Microsoft's real-time communications (RTC) and collaboration application Lync has gained a lot of users and even fans in the last few years. Building on preceding Microsoft products, Live Communications Server (LCS) and Office Communications Server (OCS) going back a decade, Lync 2010 was a major step forward and provided deep and useful integration into the Office suite as well as Exchange.
In April of 2013, Microsoft released the latest version, Lync Server 2013. There is a long list of new and improved features in Lync 2013 server compared to Lync 2010 server. If you are a current OCS or Lync customer with on-premise RTC server computers, you can consider upgrading to Lync Server 2013. You should carefully check out the cloud-based options for both Lync Online and Lync services as part of Office 365. A direct on-premise replacement of an older RTC solution might or might not be the right decision.
Preparing to install Lync Server 2013
Perhaps to help you make the decision of an on-premise Lync server or a cloud-based solution, kick the tires in a Lync Server 2013 evaluation. In the case of the previous release, Lync Server 2010, Microsoft provided a ready-to-use downloadable Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) image to make it easier to evaluate Lync 2010. To date, Microsoft has not released a downloadable VHD image for Lync Server 2013. To evaluate Lync Server 2013, you install the Lync software on an existing computer on-premise or in your private cloud.
A wizard-driven install experience includes three main activities to complete to get Lync Server 2013 running in your environment for simple evaluation:
- Prepare Active Directory
- Install Lync Server System
- Install Administrative Tools
Download the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Evaluation setup DVD (.ISO file image) from this link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh973393.aspx
Prepare to install Lync Server 2013
Follow these steps to evaluate Lync Server 2013 on a single computer:
#1 Prepare a computer to install Lync 2013 Server, for example spin up a virtual machine (VM) running Windows Server 2012 with all updates.
#2 Install the Web Server (IIS) role, Windows Identity Foundation 3.5, the Desktop Experience under User Interfaces and Infrastructure, .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.5 including HTTP Activation, and the Remote Server Administration Tools Active Directory Administrative Center features using Server Manager.
#3 Run the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 setup.exe located in the \Setup\amd64 folder on the software distribution media.
#4 "In order to run the software on this CD, the Microsoft C++ 2012 x64 Minimum Runtime - 11.0.50727 Package must be installed. Do you wish to install it?" Click Yes.
# 5 At the Specify the location for the installation files, as shown in Figure A, you can select the default location, C:\Program Files\Microsoft Lync Server 2013 and press Install.
# 6 Accept the license agreement and installation of Microsoft Lync Server 2013, Core Components will begin.
#7 The Lync Server 2013 Deployment Wizard welcome screen will appear as shown in Figure B. To continue, click on the first task, Prepare Active Directory.
#8 Preparing AD for Lync Server involves seven (7) steps that are clear and easy to execute from the tasks shown in composite screen shot in Figure C. Begin by clicking Run on the first step, and follow the tips from the wizard to complete the seven steps. Click Back when all steps are complete.
#9 Returning you to the Lync Server 2013 Deployment Wizard seen in Figure A, click on Prepare First Standard Edition Server, which becomes available after preparing AD. Figure D shows the next section of the wizard, and lets you know that SQL Server 2012 Express will be automatically installed and configured. Click Next and the remainder of the setup including SQL Server 2012 Express is hands-off.
#10 Configure your private DNS records: You will define DNS SRV records (_tcp_sipinternals: 5061) and host records for the meet, dialin, and admin names that point to your Lync 2013 server.
#11 Again at the Lync Server 2013 Deployment Wizard seen in Figure A, click now on Install Administrative Tools. Following this, you will find some tiles on your desktop as seen in Figure E. Run the Lync Server Topology Builder application and select New Topology.
#12 In the Create New Topology dialog page, enter the primary SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) domain for your company. On a following page you can specify additional supported SIP domains. You will need to name your Lync site and provide some location details--you can add additional Lync sites later using the New Site wizard.
#13 After creating the new topology, continue with the New Front End Wizard task. Figure F shows the first page of this wizard and the bullets list the main tasks to be completed.
#14 To deploy a Standard Edition Lync server, enter the AD fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the Lync server computer when prompted. Next you will decide what additional Lync features to install as shown in Figure G. Instant Messaging (IM) and presence are always enabled, and while most other options are only used with enterprise voice and advanced setups, consider deploying the conferencing features for your evaluation.
#15 In following wizard pages, for your evaluation, you can bypass the Mediation and Edge Pool services without entering anything, just click Next. Likewise, for your evaluation, accept the default settings regarding using SQL Server Express and creating a file share.
#16 At the Specify the Web Services URL page, modify the External Base URL to match the public DNS name that will be used for Internet-based Lync services.
#17 At the Select an Office Web App Server page, for your evaluation, unselect the Associate pool with and Office Web App Server option. (This means you can't share PowerPoint presentations during meetings. If you need to evaluate this feature, follow the steps in the wizard to set up a new Office Web App Server.) Click Finish to complete the front end deployment.
Publish Lync topology and install Lync Server
After completing the server setup steps, the next task is to publish the Lync topology. Follow these steps to publish the topology, essentially deploying and activating the Lync features you selected with the configuration settings defined during server setup.
- From the Lync Server 2013, Topology Builder screen, select Action -> Publish Topology. At the Publish the Topology page, click Next.
- A "to-do" list will appear in Notepad after the wizard is complete. The list will remind you of the DNS hostname entries that are required and that certificates may need to be issued or reissued to match the listed hostnames.
- From the Lync Server 2013 Deployment Wizard, select the link Install or Update Lync Server System. Execute the four steps shown in Figure H to complete the server installation. Consult the reference at More Information below on detailed steps.
Microsoft has a free e-book, Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Step By Step for Anyone, by Microsoft Lync MVP Matt Landis that gives step by step instructions on how to install Lync Server 2013 on Windows Server 2012:
John Joyner, MCSE, CMSP, MVP Cloud and Datacenter Management, is senior architect at ClearPointe, a cloud provider of systems management services. He is co-author of the "System Center Operations Manager: Unleashed" book series from Sams Publishing, and is developing cloud-based management solutions based on the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite. John is a retired U.S. Navy Lt. Commander 'Surface Warfare Officer', with the subspeciality 'Computer Scientist, Proven'. His tours of duty included Chief of Network Operations for NATO's southern region and network administrator aboard the aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70).