Collaboration Services 3.8 - Deployment Guide

About this document About Collaboration Services Architecture and functionality Before you begin Platform considerations Pre-Installation planning Prepare for use Collaboration Services upgrade Installation checklists Re-Installing Collaboration Services Troubleshooting

Publication and subscription

When a forest administrator publishes a collection, the collection becomes available for subscription to the forests specified by the publishing forest administrator.

When another synchronization partner’s administrator subscribes to a collection, Collaboration Services creates a stub object (either by creating a new, disabled mail-enabled user account, group, or contact, or by reusing an existing object) for each member of the collection in Active Directory. (If calendar information is published for the collection's object, a mailbox-enabled user account is created and the mailbox is only initially created when there is calendar data to sync.

During this process, Collaboration Services automatically tracks synchronization conflicts and informs administrators, allowing quick resolution so that conflicts never affect users’ workflow.

If free/busy information was published for the collection’s objects, it is also applied on the Exchange server, but only as soon as the corresponding object is created in Active Directory.

Before a forest subscribes to a collection, the only information available for the forest’s administrator is the collection name, a short collection description provided by the collection creator, and the publishing forest’s description. A collection’s membership (that is, the objects it contains) is available only after its administrator subscribes to the collection. By subscribing to a collection, branch administrator can control which objects and attributes from a collection are applied to his or her forest on per object and per-attribute basis.

The stub objects for each collaboration partner are created in the dedicated OUs (within the OU specified during the setup).

You can monitor the stub objects as follows:

You can monitor the creation of free/busy and calendar information using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Web Access.

Automatic synchronization of changes

The synchronization service performs periodic scans of the Active Directory and Exchange data in each forest to detect any modifications to objects free/busy or calendar information. If the modified objects or free/busy information belong to a published collection’s objects, the changes are collected. Thus, all changes made to the properties and free/busy or calendar information of a collection’s source objects (users, groups, and contacts) are tracked by Collaboration Services and all updates are automatically sent to the collection’s subscribers without requiring administrators to perform any actions. Incremental (delta) synchronization is used for sending updates, along with compression, resulting in very little bandwidth usage.

If some of the collection’s objects are deleted, their stubs will be automatically removed from all forests subscribing to the collection. If new objects fall into the synchronization scope (for example, new object is created in the published container), corresponding new stubs will be automatically created in all forests subscribing to the collection.

The HQ forest maintains a list of all collections that administrators can subscribe to, and distributes initial and update synchronization packets between subscribing branches. The synchronization data flow depends on which forest’s objects were modified:

Synchronized groups

Collaboration Services supports synchronized groups: distribution groups whose membership is synchronized across all forests participating in collaboration. A group owner can add stub objects from other forests to any group. When a synchronized group is published to other forests, the group’s stub is created and its membership is re-calculated in every subscribing forest accordingly, with the original objects replacing the stubs.

Communication among forests

All the instances of Collaboration Services installed in different forests communicate with each other using SMTP, which is a native mail exchange protocol for Exchange servers. To reduce traffic, all synchronization data is compressed before it is sent. Then the data is put into regular email messages, which are encrypted, signed, and sent to other synchronization partners.

To provide guaranteed delivery, Collaboration Services maintains a service email message history list. All messages are stored until their delivery is confirmed by the synchronization partner. If message delivery is not confirmed within the specified time interval, the messages are re-sent.

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