Thursday, January 09, 2014

Setting up Federation with Lync On-Premises and Lync Online

Today I received a tweet from Petri IT Knowledgebase regarding a latest blog post published on their website by Phoummala Schmitt and this is on setting up Lync federation, This made me write this post today as I missed out this vital topic on the Lync series and thought of writing this one today for the readers with some additional information. Federation is not a new topic and most of our Organizations who already using Lync in their environment is well aware about purpose of federation and the required components to make it successful, When it comes to federation it purely relies on the Organization to choose the appropriate method of federation to be enabled for their Org to establish connectivity with their external partners.

We have 4 types of federation which are listed below and each has its own significance and benefits , the most prominent one which I have come across in both On premises and Lync Online  is the Allowed Partner Server (Direct Federation) we can even call this as closed federation where we normally add the federated partners Edge server and sip details to establish connection and the same is available with the Lync Online and there is not much additional steps required and its just a addition of the partner's sip domain to the allowed federation list. Also some Organizations have established Public IM connectivity with some major PIC service providers like Skype, Google talk etc.,

Discovered Partner Domain (Open Enhanced Federation)

Allowed Partner Domain (Enhanced Federation)

Allowed Partner Server (Direct Federation)

Hosting Provider and Public IM Provider

Clear description of each of these types of federation are explained in the below TechNet article and also in the Petri post with graphical view of how to setup each of these federation with real examples, review them for clear understanding

Setting Up Lync Federation - TechNet

How to Setup Lync Federation - Petri IT Knowledgebase

Along with the above posts I also found the below blog post from UCLobby is quite useful, which also shows us how to setup Open and Closed federation with guided walk-through and explanation.

Difference between Open and Closed Federation in Lync 2010/2013

Example of direct federation specified in the above blog post for quick preview

Additionally take a look at the below blog post from ITProPortal on how to setup federation between Lync On premises and Lync Online

How to federate Office365 Lync with Lync On-Premise

The Office 365 Portal shown in the above blog post is taken before the wave 15 Service upgrade where Lync 2010 was the back-end with Lync Online and post Service upgrade the back-end Lync Online environment is upgraded to Lync 2013 and the console view changed  as with the new Admin portal but no changes were made to the options available for configuration and you can choose the best option whether to turn of Federation for all domain expect the one you block or allow federation only for the one you specify the latter is the one used in most of the environments and below is one such example for your visibility.

Also you can now take advantage of the Federation setup walk-through from Microsoft team below for setting up a successful federation with Lync Online

Set up Lync Online external communications

The above articles covers the steps required  and components required to set up Federation with both Lync On premises and Lync Online.

Additional Bytes

Establishing federation is a straight forward process if you follow the above articles in both the environments,but when it comes to troubleshooting issues it becomes quite a big one as it involves both the IT Admins in the federated companies to work together and identify the underlying issue and resolve it together.

Below is a MS KB article which is the quite useful one to troubleshoot Federation issues with Lync Online and used widely

Lync Online users can't communicate with external contacts

When it comes to Lync On premises the troubleshooting mechanisms will vary and most of the times I have seen issues with the Lync Edge server configuration and port blocks and rarely over DNS records which cause the issue and you can see various scenarios while working with these issues where in federation works one way and not on both sides and the best way we start to troubleshoot is with the Lync Server logs (SipStack) and Lync Client Logs and analyze them using Snooper tool reveals us where to begin the troubleshooting.

Below is one such issue updated by our Doug Deitterick MSFT on is TechNet Blog and its worth reading

Issue with Federation Only Working in One Direction

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