Ignite 2017 has wrapped up, and for those interested in Skype for Business and Teams, it was either exciting or frightening. Microsoft is very definitely about to unleash a bump in the net, but there’s no reason to be afraid!
Over the next couple of posts, I’ll recap what was announced in the SfB and Teams space at Ignite – and since Ignite, then I’ll cover what this means for organizations using, or thinking about using, SfB and Teams. Finally, I’ll wrap with a bit of a strategy for IT Pros who might be wondering what just hit them, and what’s next.
Teams is NOT Replacing Skype for Business. (Yet)
There was some discussion prior to Ignite, fueled by an accidentally-released banner message for some Office 365 users, that Teams was replacing Skype. For some, panic ensued. The reality is that Teams is not capable of replacing Skype for Business, and as there is no Teams server for on-premises deployments, Teams could not replace SfB on-prem.
Presentations at Ignite and in the roadmap released shortly after, made Microsoft’s intentions clear: while Teams is the future of Microsoft’s “Cloud first, Mobile First” strategy, Skype for Business is not going away.
Skype for Business Server Roadmap
The next version of on-prem SfB, Skype for Business Server 2019, was announced at Ignite. The highlights of the next version are:
- There will only be one edition, with Standard Edition being eliminated.
- There is no director role.
- There is no PChat role.
- Only Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 will be supported.
- No in-place upgrades.
- Upgrades from 2013 and 2015 are supported, and as in the past, only two versions are supported in an environment.
- The 2019 client will be C2R only, no more MSI
SfBS 2019 is based on the SfB Online code, which will allow for a significantly improved hybrid interoperability story. This is also likely behind some of the role removals outlined above.
For Teams, the roadmap announced in late October is all about driving toward feature parity with Skype for Business, including:
- Better IM chat controls
- Contact Groups
- Unified Presence between SfB and Teams
- Federated Chat
- Tonnes of updates to the meeting experience
- Most SfB calling features brought to Teams
- Support for calls between Skype Consumer and Teams
You can see the full roadmap here
Up next: Guidance for organizations.