Lync Server 2013 is a unified communications platform that allows organizations of any size to create a centrally managed and secure communications environment that supports a BYOD computing model with instant messaging (IM), real-time presence, audio/video and web conferencing with application sharing and whiteboard, and both IP-based and PSTN telephony across a broad range of desktop and mobile devices. Lync Server 2013 enables many of these capabilities to surface seamlessly within popular applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Office desktop and Office 365, facilitating productive collaboration throughout an enterprise without requiring people to master complicated new tools.
Lync Server 2013 is a powerful elaboration of Microsoft's product family previously known as Office Communications Server and currently called Skype for Business. Lync Server 2013 builds on Lync Server 2010 and adds a wide array of new features including a new distributed systems architecture. The Standard Edition of Lync Server 2013 supports all functionality for all workloads except disaster recovery and high availability, which requires the Enterprise Edition. Deployment options include a full-ownership environment hosted by your own data center and able to integrate natively with the public switched telephone phone network (PSTN), a cloud environment based on subscriptions to Lync Online/Office 365 and relying on third-party PSTN integration, or a hybrid environment that combines your in-house fully-owned Lync Server 2013 infrastructure with subscription-based Lync Online/Office 365 and allows in-house users to access your existing PSTN connections.
A hybrid Lync Server 2013/Lync Online deployment allows users to share the same SIP domain
Progent's Microsoft-certified unified messaging consultants and system integrators can help you assess the business benefits of Lync Server 2013, design an in-house, cloud-based (with Lync Online) or hybrid topology suitable for your current and future goals, deploy Lync Server 2013 in a way that expedites your return on investment, and provide custom online and onsite training to your management staff and end users. Progent offers expertise in critical components of a Lync Server 2013 deployment including Windows Server, SQL Server Express, and Exchange, and Progent can help you integrate Lync Server 2013 with key Microsoft applications including Outlook, PowerPoint and SharePoint. Progent's disaster recovery experts can help you configure Lync Server 2013 Enterprise Edition for high availability, and Progent's certified network security consultants can help you design and validate a security environment for Lync Server 2013 that complies with regulatory requirements.
If you are currently running Lync Server 2013, Progent can provide online and onsite consulting and technical support and can also help you plan and carry out an efficient Skype for Business migration.
New Features in Lync Server 2013
Lync Server 2013 includes many enhancements to Lync Server 2010 covering diverse areas including high-availability topology, management, conferencing, enterprise voice, persistent chat, remote access, availability, virtualization, monitoring, archiving, Exchange integration, IPv6 support and unified contact store.
- Resilient Architecture for Front End Pools: The architecture of Front End pools for the Enterprise Edition of Lync Server 2013 has changed to a distributed systems model and the Back End Server is used for backup storage instead of real-time storage. This new architecture utilizes at least three Front End Servers that provide automatic failover as well as improved performance and scalability. As an optional topology, you can set up two Back End Servers associated with a Front End pool for synchronous SQL mirroring of databases on the Back End Servers. You also have the option running a witness server for the mirror.
- Server Role Consolidation: Lync Server 2013 cuts hardware and management costs by consolidating within the Front End Server role some server roles that previously ran on separate servers. A/V Conferencing, Archiving, and Monitoring are now colocated with the Front End Server.
- Support for Front End Pool Pairing: Lync Server 2013 allows you to pair high-availability Front End pools located in two separate datacenters so that if one of the paired pools stops working you can fail over its users to the backup pool without the costs and hassle of setting up and managing shared disks or storage networks.
- Persistent Chat Server Role: The third-party Group Chat Server has been replaced by the new Persistent Chat Server role implemented as Front End and Back End Server roles. The Persistent Chat Server allows participants to post and access text, links and files in real time about specific topics and the content remains available after a session ends.
- Topology Builder Support for SQL Server Mirroring: For high availability, you can use Lync Server 2013's Topology Builder tool to set up mirroring of Back End Server databases managed by Microsoft SQL Server. This includes setting up a witness dedicated to supporting automatic failover.
- Enhanced Role Based Access Control (RBAC): You can create custom roles with privileges for specified sets of cmdlets and for running scripts of cmdlets. Also, Lync Server 2013 introduces the Response Group Manager role for managing specified Response Group queues and the Persistent Chat Manager role for managing specified Persistent Chat rooms.
