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Acano and Cisco

Cisco’s purchase of Acano will be a game changer. Let’s wait for how Cisco is going to integrate Acano into their UC solutions. If it integrates into TMS……great! If it adds WebEx desktop control capabilities……great! If it replaces VCS C & E………great! Time will tell.

AcanoSelfie

 

VTC Video Conferencing Rules for Palo Alto Firewall

If you have a Cisco Telepresence VCS Expressway or a legacy Tandberg Border Controller or even an MCU behind a Palo Alto Firewall there are several Application based objects needed to be in your Outbound and Inbound Security policy.

  • rtp-base
  • rtcp
  • h.225
  • h.245
  • h.323
  • sip
  • rtp

Normally the logs will show which ports are being denied by the clean up rule. Depending on the type of Firewall, you might need to create an object with a certain udp range. There are also cases where a VTC endpoint is configured to use static ports that’s out of range from the standard protocols and applications built in. Making VTC sessions work behind a newly deployed Firewall can be challenging at first. Simple trial and error and gathering firewall connection logs is key. I’d be careful allowing a big range of ports though to Inbound Firewall rules.

Cisco TMS Telepresence Management Suite Upgrade & Install from 13.0 to 14.6

If you have an old version of TMS (13.0) running on an unsupported Windows Server 2003, here is a very extensive procedure to upgrade it to TMS version 13.2, do Database recovery, restore and conversion, and migration to a new Windows 2012 R2 system running on SQL Server Express 2012. The final step was to upgrade to the TMS version 14.6.

First big issue I ran into was the 2008 SQL Express server “SA” password provided by the previous SQL Administrator was incorrect. The numerous attempts to access the database server locked up the account and the SQL service couldn’t be started from SQL Server Configuration manager. Even if you go to Control Panel and Services, manually start the SQL service, it doesn’t start.

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error code 17058 appears from the Event Logs and also look into SQL logs to get more information on the cause of the SQL service not able to start. It revealed that it went through the proper startup procedures and during the last step, there was a message that the supplied account login to the database failed.

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First, you have to fix the SQL service startup issue to even be able to do anything.

You need to login as a user with admin rights on the Server. Open SQL Server Configuration Manager ==> click on SQL Server Services ==> then right click on SQL Server ==> choose Properties. A Window show below will appear:

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Under the Logon tab, the SQL service was previously configured for “Network Service” which failed to start the SQL service. Under “Built-in Account”, choose “Local System”. You will need to know the local system account username and password. Provide the local user name and password. Now start the service manually and it should work fine.

SQL SA Password Reset and Recovery

Now that SQL service has started, next step is to reset the DB server SA account password. Do the following from the MS-DOS prompt (provide a Strong SA Password):

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Make TMS Connect to the TMSNG Database

After changing the SA password, you can either use TMS Tools to reconnect TMS to the DB again or since I needed to upgrade to TMS 13.2, I went ahead and ran the install of TMS 13.2. This is the last version of TMS that supports Windows server 2003. The install will ask for your DB connection settings and this is where you enter the new SQL SA password. After the installation is complete, verify TMS functionality by pulling it up from a Web Browser.

Install TMS Provisioning Extension (TMSPE)

If you are using TMS agent legacy, we need to install TMS Provisioning Extension (TMSPE) in TMS 13.2. TMSPE is required when moving up to the 14.x versions of TMS. Without TMSPE, TMS 14.x install will fail during the install procedure. This will also require a Java Runtime Environment upgrade to at least Java 6 build 33. For more info, please go to Cisco’s Website and see the TMSPE Installation guide.

  • Download Java from Oracle site and Install.
  • Run the TMSPE Installation.
  • After Installation is complete, check the option to run the “Migration Tool” to build the database for Provisioning Extension.

Performing the installation and migration

  1. Close all open applications and disable virus scanning software.
  2. Extract the Cisco TMSPE installer from the zip archive to the Cisco TMS server.
  3. Run the Cisco TMSPE installer.
  4. Follow the setup instructions:

a.Click Next to initiate the setup.

