As the retirement of Skype for Business Online approaches, we want to help customers with hybrid deployments of Skype for Business (Server + Online) successfully plan for the changes ahead. This post provides guidance for upgrade readiness, post-retirement experiences for hybrid deployments, and transitioning on-premises users to Teams after Skype for Business Online retires.
How can hybrid customers prepare for Skype for Business Online retirement?
Hybrid customers must upgrade Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only or move them on-premises by July 31, 2021. For any users homed in Skype for Business Online, you’ll need to ensure the user’s mode is set to TeamsOnly, as some may be using Teams while homed in Skype for Business Online.
What if an organization needs to maintain an on-premises instance of Skype for Business?
Although we encourage organizations to adopt Teams to fully benefit from an expanded set of communications and collaboration experiences, those that require an on-premises deployment of Skype for Business may continue to use Skype for Business Server as the support lifecycle of Skype for Business Server is not impacted by the retirement of Skype for Business Online.
Post-retirement, hybrid organizations can have:
- Users homed on-premises that use Teams, but not in TeamsOnly mode, and
- Users that have been upgraded to Teams Only, whether from Skype for Business Server or Skype for Business Online
What can customers with hybrid Skype for Business configurations expect as Skype for Business Online retires?
If all Skype for Business Online users have already been upgraded to Teams Only, their experiences will not change as interop with Skype for Business Server will continue to work as it currently does.
If your organization still has users homed in Skype for Business Online, you may be scheduled for a Microsoft-assisted upgrade to transition remaining Skype for Business Online users to Teams. Scheduling notifications will be sent to customers with users homed in Skype for Business Online 90 days before these users are upgraded to Teams. Assisted upgrades will begin in August 2021.
Even after being scheduled for a Microsoft-assisted upgrade, we recommend customers upgrade remaining Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only themselves prior to their scheduled date to better control the timing of their upgrade.
Once a user has been upgraded to Teams Only, they:
- Will receive all calls and chats in Teams.
- Can only initiate calls and chats, and schedule new meetings in Teams. Attempts to open the Skype for Business client will be redirected to Teams.
- Will be able to interoperate with other users who use Skype for Business Server.
- Will be able to communicate with users in federated organizations.
- Can still join Skype for Business meetings.
- Will have their online meetings and contacts migrated to Teams.
Users homed online will now be in TeamsOnly mode, while users homed on Skype for Business Server will remain on-premises. Please see this blog post for more details about Microsoft assisted upgrades.
After Skype for Business Online retires, what is the path from Skype for Business Server to Teams?
After Skype for Business Online retires, organizations that plan to transition users from on-premises to the Teams cloud can still do so by following the Teams upgrade guidance. Skype for Business Server customers who haven’t done so must plan hybrid connectivity. Hybrid connectivity enables customers to move on-premises users to Teams and take advantage of Microsoft 365 cloud services. After establishing hybrid connectivity, on-premises users can be moved to Teams Only.
We are working to simplify how organizations move to Teams. When moving a user from Skype for Business Server to Teams, it will no longer be required to specify the ‘-MoveToTeams’ switch in ‘Move-CsUser’, to move users directly from on-premises to Teams Only. Currently if this switch is not specified, users transition from being homed in Skype for Business Server to Skype for Business Online, and their mode remains unchanged. After retirement, when moving a user from on-premises to the cloud with ‘Move-CsUser’, users will automatically be assigned TeamsOnly mode, and their meetings will be automatically converted to Teams meetings even if ‘-MoveToTeams’ is not specified. We expect to release this functionality before July 31, 2021.
Enable a full migration to the cloud
As the timing, technical requirements and economics make sense, Skype for Business Server customers may choose to make a full migration to Microsoft 365. But before decommissioning the on-premises Skype for Business deployment and removing any hardware, all users should be upgraded to Teams Only, and the on-premises deployment must be separated from Microsoft 365 by disabling hybrid. After this three-step process is complete, customers may decommission their Skype for Business Server.
Still need help?
Leverage resources including Microsoft Teams admin documentation, online upgrade guidance, and Teams upgrade planning workshops to help plan your path to Teams Only.
You can also reach out to your Microsoft account team, FastTrack (as eligible) or a Microsoft Solution Partner to assist with the process.
See you in Teams!