Thursday, July 24, 2008

OCS Powerpack releashed

image The OCS 2007 PowerPack provides access to major OCS 2007 Global, User, and Server objects and settings. This includes Users, Edge and Federation, Servers and Global settings. Some objects add links and actions to view further information and to provision and help administer OCS.

This PowerPack was partially based on the OCS Powershell Scripts found in the companion CD of the "Office Communication 2007 Resource Kit" book (

Powerpack Feature Highlights:

  • View and Provision OCS settings on users
  • View all AD details for OCS users
  • Use canned filters to quickly view which users are enabled or disabled for key OCS functionality.
  • Enable/Disable key OCS functionality (e.g. Public IM)
  • Remotely View key Edge settings (from an OCS Administrative Tool or Front-End computer), including:
  • Internal and External Edge server settings
  • Federated Partners and Federated Public IM Network Settings
  • Easily access and view all OCS Global Settings in one location, including Pools, Enterprise Voice and Meeting Settings and Policies, Location Profiles, Normalization Rules, Archive and CDR, and Federation.
  • On any local OCS machine:
  • View and Control OCS Services
  • View OCS specific Event Log Errors and Warnings
  • Provision Address Book settings that not available in the OCS

Functionality likely coming in V2:
Server Role Definition and Awareness (use can specify what hostnames to use for certain roles)

  • Alternate Credentials
  • Certificates Information and Actions
  • More Phone Route Information
  • More Diagnostics


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


at this moment I'm out of office. I will return on the 4th of August. Lots of upcoming news after this summer. Nice Speech enabled applications completely integrated with MOSS and OCS.

More solutions for our working environments in the 21st century. Also our new UCC packages which make your organization ready within 20 days to use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007.

e-office will become Value Added Reseller (VAR) for StartReady UC appliances! We can deploy this UC appliance worldwide in every state and city! If you need more information about these appliances please contact me and we will work it out. We also have a fully operational support organization who can manage your UC appliances remotely.

For everyone happy holiday and stay tuned after the summer period. Greetz Joachim Farla, Marc Wetters and the whole Microsoft Team of e-office m.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Live-PA General Product Info

At the moment we do some beta testing for this company and we really like this add-on. Within this article we would to show you more general information on the product. After that we show you some insights (part II). Coming soon!

What Is Live-PA?

Just think of Live-PA as another OC contact, but, in this case, one that you hire and use whenever the need arises. To hire the services of Live-PA visit, sign up, and simply add the Manager to your list of OC contacts. That’s it – no software or hardware to install and maintain! The Live-PA software resides on its own secure servers, and is accessed via the internet whenever you use Manager.  It starts recording immediately when invited into a conversation on any Office Communicator (OC) enabled computer or communications device, further enhancing the functionality of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

Key Features


All you do to make a voice recording is drag-and-drop Live-PA Manager into an OC conversation in the same way you would add any other contact, and a Live-PA is assigned to start recording your conversation.

Once a recording is in progress you can instruct the Live-PA to pause, resume or perform other actions with the recording. For example you might want to add voice bookmarks to make it quick and easy to find specific points in a conversation, or add tags to be able to index your recordings, again for easy retrieval. You can even add bookmarks and tags to recordings after they have been made.

Instructing a Live-PA is as simple as double-clicking it in the list of participants, which opens a private Instant Messaging (IM) window, and then typing or selecting simple IM commands, such as ‘pause’, ‘resume’ and ‘tag’.

At the end of a conversation, or when you choose to stop, recordings are retained on Live-PA’s secure storage servers for later retrieval via the website.

Playback & Storage

As with recording, playback and maintenance of your recordings is very simple. It is done on-line via any browser, and so all you have to do is log in to the Live-PA website using the login details you specified at sign-up, find your recording and click ‘Play’.   Playback is carried out by a Silverlight plugin allowing seamless play and rewind and all recordings are held using standards based encryption.


Tags help to locate and categorise recordings on the Live-PA website.  They can be accessed via a Web 2.0 Tag Cloud or via a simple search.

A tag is a description you add to the whole of a recording. You can add as many tags as you like to each recording as it is being made, or later after it has been retrieved.

Live-PA automatically adds the time and date to each recording whether or not you add tags.

Voice Bookmarks

Voice bookmarks allow you to mark, and later find and listen to, specific points within a recording.

