The Web is abuzz with talk about Lync Server’s rebranding. I’m just as curious as the rest of you. (If anyone wants to weigh in, please feel free to comment with your thoughts/wild speculations.)

After reading more from fellow IT professionals, journalists “in the know” and the vast pool of brains we call ‘social media’, I think it’s time for some predictions.

(Yes, I was wrong about the Skype-Lync integration path, but humor me here! Predictions are fun!)

Upgrades

Microsoft claims the on-premise server upgrade will require “no new hardware.” For the most part, I believe this will be true. A solid Lync Server 2013 hardware setup should easily handle some additional Skype features (e.g., accessing the Skype Directory).ID-100103810

The only place I could see more resources being useful, would be the Mediation Server role. Which is almost guaranteed to change in 2015, to accommodate the Skype access changes.

Licensing

Here I pretty much have nothing but questions. Will Skype for Business have the same CAL structure Lync Server 2013 does? Will users need to use their Microsoft account to sign in?

Licensing costs & implementation issues strangled multiple Lync Server installations back when 2013 was released. We had one client who almost gave up on Lync entirely, after they had to pay for enterprise CALs and then add more CALs later on. Microsoft needs to give details on Skype for Business licensing ASAP.

The Issues

We’ll start seeing the issues appear in the second half of 2015. That’s when businesses will start moving toward Skype for Business. Blog commenters have pointed out several points where they suspect they’ll run into trouble – configuring for firewall rules or proxies, SIP trunking, communication between on-premise Lync users and off-site Skype users. We’ll watch for these.

The Office 365 Question

Announcements have indicated that the Lync Online service will also receive a Skype for Business update. Very little detail beyond that, for now. But I have a concern here…because of another announcement made last week.

Microsoft just released a beta of Skype for Web. A Web-based Skype version, with Skype for Business coming available in an online service too…this is a setup for serious confusion. I hope Microsoft has cross-communication between Skype for Web and Skype for Business completely ironed out.

Anticipated Reactions

There are still some organizations using Lync Server 2010. So, I imagine some of you will stick with Lync Server 2013 a while too. Moving to Skype for Business will be a very gradual process over the next 3 years.

I predict that the reactions to Skype for Business will lean slightly negative. At least next year. We have a lot of disparate groups who’ll weigh in on the transition:

  • Skype users who may not know about the new Lync tools available
  • Businesses who view Skype as “consumer only”
  • Lync 2013 users who don’t like or are confused by the new interface
  • And so on.

Personally, I’m not completely thrilled with the name change. But I’ll withhold judgment until I have a chance to test the software. Actual performance is always more telling.

Where Help is Needed Now

We have the luxury of time right now. We know a new version of Lync is coming, and we have an idea of what to expect when it arrives.

If I consider these predictions, what I think is needed now is:

  1. A better understanding of the new features.
  2. A map of how the old Lync features will transition (if at all).
  3. Performance measurements on the new on-premise server and the online service.

We will aim to bring you all of these, here at the Lync Insider Blog.

Speaking of which, last week’s poll results are split almost evenly between:
–Lync Insider
–Skype for Business Insider
–Inside Unified Communications

There’s a couple hilarious write-in votes too. Thanks guys, those were great. I appreciate all the responses so far. We’ll aim for the new blog name – if we do change it! – around the first of the year.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll see you back here in December for the 2014 home-stretch.

How will Licensing Work? Which Issues will Appear? Predictions on the Coming Skype for Business
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6 thoughts on “How will Licensing Work? Which Issues will Appear? Predictions on the Coming Skype for Business

  • November 22, 2014 at 5:59 am
    Permalink

    Great fun indeed, these predictions.

    We’re considering a Lync implementation for about 40 users (small company) in Q2 of 2015. What would be your recommendation, do as planned or move the project out a bit and go with Skype for Business? The implementation should be complete sometime in September.

    I’m thinking it’s better to have a clean install then an upgrade from Lync 2013 to Skype for Business, but going with Skype for Business has dangers on its own.

    Reply
    • November 25, 2014 at 10:59 am
      Permalink

      Thanks for the comment, Cypher. Let me ask you this: Are you running Lync Server 2010 or another VoIP system currently? If so, then I would recommend waiting and doing a clean install of Skype for Business.

      If not, I would say proceed with your Lync Server 2013 implementation. Microsoft is touting “no new hardware” for Skype for Business; if you install solid server hardware for Lync, the upgrade should proceed from there pretty smoothly. Plus this way you have a fully-tested Lync system in place, while the initial Skype for Business deployment/bug fixes run through.

      I’d be very interested in blogging about your implementation, whichever way you go. Please email me at chris.williams@planetmagpie.com if you’re amenable.

      If you need further advice or assistance with the implementation, please contact us at support@planetmagpie.com. Best of luck there!

      Reply
  • November 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm
    Permalink

    Inside Unified communications is more universal, buy you can stick with “lync insider” this will give some maturity to the site.
    but as for the main topic of this post I suppose you’re overthinking the problem.
    I believe there will be a single client capable of supporting protocols of both worlds.
    As for behavior – please remember MS Office and the way it allows you to login with corp creds and personal creds at the same time – I expect similar thing in new Skype-Lync client.
    Server side most definitely will be Lync’ish with some updates and some out of the box integration with Skype (currently you need to optin first and then enable federation) optionally with possibility to relay skype traffic, with policies to control skype features (for which currently you have a separate admx GPO file). And with a way to disable skype integration at all in order to satisfy conservative deployments.

    Licensing should not change – skype is a free for all product, so MS is just pushing its expensive (and losing ground to Viber/Whatsup/etc) service

    Skypeout could be integrated into Lync which is very logical allowing people without their own trunk to PSTN to call landlines/mobiles out of the box.
    O365 skype web client – is just another client and should not be considered as confusing as you think 🙂

    Cheers,
    Romans

    Reply
    • November 25, 2014 at 11:03 am
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      Romans,

      Thanks for the thorough response! It may be that I’m overthinking. What you’ve said here is good for everyone to consider during such transitions.

      You may two good points: How will Microsoft position the new Skype for Business against other VoIP-related offerings? And what form will the Skype integrations take on the server side? Both questions to explore in the coming months.

      Reply
  • December 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm
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    Working in a university environment, Lync 2013 is not used much. Our environment is AD, but an academic environment is very wide open with devices, OSes and recording, hosting and streaming sessions requirements. Universities are very OS agnostic. Lync has a long way to go concerning this. Microsoft does not develop its platforms at the same pace. Windows features come out first and in OS X, the delivery of the same features is years behind or just never comes. At least Skype has a Windows, OS X and Linux client. I’m hoping ‘Skype for Business’ cleans up some of this problem. I’m not holding my breath. So far we have found Blue Jeans is very agnostic and can be used in Windows, Mac, Linux, mobile devices, various browser, room systems and so on. I’m in favor of Microsoft combing Lync and Skype. I think it is a great move, but we have to wait and see how it plays out.

    Reply
    • December 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm
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      Paul,
      Thanks for commenting. Right now it’s too early to say just how far Skype for Business will go on cleanup between the Lync and Skype user bases. We will have inter-communication between Lync/Skype users, which is one helpful update. I suspect more are coming in a similar vein. As soon as I hear about more developments, you’ll find them here on the blog!

      Reply

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