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As you may have heard, Microsoft Lync is being replace, or updated, or rebranded with “Skype for Business”. Despite the change of the name, Skype for Business is set to become the definitive collaboration platform in the unified communications space. Skype for Business will have a multitude of new benefits which will be a mixture of new features to unified communications as well as a combination of features from Skype. One of the benefits is the upgrade process itself.
The biggest benefit of the upgrade process is that for all Lync 2013 only topologies, the upgrade process is in-place. This means it is an install over process rather than the traditional side by side migration process traditionally used with previous versions.
Upgrading a Standard Edition server to Skype for Business will also upgrade SQL Express on the front-end server to 2014. However, as a pre-requisite this server must be running SQL Express 2012 SP1. The SQL upgrade will require a reboot and while the Standard Edition server is upgrading no users will have access to Lync services, unless you have a backup pool.
If you run Lync 2010 and 2013 coexistence then you have a couple of options you must first complete the 2010 to 2013 migration and decommission your 2010 Lync servers before thinking of upgrading to Skype for Business. Once you have all your users on 2013, you can use the in-place upgrade process.
If you run a Lync 2010 only environment then you are able to migrate to Skype for Business using the normal side by side migration strategy adopted in previous versions.
Active Directory Schema Updates
There is no extension of the AD schema for Skype for Business.
- Install CU5+ latest hotfix to Lync 2013 topology
- PowerShell RTM version (6.2.9200.0) or later
- Have at least SQL server 2012 SP1 installed
- Kb2533623 Windows Server 2008 R2
- Kb2858668 Windows Server 2012
- KB2982006 Windows Server 2012 R2
Things to consider during the upgrade
- You must upgrade all front-end servers in a pool. Coexistence long term is not recommended or supported.
- Once upgrade has started do not use “invoke-CsPoolFailover” commandlets
- Don’t start services in mixed mode (i.e. keep all front-end servers offline until last node updated).
- Do not un-pair pools before upgrade begins.
Scenario 1: Lync 2013 to Skype for Business In-Place
For enterprise deployments this can be achieved with minimal downtime, but you need multiple pools. The upgrade assumes that the second pool has enough capacity to support users from the first pool as well as the users it is currently supporting. If this is not the case, you will need to add additional front-end capacity to the second pool or install a third pool temporarily. The other option of course is to perform an offline upgrade. The following picture describes the upgrade procedure for this case
Scenario 2: Lync 2010 + 2013 Coexistence to Skype for Business
In this scenario you must first migrate all users to Lync 2013 and then perform an in-place upgrade to Skype for Business. You must first remove all 2010 servers from your topology before performing the in-place upgrade to Skype for Business.
Scenario 3: Upgrade from Lync 2010 to Skype for Business
In this scenario you have a Lync 2010 topology with no OCS or 2013 coexistence. This upgrade requires you to have additional investment in new servers (virtual or physical) in order to stand up Skype for Business and Lync 2010 side by side. The upgrade process needs to be carefully planned and downtime notice should be sent to users prior to the migration.
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This scenario is an in-place upgrade of Lync 2013 to Skype for Business with user downtime. This is for topologies that have no access to additional pools or servers to move users across while their pool is upgraded. This method will mean that there will be no Lync services available until all nodes in the pool have been upgraded.
After the upgrade of the front-end server has been complete, you must update the SQL stores in the normal way by running the Install-CSDatabase –ConfiguredDatabases –SQLServerFqdn <servername> commandlet like normal upgrades / patches.
Skype for Business will automatically upgrade Standard Edition servers to use SQL Express 2014. Enterprise deployments can still use SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 but this has to be Enterprise Edition.
SQL Mirroring is now deprecated and Microsoft prefers the use of SQL AlwaysOn available in SQL 2012. SQL Mirroring can still be used in this topology, but future waves will not have this functionality.
Skype for Business requires the use of Window Server Fabric v2 (update via MS Updates) in order to provide it’s enhanced HA capabilities within the front-end pool. Windows Server 2008 R2 is still going to be a supported OS for Skype for Business. However this will be the last iteration on this OS.
Jacob Eker, PEI