Lync Server 2010 Monitoring reports and why you always should deploy them

There is actually a lot of good documentation on Lync Server Monitoring and Monitoring reports. If you got the time you could really drill down in to understanding and getting the most out the reports from the different sources. I want this post to highlight some of the main features with the monitoring reports and give a quick introduction and a overveiw of what to expect.

Why should you deploy Monitoring server at all?

If you have installed Lync Server 2010 Monitoring Server, your system will automatically collect a wealth of information about all the communication take place in your organization. The data collected by Monitoring Server falls into one of two categories:

  • Call detail records (CDR), which includes information such as who made a call (or initiated a conference), who that person called, and the duration of the call
  • Quality of Experience (QoE), which reports standard telecommunications metrics (such as jitter, packet loss, and round-trip times) that can be used to help administrators assess the quality of a call and to troubleshoot any problems that might have lessened the quality of a call

How to deploy Monitor Server and Reports

  • See this article on how to deploy the monitoring server and reports: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2011/06/27/deployment-details-for-lync-monitoring-reports.aspx
  • One Monitoring server can be associated with multiple pools
  • A single Monitoring server can capture data for 250,000 users
  • Based on the Lync Server user model
    • the CDR database grows 31.5 KB per user per day
    • the QoE database grows 28 KB per user per day
  • Calculate the monitoring database size using the following formula: DB size = (DB growth per user per day) * (Number of users) * (Number of days)

When to use the Monitoring Reports?

If you are serious about succeeding with a Lync Server deployment and want to maintain and at the same time document overall usage and acceptance within the organization you should deploy a Lync monitoring server. The reports are best used when you want information about

  • Usage trends – see how the deployment is used by the users and is the key reporting tool to measure success of adoption in the organization
  • Conversation quality – see trends on how the network is scaled in terms meeting expected voice quality
  • Reliability – Is the solution reliable? Look for unexpected call failures and see if you can find a weak link in you deployment

You can find the link to your monitoring reports from the Lync Control Panel, Home tab->Top Actions

What to look for?

Now this I think is the key part of the monitoring reports. Lync Server 2010 monitoring reports introduced color coding of bad values directly in to the reports. Yellow meaning it was not that good and red meaning bad or epic failure. You will see different terms when going through the reports, and these are fairly typical when looking at a VoIP system. Lync Server 2010 is a network based VOIP solution that depends heavily on network quality and scalability. Overall usage is therefore also of interest in terms of knowing if a certain wan link is overloaded.

Mean Opinion Score and Metrics

Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) are algorithm to determine the perceived quality of a call that was complete. The call is rated from 1 to 5 where 5 is the best quality. That being said you can not compare scores across different codecs because they have different max values. See below table:

Scenario Codec Maximum Network   MOS
Microsoft® Lync™ 2010-to-Lync 2010 call RTAudio Wideband 4,10
Lync-to-Lync call RTAudio   Narrowband 2,95
Lync conference call G.722** 3,72
Lync conference call Siren** 3,72
Lync-to-public switched telephone network   (PSTN) call RTAudio   Narrowband 2,95
Lync-to-PSTN call or G.711 3.61*
Lync-to-Lync call (with media bypass enabled)

*The maximum MOS value for the PSTN part of a call is 2.95
**Codecs used in Conferences could either be G.722 (64kbps) or Siren (16kbps). Read MVP Curtis Johnstone’s post on what codec is used when: http://blog.insidelync.com/2012/06/the-lync-2010-client-audio-codec-selection-in-conferences/
For more information on Media Traffic Network Usage see this TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg413004.aspx

Now here is the important part: Because the maximum Network MOS varies depending on the scenario (because different codecs are used), it is usually more interesting to look at the average degradation of the Network MOS during the call. The average degradation can be broken down into how much is due to network jitter and how much is due to packet loss. For very small degradations, the cause of the degradation may not be available.

Degradation in Network MOS is the Average amount MOS degradation experienced during a call. A degradation over 0.5 may indicate a poor call.

What may cause a degrading network MOS?

  • Congestion
    • High Jitter, must not exceed 30ms
  • Lack of bandwidth
    • High packet loss, must not exceed 10%
    • Resulting in high concealed audio sample that is a technique used to smooth out the abrupt transition that would usually be caused by dropped network packets
      • Must not exceed 7%
  • Wireless congestion
    • High Jitter, must not exceed 30ms
  • Interference
    • High round trip time, must not exceed 150ms
  • Overloaded media server
    • Make sure the server has the resources it needs

High degradation results in distorted or lost audio

Read more about MOS values here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb894481(v=office.12).aspx
Also read MVP Curtis Johnstone’s  more thorough post on Key Audio Quality Metrics Used in the Lync Monitoring Reports: http://blog.insidelync.com/2012/06/a-primer-on-lync-audio-quality-metrics/

Monitoring reports of interest

The cool thing about the monitoring reports is that they are intertwined with each other. You may start out looking at trends seeing how the system is utilized and end up looking at diagnostics reports of failed calls. A lot of the fields are clickable and will lead you to other reports and help you dig down to the report you are interested in.

Usage Reports

There is a lot of reports on Overall Usage and Trends. You must find the report for the modality you are interested in to see if you users are Lyncing the right way. Some examples are Conference Summary Report, Peer-to-Peer Activity Summary Report and User Registration Report. They all give some nice data views of the adoption in the organization.

Conversation Quality

The main reports that I recommend looking into is

  • Media Quality Summary Report
    • Show all users related activity relating to audio and video
  • Server Performance Report
    • Show all audio and video activity involving servers like conferencing and PSTN

These are quite similar reports and I look for poor call percentage in conferences over a period in time giving you a trending overview. I single out conferences because this is what have biggest impact on Quality of Experience by the users just because there usually are more than two users in a conference.

Poor call percentage is the percentage of calls being made that classifies as poor calls. What defines a poor call? A majority of these calls have a Degradation in MOS value higher than 0,5.

Reliability

There is a really great video showing you how you can use the Monitoring Server Reports for looking for unexpected failures of audio calls created by the Lync team. I recommend watching it.

System-wide Troubleshooting: Lync Call Connectivity – This video shows how to use the Call Diagnostic Summary Report of Monitoring Server Reports to analyze system-wide call activity in order to identify and resolve potential Lync call connectivity problems.

Closing notes

It is possible to spend a lot of time with the monitoring reports. They could be used for adoption analysis of the deployment or for seeing trends in quality as well as troubleshoot unexpected failures. Most of the reports are self-explanatory but an overall understanding is important. Hope this article may help you get started with using the Lync Server 2010 Monitoring Reports and if you have not implemented them, now is a good time.

References

Using Monitoring Server Reports: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg558662.aspx
Work Smart Guide for Monitoring Server Reports: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=213232
Getting Started with Monitoring in Lync Server 2010: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=219000
Understanding the Monitoring Server Reports: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=219001
Using Monitoring Server Reports: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=219003
Monitoring and Troubleshooting Lync Calls: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2011/10/10/monitoring-and-troubleshooting-lync-call-videos.aspx
Custom Reports: Call Detail Recording (CDR) Database Schema: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=205479
Custom Reports: Quality of Experience (QoE) Database Schema: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=209915
Mean Opinion Score and Metrics: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb894481(v=office.12).aspx

3 thoughts on “Lync Server 2010 Monitoring reports and why you always should deploy them

  1. I too used this article to verify the configuration of my monitoring server, and it appears I’ve done everything correct. However I’ve been getting blank reports as well and it’s rather annoying.

    • If it is a new install, it may take some time before the reports start to work. and if you just dont get any data, it takes some data before the report starts to display information

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