- Integrated Persistent Chat Management Tools: The Lync Server Control Panel includes an integrated user interface (UI) that allows you to administer the new Persistent Chat Server. Lync Server 2013 also has a library PowerShell cmdlets for managing Persistent Chat Server categories, rooms and add-ins.
- Extensive Client Support for Join Launcher: The join launcher in Lync Server 2013 validates each meeting before launching a client and allows a wide mix of clients to open a meeting including Windows 8 devices, Android smart phones and tablets, Apple iPhones and iPads, Windows Phones, and Internet Explorer 10.
Lync Server 2013 supports a variety of clients including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone
- Enhanced PowerPoint Sharing: Lync Server 2013 uses Office Web Apps and the Office Web Apps Server (previously called WAC Server) for sharing PowerPoint presentations. This standalone server supports higher density HD displays, a richer PowerPoint feature set, access to more mobile devices, and the ability of authorized users to look ahead through a presentation independently from the presenter.
- Video Conferencing: Gallery View allows users to see videos of as many as five participants simultaneously. 1080p HD video is supported and H.264 is the default video encoding. Presenter-only video mode and video spotlight give presenters the option of excluding other videos during a presentation. In addition, shared conference documents such as PowerPoint presentations, attachments, whiteboards and polls can be archived into Exchange data storage.
Additional Enhancements to Lync Server 2013
- Support for Multiple Trunks: Enhanced intertrunk routing capability allows Lync Server 2013 to interface an IP-based PBX to a PSTN gateway or to interconnect two or more IP-PBX systems.
- New Call Features: Lync Server 2013 offers new configuration options for call forwarding and simultaneous ringing such as restricting incoming calls from being forwarded to the PSTN network. In addition, delegated users can configure simultaneous ringing to their mobile endpoints for calls made to their managers, eliminating the need for a desk phone to answer calls on a manager's behalf.
- Enhanced Caller ID: Administrators can change the formatting of a caller's phone number so it is compatible with a trunk peer, allowing Lync Server to act as an interface for multiple phone systems that use different phone number formats.
- Mobile Phone Voice Mail Escape: To prevent the situation where simultaneous ringing is enabled for a group of endpoints but a mobile phone within the group is unavailable (because it is powered off, out of range, etc.) and immediately routs a call to its own voice mail, the Voicemail Escape feature can disconnect the call to the mobile phone's voice mail and allow the call to keep ringing on the other endpoints.
- Enhancements to the Response Group Application: Lync Server's Response Group application allows you to route and queue incoming calls to defined groups of people such as Sales Support. Enhancements to this application include the new Response Group Manager role for configuring select elements within specified response groups, SQL Server mirroring for providing high availability to the Response Group application, plus disaster recovery support as part of the new paired Front End pools feature.
Other enhancements available with Lync Server 2013 include failover and failback for the Call Park application, the new Call Pickup feature that allows a user to dial a group number to answer a call for another member of the group, integration with Exchange 2013 and Windows Server 2012 R2, support for IPv6 addressing for Edge Server services.
New Features in Lync Server 2013 Clients
Microsoft's Office 2013 Setup program includes Lync 2013, the client for Lync 2013 Server. Office 2013 Setup also includes the Online Meeting Add-in for Lync 2013, which allows you to manage meetings from the Outlook messaging and collaboration client. To deploy Lync 2013 clients you can use the familiar Office 2013 installation procedures and customization tools rather than Lync's own installer, as in previous versions. Integration with Office allows administrators to configure Lync 2013 with the Office Customization Tool (OCT) or Setup Command-line options and to define Group Policy settings with the Lync ADMX and ADML templates included with the Office Group Policy Administrative Templates.
The Lync 2013 client offers a wealth of enhancements covering diverse areas that include a modernized user interface, persistent chat rooms, shared notes, the Lync Web App conferencing client, mobility, tabbed conversations, video features, meeting controls, virtualization, and accessibility. The Lync 2013 client provides a clean interface that allows single-click access to key functions such as starting a chat or a voice/video call or viewing a contact card. Features formerly available through a separate chat client are integrated within Lync 2013, making it easy for users to search, add and monitor chat rooms and to read and post comments. Persistent Chat Rooms replace Activity Feeds and allow you to have continuing discussions which can be designated Open, Private (read-only for non-members), or Secret.