A voice bookmark is descriptive text you add to a specific point within a recording, or an automatic timestamp if you provide no text. During playback you click on a bookmark and this takes you directly to the marked point in the recording. You can add as many bookmarks as you like to a recording as it is being made, or later during playback.


Actions can be set through the Live-PA at any point in the recording - during or after the recording has been made. This enables you to build and store a list of actions derived from the call which they can then can click to jump to the specific part of the recording to refer to the audio notes directly. The action list can be emailed from to all the call attendees.

For more info, a trial account or to request a live demonstration please contact POSTcti (

Soon Part II to get some insights on this product. Keep up the good work guys.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joachim Farla is Microsoft Most Valuable Professional voor OCS

English: sorry for the inconvenience this press release is currently only in Dutch. Basically it says that Joachim Farla received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award (2008-2009) for OCS.

Houten, 17 juli 2008 – Microsoft heeft een Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award toegekend aan Joachim Farla, Unified Communications-specialist bij e-office. Hij krijgt deze erkenning voor zijn bijdrage aan de Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) Technical Community. Farla deelt zijn kennis via een aantal weblogs (Unified Communications, UC Development en UC Speech). Daarnaast levert hij een actieve bijdrage aan diverse Unified Communications communities, zoals het maandelijks versturen van een technische nieuwsbrief naar 300 IT-professionals én het actief deelnemen aan evenementen rond het nieuwe werken.

Microsoft kent MVP Awards toe aan personen die wereldwijd een belangrijke bijdrage leveren aan de verschillende technische communities. Deze personen delen op vrijwillige basis hun hoogwaardige kennis in technische gemeenschappen, zowel online als offline. MVP’s vormen een zeer selectieve groep van experts binnen de verschillende Microsoft-vakgebieden. Van de acht MVP’s OCS in Europa, is Farla de enige in Nederland.

“Wij zijn blij de Microsoft  MVP Award 2008 te mogen overhandigen. Deze award is onze manier om actieve Microsoft-experts te bedanken voor het promoten van het gevoel van de gemeenschap en het dagelijks verbeteren van het leven van anderen en het succes van de industrie. Wij waarderen hun buitengewone inspanningen in de technische communities het afgelopen jaar “, aldus Gerard Verbrugge, MVP Lead Benelux and Nordics van Microsoft op zijn persoonlijke weblog

“Joachim is vanaf het eerste moment nadrukkelijk betrokken bij onze Unified Communications-activiteiten. Wij zijn daar begin 2007 mee gestart en hebben dat steeds verder uitgebouwd. Sinds enige tijd is Joachim helemaal thuis in alle technische aspecten van Microsoft Unified Communications.  Hij deelt zijn kennis en ervaringen heel actief met de Microsoft community. Zijn blog is daarvoor een belangrijk middel en wordt veel gelezen en geciteerd. Wij zijn enorm blij voor Joachim dat hij nu de officiële erkenning heeft gekregen als MVP voor Unified Communications. Unified Communications is voor e-office een belangrijk onderdeel van onze dienstverlening”, aldus Menno Windsma, directeur Microsoft van e-office.

Meer informatie over het MVP Program is te vinden op Ton Stegeman van e-office ontving recentelijk voor de tweedemaal een MVP Award voor zijn bijdrage aan de SharePoint Community. Daarmee heeft e-office nu twee MVP’s in dienst.

Klik om af te spelen (click to play):


Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Most Valuable Baby (MVB)

Ha guys! As you probably already see on my corporate weblog I will become a father within 10 days from now. So a complete new world with different responsibilities. To get a little bit into the mood my wife kicks off with the new daddy-award ;-) So a new award is born!


Sometimes you need to spend more time at home and ofcourse share the fun of it ;-) Make sure you stay tuned on this weblog and follow our activities on making;

  • a new Microsoft Managed Speech application with full integration in MOSS 2007 and the Interoute network as Telephony as a Service
  • a new Microsoft Managed Speech application with full integration in normal .NET websites
  • upcoming IT Pro event in the Netherlands!!! After the summerholiday
  • IT pro articles learning more on usage analysis in OCS2007. How can we provide business critical information out of the RTC databases etc etc.
  • complete new content on
  • complete new e-office live TV (short video’s of internal activities and at the customer side)

So stay tuned!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cool demo on covergence site OCS/Sametime coexistance

Microsoft Live Communications Server and Office Communications Server

image Microsoft Live Communication Server (LCS) and its follow-on, the Office Communications Server (OCS), are enterprise real-time collaboration (RTC) systems that support presence-enabled instant messaging, audio, video, white-boarding and application sharing. The network protocol used for client/server communication in LCS/OCS is based on the IETF’s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), with Microsoft-specific extensions. This makes LCS/OCS a potentially ideal solution for use as a unified communications solution.

