Skype for Business Server 2019 / vNext – Ignite 2017

I have been very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend Ignite 2017 in sunny Orlando Florida, its my first time at ignite and all I can say is WOW.

It’s a great opportunity to network, meet those faces you see everyday online and just get a much better understanding of all products at a deep dive level.

I have just attended a session on Skype vNext, or as we now know Skype for Business Server 2019, the purpose of this post was to provide you all with the content that was shared and give you an insight into what’s coming;

For those customers that have invested in Server, you aren’t being forgotten about! Now would be a good idea to start to think about that shift to the Cloud of UC communications but there be at least (maybe maximum!) one more on premise server iteration – Skype for Business Server 2019

So, from Mid-2018, we can start to expect to see Office 2019 clients with a view to release, Late 2018. One big announcement was the fact that these clients will support a minimum of Windows 10 and will be available on in the C2R format

Skype for Business Server 2019

  • IT Pro and Voice Centric Release
  • Improved Teams Interoperability
  • Refreshed mainstream support
  • Quality Security and Performance fixes
  • Refreshed clients
  • Improved MAC client, finish the story
  • C2R clients

SfB 2019 Client will be backwards compatible with the Skye for Business Server 2015 AND Lync Server 2013 – allowing for deployment of new office clients and desktops OSes in parallel to server planning

Deployment Requirements (important!)

High level deployment requirements were released and included some significant announcements:

  • Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 support SIDE BY SIDE migration to Server 2019
  • SfB Server 2019 requires a minimum of Windows 2016 and SQL 2016
  • No Standard Edition in the next release
  • No in place upgrades,
  • Director Role has been dropped (although you could setup an empty EE pool and let it perform your auth and 301s)
  • The Online code effectively has been brought down and used as the basis for SfB Server 2019

Hybrid Value in 2019 Server

  • Don’t need to home users online but you do need a tenant!
  • We can give the on-premise users some of the same experiences
    • Same with admin experiences too
  • We will see a new hybrid Aware Office 365 Portal
  • Single portal for all Call analytics and reporting, one portal for all users, tailored
    • Teams users, SfB Server 2019 and SfBO users
  • Voicemail, Auto Attendants and Call queues, integrated with SfB Server 2019
    • Reduced Exchange Server dependency
  • Support for Hybrid Modern Auth (that’s already here)
  • Ensure interop between SfB and Teams with migration paths
  • Server 2019 will connect to the online portal to provide consistency
    • The new portal is hybrid aware

Meeting Migration Service

  • Scheduled meeting update service – replaces meeting migration tool
  • Works for users moving to SfBO from Server
  • Works for users adding PSTN conferencing to SfBO
  • Update for ignite: Users mailbox can be Exchange online or Server

SkypePreviews.com:

Now:

  • MMS with Exchange Server 2016
  • Hybrid Modern Auth

Coming Soon:

  • Customer Surveys for SfB Server 2019 – late 2017
  • SfB Server 2019 preview bits – Mid 2018

Stay tuned for more updates straight from Ignite 2017!

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Move User from Online to Server Fails

Issue:

When trying to move a user from Skype for Business Online to Skype for Business Server, the following error was being output in the Skype for Business Server Control Panel – “Index was outside the bounds of the array” – not the most helpful issue to troubleshoot!

Troubleshooting:

A customer had recently requested support for the migration to SfB Online to SfB Server for a subset of users.

After initially understanding why this migration scenario was taking place, I began to look at the configuration in its entirety:

  • All Skype for Business Servers were running the latest CU
  • The SfB Server Topology was correctly and successfully published with no warnings or errors
  • All firewall ports had been opened correctly
  • Public DNS was pointing to the on-premise estate, for all required records
  • A Shared SIP Address space had been enabled
  • The Skype for Business control panel Hybrid wizard confirmed “all prerequisites had been met”

When testing a move of a user myself, I too encountered the error the customer had been reporting, which was;

“Index was outside the bounds of the array” – not the most helpful issue to troubleshoot!

The same occurred too when trying to move a user using PowerShell, with the appropriate switches.

As we had not implemented the solution, it was time to take a step back and look at all “moving components” within this scenario, including AAD Connect and ADFS.

Resolution:

When viewing the attributes that were being synchronised from the customers AD to Azure AD, I noticed that none of the MS-RTC* Attributes were included… hmmmm…..

After speaking with the customer, I then determined that Skype for Business Server had been install AFTER the installation of AAD Connect!

We decided to “Refresh the Directory Schema” using the AAD Connect Wizard, o ensure that our SfB attributes were being synced.

Following on from the refresh, we could then complete the procedure of moving a user from Online to Server, for those that needed to be migrated.

Skype for Business Broadcast Meetings Part 1

Unless you have been hiding under a gigantic UC rock, you will have no doubt seen the recent announcement from Microsoft around Skype for Business Broadcast Meetings.

Further enforcing the agile software release strategy of Cloud first, On-Premise second – should you fall into the latter category, this is the first Skype for Business feature release that is explicitly going to depend on hybrid connectivity being in place.

In Lync Server 2013, Hybrid connectivity always felt like an afterthought, something to bolt on, to help you get from A to B but there was never any real feature benefit from doing so (IMO – it was purely for migration purposes).

With Skype for Business, this has now changed – there will actually be scenarios where hybrid connectivity is required to not only allow for selective user placement and migrations, but also to enable specific functionality, Meeting Broadcast being the first.

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