Thursday, July 29, 2010

Charting and Reporting for OCS

Charting and Reporting for OCS is an XML based charting engine rendering statistics from your Office Communications Server in a cool flash bar graph or pie chart. The information is retrieved using SQL queries inside XML pages and viewed on pages hosted from the IIS webserver.  The databases we are retrieving the information from are the LcsLog and lcsCDR, QoEMetrics, ACDDYN and RTCCONFIG.  For more information on these databases visit the following links:

Users may add, delete or modify all charts manually and may optionally apply an intuitive filter to customize the data into more usable, focused information using the interface built into the charting and reporting page. Here are some examples of charts we have been working on for a help desk call center, which we have applied said filter to access the Inbound/outbound queue data from a PBX calling system for a help desk:

Inbound Calls by Hour of Day

Inbound Calls by Day of Week

Average Duration of All Calls by Day of the Week

Calls by Hour of Day

For more charts and information visit:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

IQM V4 Feature Update – Inviting any user from the Sametime Directory to a Queue conversation

This has been one of the most prominent feature request by our existing Queue users and evaluators. This allows the expert to quickly send invite to any Sametime user who would be subject matter specialist into a Queue conversation with a visitor.

The feature is available to experts via a Sametime plug-in. While in a chat conversation expert can quickly use the invite option as highlighted in the following screenshot:

Using the invite option will display the following dialog which allows expert to quickly search and pick any user from the Sametime Directory:


Once the users have been selected an invite to Multi party chat conversation is sent to the users


After the users accept the invite they are able to assist the visitor via the NWay chat window.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Amazon Cloud

Amazon EC2 cloud computing has been very interesting and useful. I and others at Instant Technologies use these Amazon instances for testing and they have been very helpful to us in many ways. One pretty obvious advantage is that the server doesn't shut down every time a snow storm hits the area and knocks the power out. Another is that you don't have to maintain the server in a physical space, be it office or home and keep upgrading the machine or buy new machines each time our customers need testing on new software. For example, Microsoft now has a requirement for 64 bit machines for hosting their OCS software. If you are stuck with 32 bit machines in the office, then your machines quickly becomes obsolete. Another great feature is how I can stop and start these Amazon instances, and only pay (well...Instant Technologies pays), when there is a need to use them. I can take snapshots of drives and attach /detach them to any instance from any previous snapshot state using the very handy AWS Management Console, which once you get the hang of it can be very easy to use.

Also, please correct me, if I am wrong but there seems to be one very large disadvantage with Amazon. The problem is the tiny C drive you receive, when launching a large instance (64 bit machine). 10 gigs! Unless you are good at remapping things or moving space between drives and so on, which I am not, this is something that you have to live with. These large images are extremely expensive and are almost the cost of renting your own office, if you keep it running 24/7, so it really is a shame we only get this amount of hard drive space.

I am still learning and a lot of it, mostly learned through trial and error, unfortunately. There is one very important issue that came up, which may have been solved had I actually read the instructions. It's to make sure that before you bundle your images, to uncheck the "Use hexadecimal name for each instance after bundling". This setting is located in the Program files of the C drive. If you do not, your computer name will change after bundling and when you are ready to run the new instance, some references in your software will remain pointing to the original computer name. This can really mix-up some software configurations, namely the Microsoft Office Communications Server. Another thing, I've learned, is to take snapshots of drives. This became important due to having many important files that our Sql server had stored on two other drives. When you bundle an instance, it only copies the C drive, which means you must copy your D, E, etc. drives to a volume before bundling. There is probably a better way but I did this by just copying and pasting all files from each drive to a volume after attaching them and taking a snapshot of each. I then, have these drives as backup for the next instance I would like to launch.

Now, there are even more features, just introduced and a lot of things I've mentioned above may have changed or improved. There have been new tabs that include better handling of buckets and just a gamut of new stuff  in the AWS management console that I have not played with yet and have no idea about...time to play catch-up once again but hopefully after reading some instructions first.