With a tentative release date during the first quarter of 2013, Windows Lync Server 2013 is a unified communication platform engineered to integrate voice, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing into an easy to use suite. The solution will simplify deployment while enhancing and augmenting the feature set needed to meet the needs of a growing and demanding mobile workforce that leverages email hosting.
Lync software has a reputation of being somewhat challenging to deploy, requiring multiple servers to host an array of front and back-end server tasks. The trend is still the same in Lync Server 2013, even though the monitoring and archiving roles are now in the front-end server and using the directional role is optional.
The 64-bit software solution with support for IPv6 means that the Window Server 2008 R2 for extra setups through the Windows Server 2012 appears set to take the limelight and become the platform of choice for many users.
The system still draws from a versatile design approach that features front server pools and role repetition so that if a Lync server fails others running the same services in the pool can take over the workload, thus preventing total failure. The technology upgrades found in Lync 2013 allow front-end pools in different data centers to pair, covering the probability of tragic failure in the entire data center.
Working on team projects while away from the office is now more fun since conferencing users can experience HD resolutions of up to 1080p in either peer-to-peer connections or multiparty conferences through the H.264 codec. There also is a gallery for multiparty conferences supporting up to five active video links. This functionality forces extra participants to show as still images.
Other improvements that will come with the Lync Server 2013 include back-end high availability that has the option to connect back-end servers to a single front-end server pool, a makeover on the instant messaging functionality, and the use of Office Web Apps together with the Office Web Apps Server to improve the handling of PowerPoint presentations and extended mobile device support.
Edited by Jamie Epstein