Which Server(s) to deploy the (DVT) Deployment Validation Tool

Once again i will talk about one of my favorite tools with OCS and that's the DVT Tool.  However in this blog I will talk about where you should and shouldn't deploy the DVT tool.  First lets explain what the tool is; The DVT tool can be found in the OCS 2007 R2 Resource kit.  It allows administrators to find out about problems with audio quality before a user reports a problem. The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Deployment Validation Tool simulates audio traffic so that you can proactively identify and resolve audio issues.

Now that we know what it is, let's talk about where you should deploy it.  The DVT tool comes in two parts, an Oragnizer and Agents.  The Organizer will be responsible for collecting all the data from the agetnts that are deployed in an enviroment.  You should not deploy the Organizer on a OCS Standard Edition Server if you have a single server pool or you shouldn't deploy the Organizer on any of the Front-End Servers that make up your pool.  So you may be asking yourself, where does that allow me to deploy it?  Good question and glad you asked, the Organizer can be deployed on server that is not going to be leveraged a lot in the enviroment, also one that you can afford to install SQL Exress on for this is what the Organizer needs to be installed, for this is where the data that is collected from agents will be stored in.  So let's say you have an enviroment such as a Monitoring server (formerly QOE Server) this is a perfect server for the Organizer.  What about an Archiving server that you can install SQL Express on, this is another perfect scenario.  What if you didn't deploy either, well possible you have a file server that is not utilized very much where you can deploy SQL Express on, this might be a good choice to host the organizer as well.

 Now that we know where we want to deploy the Organizer, we should look at places not to deploy the Organizer.  As I mentioned before, the Front-End Servers should be out of the question, neither your edge serves for the Organizer.  What about Mediation Servers and Group Chat Servers?  I wouldn't deploy it on either of them for you have to keep in mind that the Organizer is a service that runs on these machines, and aside from that requires that SQL Express be installed.  These two servers mediation for voice should and group chat servers shouldn't contain any extra applications if possible running on them, specifically the mediation server.

As for the Agents, well the agents will talk to the Organizer on whatever polling interval that is setup in the admin console of the organizer, by default every 60 seconds.  Agents should be installed on workstations or possibly file servers at locations you are interested in gathering data from.  I would prefer File servers for workstations are far and few between with regards to finding a dedicated workstation that nobody is using.  If you where to install it on person's PC, yes it will install and yes it would work, but now your results would not be accurate.  For everytime the person shuts down their machine, the agent would be "offline" and now your no longer polling for that location because the PC is off and now the agent is "offline"; that is why i said a file server earlier.  In almost every organization where I rolled out the DVT to the headquaters and branch locations, there have been file servers to install the agents.  For remember, the basic premise of installing the agent is mearly to get a snapshot of the physical acting as an endpoint going back to the organizer.  The organizer doesn't care if its on a PC or file server, but only the connection is alive and the basics regarding latency, delay, and roundtrip from the location of the agent (more than likely a branch location or office on a different subnet).

Note: Agents can be installed on servers (technically), but in some scenarios i would ask you to ask yourself, doesn't really make sense for me to install an agent on an Archiving Server, Front-End Server, Mediation Server, Group Chat Server, etc....Probably not.

 In conclusion this blog was to enlighten you on which servers you should and shouldn't deploy the "Organizer" and where to deploy the "Agents".