During a meeting, OneNote Share allows you to co-edit shared notebooks with other participants or use notebook pages as a whiteboard. The web-based conferencing client for Lync 2013, called Lync Web App, has been expanded to support HD video, Voice over IP, IM, as well as desktop, application and PowerPoint sharing. The new Gallery View feature allows you to view all the participants in a video meeting. When video is unavailable, you see a speaker's photo. The gallery controls let you see the names of all participants and identifies active speakers.
With the Lync Server 2013 Mobility Service installed, users with supported Apple iPhone and iPads, Android smart phones and tablets, and Windows Phones have a broad range of capabilities including sending/receiving IMs, viewing presence and contacts, click-to-join conference participation, single-number reach, voice mail, missed call notification, VoIP, and attendee H.262 video. In addition, mobile apps can autodiscover Lync Server 2013 Web Services without the need for users to enter URLs manually in their device settings. Apple iPad users can view uploaded PowerPoint presentations within a meeting, share applications and desktops, view attendee lists, and receive notices of other content types being shared within the meeting.
Other enhancements to Lync Server 2013 clients include:
How Progent's Consultants Can Help You with Lync Server 2013
- The new Tabbed Conversations feature gives users the option of organizing all their calls, IMs and chat rooms in a single Conversation window and enables convenient navigation across all active conversations.
- Users on Exchange 2013 or later can upload high-resolution pictures.
- A new Favorites group allows users to create a list for quickly accessing people they contact frequently.
- The new Unified Contact Store eliminates the need to maintain separate contact lists in Lync and Outlook by allowing Exchange 2013 users to manage their contacts from Lync 2013, Outlook or Outlook Web App and keep their favorites synchronized.
- Lync 2013's Virtual Desktop Plug-in supports audio and video in a VDI environment that supports all major features of Lync 2013.
Lync Server 2013 can unify a vast range of communications technologies from multiple vendors and requires a correspondingly broad range of technical skills to deploy in a way that delivers maximum business value. Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants and Cisco-certified CCIE networking experts have the breadth and depth of experience to help companies of any size with any aspect of a Lync Server 2013 solution. Progent can review your current Lync 2013 topology for redundancy and functionality and design efficient enhancements. For high availability, Progent's disaster recovery experts can help you configure Front End Pools and mirrored Back End Servers.
Progent can set up an Edge Server or server pool and a reverse proxy server to federate with other organizations and allow remote workers to connect to Lync outside of your private network. Progent also offers expertise in Lync Mobility Service, Office Web App Server, Exchange Unified Messaging, PSTN gateways, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, Windows Hyper-V, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), and other core components of a unified communications ecosystem built around Lync Server 2013. In addition, Progent's System Center Operations Manager consultants can help you integrate SCOM to monitor the health of Lync Servers and ensure service availability for end users.
Whether you want to perform a complex migration to or from Lyn 2013 or simply need help configuring a custom dial plan or a conference bridge, Progent can provide full project management outsourcing and co-sourcing services or as-needed consulting and troubleshooting support to help you get through technical roadblocks you may encounter. Progent can also help you assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of the various models for deploying Lync 2013 Server and its associated technologies including Exchange, Office or Office 365 and SharePoint and can help you implement a cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid environment. Progent's wireless mobility experts can help you utilize Lync Server 2013 to create a secure, easy-to-manage BYOD environment by providing services such as iPhone and iPad integration, Android phone and tablet consulting, and RIM BlackBerry expertise.
Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE network consultants can help you plan and configure your network infrastructure so it provides the high performance and reliability required for your Lync Server solution and can provide Cisco VoIP phone and IP video phone expertise and Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) consulting support to help you integrate your Lync Server 2013 and Cisco VoIP and video conferencing technology. Progent's network security consultants can help you follow industry best practices to define and enforce company-wide security policies for presence and IM applications.
Save Time and Money with Progent's Online Consulting and Troubleshooting Services
Progent is an established provider of online consulting and troubleshooting services for business networks based on Microsoft, Cisco and Apple technology. Online support eliminates the costs and delays associated with travel, and Progent's technical expertise and skill with remote support makes it possible to deliver fast and affordable solutions for even the most complex issues. Progent has provided online consulting, software development, and remediation services to organizations of all sizes in every state in the U.S. (see Progent's customer testimonials). Progent's veteran IT consultants, developers and troubleshooting experts include one of the country's largest independent teams of Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants and are available for tasks of any size when you need them. If required, Progent can also provide on-premises consulting in major metropolitan areas across the United States.
Contact Progent for Help with Lync Server 2013
To contact Progent about consulting services for Lync Server 2013, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
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