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Office Communications Server Renamed Lync, Close to Release

Microsoft has renamed its Office Communications Server Lync Server 2010 and has posted the release candidate and a planning tool.

Code-named Communications Server 14, Lync Server 2010, is intended to either enhance or replace PBXs. In addition to providing presence, instant messaging and conferencing, Lync Server provides voice calling capabilities accessible through a browser, mobile phone or its own Communicator client.

Microsoft demonstrated it at the TechEd North America conference in New Orleans back in June, saying the communications server product should be ready for release by year-end.

Key to the new release is the fact that the new unified communications platform will work seamlessly across both PCs, browsers and mobile devices, according to Microsoft. All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley reported the name change last week, pointing to an unidentified blog post outlining the features of Microsoft Lync.

The blog post included screen shots, emphasizing the ability to view presence within Outlook, a telephone-like dialer and a video conferencing interface. According to the release candidate notes, Lync Server 2010 has a single, consistent management infrastructure, new capabilities to increase availability, and interoperability with existing phone systems.

Administrators also use a new PowerShell-based foundation for administration consistent with Exchange Server, Active Directory and other Microsoft server products, according to the release notes.

Microsoft also issued a release candidate for the new planning tool. A wizard-like interface asks the partner or administrator questions to determine what features a customer may want to utilize. Among other things, the planning tool will estimate the amount of bandwidth a customer may need for a WAN based on what features they may be using.

With the tool, administrators can also view their edge network diagrams and enter FQDNs and IP addresses, and view the certificates, DNS settings and firewall settings, according to the release notes. Customers can view their edge networks within central sites when using DNS Load Balancing for Edge Server and also can import this information to Topology Builder, according to Microsoft. The planning tool is available for download.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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