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32-Bit Tools: Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Deployment and Management

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 will reach end of support on January 9, 2018. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.

Author: Rick Kingslan

Publication date: January 2011

Product version: Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2

Office Communications Server 2007 R2, among many other things, introduced one big change that has caused some challenges for administrators. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is a 64-bit only product. If Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is 64-bit only, do I have to upgrade all of the domain controllers before I install Office Communications Server 2007 R2? The answer is simply, no-you do not have to upgrade your domain controllers to 64-bit to install Office Communications Server 2007 R2. A frequent question from implementers and administrators of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is, how do I install or manage the system if I have a 32-bit workstation, or have only 32-bit domain controllers in the root of my forest, or have 32-bit child domain controllers? Fortunately, the Office Communications Server team thought of these situations and has resolved them by including 32-bit management tools with the distribution of Office Communications Server. In this article, I describe the tools, where they are, and how to install them. I also present some examples of their use.

The following information applies to these Windows 32-bit operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2003 operating system with Service Pack 2 (SP2)

  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 32-Bit

  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 32-Bit with Service Pack 2 (SP2)

  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2)

  • Windows 7

Knowing where the tools are and how to install them is certainly a good place to start our discussion. If you have the installation media or have downloaded the bits from the Web, you already have everything that you need-really, you do. And I hope that Figure 1 will convince you.

Figure 1. 32-bit Office Communications Server tools running on 32-bit Windows

32-bit Office Communications Server Tools

To find the tools, open Explorer or use the command prompt to go to the root of the media or the downloaded files. You will see a folder named Support as shown in Figure 2. Open the Support folder, and then open the i386 folder. Here is where the 32-bit tools and management console reside.

Figure 2. Navigate to the 32-bit management tools

Navigate to the 32-bit management tools

There is not a setup executable to handle the entire installation, but there are some .msi files and the 32-bit Visual C++ redistributable. In the i386 folder, you will see the following as shown in Figure 3:

  • AdminTools.msi   32-bit administrator console and tools

  • LCDeployR.dll   Support library for LCSCmd

  • LCDCmd.exe   LCSCmd executable

  • LCTaskHandler.dll   Support library for LCSCmd

  • OCSCore.msi   Core module files for Office Communications Server

  • Sqlncli.msi   SQL native client

  • SQLServer2005_BC.msi   SQL 2005 backward-compatibility modules

  • Vcredist_x86.exe   Visual C++ Redistributable

Figure 3. Installation files for the 32-bit management tools

Installation files for the 32-bit management tools

To start the installation, you can copy these files to a temporary directory, copy them to a share on a file server for other administrators to use (certainly, you don’t want to be the only person managing Office Communications Server, do you?), or use them as needed for specific tasks.

To install the tools on your local workstation for remote management of Office Communications Server, type vcredist_x86.exe at the command prompt and press Enter or double-click vcredist_x86.exe. You will have to install this, assuming that you don’t already have it. The tools depend on many of the libraries that are contained in the redistributable. Acknowledge the prompts in the installation wizard until the setup completes.

After the vcredist_x86.exe redistributable is installed, install the following in order by double-clicking the file or typing the file name at the command prompt:

  1. Sqlncli.msi

  2. SQLServer2005_BC.msi

  3. OCSCore.msi

  4. AdminTools.msi

Installing the SQL native client enables the Administration console to communicate with and query or update the databases that are used in Office Communications Server.Start the installation by typing sqlncli.msi at a command prompt or by double-clicking the file itself. On the first page of the installation wizard, accept the End User License Agreement (EULA) to continue. When given the option to install the SDK, do not install it unless you need it for development purposes. The SDK is not required for administration of Office Communications Server. Continue to answer the prompts, and then click Finish when the installation is complete.

Installation of SQLServer2005_BC.msi enables your workstation to maintain backwards compatibility with SQL Server 2005 databases and other SQL 2005 services (Reporting or Analysis services, for example).

To start the installation, double-click the SQLServer2005_BC.msi file or type the file name at the command prompt. Continue through the installation wizard and accept the EULA, and then accept the defaults. Complete the installation by clicking Finish.

OCSCore.msi contains all of the core libraries and files that the administration console depends on. The setup also creates a number of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) entries and permissions adjustments in Active Directory for groups.

Install the files by typing OCSCore.msi at the command prompt or by double-clicking the file. Accept the EULA, and then accept the defaults. Complete the installation by clicking Finish.

We are now ready to install the administration console and tools. Type AdminTools.msi at the command prompt or double-click the file. Accept the EULA and accept the default settings. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

If you are like some of us, you think command-line tools are fantastic. The Office Communications Server Product Group thinks so too. They also included the files to support and run LCSCmd.exe on a 32-bit system. You can actually run LCSCmd.exe from the directory that it resides in. If you installed the administration console, LCSCmd and the support files are located in the %systemdrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 directory. Don’t be confused about the location of the files, because you might notice that there is a Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 directory in Program Files also. All the tools are installed in Common Files.

