Making Sense of Unified Communications

During the event in Gettysburg, we had a great discussion of the Unified Communications technologies. Here are the discussion high points, and some additional licensing information:

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 is the first Microsoft product to combine enterprise-ready IM (instant messaging), presence, conferencing via Live Meeting, and VoIP (Voice over IP) telephony in a fully integrated unified communications solution. Office Communications Server 2007 provides rich presence capabilities, enhanced support for group IM, and easy deployment and management tools. Office Communications Server 2007 also includes real-time conferencing hosted on servers inside your organization's firewall and a full-featured, software-powered VoIP solution that can stand on its own or integrate easily with an existing PBX infrastructure.

Office Communications Server 2007 is available in two editions, Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition:

  • Standard Edition. Hosts all server components, as well as the database for storing user and conference information, on a single computer. Standard Edition provides full functionality for small organizations.
  • Enterprise Edition. Separates server functionality from data storage to achieve higher capacity and availability. An Enterprise Edition pool typically consists of two or more Front End Servers, which are fronted by a hardware load balancer and connected to a Back-End Database. (It is also possible to deploy a single Front End Server without a load balancer.) Optionally, certain conferencing components can be deployed on separate computers for higher capacity and availability. Enterprise Edition is appropriate for medium, large, and very large organizations.