D.C. Bound

I find it interesting how people seem to think I’m always traveling. No matter how long it has been since my last trip, as soon as I tweet that I’m packing, or I check-in at the airport on Foursquare, people always ask “Where are you going this time?” or “Are you ever at home?” I don’t think I travel much, at least not when I look at friends who travel regularly for work. Maybe it’s because I tweet so much, or because many of my trips are for leisure and not for work.  Personally, I don’t think I travel enough. I’d like to have more opportunities for travel at work (and for fun), but I probably should be careful what I wish for.

Anyway… That’s not really the point of this post. I only mention it because, yes, I’m off on another trip. I’m on a Southwest flight to Washington, D.C. This one is for work, so no vacation days had to be sacrificed.  I’m flying out to spend a day and a half doing some testing for our OCS to Lync migration. Yes, we’re still on OCS at work, and I’ve had a project in the works to move to Lync 2010 for what seems like forever now.

What’s the hold up? We’re not heavy users of OCS/Lync at work except for one group. Our Executive Education group uses it frequently to keep in touch with their counterparts in D.C. The school where I work manages the Executive MBA program at a certain institution there.  Even though the people in the D.C. group are now our direct employees, they’re still using the systems and network at their previous employer. I’ve been told that it will be another year or two before they are in space that we will control.  We’ve run into issues with blocked ports and the inability to install software frequently as a result. They do have laptops that we’ve provided along with a RoundTable camera, but they aren’t allowed to use them on the wired network, only the wireless.  That adds its own difficulties.

Since this group makes heavy use of OCS/Lync, I’ve tried to make sure we have everything working for them before we migrate everyone else from OCS and shutdown those servers. Unfortunately the issues I’ve mentioned along with the inefficiencies of trying to test things from St. Louis, means this project has been stalled for several months. Frankly, I’m tired of seeing this item on my project list. I’m tired of having to patch the OCS servers every month. I just want to move on. Lync 2013 came out while I was trying to finish this migration, and there’s no way I’m going to let another version come out without wrapping this up.

You may wonder why I don’t move to Lync 2013 instead. I would, but the Lync 2010 VMs are up and running, and all I really need to do is resolve the connection issues we’re seeing between St. Louis and D.C. We’ve also run into problems with 2013 because our SIP address isn’t our primary mail address.

If I can knock out the connectivity during this trip, then the rest of the move should go fairly quickly. Then I can move on to all the other projects that are queued up. Most likely we’ll be moving to Office 365 and Lync Online with the rest of the university this fall or winter, so our time with on-premises Lync will be relatively short.

Why not stay on OCS? I have another project in progress to move our data center to racks in our central IT group’s data center. My goal is to move as little as possible, so I’m working to consolidate our systems onto VMs where possible and retire as much of our legacy hardware as I can. The OCS servers fall into this group, so even though we may only be on Lync 2010 for a short while, it means fewer pieces of hardware that I need to move.

So that’s why I’m going to D.C. Hopefully I can figure out exactly where our issues are and then work with the onsite IT group to convince them to make any changes we need. Coordination between our groups has always been a challenge, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me luck.