Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2009

[tweetmeme source=”stalehansen” only_single=false]Gartner updated their magic quadrant for Unified Communications september 1st, 2009. It is always interesting to see what Gartner has to say about the UC market. It is good to see that Microsoft still is in the lead followed closely by Cisco and IBM. I often use this in presentations at seminars to explain some of the reason why we promote Microsoft as the UC vendor of choice. Here is an excerpt from the article.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s UC solution is based on Exchange Server, OCS, and Active Directory. Microsoft also has strategic partnerships in specific areas, such as live voice/IP-PBX and conference bridges, and a growing set of major system integration and channel partners.

Strengths

  • The OCS Pilot and Lighthouse programs have allowed Microsoft to increase OCS voice and audioconferencing deployments, despite the slow economy. Through these programs Microsoft, its partners, and its channels have gained experience with the OCS solution. As a result, while the UC solution remains in the early stage in key areas, it is making progress and is being deployed to more sites and to larger numbers of users.
  • Exchange UM continues to gain acceptance and maturity in the market. Deployments have expanded beyond smaller (fewer than 2,000 subscribers), into the midsize (2,000 to 5,000 subscribers), with a few deployments in the very large (10,000 plus subscribers) market.
  • Microsoft’s historic strength in several UC areas, combined with promising emerging initiatives, results in significant potential. Historically strong areas include clients (desktop, Web and mobile clients), e-mail, collaboration (IM, presence, Web-conferencing, and SharePoint). Emerging areas include increased visibility of SIP trunks from carriers and from IP-PBX providers, significant new end-to-end UC solution providers, such as HP, and increased presence in contact centers.
  • Enterprises looking into UC, particularly those with Microsoft applications already in place, should understand the Microsoft portfolio, because it represents a new paradigm for communication by a market leader. Microsoft’s solution, while comprehensive, is also the basis for a range of partner offerings.

Cautions

  • The telephony functionality in OCS remains in the early stage. Although these have made progress in the last year, they are not yet competitive with best-of-breed products. Enterprise planners should understand their limitations before committing to expanded deployments. Planners should anticipate that clear, accurate material explaining the products and how to support them is sometimes lacking.
  • While the UM component of Exchange has gained acceptance, it has limitations, including requiring an Exchange 2007 upgrade, third-party PBX integrations for trunks and alerts like message waiting notification (MWI), it requires an e-mail license for all users, even those who only want voice mail, and only one form of telephone user interface (TUI).
  • Microsoft’s OCS audioconferencing and videoconferencing product set has expanded its interoperability and endpoint support abilities this year, but these functions remain new and have not yet been proved in the market.
  • Many of the OCS communication functions, such as telephony, video and public switched telephone network (PSTN) integration, require solution integrators and employees with different skills than many firms presently have. Planners should ensure that their providers and internal staff have relevant experience in key areas.

 Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

  169996~1
Source: Gartner 2009

Evaluation Criteria


Ability to Execute

Gartner analysts evaluate UC product providers based on the quality, efficacy and overall maturity of the products, systems, tools and procedures that enhance individual, group and enterprise communications. Ultimately, UC providers are judged on their ability and success in capitalizing on their vision (see Table 1).

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation Criteria
Weighting
Product or Service
high
Overall Viability (Business Unit, Financial, Strategy and Organization)
high
Sales Execution/Pricing
standard
Market Responsiveness and Track Record
standard
Marketing Execution
standard
Customer Experience
standard
Operations
standard
Source: Gartner (September 2009)

Completeness of Vision

Gartner analysts evaluate UC product providers on their ability to convincingly articulate logical statements about current and future market directions, innovations, customer needs and competitive forces, and how well these map to Gartner’s overall understanding of the marketplace. Ultimately, UC product providers are rated on their understanding of how market forces can be exploited to create opportunities for providers and their clients (see Table 2).