The security requirements for connecting remote users who are “outside the firewall” and “off the VPN” require a fully encrypted (signaling and media), authenticated and validated user connection combined with complete application-level SIP security to protect against external intrusions and attacks.

Covergence Session Manager enables LCS Federations and remote Office Communicator sessions

  - Provides NAT traversal and other SBC features necessary for LCS voice and video support
  - MTLS support for LCS Federations & TLS support for remote Communicators
  - Supports SRTP media (consistent with Microsoft’s future media security plans)

Covergence Session Manager provides complete SIP firewall and enterprise SBC feature set

  - NAT traversal, DOS protection, control, and monitoring
  - Supports CSTA / SIP interworking to integrate LCS telephony capabilities with enterprise PBXs

Covergence Session Manager works with or without Microsoft LCS Access Proxy

  - Can even mix and match
  - Use Covergence Session Manager for Federation & remote Communicator access
  - Use LCS AP for Public IM connectivity

Covergence Session Manager (CSM) is a hardened security solution that augments the Access Proxy by providing the comprehensive application-level security, control and monitoring necessary to ensure that all remote LCS access complies with security and regulatory policies. With CSM organizations have the ability to:

  • Exercise finely grained, policy-based control to restrict the types of SIP messages and SIP-associated media streams that cross the network edge. For example, some subscribers could be restricted to voice services while others would have access to voice and video services.
  • Record the content of instant messaging (text chat), audio and video sessions, under policy-based control, to enable organizations to allow customers to comply with regulations pertaining to the monitoring and recording of electronic communications.
  • Provision both authenticated, validated, and encrypted (TLS and SRTP) connections and unencrypted (SIP/UDP and RTP) connections.
  • Deliver PSTN-like quality and reliability consistently that its customers expect across all real-time services.

Click here for our Interoperability Solution Brief (PDF).
Click here for more information.

Source: covergence corporate website.

Review the live demonstration.

e-office en Mitel werken samen op het gebied van Unified Communications

English: Comments: sorry for the inconvenience this press release is currently only in Dutch. Basically it says that Mitel and e-office are working closely to provide complete VoIP solutions in the “New way of work” aka Work21.

Mitel is working together with e-office because we have a common base which says “we are a genuine human software organisation, marketing innovative solutions and services for partners through excellence”. And our vision completely fit into the vision of Mitel.

vision e-office
we are the world standard human software partner, empowering people and organisations through excellence

Personally I’m very heapy to work closely with Mitel in customer projects!

e-office en Mitel werken samen op het gebied van Unified Communications

e-office stelt Microsoft-kennis beschikbaar aan Mitel-partners

Nieuwegein, 15 juli 2008 – Mitel, leverancier van IP-communicatie-oplossingen, en e-office, specialist in het optimaliseren van de digitale werkomgeving van professionals, gaan nauw samenwerken. Ze bieden eindgebruikers complete Unified Communication (UC)-oplossingen gebaseerd op VoIP van Mitel en de UC-oplossingen van Microsoft. Het ‘nieuwe werken’ wordt voor organisaties door deze samenwerking nu echt concreet. e-office ondersteunt tevens Mitel (telefonie-) partners op het vlak van specifieke Microsoft-toepassingen, zoals Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 en Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007.

Nieuwe werken

Unified Communications maakt een nieuwe manier van werken mogelijk. Met UC neemt de bereikbaarheid en flexibiliteit van medewerkers toe en wordt efficiëntere communicatie en samenwerking mogelijk. Medewerkers kunnen overal, altijd, via elk apparaat en zelfs via hun stem toegang krijgen tot e-mail, agenda, contacten en andere informatie. Op die manier wordt werken steeds efficiënter en flexibeler gemaakt. Naast de nieuwe functionaliteit zijn de bekende telefoonopties met de inzet van de Mitel-technologie nog steeds beschikbaar.

