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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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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Office 365 E5 – Cloud PBX

So as Day 1 Keynote has now taken place, several additional anouncements have been made; with respect to UC, the most significant being the announcement of Office 365 E5 Licensing SKU…

From a recent summary email;

New Office 365 E5 offering: In October, we will introduce a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite. The new E5 plan will include Cloud PBX, analytics, Power BI, and advanced security capabilities, providing partners with a complete productivity and communications offering for their enterprise customers.

Stay tuned for more updates as they come through!

 

Skype for Business Mobility App Released

We were teased with the inclusion of an introduction screen in a recent update to Lync 2013 Mobile for Windows Phone, but as of Monday 6th July, version 6.0.1430.0 has been released – Skype for Business for Windows Phone.

Skype4B Intro Skype4B Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the moment, it seems to only be available for Windows Phone, with pretty much the same features, with an updated UI as it seems, but I will update if and when I find any differences, also as and when the iOS and Android apps are released – Happy Monday!

 

Lync Phone Edition Devices – Not updating

During a recent engagement, I had ran into an issue updating the firmware version on Lync Phone Edition Devices.

I initially kicked off with checks around DNS, Certificates, Ports and everything checked out but phones would still not update.

Test Devices had been configured correctly (using serial number and one using MAC) – still no joy.

The IIS logs are extremely useful; Jeff Schertz has excellent blog posts on Configuring LPE for Lync and Updating LPE devices which go into reviewing the IIS logs. In summary, it enables you to confirm whether devices are communicating with the device update site running on within the front-end pool, or in our case – NOT.

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Lync Mobile iOS Updated – 5.7.563

For those that may have not noticed, or have automatic updates configured – Microsoft have released Lync Mobile 5.7.563 to the iOS AppStore.

Unfortunately, release note list “bug fixes”, so not the most information to go on – has anyone noticed any changes?

Hopefully the new Skype for Business Mobile Client will be released sooner rather than later, considering the mobile client is a significant priority, I would have like to have seen its release, alongside side its desktop cousin.

Windows Phone is currently running at 5.9.1359.0.

Can anyone confirm Androids current version in the comments below?

Free prize (undecided) for the first person that does!

[UPDATED]

Thanks Richard for confirming the android version number (5.5.8975) – do you like chocolate? 🙂

Updating Skype for Business Front End Servers

Following on from my previous post, performing an In Place upgrade, I thought I would put together an overview of the simplified pool update process.

The Skype for Business Server management experience has introduced some very useful commands and processes. Firstly, the In-Place upgrade process itself, which introduced you to the Smart Setup and the Start-CsPool command, all which on their own reduce the operational loads significantly!

In this post, I will walk you through the simplified process of performing maintenance on your Skype for Business Enterprise Edition Front End Servers.

Now to summarise the overall process, I will let these two images do all the talking, on the left is the Lync Server 2013 Patching Process, on the right the same for Skype for Business Server 2015

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