Free Skype for Business Monitoring in 10 minutes! – V2 Released


Over the past 18 months I have had spells of sleepless nights at my disposal. What better way to utilize this time than to ponder on how best to monitor my Skype for Business environments.

Although this concept isn’t new (I release my initial attempt at this about a year ago), V2 brings many hours of tweaking and polishing. The end result is a more stable, user friendly application that can be deployed in under 10 minutes. That’s including watching my how to video!

Why is it useful?

There are many different schools of thought around how best to monitor environments. Some folks are drawn to the physical aspects and tend to monitor processing, memory and disk. While this is useful information, its hardly sufficient on its own as an acceptable monitoring solution for Lync\Skype for Business.

On the other hand, keeping a close eye on services and event logs can be most useful as well. This can lead to lots of verbose information and, on its own, monitoring services and events don’t quite form a complete solution.

My thinking involves generating traffic by means of synthetic transactions. It also involves a proactive approach rather than being reactive.

For example:-

If you cant send an IM from user A to user B then its broken, regardless of it being a physical resource issue, a stopped service, certificate expiration or some other issue we have yet to uncover. The fact that the IM attempt is failing is sufficient to get my attention and subsequent action.

Another example :-

If your test user cant make a PSTN call to a number of your choosing then there is a problem. Regardless of the true source of that problem (which will likely require an engineer). Be it monitoring service issue, SIP\PSTN issue from the provider or an issue with the SBC. It doesn’t really matter..Why? because the issue has alerted me and I am now looking at it.

What is this package?

It consists of two primary modules:-

  1. Skype Monitoring Tool – This allows you to run a selection of synthetic transactions against any Skype Front End Pool on a frequency of your choosing
  2. Monitoring Report App – This part monitors the results of the Skype Monitoring Tool, generates an alert email when tests fail and can also send daily and\or weekly reports of the test trends

Monitoring Reports.gif

Functions

  • The results of each synthetic transaction are recorded in the Event Log of the PC where the tool is running.
  • The Event ID’s represent both success and failure of tests with separate ID’s depending on the result.
  • Event ID’s also contain a brief description of the test being performed, and in some cases a hint to resolution.
  • The tool also has a Schedule tab that will setup a scheduled task to run the synthetic transactions on a repetition interval of your choice.
  • Any test failures can generate an Alert Email so that you can proactively address the problem
  • Instead of trying to replace your existing monitoring tools, this tool generates Event Logs you can simply add to your monitored stack.

What’s been added in version 2?

  • UI improvements
  • Lots  of bug fixes
  • Added an option for weekly reports
  • Split out the reporting and alerting functions allowing reports and alerts to be sent to different email destinations
  • Added the ability to specify the time and day for sending reports
  • Added the ability to specify custom subject text for both reporting and alerting emails. This is useful when monitoring multiple Pools as you can add a pool description in the email subject text
  • Ability to send secure mail, perhaps one of the more painful flaws from the previous version

DOWNLOAD

How To VIDEO Here

DISCLAIMER

This tool is NOT a replacement for the commercially available tools such as Nectar, EventZero or  Prognosis. If you are after statistical data and history, triggered actions, dashboards, network performance, Session Border Controller monitoring or even QoS and network monitoring etc. then please do spend the cash and talk to these folks.

Advertisements

About Paul B

My name is Paul Bloem and I am employed at Lexel Systems in New Zealand as a Principal Consultant for Unified Communications. I have been working on enterprise voice solutions for over 20 years. My first 10 years were spent working for a Telco in South Africa (Telcom SA). This is where all the groundwork happened as I was exposed to just about every aspect of telecommunication you could imagine. I develop an interest in PBX technologies and eventually became the go-to guy. Next, I had a 10 year run at Siemens South Africa, most of my time there was as a Technical Trainer. During this time VoIP hit the world stage, I had the privilege of introducing VoIP both as H.323 and later SIP across the Siemens HiPath 4000 solution stack. In 2008 I immigrated to New Zealand with my newly attained MCSE, I was ready to go where no PBX Techie had gone before. I was employed to explore OCS 2007 and that was pretty much the beginning of the end for me. I have been working on OCS and Lync ever since. My current role focuses exclusively on Lync and associated technologies.. That includes pre-sales, consulting, architecture and design, training and support. I even get to play in the development space from time to time - focus on play ;-) I was nominated as a Microsoft VTSP for Lync early in 2013 and also awarded Microsoft's MVP award for Lync in 2014.
This entry was posted in How To, Lync 2013 Monitoring, Lync 2013 Tools, Lync Monitoring, Monitoring Tools, Skype for Business Monitoring, Synthetic Transactions, Tools, UC Sorted Tools and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Free Skype for Business Monitoring in 10 minutes! – V2 Released

  1. Thank you very much for this tool. I ran into a couple of issues with testing. When I try to use Conferencing Services test, it fails. I know my OWA/OOS server is working as it should but not sure if it pulls the OOS from the FE or how it gets the URL for this. Maybe a config issue on my part? Secondly, i want to send email reports and it wants a password. I have an internal relay server but i set this up to use o365 smtp to get it working. Also, would be nice to get multiple recipients in email reports. I tried seperating it by comma and semicolon and no luck.

    Thanks again.

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Hi Nicholas, thanks for commenting. Firstly, can you share the error message generated from the Conferencing test please. Secondly, I have updated the .msi to now use ; as a separator for multiple email destinations. The version you need is 2.0.1.8. Please download a fresh copy and let me know how that goes.

      Like

      • Nicholas A Hay says:

        That recent download fixed a few other issues I had. Next week I’ll be setting up the multi emails. Thanks for the help and time.

