Monday, March 2, 2015

Skype for Business Readiness Series (3/15)

Today I joined the third session of the Skype for Business Readiness WebCast Series and the topic for today was Reference Architecture and Design Considerations.

The Webcast was recorded and will be made available offline within a month from today and also the slides will be available for download one month post the session.

Today Thomas Binder was presenting. He started with some general guidelines around planning and then continued with going through all the different server roles and details around pools, routing groups and topologies.

When you have a new idea on how to implement Skype for business: think "is it a good idea", rather than "will it work". Just because something works does not automatically mean it is a good idea.

Some future features will require some sort of connection to the cloud, which is why hybrid solutions might be more commonplace in S4B than in Lync.

And as one of the persons answering the questions stated: "things may change anytime around RTM."

Anyhow, here are the 45 QnAs I collected today:
(Updated information in pink.)

New features

Is SQL Server Enterprise Edition required for the new Call Quality Dashboard?
No, the SQL server edition can be Standard, Enterprise or BI. There will be some differences in performance, and more info on this will come in the documentation. There is no technical restriction on collocating CQD with other S4B backend servers. Administrators can make the decision based on the spare capacity available on the S4B backend servers. Again, there will be performance considerations (especially around memory and CPU) but more information on this will be made available later this year.

Will S4B support Windows Server 10 at RTM?
No, not at RTM, however, support for Windows Server 10 is planned for a post-RTM cumulative update.

Is there a dependency on Exchange 2013 to deploy S4B?
Features like server side conversation history and auto accept require Exchange 2013. The following features require Exchange 2013 already with Lync 2013: High Definition Photos, Archiving to Exchange, Unified Contact Store, and the ability to schedule Skype Meetings from Outlook Web Application.

What is the auto accept feature for S4B mobility?
Accept incoming messages automatically just like desktop clients.

What are the firewall requirements so that the Skype Address book may be searched from a S4B Client?
For Skype Directory Search, the Edge and Pool must be running S4B. Client to Pool (TCP 443), Pool to Edge (Port 4443) and for Edge to Skype Directory Search (TCP 443)

The new VIS role, is that just video interoperability or does that include content (one or two way)?
It is video content only.

Can the VIS Server Role be collocated?

Will DNS load balancing be supported by the same roles in S4B as in Lync 2013?
Yes, the same roles as Lync 2013 and the new VIS role support DNS Load Balancing.

Can VIS be used in a Lync 2013 environment?
VIS needs a Skype for Business FrontEnd as its next hop. However, users do not need to be homed in this pool to leverage the role.

Will Lync 2013 based SBAs support S4B?
Yes, Lync 2013 SBAs are supported by S4B Pools.

Is the SQL AlwaysOn configuration part of the S4B Powershell cmdlets or topology builder (similar to SQL mirroring)?

Will SQL AlwaysOn work for Lync 2013 as well?
No, this is a new feature for upgraded pools after being migrated to Skype for Business.

Is SQL Server Enterprise Edition required in future SQL releases to build an AlwaysOn environment?
Yes, this is a SQL Enterprise edition feature.

Is it possible to migrate from SQL Mirroring to SQL AlwaysOn?

Can we first upgrade Lync 2013 to S4B and then Windows 2012 to Windows 2012 R2?
In-place OS upgrades are not supported if Lync or S4B roles are already installed.

Can S4B coexist in a topology where Lync 2013 FrontEnds are utilizing Lync 2010 Edge servers but no Lync 2010 FrontEnds exist anymore?
No, S4B cannot be installed where there are both 2013 and 2010 Pools of any kind. You will need to upgrade the 2010 Edge servers to 2013 Edge servers and remove the 2010 Edge servers in topology before deploying S4B.

Will there be a planning tool for Skype for Business like for Lync 2013?
Yes there will be a planning tool for S4B.

Unchanged features

What is the preferred Microsoft product reverse proxy?
Microsoft do not recommend any specific reverse proxy, but rather direct customers to the UCOIP site that contains a list of hardware that has been tested for Lync/S4B. An internal Microsoft team will be testing Windows Server 2012 R2 Web Application Proxy for S4B on behalf of the UCOIP.

