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New Features in Microsoft Lync 2013

EN-Blog-New-Features-Lync-2013

by James Young | 08.14.2012
Categories: Blog

After extensive research on the latest upcoming release of Microsoft Lync, here is a summary of the new features you will find in the updated platform.

Roles

The monitoring and archiving role has been removed from Lync 2013. Each front-end server communicates directly with the database thus removing the need for a separate server.

The AV conferencing role cannot be installed separately. It is always co-located with the front-end role.

Disaster Recovery

Each front-end server stores a complete copy of all the databases in its local SQL database. If the SQL back-end becomes unavailable for any reason the front-end will function without loss of services. In addition Lync 2013 supports SQL mirroring for the back-end databases.

In Lync 2010 a user could have an assigned backup registrar that would allow the user to register with another pool if their home pool because unavailable. The backup registrar allowed the client to keep basic functionality (voice) but they lost their contact list and conferencing functionality. The loss of the contact list was the most complained about feature loss. Lync 2013 has addressed these concerns by allowing users that are connected to the backup registrar to keep all functionality except for response groups. If response groups are stored on the sever that is lost they will be unavailable until it is brought back online. This is accomplished by having all servers in the environment maintain multiple copies of the user database.

Response Groups

You can configure Response Group Managers and Administrators, allowing you to delegate Response Group tasks to other users. This is similar to delegating responsibility for an OU in Active Directory.

Integration with Lync Online

Microsoft has a new feature call “Hybrid Voice”. You can have some users running locally with on premise servers and some “in the cloud” with Lync Online. Media Bypass will work and Lync Online users will be able to use a local PSTN connection for dialing.

Mobile

The Lync Mobile Client is finally becoming a full-fledged client and will allow users to place calls using either a data plan or Wi-Fi. This will greatly simply making voice calls from the Lync mobile client and you won’t call someone only to have them hear ringing while you are answering your cell phone to finalize the connection. The 2013 mobile client has not been released and there is speculation on if the client will be available at launch.

Federation

A federation with Skype is available with Lync 2013. I think that everyone saw this coming with Microsoft’s purchase of Skype.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Support

With Lync 2010 there were some significant limitations to running the Lync client on a virtual desktop including not being able to run voice through the client (no USB devices for voice and the requirement of having a Lync Phone Edition device). In Lync 2013 Microsoft has worked closely with vendors to improve the functionality for VDI users. Microsoft implemented a new Media Redirection architecture and built a VDI plugin that runs on thin clients and pairs with the Lync client running in the remote desktop to which the end user has connected. Basically they have offloaded the voice processing from the server to the thin client. This allows VDI users on Citrix and VMware to have enterprise voice in their client.

In addition Lync 2013 now supports Full IPv6.

Persistent Chat (formerly Group Chat)

Persistent Chat (formerly Group Chat) will be the subject of another article.