Interview with a Lync Pro: Mike Stacy

The Microsoft Lync Server technical community is full of knowledgeable IT professionals that work tirelessly to share their wealth of experience and expertise with the world. They blog, tweet, deliver presentations and answer questions in the forums to help foster expert knowledge for administrators and IT Pros in every corner of the globe.

In mid-2011, I decided to use my own blog, Justin Morris on UC, to interview and learn from these noteworthy individuals who consistently go the extra mile to help all of us better understand Microsoft Lync Server. For the sixth installment in the series on NextHop, I interviewed fellow Lync MVP, Mike Stacy from Polycom.

Author: Justin Morris

Publication date: November 14, 2012

Product version: Lync Server 2010

What’s your technical background? How did you end up where you are today?

In the beginning, I worked mostly in the Novell space and earned Certified Novell Engineer CNE) certification in 3.x and 4.x of Novell/Novell Directory Service (NDS). My internship in college exposed me to Windows NT 4.0 and managing e-mail (Novell GroupWise). After that, I started to diversify.

I started my post-university work in 1998 at a large global enterprise that ran Microsoft Mail on Novell servers. And as I was accustomed to GroupWise, I didn’t like anything about it, as a user and as an administrator. So I set out on a mission to move the entire company to Exchange 5.5. I did this on the sly, until my management noticed that our execs and everyone else in IT was getting internet e-mail in 2-3 minutes (because I had migrated them to Exchange), whereas some other people were still getting internet e-mail in about 45 minutes (which was normal for our Microsoft Mail deployment). 

That company grew aggressively by acquisition, and in my subsequent position as Global Messaging Lead, I had the unique pleasure of integrating and migrating all types of non-Exchange messaging systems into one system. Eventually, that experience landed me a job at Microsoft in the Rapid Onsite Support Services group, now known as Premier Field Engineer (PFE).  After a few years, I moved into a Technology Specialist role covering Exchange and Live Communications Server 2005. That’s when my focus on unified communications (UC) really started to take shape. Eventually, I moved into the consulting space, and over time, I focused more heavily on Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and less on Exchange Server.

Can you tell us what your position at Polycom entails?

At Polycom, I’m primarily responsible for our North American Solution Architecture team, which is a team of experts that provides the next layer of technical depth and specialization for our systems engineers and their customers.  Polycom’s first Solution Architects were focused on Microsoft (which was my first role at Polycom), and today, we have a number of Solution Architect roles that span a fairly wide variety of technologies. I’m also responsible for an environment we call the Custom Solutions Network, where we build out complex demonstration and evaluation capabilities for our customers and partners.

Introducing Mike Stacy

What made you get into UC and specializing in Lync Server?

When Live Communications Server came out, I thought it was really cool and different, and I was a little bored with Exchange Server having focused on it for seven years.  The UC industry was very young, and no one really knew where things would end up. Then Office Communications Server launched with more compelling functionality, so I started a new learning curve. Ultimately, the demand for Office Communications Server was high, and I was busy working on deployments for all types of customers. Unlike Exchange, it was completely new to everyone, so I focused more on using it as a strategic investment, instead of simply upgrading to the next version. Low level changes were great for IT but not really noticeable to the user.

What’s your favorite thing about Lync?

Presence. I can’t imagine going back to a world where I have to tell people that I can’t communicate with them at the moment, because I’m on the phone or in a meeting. Integration and extensibility are also key, because my Polycom video system also tells people when I’m busy. It doesn’t matter how I’m communicating, everyone can always tell at a glance what my availability is, and I can see the same thing for everyone with whom I work.  It makes life far more efficient.

What was the most challenging Live Communications Server/Office Communications Server/Lync Server problem you ever solved?

One of the most challenging issues I encountered was a scenario in which calls through the Edge Server resulted in dead air. This is somewhat common when troubleshooting early media issues, but in our case, it would happen in the middle of the call. Initially, the issue was reported in conference calls only, so we looked at the Audio/Video Multi-Point Control Unit (A/V MCU) but weren’t able to resolve the issue.