There are three files that must reside in the same directory from which you run LCSCmd. LCDeployR.dll provides LCSCmd with the resources that are necessary for executing tasks such as certificate requests, deployment of servers, activation of services, and much more. If there is a task that the installation wizard can do, it is also likely that LCSCmd can do it, in conjunction with LCDeployR.dll. LCTaskHandler is basically a .dll form of LCSCmd. It contains all the routines and logic that comprise LCSCmd, but is callable from the installation wizard.

In the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2\Server\Setup directory there is a file called AdministrationTool.mof that is parsed during the set up of the AdminTools.msi to add the WMI entries to the WMI repository. If you’re curious about what is added to WMI for the operation of the administration tools, you can use WBEMTest (which is a default executable that is loaded with the Windows operating system) and enter the .mof file name extension as a guide to the numerous entries that are created in WMI when you install the administration console.

In the Program Files\Application Host\Manifests directory there are several manifest files that have an .xml file name extension and associated .xsd files. These files provide information to the setup and deployment tasks about how to set up the application server components that the manifest files map to. Included here are manifests for the Office Communications Server Response Group server (ACDManifest.xml), Office Communications Server Conferencing Attendant server (CaaManifest.xml), and the Office Communications Server Conferencing Announcement server (CasManifest.xml).

Now that you have the tools installed, you’re probably asking yourself, "Great! Uh, now what do I do with them?" Let me give you some examples.

You can do almost anything that you’d like to do when deploying and managing Office Communications Server 2007 R2. Let’s take a look at a few suggestions to get you off and running. However, I won’t go into detail, because the Office Communications Server User Assistance team has written an in-depth guide about command line topics using LCSCmd, and the Installation Wizard has also been well documented. (For more information, see the Resources section at the end of this article.)

Certificates are a particularly fun and enjoyable experience in Office Communications Server. We love certificates, and you should, too. I love them so much I wrote a document that is over 100 pages about wonderful things you should know about certificates (and I included a lot of pictures).

Copying and pasting things is one of my best skills. I don’t see a reason to type something again if someone has typed it already. That said, you can use the following command to request a certificate for a front-end pool:

LCSCmd.exe /Cert /Action:Request /OU:Marketing /Org:Contoso / /country:US /city:Redmond /state:Washington

But, it doesn’t stop there. Again, you can activate server roles by using my favorite copying and pasting skills and the following command:

LCSCmd /Server /Role:EE /Action:Activate /PoolName:<pool name> /Password:<password>

You might be wondering about using the LCSCmd command-line tool for deploying servers. But you don’t need LCSCmd to install the servers. The servers are packaged up nicely in .msi files that you can run at a command-prompt anyway.

And, the number one use for the 32-bit tools: "I don’t have any 64-bit domain controllers in my Active Directory." The LCSCmd 32-bit command-line tool comes in very handy when you need to prepare the forest schema and prepare the forest, as well as in the domain preparation phases. One note about schema operations-we recommend that you run your schema updates on the domain controller that currently holds the Schema Master role. After you have your copy of LCSCmd and LCTaskHandler.dll on the domain controller or on removable media (CD, flash drive, hard drive), run the following command on the Schema Master. One other note-you must be logged on as the Enterprise Admin, Domain Admin of the forest, or another principal with administrator privileges in the forest and be a member of the Schema Admins group.

LCSCmd.exe /Forest /Action:SchemaPrep [/ldf:<folder where the .ldf file is located>]

To check the state of the Schema Prep:

LCSCmd.exe /Forest /Action:SchemaPrep

Next, you prepare the forest:

LCSCmd.exe /Forest /Action:ForestPrep [/Global{system | Configuration}] [/GroupDomain:<FQDN of the domain to create the universal groups in>]

If the /GroupDomain parameter is not specified, the value defaults to the local domain.

To check if the forest prep has succeeded:

LCSCmd.exe /Forest /Action:CheckForestPrepState

To perform the domain prep, which must be run in every domain that will host Office Communications Server enabled users:

LCSCmd.exe / /Action:DomainPrep

Last, but certainly not least, are the administrative consoles. Two consoles are installed:

  • Office Communications Server 2007 R2 console

  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Communicator Web Access

Both consoles are fully featured consoles, just like their 64-bit counterparts and are able to configure and manage the servers just as completely.

32-bit servers and workstations are not a problem when you need to manage and configure Office Communications Server 2007 R2. You just need to have the right toolkit installed and available for use. With a 32-bit version of LCSCmd and 32-bit versions of the consoles, there is nothing that should stand in your way of being able to manage your Office Communications Server. Much like when you need to get a hammer, nails, and measuring tape, the problem is not using the tools, it’s just finding them first. In the case of Office Communications Server, now you know where the tools are and how to install and use them.