        Like

  2. swati says:

    Hii Paul,

    I am facing issue while sending mail from this tool. I have added all required parameters but still mail sending is getting failed.Please help.

    Like

  3. Paul B says:

    Hi,
    Firstly, please confirm the version number you are using.
    Here are some troubleshooting steps:-
    1. Test Email button will allow email to be tested, please confirm that’s not working.
    2. Make sure the details you have entered into the Email Reports boxes is correct
    3. Test email manually from powershell. I am using the Send-MailMessage commadlet to send mail.
    Please replace the variables with the information you entered in to the text boxes to test.

    $from = “paul@ucsorted.com”
    $subject = “Testing Email”
    $SendReportTo = “admin@uc-heroes.co.nz”
    $smtpserver = “smtp.office365.com”
    $smtpPort = 587

    Send-MailMessage -From $from -Subject $Subject -To $SendReportTo -SmtpServer $smtpserver -Port $smtpPort -credential (get-credential) -UseSsl

    You will be prompted for credentials, and an email should be delivered.
    Do let me know how you get on with this.
    Cheers,
    Paul

    Like

  4. swati says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your quick reply. We are using SMTP smarthost relay access which don’t require credentials. Its Server IP based access to send mails. Can we skip credentials as SASL AUTH is not allowed on our SMTP relay.

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Hi Swati, I will include this as a checkbox to switch between requiring credential or not in the next build. I don’t have SASL Auth in my lab so can you please confirm that your PowerShell cmdlet will work as follows:-
      Send-MailMessage -From $from -Subject $Subject -To $SendReportTo -SmtpServer $smtpserver -Port $smtpPort

      Like

      • swati says:

        yes with below power shell command i am able to send mail.
        Send-MailMessage -From $from -Subject $Subject -To $SendReportTo -SmtpServer $smtpserver -Port $smtpPort

        Like

  5. Hi, I also ain’t using ssl to send mail.
    I tried to find the script itself but couldn’t find it, what’s the location of the .ps1 files after the msi has installed?

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Hi Edwin, the .ps1 files are wrapped into the .exe. No plans to expose those as it may create a plethora of support related issues. Anyhow, I just updated the installer with V2.0.2.0 that should allow sending email without SSL, simply uncheck the box, save and test. Let me know if there are any issues or suggestions.

      Like

      • Edwin says:

        Unchecking the credentials required check box and then testing the email, keeps checking the box and popping a credentials box. And the email doesn’t get send.
        Do I need to configure the monitoringreportapp separately?

        Like

  6. Paul B says:

    I have released an updated version that now allows the use of either authenticated or unauthenticated emailing. Please do let me know if that works for you.

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      If backing up and re-using the settings file, please note that there is a new entry in the settings.xml to store the authentication selection.

      Like

  7. swati says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks.
    Can you please provide link to download updated V2.0.2.0 installer.

    Like

  8. swati says:

    Hii,

    Thanks Paul.. It works now..

    Like

  9. Justinp says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m finding that some of the tests fail when running the tool, but when I run the equivalent test-cs command from one of the FE’s it is successful. Is there a way to enable some kind of logging so that I can see exactly what test-cs command was run and with what parameters? That way I can make sure when I test manually I am testing with the same parameters/values.

    Thanks

    Justin

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Hi Justin,
      Thanks for your interest.
      Any failed activity should trigger a root cause hint in the event log. Checking that may set you on to the root cause of the failures. I don’t have verbose logging (yet), as soon as I have more time to invest in this I will include a verbose logging option. Will keep you posted. In the interim, perhaps I can assist with dissecting the problem. Could you tell me which tests are failing please?

      Like

  10. Stefanos says:

    Hello Paul,
    Thanks for this very handy tool for monitoring SFB health. Unfortunately in my SFB topology the tool does not work as expected. I have filled in all required values in the SkypeMonitoringTool.exe tool and have managed to get synthetic transactions running. I am receiving email reports as well but even though the tests have run successfully, I get a report indicating zero (0) tests run. Also the UCSorted event log is either not created at all in a few SFB FE servers, while in other it gets created but after a while stops being responsive, i.e. there are no events written in the event log.

    Any ideas?

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Hi Stefanos,
      I know this issue, its usually related to permissions. Can you ensure that the account used to run the monitoring tool has local admin rights please. Local admin is required to create the event log entries. Please let me know how you progress.

      Like

      • Stefanos says:

        Hello Paul,

        The account used to install and run the monitoring tool is a local administrator, issue however persists. Any other items I could check?

        Like

  11. Paul B says:

    Here are a few suggestions:-
    Check the version you have, should be at least 2.0.2.X
    Make sure you Run As Administrator
    If neither of these options work then we can add the event log manually. That’s done as follows
    New-EventLog –LogName “UC Sorted” –Source “Skype for Business Monitoring”
    New-EventLog –LogName “UC Sorted” –Source “Server Utilization”
    New-EventLog –LogName “UC Sorted” –Source “UC Application”
    New-EventLog –LogName “UC Sorted” –Source “Synthetic Transaction”

    Limit-EventLog -LogName “UC Sorted” -MaximumSize 40000Kb

    Look forward to your feedback.

    Like

  12. Stefanos says:

    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for the tips. It seems like when both installing and running the tool using elevated permissions, the tool is working ok on one of the FE servers. In other FE servers it is still not working though. I think I should be fine for now but still wondering why this inconsistency exists.

    Thanks again.

    Like

    • Paul B says:

      Thats odd. Ultimately its powershell under the hood. If the event log is missing thats usually a local admin issue as you need higher permissions to create event logs. Happy its working with elevated permissions on at least the one FE

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s