Address Book Server Drilldown

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 will reach end of support on January 9, 2018. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.

The primary function of the Address Book Server and related services is to provide global address list (GAL) information that is retrieved from Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and make it available to clients through one of the following services:

  • Address Book File Download Service. Where clients such as Office Communicator and devices such as Office Communicator Phone Edition download address book files, enabling clients to perform local address book queries.

  • Address Book Web Query Service. Where clients such as Office Communicator Mobile send address book queries by using HTTPS to a Web service running on the Web Components Server.

If individual clients accessed AD DS directly, it could impact Active Directory and network performance due to excessive Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) queries. To make address book updates faster and more efficient, the Address Book Server generates daily address book file and address book database updates that are leveraged by the Address Book File Download Service and Address Book Web Query Service respectively.

The secondary and optional function of the Address Book Server is to convert the format of phone numbers that may in a local format (for example, 555-0101) into the RFC 3966/ITU E.164 standardized format (for example, +1.425.555.0101). This conversion is referred to as phone number normalization. Phone numbers stored in Office Communications Server user and contact objects can be normalized by Address Book Server so they can be easily used by the Office Communications Server clients. Although it is preferable for normalized phone numbers to be entered into Active Directory, Active Directory does not perform any phone number normalization itself. The phone number normalization occurs when the Address Book Server reads the phone numbers from the RTC database, normalizes them if necessary, and then writes them into address book files and address book database (RTCAb).

Among its daily tasks, the Address Book Server generates a set of compressed full files and delta files for use by the Address Book File Download Service. These files are stored in a standard NTFS folder. The advantage of the full file and delta file generation is that it minimizes the impact of the client download. When an Office Communicator 2007 R2 or Office Communicator Phone Edition (2007 R2 release) client logs on to its Enterprise pool or Standard Edition server, it uses one of two configured URLs (that is, one for internal access and the other for external access) to access the file from the NTFS folder by using HTTPS, HTTP, or by the file URL. When the client downloads the address book file for the first time, the full address book file is downloaded. On subsequent days in most situations, a delta file containing the changes since the last update is downloaded.

Relative to Office Communications Server 2007, a key architectural improvement for Address Book services in Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is the addition of an Address Book Web Query Service for mobile clients such as Communicator Mobile (2007 R2 release). Rather than download potentially large address book files, Communicator Mobile (2007 R2 release) clients make on-demand address book queries to the Address Book Web Query Service.


The Address Book logic described in the following sections apply to all Office Communications Server deployments except a few special environments with either a very large number of users or a relatively volatile directory. For these types of environments, Office Communications Server Address Book logic behaves differently in a small number of aspects, resulting in slight improvements in CPU and network efficiency. Exceptions for special environments are called out separately in the sections below.