Lync Split-Domain & Static Route Conflicts

Something that is coming up more and more on Lync projects is the concept of integrating with newer video and collaboration services like Acano or Pexip. It’s very important to understand that the deployment guides from these services request you create a static route from your Lync Front End pools to their MCUs. This in itself is not a red flag, especially since this is how some of the Polycom DMA or Cisco VCS integration has worked in the past.

However, this does pose a problem for organizations looking to leverage split-domain with Lync Online, or more commonly, Exchange Online being leveraged for voicemail while Lync Enterprise Voice remains on-premises. The issue here is that using your primary SIP domain as the Match URI in the static route to these video services prevents the signaling from getting to your federation Edge servers (at least, as of the latest Lync 2013 CUs.) The static routing configuration seems to kick in before the call is ever routed to the Edge, so the concept of the CsHostingProviders and the shared address space is never respected.

Let’s walk through an example:

  • My primary SIP domain in Lync is @confusedamused.com.
  • I migrate my mailboxes to O365 and enable the Exchange Online shared address space. My voicemail is hosted in O365.
  • I want to host large meetings in O365 so I also enable the Lync Online shared address space for hybrid. I have some users homed to O365.

Everything works fine at this point.

  • I now want to integrate with Acano or Pexip. I create a static route for @confusedamused.com which goes from my Lync FEs to their bridges.

This breaks both Exchange Online voicemail routing and communication to Lync Online users.

The real solution here is to use a different SIP domain for your video routing, which as undesirable as this may be to end users, has arguably been a best practice for a long time. Create the static route matching @video.confusedamused.com, @acano.confusedamused.com, or @pexip.confusedamused.com. Take your pick, or create your own variation. It just needs to be different from the SIP domain you actually assign to Lync users.

This is important to grasp if you’re using Lync Online or Exchange Online today and looking to add video, but probably even more critical from a roadmap standpoint. Exchange Online Unified Messaging is a fairly common use-case today, and Lync Online hybrid is becoming more and more popular. Planning ahead for these scenarios and any potential video integration will help you avoid these issues.

Lync 2013 SQL Express Instance Memory

Depending on the role, Lync 2013 servers will have one or two SQL Express instances installed as part of the Lync Deployment Wizard steps. All servers deploy an instance called RTCLOCAL, and Lync Front Ends will also deploy an instance called LYNCLOCAL. Generally, there is no configuration or action required on these instances.

If you were to manually install a SQL Express instance the minimum and maximum memory values are essentially unlimited. Technically, this isn’t a realistic view because SQL Express is actually limited to 1 GB of memory, but it’s important to know the out-of-the-box defaults.

I’ve noticed that the Lync installation wizard actually configures static minimum and maximum values on each instance of both RTCLOCAL and LYNCLOCAL, and these are based on the amount of RAM presented to a server at installation time. You can see an example here, which is from a FE that uses Hyper-V dynamic memory and only had around 2.19 GB RAM available.
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The instance will always float between 270 MB and 337 MB of memory, which is quite a bit below SQL Express’s ability to address up to 1 GB. We want both of these instances to always be able to address 1 GB, so this is not ideal!

Each instance uses slightly different defaults, but for the sake of documentation I’ve validated the RTCLOCAL instance will be set to a minimum of 12% and maximum of 15% memory. LYNCLOCAL will be set to a minimum of 6% and maximum of 8% memory.

If the server was installed with a minimal amount of RAM, this could negatively impact the Lync services because the SQL instances won’t enough memory available to function properly. You’ll likely be able to start services, but find they stop after a period of time and log events such as this one:

There is insufficient system memory in resource pool ‘internal’ to run this query.
Cause: The connection to the database might be broken.

It’s fairly obvious that the process needs additional memory, but simply adding memory to the server won’t resolve the issue. The “gotcha” here is if you install Lync with minimal memory for some reason and then bump it up later, Lync’s SQL Express instances won’t actually leverage the memory because of the static max/min values configured at installation time.

You can manually adjust these values within the SQL Express instance, but the Lync process will actually reset your modifications back to these percentages after a period of time.

The permanent fix is to re-run Step 1 and Step 2 in the Lync Deployment Wizard on each machine that had RAM added after the initial installation. This will set the RTCLOCAL and LYNCLOCAL instance max/min memory configuration to the percentages above based on the new amount of installed memory. Now of course, SQL Express still won’t be able to access any more than 1 GB of memory, but this fixes any potential ceiling below that number.

Big thanks to my ExtraTeam colleague, Chris Lehr, for helping track this down.

Lync MX and Skype Crash on Windows 8.1

I got around to upgrading my main laptop to Windows 8.1 this week (finally!) and found I was unable to open the Metro-version apps of both Lync and Skype. They would start to open, show me the splash screen, and then exit. After a bit of digging it appears the crash is caused by the display adapter driver. Seems like Intel still has some issues with their driver for the HD 4000 Graphics on 8.1 and there doesn’t seem to a fix.

In case it saves someone else the time, I’ve already tried all of the following revisions, the latest of which was released less than two weeks ago:

  • 10.18.10.3379
  • 10.18.10.3345
  • 10.18.10.3316
  • 9.18.10.3190 (Windows 8 version)

So you may want to hold off on that upgrade if you have an Intel HD 4000 chip and rely on Lync MX or Skype heavily.