Lync Isn’t Free
So this is Microsoft Lync week with Lync Conference 2014 fully in progress. However, despite all the press and hype – there is one thing I need to call out – actually, scream out – Lync isn’t free! Ok there I said it.
Microsoft Lync Licenses
I hear so often from enterprises how they’ve been told that they already have Lync licenses. While organizations may find themselves with Lync licenses, we have to be abundantly clear what that means when the decision is made to deploy Lync for the entire enterprise. Usually the initial deployments for Lync center around IM and Presence. Now we also see conferencing being added initially as well. Lync deployments can be fairly involved and depending on your topology and configuration, may require multiple server boxes to ensure high availability. Also, if the organization decides to deploy the full Lync capabilities with voice, it is almost certain some level of professional services will be needed. That does not sound free to me. Also, enterprises have to understand they will need Server CALs (Client Access License) and Lync Client CALs to deploy Lync.
In speaking with end users they explain that after the initial IM and presence deployment, complexities arise when they choose to deploy full voice and video. This is not putting blame on Microsoft, but to advise enterprises of what is involved in a full Lync deployment. In fact, I must say that Microsoft does provide full online documentation guidance for planning Lync deployments.
Lync 2013 – The Not So Small Matter of Server and Hardware Upgrades
With Lync 2013 available, many organizations are still on OCS and some on Lync 2010. The upgrade or migration to Lync 2013 has some related costs enterprises should be very clear about. Depending on where an enterprise is with their server and hardware upgrades, has a big impact on deploying Lync 2013. Lync 2010 and Lync 2013 have very similar hardware requirements and do require 64-bit servers.
Lync Server 2013 requires Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 and SQL Server 2008 R2. Lync Server 2013 will also run on Windows Server 2012. So enterprises will need the 64-bit hardware upgrade and Windows server upgrade to run Lync 2013. These are major decisions and have to be made in light of overall infrastructure decisions.
Lync Deployment – Heavy Lifting Required
When organizations are distributed and need a highly available Lync environment, multiple physical boxes may be needed. When we get into voice, and even PBX replacements, most organizations explain to us that they require professional services. There is some heavy lifting required when organizations start to consider the resources and assets needed for a full Lync deployment. This is where some organizations begin thinking about the cloud route with Lync Online or the full Office 365 offering versus licensing on-premises. It’s an effort for lighter costs and complexity. However, the caveat in the cloud is that some Lync on-premises functionality like Voice is not yet supported. With that said, the cloud option is great for organizations that don’t require voice.
Lync is potentially a multi-million dollar decision, so IT leaders and planners have to evaluate it carefully. Lync is not a single item decision. Enterprises have to factor in adjacent decisions around business applications and processes, mobility and cloud. This takes careful planning and is not for the faint of heart. When enterprises begin to seriously weigh all these factors, the “we have Lync licenses” argument requires more thorough investigation. Contact us for an in depth discussion on these matters. Also, we’ll be doing a full event recap of announcements once the Lync conference has ended this week.