OCS R2 Key Facts

People currently deploying, or planning to deploy, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 maybe wondering about the next release of OCS (‘R2’), when making deployment decisions today. Here are some quick key facts that you need to know.

New Features
This recent Microsoft press release provides a nice summary of the new features. Noteworthy is the ability to host an audio conference (i.e. setup an audio bridge), desktop sharing, and support for persistent chat groups.

When will it be ready?
The product is in Beta now, and the official worldwide launch is slated for Feb. 3, 2009.  It will likely RTM around mid-to-late December this year.

64-bit Support
The R2 release will only run on a 64-bit version of Windows 2003, Windows 2003 R2, or Windows 2008 (but not Windows 2008 R2).

Upgrade Options (from OCS 2007)
Currently there is no in-place upgrade available, which leaves 2 options available:
1) Migrate. R2 can be installed side-by-side with OCS 2007 and then users can be re-homed
2) Uninstall and Re-Install. Backup your configuration data, uninstall OCS 2007, re-install with R2, and restore your data.

Support for Virtualization
There is no publicly stated support for the supported virtualization of any OCS R2 server roles yet.  In the past Microsoft has added virtualization capabilities 90 days after RTM in other enterprise products.

Enhanced Deployment Planning Tool
R2 will have an enhanced version of the “Planning Tool for Office Communications Server 2007” that should help simplify deployment.

Enhanced Development Environment
New API’s and Visual Studio Integration is expected to make it notably easier to build OCS aware applications and embed OCS functionality into existing applications.

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