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation Criteria
Weighting
Market Understanding
high
Marketing Strategy
standard
Sales Strategy
standard
Offering (Product) Strategy
high
Business Model
standard
Vertical/Industry Strategy
standard
Innovation
standard
Geographic Strategy
standard
Source: Gartner (September 2009)
 

Best Practices for Active Directory Schema changes

Any Post starting with this disclaimer means that this post was not written by me however I liked it and added to my blog to easily find it later. I will also include the link to the original or similar post to provide credit to the original author.

http://chrislehr.com/2009/08/best-practices-on-schema-upgrades.htm

First off, a quick review of AD schema, and what it is and the function it performs. The Schema is essentially the “database” that AD resides in, so when we say things like “extending the schema” we mean the same thing any SQL DBA would mean – we are adding additional objects attributes to AD. These new additions allow for features in products that were not previously there to store their settings in Active Directory. Some of the recent Schema extensions you will see:

  • Exchange 2007 SP2 requires schema extension.
  • Exchange 2010 requires schema extension.
  • OCS 2007 R1 or R2 require schema extension.

Additionally, while not an extension, these best practices also apply before raising your forest or domain functional levels.

Step One – Determine your Schema Master FSMO role holder

  1. On any domain controller, click Start, click Run, type Ntdsutil in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Type roles, and then press ENTER.
  3. Type connections, and then press ENTER.
  4. Type connect to server <servername>, where servername is the name of the server you want to use, and then press ENTER.
  5. At the server connections prompt, type q, and then press ENTER again
  6. At the FSMO maintenance prompt, type Select operation target, and then press ENTER again.
  7. At the select operation target prompt, type List roles for connected server, and then press ENTER again.
  8. This will display all 5 FSMO roles. The one that has Schema is the one we need to back up.
  9. Type q 3 times to exit the Ntdsutil prompt.

Step Two – Ensure you have your DSRM password

  1. Most of the time, even if this is known, it has not been changed in a long time and is likely due.
  2. Follow instructions to reset DSRM password from KB322672
  3. This allows your backup to be authoritatively restored in the case you need to. Without this password being correct, your backup may not be usable. 

Step Three – Take a system state backup (or two)

  1. Take an ntbackup.exe (Windows 2003) or Windows Server Backup (Windows 2008) if you are more comfortable with Microsoft restore procedures.
  2. Take another backup using whatever third party vendor product you typically use, if you are more comfortable with their restore procedures.
  3. It is recommended taking BOTH of the above for the Schema Master FSMO role holder.

While I have YET to run into any issues or problems with Schema extensions, if I ever did, I know I want a really good backup or two!

How to partition addressbook by Organizational unit using WMI

I tried to partition address book by organizational unit using WMI settings with no luck using this guide: http://blogs.technet.com/chlacy/archive/2007/12/04/partition-address-book-by-organizational-unit.aspx

The goal was to have different organizations hosted on the same server, but without them being able to search each other.

I took me some time to find out that the guide missed some final steps. I have here pasted the whole walkthrough and the additional steps are from 17 and forward

UPDATE: For OCS 2007 R2 you need to replace step 4 to 7 with these steps:

  • Query
  • Select * from MSFT_SIPAddressBookSetting where backend = “<Poolserverinstance>”

The original steps fro OCS 2007 R1 is as follow:

  1. Click ‘Start’ -> ‘Run’ and type ‘WBEMTEST’
  2. Click ‘Connect’
  3. Under ‘Namespace’ type ‘root\cimv2’ and click ‘Connect’
  4. Click ‘Enum Classes’
  5. Click ‘Recursive’ and then ‘OK’
  6. Locate MSFT_SIPAddressBookSetting and double-click it
  7. Click ‘Instances’
  8. Double-click the instance
  9. Under ‘Properties’ find ‘PartitionOutputByOU’ and click ‘Edit Property’
  10. The default value is FALSE, change this to TRUE
  11. Click ‘Save Property’
  12. Click ‘Save Object’
  13. Click ‘Close’
  14. Click ‘Save Object’
  15. Click ‘Close’
  16. Click ‘Exit’
  17. Delete all the files in the addressbook share, server level not client level
  18. Open command prompt and navigate to the location to ABServer.exe
  19. Run ABServer -regenUR
  20. Run ABServer -syncnow
  21. Close Communicator, start it and sign in again
  22. Then it should work

See this post over at Inside OCS for a complete refence guide about WMI: http://blog.insideocs.com/2009/07/07/ocs-wmi-reference/