Will it be possible for the Mobile clients to manage the contact lists (add/remove contacts)?
If your server environment is Office 365 (Lync Online) then this is already supported. With the upcoming server release, this will be supported for all mobile clients.

Will the Web Scheduler remain in S4B?
Yes, the web scheduler is supported in S4B.

Remote Call Control (RCC) is deprecated for S4B and is not supported for the S4B client UI. Can RCC still be used in a S4B system?
RCC is still available through the S4B client using the legacy Lync skin. RCC functionality on server side remains.

Will S4B integrate with Lync Room System?
Yes, LRS integrates the same way with S4B Server as with Lync 2013.

Is the Director still an available role in S4B?

Do we still need to go through the PIC process to enable federation to consumer Skype?
For Skype for business on Premise, yes; for Skype for business Online no, enabling it within your tenant handles Skype for Consumer provisioning automatically.

What is the minimum functional level for active directory?
It is the same as for Lync 2013, No AD schema extensions forest or domain preps are necessary when moving from Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business.

Does the "large meeting" support still require an empty FE pool?
Yes, this is still a requirement.

In a hybrid environment, to take advantage of Enterprise Voice modalities do these users need to be homed in the on premises pool?

Can you have both virtualized and hardware servers in the same S4B environment?
Yes as long as they are not in the same pool or in paired pools. All FE servers within one Enterprise Pool and also within a Paired Pool need to be configured the same; either all virtual or all physical.

Can we still use msRTCSIP-GroupingID attribute to partition the Global Address book?
There has been no change in functionality regarding this attribute.

Can multiple S4B pools share the same SQL back-end?
Like Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business EE pools cannot be co-located.

Is SQL AlwaysOn supported across WANs?
All replicas in a SQL AlwaysOn Availability Group for a S4B pool must be connected to the same subnet.

Is SQL Server 2008 R2 supported for S4B?
Yes, SQL Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 2.

Does S4B have an XMPP gateway on the Edge Server?
Yes, and there are not any changes to the XMPP support.

Are there any changes to RBAC (Role Based Access Control)?
No, no changes in RBAC.

Could we use the normal consumer Skype client to connect to Skype for Business Server, especially for clients on other operating system?
No. A Skype for Business Client is required to connect to a Skype for Business Server system.

Is S4B supported on Azure servers?
S4B roles are not supported running on Azure services.

Are different versions of the OS supported within a Pool e.g. Front End 1 on Windows 2008R2; Front End 2 on Windows 2012; Front End 3 on Windows 2012R2?
No, this is not supported.

Will a SIP trunk connection still require a stand-alone mediation server?
If you plan to deploy a dual-homed server with an internal NIC and a PSTN NIC (for SIP traffic to SIP provider), then yes, the mediation role must be standalone to be supported.

Features "missing"

Will busy on busy be in S4B?
No, busy on busy is not targeted for this release.

In consumer Skype, it is possible to pay for call credits to make calls over Skype to PSTN. Is this function, e.g. Calls to PSTN over Skype network going to be made available in Skype for Business Online at RTM or in future releases?
Not in this release and we cannot comment on future releases.

Will SefaUtil be implemented in PowerShell?
No, not at this time.

Will pool failover support RGS and CPS now?
No, this will not be supported.

Are Wildcard certificates on the Edge Server supported with S4B?
No, there are no plans to support wildcard certs on Edge servers.

Is additional NICs on a FrontEnd (for a management LAN) supported?
Multiple NICs on the S4B servers are an unsupported configuration for this release.

Will Windows Fabric version 3 be supported with Lync 2013?
No, this is only supported in Skype for Business.


  1. Session recordings are already available at:

  2. ok, looks like you have to register somehow, but that is good - much quicker than a month - thanks!

  3. Can a new S4B Enterprise FE pool use the same backend SQL server as an existing Lync 2013 Enterprise FE pool?