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Discontinuation of support for SBC in EXO Unified Messaging

You may remember back in July 2017, Microsoft announced that support for Exchange Online Unified Messaging for 3rd party PBX connections via SBC (Session Border Controller) would be discontinued July of 2018. Microsoft’s intention to discontinue this support would allow them to focus on providing the best quality of service for their voicemail-enabled mailboxes in Exchange Online by using standard Exchange and Skype for Business protocols. Well, all of this information is still accurate however, Microsoft may have thrown you a curve ball with their recent update. Back in July 2017 Microsoft mentioned you had 4 alternative solutions outlined below:

  1. Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Office 365 Cloud PBX.
  2. Complete migration from 3rd party on-premises PBX to Skype for Business Server Enterprise Voice on-premises.
  3. For customers with a mixed deployment of 3rd party PBX and Skype for Business, connect the PBX to Skype for Business Server using a connector from a Microsoft partner, and continue using Exchange Online UM through that connector. For example, TE-SYSTEMS’ any node UM connector can be used for that purpose.
  4. For customers with no Skype for Business Server deployment or for whom the solutions above are not appropriate, implement a 3rd party voicemail system.

Unfortunately, option 3 mentioned above is no longer recommended as a valid migration path by Microsoft as of 2/28/18.
As a reminder, the following configurations are not affected by this change:

  • Skype for Business Server (on-premises) connected to Exchange Online UM
  • 3rd party voicemail solutions that deposit voicemail messages into Exchange Online mailboxes through APIs, rather than an SBC connection
  • All forms of Exchange Server UM (on-premises)

All things considered, this is something to keep an eye on especially since we are only about 4 months out. If you currently use Exchange Online Unified Messaging with a 3rd party  PBX, connected through a 3rd party SBC, it is essential you take action prior to July 2018. If you need help implementing one of the solutions mentioned above, we urge you to contact Perficient with any inquiries.

UPDATE: New date for discontinuation of support for Session Border Controllers in Exchange Online Unified Messaging. Please refer to my new blog post on this recent update (4/24/18)


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Brian Siefferman

Brian is a Technical Consultant for Perficient’s Unified Communications practice focusing primarily on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams workloads. He has been in this role since December 2017 and has an active presence blogging about all things Teams related. Currently, Brian resides in the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys running, swimming, weight lifting, and playing soccer in his free time.

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