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Chris Stegh /

Skype Server 2019 hits Public Preview

Microsoft released Skype for Business Server 2019 to preview (beta) for commercial customers on 7/24.  There’s no secret that future R&D will be towards Microsoft Teams. Therefore, Enabling’s guidance to clients is to assume that this will be the last version of Server on premises.

Some key points of the release:

  1. Migration is a side-by-side upgrade, unlike the upgrade from Lync 2013 to SfB 2015. This is due to some pretty significant changes to front-end/back-end server architecture (like no SQL Mirroring support). There is a way to export/import the current SfB 2015 or Lync 2013 topology.
  2. The prerequisites require quite current technology (Windows Server 2016 OS only, Forest/Domain functional level at Windows 2012, 64GB RAM on Enterprise Front-Ends)
  3. Enterprise Edition and Standard Edition Front-End servers are supported

New capabilities include:

  1. The ability to upload call quality data to Office 365 to get a "consolidated view of calling diagnostics," instead of having to store the data locally.
  2. Simplified migration to Teams
  3. Cloud Auto-Attendant, which offers clients a way to use Office 365’s Phone System AA features instead of AAs on Skype Server. This would ease the eventual transition to Phone System.
  4. Integration to Cloud Voicemail. Exchange Unified (voicemail) Messaging will no longer be offered in Exchange Server 2019 or Exchange Online. Cloud Voicemail provides a migration path for clients to stay with Skype Server on premises but keep voicemail in Microsoft’s newest cloud service.  The user experience should be near parity (still integrated with Outlook, but with a different backend).

Important exclusions/caveats:

  1. It’s unlikely end users will see added features nor a new client experience.
  2. As noted, Exchange Unified (voicemail) Messaging will no longer be offered in Exchange Server 2019 or Exchange Online. Cloud Voicemail is the path forward.
  3. Organizations using Archiving/Monitoring need to pay special attention to requirements and caveats:
  4. Persistent Chat, SQL Mirroring, and XMPP functionality are no longer available in Skype for Business Server 2019, but they can be continued in a coexistence environment if they were previously deployed in a legacy environment.

The download initiates from this link.

Work with our team of Cloud Computing Consultants who have done this so many times they know all of the “minefields” to prevent missteps.