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Lync Server 2013 Release Preview Persistent Chat with Enterprise Pool – Part 3

This article series is to guide you through the entire Lync Server 2013 Persistent Chat deployment process from scratch.  In Part 1, we took a look at preparing the environment for the Persistent Chat Pool.  In Part 2, we’ll take a look at the installation process in the Lync 2013 Persistent Chat Pool.  We’ll then finish up the article series with Part 3 by taking a look at the client capabilities utilizing the Persistent Chat features.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Persistent Chat Configuration

At this point, we have Persistent Chat installed but no configuration has been done.  Therefore, our client will show no Persistent Chat capabilities.  The first icon highlighted is to display the contact list and the second icon is to display your conversation history.

By going into the Lync Server 2013 Control Panel, we can see that there’s a new section for configuring Persistent Chat.  We’ll start by configuring a Persistent Chat Policy.  We’ll modify the Global Policy.  Available options are to configure Persistent Chat Policies on a Global level (which is provided by default and not able to be deleted), Site Level, Pool Level, or User Level.  Because we’ll be using the Global Level, go ahead and choose the Global option and choose to edit it.

We can see that the only real option is to enable or disable Persistent Chat.  I chose the option to enable Persistent Chat.  Because this is a Global Policy, it will enable Persistent Chat for the entire organization.

After you commit, you will now see a new icon be displayed in your Lync 2013 client after you wait about 30 seconds or so and then sign out and then sign back in.

Let’s have a look at the Persistent Chat Configuration.  Unlike the Persistent Chat Policy which we can modify at the Global, Site, and User level, Persistent Chat Configuration can only be modified at the Global, Site, and Pool Level.  There’s no User Level.

In the configuration, we have the following options:https://www.shudnow.net/wp-admin/post-new.php

  • Default chat history – define the number of chat messages that will be processed for each room upon first request. By default, the number is 30. This is the global default, and administrators can disable chat history per category
  • Maximum file size – select the maximum file size of each chat history. By default, the number is 20 MB (20,000 KB).  This setting is enforced on the server because custom applications or legacy Group Chat clients using Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Group Chat Server or Lync Server 2010, Group Chat can post files to a room. The Lync 2013 Preview client does not have file upload/download capability, so if you have a pure Lync 2013 Preview deployment or Lync 2013 Preview client, it is not possible to post files in a Persistent Chat Server chat room.
  • Participant Update Limit – select the limit for participant updates. By default, the number is 75. This limit indicates the maximum number of participants in a given room beyond which Persistent Chat Server stops sending roster updates to connected clients about who is present in the room.
  • Room Management URL – select the room management URL. This is the URL for a web-based custom room management.
    If you want to customize your room creation experience and include your specific business workflow, you build a custom room management solution, host it somewhere and put the URL here. This URL is sent down to the client so that when a user tries to view/create a room, he is directed to your custom room management solution.

For this article series, we’ll leave the defaults selected.

We’ll now have a look at chat room categories. A chat room category is a logical structure for organizing chat rooms. A category defines a default set of access control lists (ACLs) for controlling the users and user groups who may create or join the chat rooms. You can also use categories in multiple Persistent Chat Server pool deployments and to enforce ethical walls between different subdivisions within their organizations

Chat room categories may contain chat rooms but not other categories. Each category describes its contents with metadata such as Name and Description. In addition, the category has properties which can be set to control the behavior of the chat rooms belonging to it, such as if the chat rooms allow Invitations, or File Uploads or contain Chat History.

After choosing new, we’re asked to choose a specific Persistent Chat Pool.  If you had chosen to deploy a Persistent Chat Server instead of a Pool, you would choose the server. Or if we had multiple Persistent Chat Servers/Pools, we would choose the specific Persistent Chat Server or Pool.

