SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services (SSRS): What Is New?

What is new in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services? According to the Microsoft white paper on “Deeper Insights Across Data”:

  • Now supports all major browser: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari
  • Power BI Integration
  • Report templates and themes similar to Power BI
  • Customize Report Themes using CSS
  • Improved report parameter UI
  • Now supports mobile BI and data visualization on Windows, iOS, and Android devices
  • From Other Sources
    • Report Builder will live on (click here)
    • New Chart Types
    • Responsive Design

Complete white paper paragraphs:

Report UX enhancements

SQL Server 2016 makes several enhancements to Reporting Services, especially in the areas of the user experience and mobile reporting. SSRS now supports report consumption from all major modern browsers, including the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

SSRS report styles have also been enhanced with new report templates and themes that are similar to those in Power BI. You can also customize report themes using CSS, allowing you to easily create and apply a company branding for your reports.
SSRS has improved the UI for working with report parameters. For example, you can now display hierarchical parameters as a tree. You also have more control over the layout of parameter panel, and parameter text fields now support autocomplete and search.

Additionally, there are more data sources available due to the integration with Power Query. And Power BI integration means you can view reports with on-premises data in the Power BI service on the cloud.

Mobile BI

SQL Server 2016 now supports mobile business intelligence and data visualization on Windows, iOS, and Android devices (Figure 12). This allows users to visualize and interact with data on their mobile devices, using the native mobile apps available at no charge at the respective app stores. You can use these tools to connect to enterprise data sources, integrate with Active Directory for user authentication, deliver live data updates to mobile devices, and personalize data queries for each user.

Since Skype for Business Server 2015 Monitoring Reports are based on SQL Server, by implication these enhancements should make their way to Skype for Business Server monitoring report eventually.

Read the SQL Server 2016 Deeper Insights Across Data technical white paper

Skype for Business User QuickTip #39: How to Join a Meeting without Interrupting Call or Meeting in Progress #Skype4B

So you have your day scheduled full of Skype for Business meetings. You are in one phone call or meeting and another is ready to start and you are going to be late and would like to let the meeting participants of the next meeting know. How do you quickly join the next meeting with Instant Message only? Actually, it’s not too hard.

In Skype for Business, click Options | Skype Meetings (tab) and now change “Join Meeting audio from:” to “Do not join audio” and click OK.


Now you can join the next meeting in Instant Message mode and the audio of the currently in progress call will not be interrupted.


As soon as you have joined the meeting you can go back in and change this setting back.

NOTE: another option is to check “Before I join meetings, ask me which audio device I want to use”. This will always ask if you want audio when you join a meeting.

For a ton more cool User Tips, get the Skype for Business User Tips & Tricks for Anyone Free eBook


See the other Skype for Business User QuickTips (formerly known as Lync)

Old & Strange OCS, #Lync & #Skype4B Devices You Never New Existed



Polycom CX400


NEC USB Handset for OCS 2007

Installing Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step for Anyone Free eBook Now Available


Installing Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step for Anyone is perhaps the easiest way to get jump started with installing and/or upgrading to Skype for Business Server 2015. This guide walks the IT generalist through installing a Skype for Business Server lab step by step with screenshots and helpful tips to make getting started as easy as possible. The Step by Step for Anyone series attempts to give enough information so that you can just pickup the book and get started and not so much minutia that it is not useful for actually getting to work.  It answers questions just when you need to know the answers so you can get to work: How long should this step take? Do I really need to install that prerequisite? What should my lab specs look like? and much more.

Skype for Business MVP, Matt Landis, has previously authored Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Step by Step for Anyone which has become the most downloaded resource on the Microsoft TechNet Gallery and has been downloaded nearly a quarter million times.

What people are saying about the book:

  • “Download this free eBook by [Skype for Business] MVP Matt Landis to learn how to install and upgrade Skype for Business...” –Skype for Business
    •   image
  • “Matt has been one of the great Lync Leaders and now extends his skill and knowledge in writing a critical book on Skype for Business.” –Tom Cross, UC Forum

Go Get free eBook with 1-Click  (Free, all we request…Rate It!)