  1. Accept the terms in the license agreement and click Next.
  2. Enter the Username and Password of the user that Cisco TMSPE will use to connect to Cisco TMS. This user must be a member of the Site Administrators group in Cisco TMS. Click Next.
  3. The installer detects where the TMS SQL database (tmsng) is installed. We recommend installing the Cisco TMSPE SQL database (tmspe) to the same location and instance.
  4. Confirm or enter the appropriate SQL Server Name and Instance Name. If deploying in a redundant setup, make sure both installations are pointing to the same database location. ii.
  5. Fill in the necessary credentials.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Install to begin the installation. Click Back to review or change installation settings.
  8. When the installation is complete, check Run Migration Tool and click Finish to exit the Setup window. The Migration Tool window opens.

Click Start Migration. Depending on the size of the database, the migration process may take several minutes to complete. When the migration process is complete, the Migration Tool window displays the

results of the migration and provides a migration log.

 

Enabling Cisco TMSPE

After completing the installation:

  1. In Cisco TMS, go to Administrative Tools > Configurations > General Settings, set the field Provisioning Mode to Provisioning Extension and click Save. You may need to refresh the browser window or empty the browser cache after making this selection.

 

  1. Go to Administrative Tools > Activity Status to verify that the switch is completed.

 

  1. Verify that Cisco TMSPE features are now available and functioning.
  2. Browse to the following pages in Cisco TMS: Systems > Provisioning > Users. If this page reports a problem connecting to User Repository, the database connection is not working.

Systems > Provisioning > FindMe

Systems > Provisioning > Devices

Administrative Tools > Configuration > Provisioning Extension Settings

 

Go to Administrative Tools > Provisioning Extension Diagnostics, look for any alarms raised and click Run Health Check. If any alarms are raised, click them to see details and perform the corrective actions described. See Troubleshooting the installation [p.71] for further information.

 

  1. When browsing to all of the above Cisco TMSPE pages is successful and no alarms are reported in Provisioning Extension Diagnostics

 

Perform TMS Database backup 

You will now notice that the TMS Database size has doubled. This is because of the Provisioning Extension install. It’s now time to backup this database. The easiest way is by command line:

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You will now find the DB backup file in this directory: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLTMS\MSSQL\Backup

 

New 2012 R1 Server Buildout

Size the server hardware by checking Cisco’s deployment guide first. Here are the software requirements to install before installing TMS 14.6:

  • .NET framework 3.5 Full (extended)
  • .NET framework 4.5.0 Full (extended)
  • Microsoft IIS for Windows Server 2012 R2: IIS 8.5
  • Apply windows updates
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express Edition (free) if installing a small deployment size of less than 200 endpoints/vtc systems. The install includes SQL Management Studio.

Once SQL server express is installed, do a database restore from the TMS backup file using SQL Management Studio. The db import will do the conversion to SQL 2012 structure.

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Once Database is created, you can now run the TMS 14.6 installation.

 

Creating or upgrading the database

  • If the installer does not find an existing Cisco TMS database, but locates a local installation of SQL Server, enter the username and password to allow the installer to create a new database. Click Next.
  • If using an external SQL Server, which is required for large deployments, enter all connection details. Click Next.

 

  • If the installer finds an existing Cisco TMS database, the dialog will be pre-populated with the previously specified SQL Server. When prompted, enter the username and password and click Next.
  • Click Yes to upgrade the existing database to the current version and retain the existing information.
  • We recommend that you back up the database before it is upgraded using the appropriate tools.
  • If clicking No, you must proceed to stop the installer and manually remove the database if you wish to use the same SQL Server, before you can install a new Cisco TMS database.

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Adding release keys and pre-configuring the network settings

The Release and Option Keys dialog is now displayed, and any existing keys are shown if upgrading.

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  • A new release key is required if performing a new installation or upgrading to a new major release. If no release key is entered, an evaluation version of Cisco TMS will be installed. This includes support for three systems.
  • Option keys enable additional systems, extensions, or features. They may also be added post installation by going to Administrative Tools > Configuration > General Settings.
  • For questions regarding release or option keys, contact your Cisco Reseller or Cisco Support.
  • Enter the release key if necessary.
  • The release key must be entered before adding option keys.
  • Enter each option key, then click Add Option.
  • Option keys are validated as they are added.
  • When done adding keys, click Next.
  • The Network Settings screen is displayed.