Let’s go ahead and configure our category.  By default, the highlighted options “Enable invitations” and “Enable file upload” were disabled.  I chose to enable these options.  The options below do the following:

  • Enable invitations – if selected, the category supports rooms that may have invitations on or off; if cleared, the rooms of this category are not allowed to have invitations.
  • Enable file upload – if selected, the rooms of this category can enable or disable file uploads; if cleared, the rooms of this category are not allowed to have file uploads.  This setting is enforced on the server because custom applications or legacy Group Chat clients using Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Group Chat Server or Lync Server 2010, Group Chat can post files to a room. The Lync 2013 Preview client does not have file upload/download capability, so if you have a pure Lync 2013 Preview deployment or Lync 2013 Preview client, it is not possible to post files in a Persistent Chat Server chat room.
  • Enable chat history – if selected, room chats become non-persistent. If compliance is enabled, room chats will be saved but users will not be able to access older messages.

I also chose to add the John Doe user to this category which I called Sales. If you scroll down, there are two additional sections where you can deny certain users and add creators. Creators are people who can create chat rooms and assign managers to specific chat rooms they create.

Now it’s time to configure our Chat Rooms. Configuring chat rooms is commonly handled by users or other central teams using Windows PowerShell command-line interface; an administrator typically does not manage chat rooms. However, if you have to create and manage rooms, you can use the Windows PowerShell command-line interface, or add yourself as a member to a room, and use the Lync 2013 Preview client.

The following are things to note about Chat Rooms:

  • Administrators can delete older content (for example, content posted before a certain date) from any chat room to keep the size of the database from growing greatly. Or, they can remove or replace messages considered inappropriate for a given chat room. (or consider, unsuitable)
  • End-users, including message authors, cannot delete content from any chat room.
  • Chat room managers can disable rooms, but cannot delete rooms. Only administrators can delete a chat room after it’s created.

To see all the Lync Management Shell commands for managing Chat Rooms, please see here.

I decided to create a sales chat room called Sales Forecast within our sales category in which John Doe is assigned by running the following command:

Even though you added John Doe to the Category, that does not assign the users to chat rooms.  As stated previously, a category defines a default set of access control lists (ACLs) for controlling the users and user groups who may create or join the chat rooms. You can also use categories in multiple Persistent Chat Server pool deployments and to enforce ethical walls between different subdivisions within their organizations,

Let’s go ahead and add John Doe directly to the Sales Forecast Chat Room. To add John Doe to the Sales Forecast Chat Room, type the following:

Note: You can also add managers which can add members to a Chat Room right from the Lync 2013 client.  And if you recall in the Category for Sales, we could create creators.  Creators can create chat rooms and assign managers to chat rooms within categories they are assigned as a Creator.

Without needing to sign and sign back into the Lync 2013 Client, we see that the new Chat Room automatically shows up for John Doe.

Now if you double-click on Sales Forecast, we enter the chat room in which all data is persistent.

Oh and just to mention, all of this works without having to create a PGPool.15lab.net A record in DNS. The Lync Server 2013 Front Ends handles all the routing internally without any DNS queries.

If you go back to the Followed Section, you see an Ego Filter.  This allows you to be notified on key words.  If you right-click and edit your Ego filter, you will see it allows you to set up Topic Feed Options and Notification Options.  One thing I wanted to point out is that by default, it is configured to notify you if someone types your name in a Persistent Chat Room you are a member in.

Conclusion

In Part 1, we took a look at preparing the environment for the Persistent Chat Pool.  In Part 2, we took a look at the installation process in the Lync 2013 Persistent Chat Pool.  In the Part 3, we  finished up the article series by taking a look at the client capabilities utilizing the Persistent Chat features.

There’s a lot more to learn in Persistent Chat and I feel I showed a small glimpse into the feature set.  But I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into the new Persistent Chat configuration  and capabilities.  I definitely think it’s a huge improvement over Group Chat in previous versions.

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21 Responses to “Lync Server 2013 Release Preview Persistent Chat with Enterprise Pool – Part 3”

  1. on 19 Jul 2012 at 12:13 amBryan Childs

    I'm curious Elan, in what way do you think this new persistent chat system is an improvement over the old GroupChat? In my personal view it's a massive step backward, and I think we'll be looking for an alternative client now.

  2. on 19 Jul 2012 at 8:37 amgverastegui

    i disagree with Bryan on the end user perspective, Persistant Chat on previous versions needed to install another client application end point, with this new version we see all communications modes unified on a single client, at least for end users perspective.

    Even so, i have seen few companies using this feature!!!

