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This morning Microsoft lifted the curtains to finally unveil what everyone knew was inevitable; Lync Server now becomes “Skype for Business”. This is actually the second go around for the “Skype for Business” name, prior to the Microsoft acquisition Skype tried to enter the “Business” realm with a business offering…yeah, that didn’t work out to well. Now the Skype name officially gets both the consumer AND the enterprise by simply rebranding Lync Server as the first step of the Skype backbone and Lync backbone inching closer and closer together to become one cohesive environment.
So, enough of that rambling…I for one am very happy about the rebranding of Lync to Skype for Business, this for many reasons:
1.) I can explain my job easier to friends
2.) I can explain my job easier to family
3.) I can explain my job easier just random people. Flying becomes much more enjoyable.
4.) I don’t have to explain to anyone why there was Skype and Lync when they were essentially the same thing
5.) Lync and Skype are no longer two different silo’s…well, to the less technical people, anyway
My blog posts are more aimed at our customers and clients, so I should answer the questions you are probably really wanting to hear.
Question: How does this impact my on-premises deployment of Lync?
Answer: It doesn’t. It’s simply rebranding at this point. To stay relevant and always be part of the “cool people club” you should upgrade as soon as the next Skype for Business version is released in 2015. If you plan to stay with Lync 2013 or Lync 2010, you’re old.
Question: Skype is “in the cloud”, does that mean Skype for Business is going to be cloud based? I don’t want to be in the cloud!
Answer: Nope, it’s still on-premises. New server requirements will be releases soon enough, then at that point you should start budgeting for new servers.
Of course there is still Office 365 Lync Online offering…that will be rebranded as well.
Question: Will upgrade be “in place” upgrade.
Answer: Nope, not according to early reports. You’ll have to buy new hardware. This has always been the case with OCS and Lync so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Update: To clear up some confusion I’ve read between 2 different articles, in-place upgrades will indeed be available according to official statement on Microsoft’s announcement this morning.
Question: Skype is something we didn’t allow in our enterprise because we couldn’t control it, is Skype for Business going to be unmanageable?
Answer: Skype for Business is still going to be an on-premises deployment with the same “Backbone” that Lync Server was built on. All the “checks and balances” to keep Skype for Business secure are still in place.
Question: Can I finally make a video call between Lync and Skype?
Answer: Not yet, but should be able to in December of 2014 as reported by Microsoft. And when Microsoft says December of 2014, what they really mean is sometime in 2015.
So I hope this clears up any confusion regarding another rebranding. In short, technically, Skype for Business is staying the same course as it had been with Lync Server by offering on-premises and cloud based solutions. If your organization is eyeing Enterprise Voice or already has it deployed, the solution will still be on-premises as it should be.
Now that you’ve read my blog, here is a “Lync” (yup, I had to do it) to the official announcement. http://blogs.skype.com/2014/11/11/introducing-skype-for-business/
What about “´Current Lync Server customers will be able to take advantage of these capabilities simply by updating from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business Server in their datacenters. No new hardware is required.” in the official announcement?
You were probably writing that as I was updating my post to reflect that exact sentence. There is a conflicting article (from a relevant source) released this morning that contradicts that statement. I trumped that article with an update from the official released statement by Microsoft.
Microsoft’s continuing to blur the lines between consumer and enterprise technologies, it will likely lead to more brand recognition and market share.