“We zijn zelf al geruime tijd bezig met het inrichten van Unified Communication-omgevingen bij onze klanten”, aldus Menno Windsma, directeur Microsoft van e-office. “We merken dat telefonie daarbij een zeer belangrijke rol speelt. We willen organisaties de best mogelijk oplossing bieden en hebben daarom gezocht naar een partij die onze expertise en de oplossingen van Microsoft aanvult met specifieke kennis en ervaring van VoIP. Die partner hebben we gevonden in Mitel. e-office heeft zelf ook zijn omgeving ingericht met de combinatie van Microsoft en Mitel. We zijn zeer onder de indruk van de mogelijkheden van de complete oplossing die we nu ook organisaties van elk formaat kunnen bieden. Daarnaast werken we samen met bestaande Mitel-partners. Hierbij combineren we onze Microsoft-kennis met hun telefonie-ervaringen waardoor eindgebruikers één aanspreekpunt hebben.”


Naast het samenwerken bij bestaande en nieuwe klanten zullen e-office en Mitel ook gezamenlijk marketingactiviteiten ontplooien. Mitel zal e-office tevens ondersteunen op het gebied van specifieke telefonieconsultancy om zo deze kennis verder uit te breiden.

“e-office staat bekend als een innovatief bedrijf dat zich al jaren bezighoudt met de nieuwste Microsoft-technologie en toegespitst is op thema’s als ‘het nieuwe werken’”, aldus Gijs Borsboom, Country Manager Benelux van Mitel. “We hebben gemerkt dat klanten bij de overgang naar een Unified Communications-omgeving de functionaliteit van de huidige telefonieomgeving niet kwijt willen. Dit is vaak zelfs doorslaggevend bij de keuze voor een nieuwe omgeving. De combinatie van e-office’s kennis en VoIP-technologie van Mitel zorgt hiervoor.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

POSTcti Live-PA Intelligent Call Recorder

This week e-office is playing around with a new service you can connect directly in OCS as online recording system for audio calls. The system is called Live-PA (POSTcti Live-PA Intelligent Call Recorder) and is still under Beta-status.

LivePA has been imagedeveloped and extensively tested by our own software engineers and as a fully Microsoft integrated product it represents the best of breed solution to any call recording, scheduling and compliance needs.  Live-PA is an easy way for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, (OCS 2007), to record calls and archive them in a straightforward searchable way.  It does this by running an automated group of virtual assistants that appear as available or busy, and when invited into a call one will record the conversation and save the compressed file along with potential identification data for later retrieval.  Recruiting a virtual assistant is done simply by dragging and dropping icons and the GUI appears very similar to OCS 2007 itself making it simple to use with minimal training.  Immediate access is then available via your desktop computer, just like a Microsoft Word document.

Stay tuned on this weblog to see how this products is managed generally and how it created technically.

More information to do some beta testing? Review this contact details: John Maguire, Project Manager at PostCTI

Presence sreensaver also x64 bits available… ;-)

Ton Stegeman did make the presence screensaver also compatible for x64 bits systems! So you can now run this screensaver on Windows Vista x64-based systems.

You can download this screensaver from the e-office public Codeplex website. Download

More informaton on the Ton Stegeman [MVP] weblog

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Microsoft Certified Master Program Recognizes Individual Expertise

I really can’t wait until the MCM certification for OCS2007 is on the stage. As far as I know the MCM certification is coming up very soon.

We are pleased to announce Microsoft Certified Master -- a new certification series for individuals deeply focused on designing, building, and troubleshooting solutions based on a single product. The Microsoft Certified Master program incorporates advanced, experience-based training and testing on Microsoft technologies that go beyond any product training offered outside of Microsoft today. The first three specialization areas will be:

  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft Certified Master: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory

Coming soon:

  • Microsoft Certified Master: Office Communications Server 2007
  • Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2007

If you are an IT Pro or dev with extensive experience in successfully designing, implementing, and deploying server solutions, you might be a candidate for the new Microsoft Certified Master credential.

To learn how to become a Microsoft Certified Master from the program manager on the team blog. Join in the July 30 Live Meeting with the program owners.

Modality Systems Achieves Microsoft Unified Communications Competency Voice Specialization

Modality Systems are a specialist provider of strategic and technical consulting services related to unified communications technologies.

Modality LogoLondon — July 8, 2008 — Today, Modality Systems Limited announced that through the Microsoft Partner Program they have fulfilled the qualifications necessary to achieve Voice specialization within the Microsoft Unified Communications Competency.