We did discover that it happened only to users who were connected to the call through the Edge Server. In looking at packet traces, the Real Time Protocol (RTP) packets ceased being received by the computer, even though they were still being sent from the A/V Edge Server interface. More interestingly, it didn’t impact the audio from that user. Instead, the audio stream to the silent/muted user was disrupted. If the user made noise (“Hello?”), the audio restarted, RTP packets were received, and the user received the inbound audio stream again. Because we saw the RTP packets being sent from the Edge Server but not received by the remote user, we determined that the firewall was the culprit.

As we looked through the various configuration settings available on the firewall, we discovered a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) timeout setting, which was set to 40 seconds. As we compared this to the user experience, we realized that the audio drops occurred about 38 seconds into the call (if we stayed completely quiet or were on mute). Sure enough, modifying that setting to 300 seconds cleared up the problem entirely. It also explained why we mainly saw this in conference calls—in two-party, calls it’s highly likely that someone will talk or at least make a noise every 40 seconds, but in conference calls, it was very common to be on mute for long periods of time. This caused RTP packets to not be sent during that time and the firewall’s UDP timeout would kick in.

Lync Server 2013 has just been announced. What feature are you most looking forward to?

Well, I work extensively with video at Polycom, so I’m excited about the new standards-based video functionality that Lync Server 2013 offers. Providing that rich experience at the desktop, plus standardization and ever-expanding integration really gives customers a broad choice of excellent experiences, especially in the heterogeneous UC environments that we typically encounter today.

What do you feel is your area of expertise, where you consider yourself a bit of a rock star?

Again, I’d have to say it’s video these days. I was a little ahead of the curve in entering the video industry (in terms of where the industry sits today for broad adoption of video in the enterprise), and it’s been fun to take a lot of what I knew from the Office Communications Server/Lync Server voice side and apply that to a new area of UC experiences. Recently, I’ve been involved in quite a few discussions about Scalable Video Coding (SVC), and it’s challenging and fun to take a lot of detailed knowledge and present it to an audience in a way that creates simple building blocks of knowledge.

When did you start your blog and what direction has it taken?

I started it in 2008 when I was doing a ton of Office Communications Server deployments. At the time, I published a lot of tactical tidbits that I learned during those deployments. I tend to publish short technical items and solutions as opposed to lengthy or multi-part articles on broad or complex topics. Over the last year or so, my blog publishing has decreased pretty significantly as I’ve done more speaking and my role has shifted away from day-to-day administration, troubleshooting, and deployment of UC solutions. I’ve been compiling topics that are more strategic in nature. In the future, you’ll likely see very different types of articles than what I published in the past.

Where are you from and what do you think makes your hometown/city great?

I live in Denver, Colorado and absolutely love the weather and vibe here. It has pretty much everything that the largest cities in the United States have, but it isn’t all that big (about 600,000 people in Denver and 2.5 million in the metro area), so getting around is easy.  There are about 300 days of sun and virtually no humidity all year, which makes even the hottest summer days very tolerable.

Mike, his wife and son (in the backpack!) and two dogs hiking in Wyoming

When you’re not dishing out quality technical know-how, what do you do for fun?

Of course, the other great thing about Colorado is the mountains. In winter, I’m an avid snowboarder, which was a major draw for my wife and I to move out here. My main sport in other seasons is softball, but I also enjoy tennis, camping, and have started brewing my own beer in the last year or so (Colorado has a great beer culture). We also have a one-year-old son now, so I like going hiking with him and the dogs and just generally spending time with him and my wife.


Thanks a lot for taking time out of your schedule to answer our questions, Mike! We really appreciate you sharing your knowledge, expertise, the story of your career thus far and most importantly your passion for Microsoft Lync within the community.

Make sure you come back next month for another Interview with a Lync Pro. If you have suggestions for interviewees, please leave them in the comments below.

