Lync Server 2010 Pre-Install

Sometimes I am asked on what steps an IT admin should do or consider before throwing in the disc and attempting to install Lync Server 2010.  There are more than a few considerations that need to be addressed before the install occurs.  Here are a few that I have noted; and of course why not blog about it.

Taking notes

Taking notes like a boss

First, some questions should be asked and answered.  Based on the answers the next steps will reveal themselves.  Now, by any means, this is no different on how you should approach other Microsoft technology installations.  But it should not be taken lightly, and by this I mean you should not think you can just throw the disc in and install.  If you do, prepare for a onslaught of errors coming your way during the install and most certainly after.

nobody likes errors

Here are some questions that should be asked:

1.  How many users in the domain/forest I wish to install Lync into?  This answer is key to determining how to size your database, and how many server roles you should install, thus how many licenses you should purchase both server and client.

2.  Does the Domain have a SQL 2008 backend?  If yes, can I make Lync it’s own instance or will the DB admin be okay with Lync’s databases being installed into the default path?  The install will create 6 databases.  Again, your answer will determine if you need to buy more SQL licenses or not, and if you do not have SQL 2008 running, then a decision must be made to either purchase and install SQL 2008 or just run the local instance of SQL in Lync Standard edition.

3.  Do you wish to have external access to Lync or just internal?  Your answer here will factor in your design and if you should include an Lync Edge server.  If so then add this to your licensees because it will require one.

4.  What naming convention do you wish to use for all the host names for Lync?  By taking some time out to figure out your Lync server naming convention will come in handy during the install.  And I am not talking about the names of the server, but the names of the hosts for Lync.  You will have one for SIP, A/V service, Web Conferencing, Lync Pool, and Edge Pool as well.  These host names will require DNS entries for host files and service records.  More on this later.

5.  Do you have a certificate authoritative within your domain or do you need to purchase one from a public CA?  Your domain should have a certificate authoritative.  If it does then you can request a certificate from it once you reach this part of the install.  If you do not, you can always use a trusted public one.  Most places have a CA already either via public or internally.  Just use the sites standard CA and this will get you to complete this step successfully.

If you can answer these questions, then you are starting off on the right foot.  What comes next?  Well based on your answers there will be some very clear steps on what to do next.  I will cover those in my next post.  Keep in mind, these next few posts are only written to point out some key findings before you actually click the install button for Lync Server 2010.  You can most certainly will “kick” those errors before creating them.

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