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What Exactly is Microsoft Lync Server 2010?

Hey everyone. I am super excited to be starting work on a new CBT Nuggets series focused on Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) exam 70-664: Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Configuration. This technology is hot hot hot! Surprisingly, however, not too many people seem to know precisely how to define what Lync Server 2010 is and why it is so popular. Let me answer those questions for you now.

What is Microsoft Lync Server 2010?

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 is a 64-bit enterprise-class Unified Communications (UC) server that runs on Windows Server 2008. In keeping with their habit of seemingly constant re-branding, the previous version of Lync Server 2010 was known as Microsoft Office Communications Server.

Here are the five core features of the Lync Server 2010 platform:

  • Instant Messaging (IM): Real-time voice and/or video chat
  • Conferencing: Desktop sharing and teleconferencing a-la WebEx or GoToMeeting
  • Enterprise Voice: Lync Server can integrate with existing PBX systems or entirely replace them
  • Office Integration: View contact’s online presence and interact with them by using Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, etc.
  • Mobile Apps: Use Lync services from your smartphone

In addition, Lync Server 2010 works seamlessly with other Microsoft enterprise server products, including SharePoint Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2010.

Users interact with Lync Server 2010 in a variety of ways:

Now let’s turn our attention to why Lync is so popular in 2012.

Why is this technology so hot?

In my opinion, the primary reason why Lync Server 2010 is so appealing to IT decision-makers is because Lync represents an “all-in-one” enterprise communications solution. Look at the previously mentioned five core UC features: a single platform that covers all those bases AND integrates with the shop’s other Microsoft products is undoubtedly appealing, wouldn’t you agree?

For instance, consider instant messaging. Very few IT administrators approve of their employees chatting about company business on a public IM infrastructure that they do not own (think of AOL Instant Messenger).

With Lync Server 2010, the IT department owns their own IM and even telephony infrastructure. Theoretically, a company can completely manage its internal communications technology. This degree of control is important nowadays with governmental regulation like HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley requiring IT departments to better secure and account for their data.

Moreover, Lync users have seemingly limitless ways in which they can collaborate, share information, and work for the common good of the organization.

In my experience, Lync Server 2010 requires a moderate learning curve for end users, but a substantial one for Windows system administrators. Like SharePoint, Lync Server requires an administrator to have intermediate-level familiarity with several different networking and telephony technologies, and to be able to integrate those disparate skill sets into a single enterprise platform. I’m not kidding when I say that Lync is complicated stuff.

The good news, friends, is that you have Yours Truly, your humble CBT Nuggets instructor, ready and willing to take you by the hand and to break down the technology into manageable, easy-to-digest chunks. By the time you finish my Lync Server 2010 training series, you will not only be able to discuss Lync Server 2010 intelligently with your boss—you will also possess the skills necessary to plan, deploy, and maintain Lync in an enterprise environment.

Finally, let me remind you that CBT Nuggets annual subscribers can watch my videos as I produce them. No more waiting for an entire series to be completed before you can commence learning! Thanks very much for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


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