Earning the Unified Communications Competency Voice specialization requires the completion of competency testing and a rigorous technical readiness program that includes specific staffing requirements and an internal deployment of the complete Microsoft Unified Communications offering. Companies who achieve the Unified Communications Competency Voice specialization are qualified by Microsoft Corp. to deploy Microsoft unified communications technologies such as Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, including VoIP and audio‐, video‐, and Web‐conferencing.
“Modality Systems provides enterprise organizations with cutting edge telephony and unified communications solutions,” said James Rodd, Director, Modality Systems Limited. “As a Microsoft Certified Partner who has achieved the Unified Communications Competency Voice specialization, our customers are assured they are hiring a qualified vendor to design and deploy Microsoft’s latest unified communications voice technologies in a way that will best benefit their organization”
“With the services available from capable Microsoft Certified Partners such as Modality Systems, companies seeking unified communications voice solutions can be assured that experts in the field are prepared and ready to provide qualified service,” said Eric Swift, Senior Director of product management for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft.

Modality Systems is a specialist Unified Communications consultancy. The company was founded in 2007 on the principle of offering independent and expert consulting services that are structured to get results. Our passion for results and depth of experience has enabled us to become trusted advisors to many of our clients.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
For more information:
James Rodd, Director, Modality Systems Limited

From e-office we would like to congratulate Modality Systems for their activities into the UC platform focusing on Voice interaction. Check their website

OCSDKWrapper Project on CodePlex

George Durzi wrote a really nice wrapper for the Office Communicator SDK. He also included a sample application to get you started. More information on the UC Weblog of Marc Wetters.

Friday, July 4, 2008 Appliances last episode ;-( Appliances

Welcome back. Three weeks ago I started blogging about StartReady. . In a couple of episodes I’m sharing some of the things these guys are doing. In the first episode I discussed the more general overview of their architecture and choices they made. The second episode was all about the unattended deployment and configuration of OCS., and in the third episode we discussed the remote management architecture and the way they used Hyper-V for virtualization.

In this last episode I had an interview with Menno. Menno is responsible for the design and architecture of the Application Layer and the orchestration of the deployment process, based on Windows Workflow Foundation.,.

Can you first tell me something about the architecture of the Application Layer and choices you had to make?

I joined the StartReady team just after the scoping of the Appliance Architecture had started. In that period, we had the vision of the end product in mind, but the technical design was still undetermined. This gave us a greenfield approach, with no real constraints in place. We only had a short list of the characteristics of on appliance, as mentioned in the first episode. So, when I joined the team, some basic decisions were already made and therefore the design of the Application Layer was quite straight forward. The challenges were in the details, as always. For example, we had to make a decision on the functional boundaries of the Application Layer: where does its responsibility begin and where does it end? We were dealing with steps that could both be performed by the Application Layer and Power Shell Scripts. During the Agile Development Process, some of the steps moved from Application Layer to PowerShell and vice versa. We did stick to the fundamental idea though, that we wanted to do as much as possible using managed code. The Power Shell scripts are powerful in performing administrative tasks, but they do not adhere to basis development standards like source control, debugging, etc. So where ever we could, we wanted the Application Layer to be in control.

Because StartReady is building a standard platform (aka the Appliance Factory) for deploying all kinds of Microsoft based appliances, I designed a generic architecture for the Application Layer and its workflow engine. We based the Application on the generic MVC pattern, so the overall application consists of several layers. At the top we have the Presentation Layer that contains the logic for the GUI. Below that, we have the Business Logic Layer (BLL). This layer contains all the logic for getting the information from the Presentation Layer and, after doing some validation, communicating it to other layers. For example, when the user has finished answering the questions in the Wizard, the BLL saves these answers in the configuration file, and sends it to the database. The actual communication with the database happens in a separate layer, called the Data Access Layer (DAL). Another task of the BLL is starting the Workflow. After sending the configuration file to the StartReady database, it is also sent to another layer, called the Configuration Layer. In this layer the configuration file is copied to a location on the hard drive and the correct Mapper is selected. I’ll talk about Mappers in more detail later on. Between these layers there are several web services that handle the communication between the website, the database and the workflow.

So the architecture is designed to serve the configuration and deployment of different appliances?

Yes, in the beginning we primarily focused on building our architecture for the deployment and configuration of OCS. But we also kept in mind that our architecture needed to serve a Search appliance. And when we started building the Search appliance, it was a matter of configuration, and not of development, to realize a new Application Layer. And this really shortened down the development time. In the end, we got such a generic architecture, that we now can introduce totally new Appliances, without much effort.

