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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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.

Continue reading

Lync Mobile – Now Add Contacts (iOS/WP)

Now please someone correctly if I’m severely behind the times with this one, but whilst having a play around with Lync Mobile running on iOS I noticed a new section appear in my contacts list, added by as well as a notification in the contacts section;

Added by Section

Added by Section

Contact Notification

Contact Notification

I am easily pleased….

so when contacts add you to their contact list, as does the Desktop client, the mobile client now also provides you with notification. Expanding the group obviously shows you who has added you; Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Skype for Business Server 2015 In-Place Upgrade

Good News – Skype for Business Server 2015 RTM components have been released!!

Bad News for some – VLSC\MSDN Subscription required at the moment 😦

As I haven’t created a walkthrough post yet, I thought there would be no better time to get one on the board and kick off with my experience whilst migrating Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business Server 2015.

Now an unfortunately a lab demon haunted me (in the form of a Windows Update to Server Technical Preview) on release day (1st May) that completely killed my lab, I did have mirrored databases along with persistent chat and an OWA farm deployed and it would have been interesting to see the Persistent Chat process.

For the purposes of this walkthrough this is what I will be starting off with:

Continue reading

Lync Networking Guide v2.3 Released!

Microsoft have released a new version to the [Amazing] Lync Network Planning, Monitoring and Troubleshooting guide.

I have recently passed 74-335 Network Readiness Assessment and must say that understanding the Microsoft Network Assessment Methodology along with this guide was absolutely crucial.

Now at v2.3, it seems to have been updated with additional Wi-Fi and QoS Guidance, the following extract has been taken from the download site;

“An updated version of the Networking Guide is now available including the new Microsoft Call Quality Methodology Scorecard for Lync Server. This scorecard should be used to implement the Lync Call Quality Methodology or CQM as outlined in Appendix C. CQM is a holistic way to systematically define and assert call quality based upon the methods outlined in the Networking Guide. CQM divides a Lync implementation into ten discrete areas that impact quality, defining targets and a remediation plan for each one. CQM is a framework to tackle call quality problems – you can modify or extend it to address the particular conditions on your network. Appendix D includes techniques to troubleshoot poor streams that CQM surfaces.

The Networking Guide download now includes the list of Lync Server 2010 and an updated list of Lync Server 2013 KHIs to validate server health, a complete set of CQM queries, and a PowerShell script file to collect KHI data.”

Download Microsoft Lync Network Planning, Monitoring and Troubleshooting Guide

Skype for Business

And so the announcement is [finally] made….. the next version of Lync, set for 1H 2015 will become ‘Skype for Business’. I think we all knew that this was going to happen, it was just a matter of when. I think we are all also in agreement that is the logical step for Microsoft to take, considering the audience and global presence that Skype has.

Skype for Business

Me personally, I am keen to see the approach taken to upgrades (in place hopefully!), content sharing and federation now that we are essentially “one platform”.  With new client and server releases and updates to Office 365 there are busy times ahead for all of us!

Check out the Skype blog for more info!

Lync Mobile Update

Continuingly introducing improvements to Microsoft Lync Mobile, a further update was released yesterday introducing improved Lobby Controls and Gallery View functionality. See the following link, download from the respective App Store.

http://blogs.office.com/2014/08/26/lync-mobile-update-gallery-view-ipad-participant-management-ipad-iphone/

Gallery View for the blog post

Update Roundup! (CU5 + Clients!)

Apologies for quite a delayed response, I have just returned from a visit to Bodrum (very entertaining and lively) so currently playing catch-up to life!

Whilst I was away, several updates have been released, which are summarised below:

1. Lync Server 2013 CU5 and Supporting KB Article

Of significance, is the inability to install CU5 on any Lync Servers that have only the Core Components and/or Administrative tools installed, as pointed out by Greg in this post Lync Server 2013 CU5 OcsCore Update Fails and also confirmed by Microsoft in KB2993188

2. Microsoft Lync Client KB2881070 (15.0.4641.1000) kb article and 32bit/64bit packages

Prerequisites:

 

List of resolved issues:

Additionally, this update resolves the Lync 2013 issues that are described in the following KB articles:

Known Issues:

 

 

 

Lync Room System – June Update 15.10.0

I’m lucky enough to have hands on time (for quite a while now) with the Large Smart Lync Room system. I do plan on doing a full review, so keep an eye out for that.

For those out there with LRS deployed, you will be happy to hear the latest updates have been released, taking it now to version 15.10.0.

LRS Console Screen (SMART)

Firstly, a more subtle change, but the version numbering is no longer in the Major.Minor (15.XX) format. Microsoft have now opted for a more granular approach, now formatting the version numbers as per the image below (15.XX.XX)

LRS Version Numbering

Secondly – ROOM PC VIEW….

We now have the ability to constantly stay connected to a laptop device, which may sound like a simple thing to do, but without understanding the way LRS works prior to 15.10.0, its usefulness will be taken for granted.

In prior versions, when connecting a laptop device to the Lync Room System, the display was automatically output and it would be solely down to the laptop OS to control whether the screen was displayed or not.

Now whilst attending the laptop this may not be a problem but consider the scenario where a client may wish to permanently connect a given display card to LRS and control the whether or not to display that device from LRS, without travelling to separate rooms to do so. Microsoft have released Room PC View, which allows us to do exactly that.

LRSUPDATE07

What Room PC View does, is allows administrators to optionally display a new button on the LRS Console, that allows for the connected display device to be displayed (or not) all from the LRS Console Screen. In the image above, the button is greyed out as I do not have anything connected to the HDMI/VGA input.

Following the updates – don’t forget to turn it on under the admin settings!

LRS Admin Settings

Important – If the update is to be deployed via SCOM – LRS must be joined to the same domain as per the below KB article.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2933446

I see many functional reasons as to why this would be required, if you have been using, or have used LRS – let me know what you think!