You can now pre-configure default settings to allow Cisco TMS to immediately start working with a basic network configuration. The settings can be changed after installation.

If upgrading, values from the existing database are displayed.

These should be the major install steps and just follow through the wizard until the install is complete.

Make sure you enable SNMP service. It is disabled by default for new installations of TMS.

Access Cisco TMS for the first time.

Test all General Functionalities.

 

Cisco ISR Platform feature by Ashburn Consulting

A video presentation about the Cisco ISR platform from Cisco’s Solutions Architect, Randy Benn. IPICS, Video Distribution and Management, POE switch modules, IP Camera termination are all integrated in one ISR platform. Interview conducted by Amante Bustamante.

 

Windows Media conversion to stream live to USTREAM

Our Client owns old Vbrick Encoders that can only encode Windows Media video format. This is a big problem if the video stream is being offered for Public viewing to support a wide variety of devices (Tablets, IPADs, IPhones, Android devices, Macs, PCs, etc.). To avoid purchasing at least two new $10k H.264 encoders and the need to build a new media server, we are going to use 3 types of software running from a PC or laptop. Make sure the the PC has a fast cpu and at least 4 Gigs of ram to run this type of setup.

Here’s an overview of the rally setup showed in the diagram below.

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Here’s a diagram that shows traffic flow:

ustream2_RallyVideoStreamingTrafficflow

The 3 applications that will need to run in the PC are:
  1. Windows Media Player or VLC Player (Will play the Windows Media stream from the Vbrick Encoder)
  2. Telestream Screencast (provides a screencapture from the PC’s display)
  3. USTREAM Producer software (Grabs the screencapture from Telestream Screencast and other display sources like a Webcam, IP Camera, video device, etc.)
In order to stream to USTREAM outbound and watch Ustream streams you have to create the following stateful firewall rules to the Internet:

•Outgoing TCP destination port 80, 443 to any IP (WEB)

•Outgoing TCP destination port 1935 to any IP (RTMP – this is used to deliver the stream)

Steps:

1. Make sure that the Vbrick encoders are online and has live streaming enabled.

2. From the PC, open either Windows Media Player or VLC player and play the video URL configured in the Vbrick.

ustream3_rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Once video is playing, open the Telestream Desktop Presenter software. Choose the Source display and the Selection portion. In this case it’s just a certain region of the screen so pick “Select Screen Region” under “Selection”. A small box will show up that can be cropped and resized to the portion of the screen you want to show. Hit “ENTER” to save the cropped region. The software is now doing a live screen capture. You have an option there to also capture audio from your PC.

ustream4_screencastregion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Open USTREAM Producer, login to your USTREAM account, pick the broadcast channel you have set from your account. You will need to setup a new “Remote Desktop Presenter” display source. Why Remote Desktop? This is because USTREAM Producer will need to connect to the Telestream Desktop Presenter software from Step 3 to pull the screen capture. Give your Remote Desktop Source a new name.

ustream5_UstreamProducerRemoteDesktopdisplay1

 

5. In the USTREAM Producer, add the “Remote Desktop” profile you set from step 4 into the Master Layer. Just hit the “monitor icon” and add the remote desktop name or profile you’ve set from step 4.

ustream6_UstreamProducerremotedesktopdisplay2 

6. Once you see the right thumbnail display render from what you are playing from Windows Media or VLC player, highlight the thumbnail in the Master Layer section and then hit the “Stream” button at the upper left hand corner of the application.

If video streaming to USTREAM pauses from time to time, you can adjust the resolution and traffic rate. Go to: Output, then “Output Settings”
ustream7_UstreamProducerremotedesktopdisplay3
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7. Test by pulling up the video webpage from UStream.

Download the USTREAM Producer software here:

Download the Telestream Desktop Presenter from here: