Skype for Business Server 2015 Deployment

Skype for Business Server 2015 Deployment – Part 3

Advancing from a previous post this article addresses setting up a few test users and configuring various client and server features.  The overall functionality and health of the newly installed Skype for Business Server 2015 environment will be validated prior to moving forward with the deployment of any additional roles or configuring any partner applications.

Throughout this section a mixture of approaches will be used to create and configure a pair of test accounts.  Examples of both GUI (Graphical User Interface) and CLI (Command Line Interface) approaches will be leveraged in an attempt to educate the reader on both options as well as serve as a quick reference for some simple, yet customized PowerShell cmdlets to perform routine tasks.  For the sake of simplicity the personally preferred option can obviously be used for all steps.

Create User Accounts

  • Using Active Directory Users & Computers create a new Active Directory user account (e.g. ).  This first account can be used for the majority of validation steps through this series of articles.


  • Utilizing Windows PowerShell create a second user account (e.g. ) for the purposes of testing various two-way communication tasks.  Enter the desired , , , and fields in the following example cmdlet.

Now that two new user accounts have been created in Active Directory some additional steps can be performed on each to configure them for Exchange and Skype for Business.

Enable Users for Exchange

This is an optional step and can be skipped if the environment does not include any Exchange servers.  As integrating with Exchange Server 2013 provides a number of features for Skype for Business (Voice Mail, Unified Contacts Store, Archiving, etc.) then it is recommended to deploy Exchange .

  • Connect to the Exchange Admin Center and then from the default Recipients > Mailboxes page select the “+” icon to create a new User Mailbox.
  • Select Existing User and then click Browse.  Highlight and select one of the two new users accounts and then click OK and Save.

By contrast the other account can be enabled with the same mailbox configuration using a simple Exchange Server cmdlet instead of the web management user interface.

  • Using the Exchange Server Management Shell enter the following cmdlet with the appropriate username.

Enable Users for Skype for Business

As in the previous steps the first account will be enabled using the GUI process.

  • Using the Skype for Business Server 2015 Control Panel navigate to the Users section and click Enable Users.
  • Click the Add button and then either type in the name of the first user account or simply click Find to list all AD user accounts which have not yet been enabled for Skype for Business.
  • Highlight the desired user account and click OK to return to the previous screen.
  • Select the Skype for Business Front End server from the ‘Assign users to a pool menu.  If Exchange mailboxes were created for these accounts then the default SIP URI option of Use user’s email address is sufficient.  If there is no associated mailbox for the user accounts then instead select Use the user principal Name (UPN) option. (Either option in this environment will work as both the SMTP address and UPNs are identical.)
  • Click Enable to complete the process and enable the account for Skype for Business.

Additional options will be enabled and configured later on as those associated components are configured on the servers (e.g. Enterprise Voice).  The next step is to enable the other account using a command line.

  • Using the Skype for Business Server 2015 Management Shell enter the following cmdlet with the desired user account name.

This completes the prerequisite setup for the two test accounts.  If additional accounts are desired simply repeats these steps, using either method for each new account to be created.

Update Address Book

As these two accounts where just created then manually updating the Skype for Business Address Book data will make it possible to search for them in the client without waiting for the preprogrammed server interval of 24 hours.  This process has remained relatively unchanged since Lync Server 2010.

  • In the Skype for Business Server 2015 Management Shell execute the following Update-CsAddressBook cmdlet.

Using the verbose () switch is optional but displays additional details explaining that this action is not immediate.

  • To check on the status of the process open the Windows Event Viewer and then navigate to Applications and Services Logs > Lync Server.  Refresh the log periodically until the following grouping of LS Address Book Server messages are recorded.

Starting with a single domain-connected workstation attempt to sign-in to a Skype for Business 2015 client with either user account that was created.



Notice that the client’s experience is very basic at the moment.  There is no user photo, no Phone tab, and no Location data for example.  The user’s photo could be provided by either Active Directory (low resolution) or in Exchange Server 2013 which will be addressed in a later article.

  • To check the configuration information passed down to the client during registration hold the CRTL key while right-clicking the Skype for Business notification icon in the System Tray.  This will reveal a hidden menu option called Configuration Information which will display details like the following:

Note the null values above for the various roles which have not yet been deployed or configured.  As additional roles are deployed like an Edge Server, Outlook Web App Server, and Exchange Server these parameters will no longer be blank .

