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Lync Factor: Don’t Worry, It’s Just An Upgrade

Editor’s note: Trainer Chris Ward recently earned Microsoft Lync Server certification. This is the 10th in a series of posts during which he’ll share his experiences and advice. 

There are some people who feel it’s tougher to start from scratch on a new project. I always reply, “It depends on where you’re coming from!” With computers, networks, cloud environments, and, of course, communication applications/services, we are both blessed and cursed with existing environments that must be dealt with. Either we are upgrading or planting Lync Server 2013 into an already existing environment.Chris_LyncServerSeries_EMAIL

So what does that mean if I’m thinking about moving over to Lync 2013, and I already have an existing instance of OCS or Lync running?

Let me make it easy for you. There are only two environments that will migrate to Lync Server 2013: Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Lync Server 2010. Oh, and if you have a mixed environment of the two… it won’t work. Also, if you have Group Chat installed, that needs to be migrated separately. In a nutshell, the only migration method supported by Microsoft is a side-by-side migration.

“In side-by-side migration, Lync Server 2013 is deployed alongside an existing Microsoft Lync Server 2010 or Office Communications Server 2007 R2 deployment, and then you transfer operations to the new servers and move users to Lync Server 2013. This method requires additional server platforms, including hardware and software, during migration, and system names and pool names are different in the new configuration. If it becomes necessary to roll back to the previous version, you can shift operations back to the previous servers.” – Microsoft Technet

So what does that all mean? Basically, you will create a brand-new instance of Lync Server 2013. It’s great to have a pilot group of people that you move over, preferably NOT mission critical people. A great group to use would be periodic users who have used OCS or Lync in the past. You also want to use separate SQL 2008 R2 or SQL 2012 servers for your new Lync 2013 deployment. You can’t have the same instance of a SQL Server running a 2013 Front-End Pool, AND run a Lync 2010 or OCS 2007 R2 Front-End Pool.

Unlike the Cybermen of Dr. Who, the upgrade can be fairly painless if you plan ahead of time. Ken Snyder of CompuDev Solutions has performed dozens of these migrations in medium to large organizations. His recommendation to me was always plan, plan some more… and then plan one more time just for good measure. I’ll leave you with Microsoft’s recommended migration flow, which is pretty spot on:

  1. Plan the migration
  2. Deploy the Lync Server 2013 pilot pool
  3. Move some test users to the pilot pool
  4. Add Lync Server 2013 Edge Server to pilot pool
  5. Move from pilot deployment to production
  6. Complete post-migration tasks and decommission legacy pools

We’ll cover some of these topics in both my 70-336 and 70-337 (upcoming) CBT Nuggets courses. And don’t forget that you can always use the magical fairy dust that is Technet. Just make sure you double check commands and test them in the pilot environment. Sometimes there are some “legacy” commands that get copied and pasted from the OCS 2007 to Lync 2010 and even now to Lync 2013. In a production environment, that would be a nasty surprise!

Lync on, my friends!

 

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