My diary of software development

Archive for March, 2012

Moving to the Clouds Part II–Getting IP Phones Working With TMG

Part I

In Part I I talked about moving my church’s office and network resources to the cloud because they decided to sell their building to build a new site and had dispersed from working in their old office to a temporary office as well as work from their homes.

My church decided to move their phone numbers to Phone.Com to use IP phones and soft phones for their communications after their move from their old office. In this post, I’m going to talk about my struggle to get their IP phones working through Microsoft TMG.

Why Microsoft TMG?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. At the office I had them setup with a Cisco PIX for their firewall but I chose to move them to TMG since it’s a lot easier for me to manage. In addition I believe it will help me with the Office 365 identity integration with their Active Directory. But right now I’m just trying to get their IP phones working.

The First Experience

I didn’t know how IP phones worked when I started this, since at the church office, they had a phone provider who brought in the lines to a PBX and then to the offices. There was nothing for me to manage.

At the temporary office, everything worked for the IP phones as long as I used the Verizon FIOS router but stopped as soon as I switched over to TMG. Nice. Time for me to go and study how IP phones are supposed to work.

After poking around on the Internet’s resources reading about the SIP and RTP protocols, I discovered a really slick wizard in TMG which allowed me to create rules for VOIP. I went through the wizard and ended up with three new firewall policy rules:

Rules

This made sense so I grabbed an IP phone and dialed someone. The call went through (yippee!!!) but I couldn’t hear them and they couldn’t hear me (sigh).

So that would mean the SIP protocol went through fine but the RTP protocol which would handle the voice didn’t go through.

What The TMG Log Showed

I started a log query on TMG restricted to just the IP phone’s IP address and made another prank call. This is what the log showed me:

Log 1

There are two things I see wrong here. The first and obvious is that the connection was denied. The second is that the protocol name is ‘Phones 6060’ which was an old protocol I had defined earlier when I was working through my ignorance of how IP phones worked but have since deleted.

I see that the destination port is an even port number. According to the RTP protocol, the data is sent over an even port number and the corresponding data would be carried over the next higher port number which would be an odd number. So this log is telling me that the phone was trying to perform RTP communications over the even port number 32746 but the attempt was denied and that would be why I don’t see communications over port 32747 which would be data coming back.

But why is the protocol ‘Phones 6060’ showing up in the logs? I know I deleted it and have even rebooted the TMG server since then so there’s no reason for it to show up in the logs. The fact that this deleted protocol is showing up and the fact that TMG is not allowing the IP phones out even after I created the proper firewall rules makes me less confident that what I see in the TMG UI is not actually what TMG is doing under the covers. Thanks Microsoft.

Well, it’s a rainy and stormy day today so this is as good a day as any to work through this…

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Moving to the Clouds Part I

 

The decision

My church has decided to sell their land and buildings in order to build and move into a new location about 20 miles away. This new site will not be completed for about a year so in the mean time, they’ll be working out of temporary offices and their homes in a much more loosely coupled fashion.

Since I handle their email, file shares, networking, and various other IT stuff on the side, I decided it was time to look at moving their data to the cloud.

 

Where to put all those files?

They easily have over 400GB of files on their network shares. Google Docs was the first place I looked and found that I’d have to convert all those files to GD format and the docs could not be cached locally so the user would have to be online to get to their documents. That was a non-starter for me so I nixed GD.

Next I took a look at Amazon S3. Amazon makes it very easy to get this many documents up to S3, I just send them a USB drive with all of the docs on it. And the pricing was perfect because at $0.14/GB plus the estimated number of requests and data transfer size, they would be looking at about $100/month.

 

What about the email?

I began to prepare the files for shipping to Amazon by locking their file shares down to read-only access and copying the files to a removable drive over a period of several days. As I was in the middle of doing this, I began to hear and read about Microsoft’s Office 365 and realized that would be perfect for their email. I wouldn’t have to manage a mail server any longer or be a liaison to their current mail provider.

For way less than the cost they were paying their current provider they could have their email in Exchange and their working office files in SharePoint in the cloud. I researched the O365 plans and set them up with the E4 plan. With this plan, they’ll be able to use and upgrade to the latest version of Office with each release, have multiple GB of mail storage, and have tens of GB of SharePoint storage.

 

To be continued…

I’ll continue this series with information on moving their email, setting up their contacts, and moving their files to Office 365 and Amazon.

JavaScript Intellisense with Visual Studio 11 Beta

I’ve spent a lot of time in VS10 editing large JavaScript class frameworks and so I was very thankful for the Intellisense support in the IDE. It’s was a wonderful experience to write OO JavaScript with Intellisense but it was hit or miss when the Intellisense would actually show up in the IDE. It seemed that sometimes the IDE would just ‘forget’ about a class. And there were many other things which made the experience of writing in JS difficult at best such as all those times when VS10 SP1 would crash intermittently when editing large bodies of JS files.

I decided to take a look at VS11 beta and see how it handled Intellisense when doing JavaScript object oriented development. I knew that Microsoft was targeting JavaScript as one of the languages to build Metro apps from so I figured they may have cleaned up the JS development experience in the IDE.

To write this blog entry, I’m comparing the VS11 Beta as of March 2010 with my experience in VS10 SP1.

Referencing Class Files

In VS10 I had to place a reference comment in the file to see a class in another file:

/// <reference path=”Truck.js” />

This isn’t too bad unless you’re working with dozens of class files in which case you’ll have inevitable circular references somewhere. When VS10 ran into circular references, it would slowly leak memory and eventually crash.

In a VS11 Metro project, all you need to do is reference the JS class files from one of your .HTM pages. Once referenced, the class is available to you in every other JS file. So just adding this line to one of the HTM pages in your project will make the Robot class available everywhere:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”js/Robot.js”></script>

But not in VS11 Web Projects

The above technique does not work in web projects, it only works in Metro projects which was very strange to me. In the web projects I still had to add reference comments to a JS file to pick up classes defined in other files.

Why? If the IDE can build Intellisense from the script tags in the web files for a Metro project, then why can’t it do the same for a web project? Maybe it’s something to do with the beta version, I don’t know but I’m anxious to try it out in the RTM version.