Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business – Ignite – A roundup from Twitter

The biggest news from Microsoft Ignite is the announcement of Microsoft Teams replacing Skype for Business Online.

This has sent the Community, Skype for Business service providers and Integrators around the globe into a bit of a rumour mill.

So the key point is Teams will replace Skype for Business Online.  Microsoft will be announcing a new version of Skype for Business Server 2019 (Formerly LCS, OCS & Lync)  that we all know and love next year, however this will be for On-Prem customers (I.E. not in a Microsoft datacentre).  You will be able to have a Skype for Business and Teams Hybrid deployment.

In this post I am sharing some of the tweets that were following Ignite with some of my own thoughts and comments.

Persistent Chat is probably the most obvious feature that will be removed from the Skype for Business product.  I’ve done a lot of Lync/Skype for Business deployments and most customers opt out of installing pChat, where I have installed it the customer hasn’t used it.  Microsoft will also want to push customers towards the Teams client.

The next SfB feature to take a hit is Survivable Branch Appliances.  From Ignite it would appear the new version of Skype for Business server will support SBA’s, but there won’t be a new version.  Effectively SBAs will still be running on Lync 2013, SfB 2015 codebase.

This won’t be missed, it’s incredible Lync 2013 and SfB 2015 shipped with Silverlight Control Panels when Microsoft announced the end of Silverlight in 2012!  Viva PowerShell anyway.

Now this is a bold move, the new Skype for Business server version will require Microsoft Office Click to Run (The version you download from Office 365).   Most customers I deal with are still on Office 2013, some Office 2010!

The Director role is another part of SfB getting the chop.  Deployed infrequently, although some Security Consultants will insist on a Director Pool to mitigate HTTPS traffic from the Internet hitting the Front End Pool.

No more Standard Edition.  This is very interesting, is this to force smaller businesses that can’t afford the infrastrucutre for Enterprise Edition onto O365 Teams?  It’s unclear yet whether single or dual server Front End pools will be supported.  Since Lync 2013 its been 3 Front Ends minimum per pool which can be quite expensive for a small firm.

UPDATE 27/09/2017, It’s being reported that single server FE pools will be supported but not 2 server pools with 3 servers minimum required for HA.  The key difference between SfB 2015 Standard Edition and SfB 2019 will be a dependency on a dedicated SQL backend.  This isn’t a huge deal as most Standard Edition customers deploy a SQL backend for Monitoring and Archiving databases.

No in-place upgrade to SfB 2019.  This is no different to how OCS > Lync 2010 > Lync 2013 migrations occured.   Certainly makes migrations more complicated and need spare infrastructure in place temporarily during migration.

It looks like you may need a Skype for Business server and Teams Hybrid to utilise all available SfB features.  However, this is also true today with features like Skype Broadcast Meeting.

This is no surprise, there’s no Contact Centre integration with Skype for Business Online today.   Big companies require Contact Centres, Call Recording & PCI Compliance which SfB Online and Teams can not do.  This leaves a big hole in the Teams feature set for large businesses which will require a Hybrid to take full advantage of Telephony and Collaboration.

This will be music to the ears of traditional Telcos.  The Microsoft vision is to connect your own SIP Trunks into Teams, this in my opinion is a very clever move from Microsoft.  Telcos could move their customers to O365 Teams and keep the lines and minutes revenue that they would otherwise miss out on moving their customer to SfBo Cloud PBX.

Conclusion

The announcement of Teams from Microsoft is very exciting but also scary for someone like myself that has specialised in Skype for Business (I was once a Jack of All Trades).  However I do take a lot of positives from Ignite.  Teams / SfBo needs a lot of work, but if the future is an Office 365 platform that allows Direct SIP Trunking and provides APIs for service providers to wrap in Contact Centres, Call Recording, PCI/GDPR solutions (Maybe from Azure) then we’re in a good place.

There will be a lot of pain points for businesses to transition from SfBo to Teams, I’m still not sure that everyone in a business requires Teams.  It’s designed around Creativity and Collaboration whereas most workers just need a telephone with IM&P, but we will see.

Author: Chris Hayward

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1 Comment

  1. Very good roundup Chris, great work! Thanks for summarising those and yes, very interesting about Skype vNext! Waiting to get hold of a roadmap now.

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