  3. on 19 Jul 2012 at 8:54 amElan Shudnow

    Ya, I agree here. I think the single client and the fact that the installation and configuration is much more streamlined will cause Persistent Chat adoption to increase significantly. There is of course the loss of file uploads to a Persistent Chat room unless you're connected via the legacy client as I mentioned in earlier parts of this article series, but this can be easily replaced with links to SharePoint Sites which I think is a better method anyways.

  4. on 20 Jul 2012 at 7:22 amChris

    Thanks Alan for this fast first glimpse at Lync 2013 Persistent Chat. It would be great to see a little bit more what the client looks like, when a chat with a little bit more content is in progress. Maybe, you can add this in a fourth part.
    Anyway, thanks for this first information. You’re the first one, where I could find some pictures of the product :)

  5. on 20 Jul 2012 at 9:16 amElan Shudnow

    Ya, I've though about creating a Part 4 for just that. I'll probably do it sometime next week.

  6. on 21 Jul 2012 at 8:22 amRobert

    is there a way to manager the chat rooms by ad security group membership? we did this wil OCS and it made things a simple you had a manager and they would just update a security group and the deed was done

  7. on 21 Jul 2012 at 9:21 amElan Shudnow

    Yes, you can do that. In the Category, you can add groups. So add the Managers group to the category and then do Set-CsPersistentChatRoom "Chat Room" -Managers @{Add="CN=ManagerGroup,CN=Users,DC=domain,DC=com"}

    Works perfectly.

  8. on 24 Jul 2012 at 6:56 amBryan Childs

    Allow me to elucidate a little then :
    Our current deployment of Group Chat is to about 40,000 users, and we have concurrency on a daily basis of around 20,000 or so.
    The separate client has always been a pain point, and we encourage Microsoft to merge the functionality of the two into one to improve this. Unfortunately it seems that all the useful functionality has been stripped with it. The ability for a user to categorise and organise their chat room membership has been impaired by reducing the ability to group chat rooms to a flat model instead of a nested folder model as in the previous client. For users in tens of rooms this is a significant degradation in functionality.
    The ability to upload files to the rooms being removed is an absolute show stopper for us. Uploading files to a SharePoint site (or some other CMS) and then linking to it from the chat room is not only many more work steps than was previously required, and therefore thoroughly inefficient, it also breaks persistence. The links to the content that are posted in the chat room and immutable, but the content it points to is not – therefore the chat is no longer persistent.
    Users at our site have always made heavy use of the ability of the Group Chat client to directly paste the content of their clipboard as image uploads for others to see. We've constantly harangued Microsoft for this feature in the 1-2-1 client as well, and it's still not appeared.
    I can't see the new client as anything but several steps backwards in terms of our user productivity.

  9. on 13 Sep 2012 at 11:48 pmChris

    Don't forget this is preview not release preview or RC, more features could still be added…..

  10. on 20 Nov 2012 at 4:30 amfszg

    will cause Persistent Chat adoption to increase significantly. There is of course the loss of file uploads to a Persistent Chat room unless you're connected via the legacy client as I mentioned in earlier parts of this article series, but this can be easily replaced with links to SharePoint Sites which I think is a better method anyways. Industrial packing visakhapatnam

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  12. on 19 Mar 2013 at 10:18 amiTrue

    My question is, why can some of our users see their ego feed notifications and others cannot? I thought this was supposed to be a default setting.

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    will cause Persistent Chat adoption to increase significantly. There is of course the loss of file uploads to a Persistent Chat room unless you're connected via the legacy client as I mentioned in earlier parts of this article series, but this can be easily replaced with links to SharePoint Sites which I think is a better method anyways. Industrial packing visakhapatnam
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  20. on 19 Jul 2013 at 5:02 amMihir Gajjar

    I have lync 2013 as client and ocs 2007 r2 as server, issue is whenever user gets logged in to lync client and when try to open a single colleague chat box automatically multi users will be their in chat conversation without any specifications.

  21. on 19 Jul 2013 at 7:12 amElan Shudnow

    Using the lync 2013 client against an ocs 2007 r2 server is not supported. Please see the client compatibility matrix: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj2046

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