the announcement, see this.

Here are the solutions offered by Microsoft:

  • Option 1: Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Office 365 Cloud PBX.
  • Option 2: Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Skype for Business Server Enterprise Voice on-premises.
  • Option 3: For customers with a mixed deployment of 3rd party PBX and Skype for Business, connect the PBX to Skype for Business Server using a connector from a Microsoft partner, and continue using Exchange Online UM through that connector. For example, TE-SYSTEMS’ anynode UM connector can be used for that purpose. (sic)
  • Option 4: For customers with no Skype for Business Server deployment or for whom the solutions above are not appropriate, implement a 3rd party voicemail system.

Personally, I would change Option 1 and Option 2.  Especially if you have any combination of complexity, multiple locations, and user count.  Couple that risk scale item with sheer lack of calendar, and I think it would be easier to get on-premises fired up and connected.  And, IMHO, doing 2 would make getting to 1 easier with a better user experience.

Option 4 is not really an option is it?  Everyone should want, need, and implement SfB.  Life is better with SfB.  Trust me.

About this time, the alert reader will notice that I skipped Option 3.  That’s because those nice folks at AudioCodes have somewhat solidified their plans for stepping into the breach.  How nice of them! 

AudioCodes has put together a very nice, comprehensive, suite of solutions based on their outstanding hardware and CCE experience. 

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As the X-UM solution set, there are three of them:

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Here is a bit different look at it…being a visual kinda guy, this is the view that helped me the most:

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And then we have these further details for each scenario:

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Microsoft licensing for the X-UM solution you choose is not covered, which makes sense, there are too many variations.  Here is the official blurb:

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How about some architecture oulines?  I like pictures that show me things.  Here is the X-UM Standard and Lite.  Note that the “Lite” version relies on existing on-premises SfB resources.

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Now, based on my current project, I know that there is going to be someone out there in reader-land who needs a visual of the call flows.  I know I do.

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Summary

About now you are most likely wondering which of these will work for you. AudioCodes X-UM is based on proven hardware and proven solution approaches (CloudBond, CCE). If your environment is more complex, needs that existing PBX to coexist with Office 365 for your VoiceMail needs, then choose the flavor that answers your needs.  AudioCodes has you covered for any of the option 3 scenarios and could possibly help you (in the Lite version) with Option 1 and 2 also.

I know that somewhere above 75% of my customers all have some sort of “mixed deployment” usually due to call centers, business process, and culture.  Notice that none of those are easily changed before July 2018.  Ergo, we need to do something else in the short time we have available.  I submit that AudioCodes X-UM might well be that something.


As always, YMMV


AudioCodes 400HD firmware v3.04

Those fine folks (and apparently busy beavers) at AudioCodes have popped a new IP Phone firmware release out into the wild. Brings a nice ne...