Microsoft has announced that "Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365". A natural question that was on many attendees minds, demonstrated by the large session was, "How are my current investments in Skype for Business Server protected?" The answer is: Skype for Business Server 2019.
What is Skype for Business Server 2019 currently slated bring? According to the summary slide in BRK2035:
Refreshed Mainstream Support
Quality, Security & Performance Fixes
Refreshed Skype for Business Client
IT Pro & Voice centric release
Cloud Connected Analytics & Voice Apps
Improved Teams Interop
What are the new features in unvarnished summary, filled out with Q&A clarifications?
IT Pro & Voice features
More PowerShell to manage end users (Q&A)
The Silverlight Lync Server Control Panel will be replaced (Q&A)
Cloud Connected Analytics:
Call Analytics & Retention in one portal for all users.
Cloud Connected Voice Apps:
Cloud Back Voice Services Like Voicemail, Auto Attendant and Call Queues.
Improved Interop Between Teams and Skype for Business
What Will be Removed?
Standard Edition Server
Removing Director Role
Side by Side Upgrade, No In Place Upgrade
No Persistent Chat Role (Q&A)
When will it arrive? At this time the roadmaps is Preview in Mid 2018 & Release Late 2018.
Windows 10 for client,
It Will be released as click to run
Lync Server 2013 or 2015
Requires a minimum of Win OS 2016 + SQL 2016
And, NOT a requirement, but to get all the value, hybrid is recommended.
A thread of the session was that Skype for Business Server is a release to give time till Teams suites you. The guidance was that even if you are on Skype for Business Server, Microsoft is nudging everyone to pilot Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business Server 2019 will be provided to give support well into the future so you can move to Teams at YOUR pace.
In the Q&A it was noted that RGS will remain in Skype for Business Server, but don't expect any new features. No upgrade for SBS and SBA, they will stay on 2015 codebase. CCE can coexist with Skype for Business Server 2019. With Teams the intention is to have no CCE and connect SBC directly to the cloud.
Skype for Business Server 2019 is Microsoft's answer to protect your existing investment and allow you to move to Microsoft Teams on your timetable. Based on the audience response, I think that Dan Strader & Microsoft outlined a good direction for Skype for Business Server.