Interesting. Can you give me an example on how you setup this generic architecture?

Yes. In general, the installation and configuration of a server product is based on settings and human workflow. So, we base our architecture on XML files for the settings-part. We now have a file that is appropriately called the Configuration File. In this central file we exchange the customers settings information between the Application Layer, the PowerShell Scripts and our database.

So, all the customers configuration information is exchanged and stored in XML files?

Yes that’s correct. And to make this generic setup work for all sort of appliances, we introduced a XML file called, the configuration Mapper. Let me explain this. On one side we have the information gathered from the customer that is stored in Configuration File. On the other side we have the Configuration Mapper file. This file maps the customer data to a specific appliance deployment. So, when we deploy an OCS appliance the Mapper file describes which information is required from the customer and where the information is used during the deployment.

Every step in the workflow is anchored in this Configuration Mapper. For example, one of the steps in our process is copying a folder from one location to another. Of course, we could simply hard code this step in our Application Layer and let the code copy what’s described in the Configuration File. But we abstracted the concept of ‘copy’ to a higher level. What we did, was describing these kinds of process steps in the XML. In my example we added ‘copy’ as a process step and added the parameters needed to perform this step. In this way we reuse process steps in our deployment process. This makes it fairly easy to setup the Application Layer for a totally new appliance.

Ok, that’s some cool stuff. I can imagine that the data gathered from the customer needs to be validated at some point in time. Otherwise, the parameters will fail the steps during the process. How do you manage this?

In this case the magic is done in the Configuration File. It describes which information is mandatory. Not every requested information is mandatory. Take the proxy server for example. Not every customers has a proxy server in its domain. But when it is present, our appliance needs this information. We encountered this situation during a test setup. When we tried to validate our license key over the internet we didn’t receive a response. This was caused by the customers proxy server. We now have extra checks build in for these kind of situations. When the validation through the internet isn’t working, we ask the customer whether he has a proxy server. We then use the provided configuration to validate our license key again.

In the first episode I have learned that you use Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF) to orchestrate the deployment. Can you explain to me how WWF helps you in your architecture?

WWF helps us to model the deployment process. It really breaks downs the complexity of the process into manageable pieces. We have one main workflow which orchestrates the total deployment of an appliance. Depending on the type of appliance, we have a fixed number of steps in the main workflow. The minimum for a workflow is 2 steps: a generic start-step and an end-step. In between these two generic steps we have to handle the installation of several virtual machines. The number of virtual machines depends on the appliance. Every virtual machine has its own workflow process, and consists of several steps, like mounting the disks, copying software, doing some secret stuff J, unmounting the disks and finally start the sysprepped virtual machine. After starting the virtual machine the PowerShell Scripts are automatically kicked off. At this point PowerShell takes over the action and reads the Configuration File and uses the information needed for the configuration and deployment of this specific virtual machine. Via a WebService PowerShell reports back the status of the deployment. When the script is finished it reports back a final status message. The workflow now knows that the virtual has finished and returns to the main workflow which kicks-off the next virtual machine.

So, if I understand you correctly, the installation can get into a situation that it stalls and waits endlessly for the virtual machine to report back its status?

Theoretically you are right. But to prevent this situation, we have also build error handling into the PowerShell scripts. So when an unexpected situation occurs during an installation or configuration the script raises an error to the workflow and the customer receives a message describing the action he or she should take. Detailed error messages are also stored in our database and in the event log of Windows Server.

That makes sense – is that also the reason why you have chosen to use WWF? And can you give me some advantages and disadvantages of using WWF?

A big disadvantage is the broadly available knowledge and experience in working with WWF. It’s a relative new product and the available information on the internet is still a little bit light. The main reason for using WFF lies in the low level plumbing it handles. It really helps reducing the complexity of building your application. You can develop little chunks of code and test it straight away without depending on other steps in the process. For example, one of the steps is mounting a disk. From a developers perspective you can really focus on this piece of code and harden it for the job it has to do. Next to that it handles the complex things like state-management: in our situation this results in the situation that a customer can close the Installation Wizard without stopping the installation process. Just opening the site again and it tells you the current step.

Have you ever considered an alternative for WWF and what was it?