Installing Skype for Business Server 2015 Standard Edition Front End on Windows Server 2012R2 Step by Step


Below are the step by step instructions to install Skype for Business Server 2015 Standard Edition Front End on Windows Server 2012R2. Here is an outline of what we will do:

  1. Prepare Servers
  2. Install Skype for Business Server 2015 Admin Tools
  3. Prepare Active Directory
  4. Admin rights, Add AD Users, Configure DNS
  5. Prepare First Server
  6. Define Topology
  7. Install Skype for Business Server 2015
  8. Enable AD Users & Login to Skype for Business client

Prepare Environment

Some prerequisites for you Skype for Business system:

  • You will need 1 AD Server O/S and 1 Skype for Business Server O/S
    • Skype for Business Server  requires 64bit O/S
  • This guide is Using Windows Server 2012R2 64bit
    • You will need to have the OS update to date to install KB2982006, so now is the time get your up to date.
  • Make Sure you have the below role running on your AD Server
    • AD-DS (Directory Services)
    • DNS
    • AD-CS (Certificate Authority

Prerequisites for your Front End Server

skype4b server prerequisites

or Install using Powershell:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core, RSAT-ADDS, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Server-Media-Foundation, BITS

Add below if no access to the web add “-source d:\sources\sxs” to the end of the above powershell. (if the Server 2012R2 CD is in the D:\ drive)


Now reboot.

Install Skype for Business Server 2015 Admin Tools

Insert CD and Run Setup.exe. (you may see installing c+ flash by) You can accept default location and click Install (below)


Accept license and OK


When install is complete (minute wait time) you will have the Skype for Business admin tools on your server and the Skype for Business Server Deployment Wizard (below) will appear.


Let’s just make sure the admin tools are showing on the start menu | More apps. Sure enough, they are there. (now is a great time to pin them both to start & taskbar)


Now lets install the Topology Builder & Control Panel as well. click “Install Administrative Tools”


Let’s verify: Yup, sure enough they are there.



Prepare Active Directory

Click “Prepare Active Directory”. (As noted in prerequisites, you will need AD DS and AD LDS Tools Feature installed on your Front End to complete this step.)


  • Step 1: Prepare Schema. (takes 1minute, and you may need to wait a couple minutes before this and step 2) 
  • Step 2: Verify Replication of Schema is not necessary if this is a Lab and there is only one AD server—you can safely keep moving to step 3.
  • Step 3: Prepare Forest | Next | select Local Domain  | Next (5sec)
  • Step 4: Verify by running opening  Skype for Business Server Management Shell (remember, we pinned it to the taskbar for a reason!)  and run “Get-CsAdForest”. If it returns “LC_FORESTSETTINGS_STATE_READY” we rock.
  • Step 5: Prepare Domain | Next (5sec)
  • Step 6: just keep moving
    • or verify by opening “Active Directory Users & Computers” and see if “csAdministrator” is in the Users container.
  • Step 7 below


Add Skype for Business Administrator User To Admin Group

Add the Administrator to CSAdministrator  group (below) 


Create Some Users

While we are in AD, we will create 3 test users named: u1@landislab.local, u2@landislab.local, and u3@landislab.local. Just add them as normal AD users.

Create the Share

We will create a folder c:\Skype4BShare then add the local Administrators group on the server hosting the file share, grant Allow: Full Control, Change, and Read rights, and then click Share.


Prepare First Standard Edition Server

Now lets go back to the Deployment Wizard and click “Prepare first Standard Edition server”.


You will see the below “Prepare single Standard Edition Server” wizard window and you can just click “Next”. During this process the below will be installed:

  • SQL Server 2014 Express Edition will be installed
  • RTC databases will be created and populated
  • Firewall Rules will be created
  • Skype for Business Server installation files will be put in place , etc.

Create DNS Records

Lets open DNS Manager on AD server. Right click on your domain (in our case landislab.local) under Forward Lookup Zones, click “Other New Records…” and scroll down to “Service Location (SRV)” and click Create Record.


Will will add a DNS SRV record pointing at our Skype for Business FE Server FQDN (SFE01.landislab.local in our case)

  • Service = _sipinternaltls
  • Protocol = _tcp
  • Port number = 5061
  • Host Offering the service =  fqdn of Skype for Business Std. FE server or Pool. (In our case SFE01.landislab.local )


Note: a DNS A record should already be pointing to the Front End Server (SFE01.landislab.local)

We will also create several DNS A Records. Right click, “New Host (A or AAAA)…” Add a DNS A record for

  • meet
  • dialin
  • admin
  • scheduler
  • lyncdiscoverinternal
  • webint

as shown below


Repeat this for the rest of the DNS A Records.

Define Topology

Now we will open the Topology Builder.  Select New Topology (as shown below) and then give the topology some name (just any old name like “mylab.tbxml”)


Now we will be define this topology.