Conferencing Services

To validate that the different Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) services are functional on the Front End server an ad-hoc conference can be started to test the various modalities.

  • On the Skype for Business client menu select Meet Now.

If this is the first time a meeting was started, and depending on the available resources and processing power on the Front End server the initial startup could take a few seconds.  A beeping tone may be heard during this time as the server allocates resources to host this conference.

  • When the meeting begins enable video by selecting Start My Video from the camera button.
  • If a second workstation is available then sign in to a Skype for Business client using the other the other account (e.g. s) .
  • Invite the other user account to the meeting to test audio and video in both directions.  This validates the operation of the Audio/Video Conferencing service ().
  • Click the IM button to show the conversation panel and type in a message.  Verify that the messages was received on the other workstation and type in a response.  This capability leverages the IM Conferencing service ().
  • On either workstation click the Present button, select either Present Desktop or Present Programs, and choose from a running application.  Click Present to being sharing the screen.  This tests the Application Sharing service ().

If the earlier deployment was successful and each of these features are working as expected this indicates a healthy Skype for Business Front End server.  This seems like a good point to start (temporarily) breaking things for the purposes of education.

  • Leave the conference running as shown above and then connect to the Skype for Business Front End server.
  • Open the Services administrative tool on the server and scroll down to the multiple Skype for Business Server entries.
  • Select the Skype for Business Server Application Sharing service and then choose the Stop action.

Almost immediately the following messages should appear on screens of both meeting participants, and the shared desktop or application will have disappeared. 

Note that the remainder of the meeting capabilities (e.g. video, IM) are still functioning.  Yet if the Present button is selected the menu options for presenting the desktop or an application are now gone.  Only the Present PowerPoint Files option should still remain, although this feature is not yet functional as the required Office Web Apps server has not yet been deployed in this environment.

  • Stop the Skype for Business IM Conferencing service and then attempt to send another message in the meeting.

Another error will appear indicating that the service providing this capability is not currently available.

  • Stop the Skype for Business Audio/Video Conferencing service.

Immediately both of the far-end participant and local video displays should disappear and within a few seconds a message should appear indicating that the call has been dropped.  Technically the client is still connected to the meeting, but nearly all of the available modalities have been crippled.

Attempting to click rejoin at this point would result in an ‘’ response.  Restoring the individual services will also allow the meeting to return to its former state.

  • Start the Skype for Business Audio/Video Conferencing service and then select Rejoin from on of the clients.  The other participants in the meeting will be prompted to reestablish the audio and video.
  • Start the Skype for Business IM Conferencing service to restore instant messaging in the meeting.
  • Start the Skype for Business Application Sharing service to return the server back to fully functional.  Share the desktop or an application from one of the workstations to verify the functionality..

With the existing conference still running and all modalities restored a number of basic queries can be run on the server to get some insight into what the current load is.  Obviously in this example there is only a single meeting running but the same concepts apply when performing these actions on a test or production environments which may return much more data.

  • Open the Skype for Business Management Shell and type in the Get-CsWindowsService cmdlet to query the status of each service.

Note that the ActivityLevel field reports the concurrency of active conferences, connoted users, and how many are participating in the various modalities.  In this environment the single running conference with two participants are reflected in the data shown above.

To get a detailed look at the performance metrics for the running conference the basic Windows Server Performance Monitor tool can be used.  As usually is the case with this tool it can be a daunting task to identify what counters to view, so here is an easy way to list all, or a subset, of the sets related to Skype for Business Server.

  • In the Skype for Business Management Shell enter the following cmdlet to list any sets which are applicable to the various MCU services.  (All of the Skype for Business counters are prefixed with ‘LS:’ which is a carry-over for Lync Server.)
  • Launch Performance Monitor on the Front End server and select a few various counters from the counter sets listed above.  In the following example are a handful of different related counters were added across the application sharing, IM, and A/V MCUs.
  • For environments with a small number of conferences running change the graph’s Maximum to a value lower than 100 in the Action > Properties > Graph > Vertical Scale settings.

At this point the Skype for Business environment is ready for additional configuration which will be covered in upcoming articles in this series.  To find an updated list of the applicable articles simply combine the Deployment and 2015 tags as shown in the following URL to filter for only Skype for Business 2015 Server deployment articles on this site.

Filed under Skype for Business · Tagged with 2015, Deployment

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