Because the project was on a pretty hard deadline it was risky to adopt new and unknown technologies. So, with the discussion on workflow, we looked at WWF and also considered alternatives. An alternative is building the code from scratch and specifically design it for our needs. Of course, technically this is doable, but is it worth it? To make the right decision, we choose to do a proof of concept with WWF. We did a workflow exercise which we wanted to successfully end within 3 days. To our astonishment, within 1 day, we were able to determine that we could reach all our goals with WFF. It is a very sophisticated platform that makes the make-or-buy decision a no-brainer. And in this case buying is nothing more that downloading.

So with all these things currently in place, what’s your roadmap for future development?

clip_image006Well, at this point I can mention two features that are under development. First of all we are now in the middle of testing the maintenance website for the OCS appliance. With this website every clip_image004customer can maintain options for OCS users. You can enable users for OCS, and set specific user functions like telephony and federation. Next to that we are developing a Prerequisite Scanner, that the customer can run prior to the installation of the Appliance. It tells us whether the IT environment is suitable for our Appliances. We are publishing this tool on our website soon.

Menno, thanks for your time and your clear answers.

Well, this was the final episode. During the last couple of weeks I’m became more and more convinced that the concept of delivering IW related products as an appliance is a great idea. And I’m really impressed how professional the technical team of StartReady is handling things. Last week I visited their technology center and witnessed an OCS deployment. It’s really weird to see such a complex product being installed in just one and a half hour!

Again I would really thank Jeroen van Vliet for having the time with me to write these episodes!

And I just found out that StartReady is also present on the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference in Houston. So for whom is interested in meeting Lucas Wensing or Jeroen van Vliet contact them by e-mail ( and and make an appointment with them.

If you are interested in a combination of the UC appliance and a e-take off SharePoint 2007 project contact e-office (

For more information check out their website on

SupraPlus™ Wideband for Microsoft Office Communicator

Section: compatible devices for MOC/OCS


Next week Xander Kupers (B2B Sales Manager Netherlands) Plantronics is speaking at e-office about the whole new set of devices who fully integrate with OCS and Communicator 2007. They point me out to this one. I didn’t test this device but I definitely assure you this will work perfectly.

SupraPlus™ Wideband for Microsoft Office Communicator

Plantronics is pleased to announce the availability of the SupraPlus Wideband for Microsoft Office Communicator        (HW251N-USB).

image With the SupraPlus Wideband USB for Office Communicator, you will benefit from clearer conversations enabled by wideband audio and enjoy improved privacy when listening to voicemail or participating in conference calls. Also, the ability to combine a phone call with a Unified Communications application such as Instant Messaging or e-mail, allows you to find a better, more comfortable way to work.

Key features:
Wideband audio – clearer and more intelligible conversations so you can communicate more effectively

  • Call Control – integration with Microsoft Office Communicator allows you to easily answer or end calls at the touch of a button
  • Reliability – SupraPlus is trusted by both office and contact centre professionals as the premium
    headset for reliability and durability
  • Optimised – for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007


First Order Date: 31 March 2008
First Shipment Date: 1 April 2008
Price: €139

Mission Accomplished 70-646 in the pocket

Today, I can also add the 70-646 PRO: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator to my MCP transcript!

962 points (1000 maximum). More information about this exam can be found here


July 25th I will do the last exam in a row to be fully Windows Server 2008-certified. So 70-647 lets beat you!

This certification will help people to get ready for the Microsoft Certified Architect Program.


Microsoft Certification structure

Technology Series: Specialist certifications train IT professionals in implementation, building, troubleshooting, and debugging of a specific Microsoft technology. Accomplished.

Professional Series: Professional credentials validate the skill set required for a particular job. Accomplished.

1) Master Series: Master certifications identify individuals with the deepest technical skills available on a particular Microsoft product.

2) Architect Series: The Certified Architect program makes it easy for companies to identify experienced IT architects who have completed a rigorous peer review process.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

e-office comes to WWPC

The Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) provides an online and in-person forum to learn more about business growth opportunities and product innovation from Microsoft executives. And offers you a unique opportunity to expand your business potential by connecting with thousands of other Microsoft partners.

We as e-office are also there. Would you like to meet us or get more information about our activities especially about Unified Communications and Collaboration.

Or more in general “The New Way of Work” e-office is the right company to talk with. As the only Human Software Organization in the whole world we can provide you with the latest innovative platform information focused on the human being.

