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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.
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