Primary SIP domain: landislab.local | Next


Specify additional supported domains: {nothing to enter/change} | Next

Define first site:  Name=SomeSiteName {Site1}; Description=just something | Next

Specify site details: Enter City, State/Province, Country/Region Code | Next

“New Topology was successfully defined” & we will click Finish to start New Front End Wizard.


Next we will define a new Front End pool. click Next


Define Front End Pool

  • FQDN: SFE01.landislab.local 
    • Note: if this is a Standard Edition, this FQDN will be exactly the same FQDN as your FE server  (SFE01.lab.local in our case)
  • Select “Standard Edition Server”


Next we will select Features for this Front End Pool

Check these features:

  • Conferencing
  • Enterprise Voice
  • CAC

TIP: What works best for me is to NOT define ARCHIIVE and MONITOR servers till you are ready to actually install them. I suggest to NOT select Archiving and Monitoring now. We will do that after we have actually installed the SQL server and are ready to define those roles in topology builder.


Select Collocated server roles

  • collocate Mediation Server: check

Associate server roles with this front End pool. (screen not shown) Enable an Edge pool…: UNchecked (we will set this up later)

Define the SQL Server store. SQL Server store: SFE01.landislab.local\rtc (if we did everything correctly this should be in the field


Define the file store: Remember the Skype4BShare we setup before? Now we will use it. Under “File share” enter Skype4BShare


Specify the Web Services URL: Since this is a lab we can let the External Base URL the default.


Select an Office Web Apps Server: (you probably don’t have one yet, so UNcheck “Associated pool with an Office Web Apps Server)


When you click “Finish” you are finished with the wizard, and will be shown the Skype for Business Server 2015 Topology Builder main screen. We need to edit the Topology so select “Skype for Business Server” & click Action | Edit Properties


Scroll down to “Administrative access URL” (as shown below) and define the admin url as https://admin.landislab.local and select Front End Server (SFE01.landislab.local in our lab)


Publish Topology

In the Topology Builder click: Action | Publish | Next | (Select CMS) Next


When finished you can “Click Here to open to-do list”. Since we are really good we’ve already done these items. (if you took a shortcut, backup to see detailed step above)


Install Skype for Business Server System


Open “Skype for Business Server 2015 - Deployment Wizard” | Install or Update Skype for Business Server System


Now we will install some Skype for Business Server System components, put Certs in place and Start Services:

  1. Step1 Install RtcLocal database
  2. Step2 Install Speechfiles, etc.
  3. Setup Certs
  4. Start [Skype for Business] Services


  • Step1 Install Local Configuration Store (will install RtcLocal)
    • Run
    • Retrieve Directly from the CMS…
    • Next (5-8 minutes on new lab system)
  • Step2 Setup Skype for Business Server Components (will install Speechfiles, etc)
    • Run |
    • Next (15 minutes on new lab systems)
    • Some things that can cause this step to fail
      • You didn’t install KB2982006 as we strenuously noted above :)
      • You designated the archive/monitoring server, this will fail if the SQL for those stores is not there yet.
  • Step3 Request Certs
    • Note: if this is a lab setup, and you have parallel installed AD and Lync FE OS’s, remember the FE needs to have “gpudate /force” run or be rebooted after you stand up the AD CA so the CA is authoritative

Run, Now select “Default Certificate” then click “Request”


Certificate Request:  Next


Certificate Request Summary: Next


Executing Commands: Next


Online Certificate Request Status: Finish


Certificate Assignment: Next


Certificate Assignment Summary: Next


Executing Commands… Finish


The certificates have been successfully requested and assigned.


Now repeat Step 3 for OAuthTokenIssuer.

Step 4: Start Services

Using the Skype for Business Server Management Shell

run Start-CsPool –PoolFQDN SFE01.landislab.local


NOTE: If you lab is using minimal RAM, this could take several minutes. (4GB = 8minutes)

We can open to see if all the Skype for Business services are running and…sure enough!


Now let’s open the Skype for Business Server Control Panel

You may be prompted to enter your Administrator credentials. (how to avoid this in the future: click here)


Now we get our first look of the Skype for Business Server 2015 Control Panel.


Enable AD Users

Now back to the Front End server and the Skype for Business Server 2015 Control Panel. Click on Users | Enable Users. Now click the “Add” button and Add the 3 users. (those 3 users we created earlier)


Click “Enable” and if you get no errors, you should have 3 Skype for Business users ready to login. Let’s open Skype for Business and login!


You have successfully installed Skype for Business Server 2015. Congratulations!

Read the Entire “Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step” Series
Installing Skype for Business Server 2015 Standard Edition Front End
Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business Server 2015 In Place Upgrade

or, Get the Free eBook: Click Here