Get in contact at the Partner Conference contact:

Menno Windsma at or or check out;

Arjan van Eijk at or

Forefront Security for Office Communications Server 2007 Beta

Brief Description

Forefront Security for Office Communications Server

You must register to receive this download. Please click the Continue button to register.

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Download Size:
33.6 MB

System Requirements
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows XP
Forefront Security for Office Communications Server
Office Communications Server 2007

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

OCS support and admin guide updated!

Office Communications Server 2007 Document: Supportability Guide

Brief Description

This document provides information about supported configurations in Office Communications Server 2007 environments.

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632 KB


The purpose of the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Supportability Guide is to provide a central, high-level reference for supported Office Communications Server 2007 topologies and configurations. It is also intended to answer frequently asked questions. This document identifies supported topologies, configurations, and scenarios described in detail in the existing deployment and planning documentation.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Document: Administration Guide
Brief Description

This document provides explains how to administer Office Communications Server 2007.

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8.3 MB


This Administration Guide explains how to configure and manage your Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 topology. This guide contains information about the following:

  • An overview of the tools used to administer Office Communications Server 2007, new management features, platforms that you can use to administer servers and users, and the version restrictions for using Office Communications Server 2007 with previous releases.
  • A description of the management tools available for managing Office Communications Server 2007 servers and users and instructions for installing and using each.
  • How to manage the global settings that affect all servers and pools in the forest.
  • How to manage pools, as well as individual Standard Edition Server servers and servers in Enterprise pools.
  • How to manage federation, public IM connectivity, and remote users
  • How to configure an Address Book Server
  • How to set up and configure specific functions and features of Office Communications Server 2007
  • How to manage user accounts
  • How to use the debug functionality of Office Communications Server 2007 Logging Tool, as well as other logging and tracing functionality
  • How server settings correspond to client functionality

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The MVP feeling

I’m really not that type of guy but the feeling is a little bit the same. Still a nice YouTube video.

MVP on Office Communications Server

Today, was the most beautiful day of my live (except the time of my unborn child). To avoid problems with my wife ;-)

I’m nominated for the MVP award in OCS for 1 year!


I would like to thank everyone who helped me to came so far. Together with my colleague Ton Stegeman where now both MVP in the Netherlands on different technologies Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office Communications Server.

As far as I know we are the only Microsoft Gold Partner in the Netherlands who has two MVP’s on the payroll! 

In special thanks to: John Lamb (Modality Systems), Michael Dunn (Microsoft) and Menno Windsma (e-office) to make this real!

Stay tuned!

Presence in Lotus Notes - Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Automation API Sample


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4.9 MB

Exmaple 1:

clip_image002This sample is designed to enhance the adoption of Microsoft Office Communicator and Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 within organizations using IBM Lotus Notes. This toolkit focuses on the following objectives:

1. Allow Notes users to immediately experience Office Communications Server 2007 technologies working in their own environment

2. Support Notes developers to quickly integrate Office Communications Server technologies into their own custom Notes applications

Example 2:


Integrating OCS and OCS Speech Server

A couple of days ago Michael Dunn wrote an article about how to integrate OCS 2007 and OCS 2007 Speech Server. (see his post here).

After some investigation and some mismatches into my configuration my OCS Speech Server is up and running. The article of Michael Dunn is a good step into the right direction in integrating the OCS Speech server into your infrastructure.

When configuring OCS Speech server make sure you configure the following things:

1. Install a appropriate certificate for the OCS speech server (make sure you export the private key) when certsrv web enrollment is installed on your CA server you can ask for it through the webinterface. For assigning a certificate click properties in the server selection. (Speech Server Administrative Console)


2. Click and assign certificate select (select certificate). Make sure you select view certificate to make sure the certificate is in “ok” status. Restart your Speech Server services.


3. Create additionally an authorized host in your OCS Administrative Console. Fill-in the FQDN of your OCS Speech Server


Enjoy and it’s absolutely cool to integrate this into your existing OCS infrastructure. More information into the near future > OCS Speech Server Weblog 

Getting/Setting presence protocols

About a month ago I downloaded all of the Microsoft Office Protocol Documents as a single zip file. I did the same today because I noticed that there were new version of these documents. More info see

Presence Protocols

Microsoft has just released a final version of their presence protocols (the one I used for presence subscription with UCMA). More information on the website of Marc Wetters from e-office. more info here