 Additional Information

Lync Server Resources

We Want to Hear from You

Keywords: Lync MVP, interview, Mike Stacy, IT Pro, Lync Server

Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    香蕉减肥法早上吃香蕉配白开水,中餐、晚餐照常吃香蕉,也可以饿了就吃,直到吃饱为止,并在晚 自然美化脂酵素副作用 上9点钟之前前入睡。注意:早上不宜空腹吃香蕉,可以搭配一颗水煮蛋或一小片苏打饼干食用,这种搭配既健康减肥效果又好,自然美化脂酵素副作用。香蕉减肥原理:香蕉中富 自然美化脂酵素减肥效果怎么样呢?这个产品怎么样? 含水溶性纤维,可以加速肠胃蠕动,自然美化脂酵素减肥效果怎么样呢?这个产品怎么样?,刺激排便,用香蕉做早餐,既能控制热量的摄入,还能补充人体所需的维生素。用香蕉热控减肥法,可以有效削减赘肉类食用品的摄入

  2. Anonymous says:

    鏄竴椤瑰彜鑰佷紶缁熺殑涓尰鍏荤敓鏂规硶锛岄殢鐫�鎶�鏈殑寮�鍙戝拰鍙戝睍锛屼腑 爱茉莉减肥茶有副作用吗 鍖婚拡鐏镐篃琚敤鏉ヤ簡鍏荤敓銆備腑鍖婚拡鐏稿噺鑲ユ晥鏋滀笉閿欙紝骞朵笖杩樺仴搴峰畨鍏ㄧ豢鑹诧紝鑹剧伕鍑忚偉灞炰簬閽堢伕鍑忚偉鐨勪竴绉嶏紝瑕佺煡閬撴墡閽堢殑绌翠綅涓嶅悓锛屾瘡涓汉鑲ヨ儢鐨勪綋璐ㄤ笉鍚岋紝浜х敓鐨勫噺鑲ユ晥鏋滈兘鏄笉涓�鏍风殑銆� 涓�銆佸疄鑳栧瀷鑹剧伕鍑忚偉鍙栫┐ 1銆� 鍏冲厓銆傚畾浣嶏細鑴愪笅涓夊銆傚叿鏈夊己澹拰淇濆仴韬綋浣滅敤锛屽彲澧炲己鑵归儴鑲岀氦缁寸殑寮规

  3. Anonymous says:

    选择节食减肥方法完美身材,大家一定要明白一些减肥律条哦!减肥就是我们和身体永无休止的数字游戏–抛弃密 韩国mymi大肚贴官方网站是哪个 密麻麻的减肥计划书,停止阅读大段大段的减肥理论。减肥不如以数字为 韩国mymi大肚贴官方网站是什么 先。牢记数字,身体力行,减肥很简单!数字节食几律:4:每日4-6餐少吃多餐,促进新陈代谢。启动消化功能也是需要消耗热量的,平均来说,每天摄入热量的10%会用于消化功能。这提示我们可以增加进食次数,但并不意味着可以增进食量,韩国mymi大肚贴官方网站是哪个。小心:注意控制每天的总热量摄入

  4. Anonymous says:

    减肥茶选对时机喝了,就会达到想要的减肥效果,如果不遵循科学方法,那么减肥茶带来的只有伤害!经期的时 韩国mymi大肚贴的瘦身原理是什么 候是最不能喝减肥茶的,经期喝减肥茶伤不起,韩国mymi大肚贴的瘦身原理是什么,这是为什么呢?  经期喝茶容易加重 mymi瘦身贴与普通瘦身贴的区别 痛经、腰酸、头痛、精神紧张、乳房胀痛等经期综合症。  女性在经期,神经分泌调节会发生变化,或多或少都会有上述不适症状。要缓解这些状况,必须要保持情绪平和稳定,禁止服用一些令人亢奋的食物。  很多人喜欢喝减肥茶提神,mymi瘦身贴与普通瘦身贴的区别

  5. Anonymous says:

    本是受浙江的一位朋友所托去寻找一个老象牙朝板儿。由于是老物件,我 老料小叶紫檀手串 特地去了趟河北。因为在那里认识一些专门倒腾老物件的朋友。 老料小叶紫檀 结果老朝板儿没找到,却有了意外的收获。今年初结识了一位木友小李,热衷于老紫檀木料的收藏。由于对木质要求甚高,一直没有满足他的愿望。老紫檀在国内已很难见。我这里仅有的老紫檀只是佛珠,还是印度渠道,很不稳定。偶尔来那么一两小块木料,老料小叶紫檀手串,朋友们还得抢来抢去,给谁不给谁,一直令我为难。小李 老料小叶紫檀手串 出于无奈收藏了我一些老紫檀的珠子