Planning Multi-Forest Environments for Hybrid Skype for Business deployments
Published Mar 27 2017 07:31 AM 7,355 Views

Understanding how to establish a hybrid connection between Skype for Business on premises and online can be challenging when customers use multiple forests. The Skype for Business product group has worked hard the last couple of months to unblock additional scenarios and make the existing documentation clearer.

The authoritative documentation can be found here but we wanted to include a quick summary in this blog article:


  • For either a single user forest or multiple user forest deployment, there must be a single deployment of Skype for Business Server.
  • Lync Server 2010, Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 are supported in this topology (please note that availability of features depends on server version you are using).
  • Exchange can be deployed on premises only, in hybrid or online only.
  • Exchange Server can be deployed in one or more forests, which may or may not include the forest containing Skype for Business Server. For details on support for and limitations with co-existence between Exchange and Skype for Business in various combinations of on-premises and online, see Feature Support in Plan to integrate Skype for Business and Exchange.
  • Exchange Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2016 are supported in this topology.
  • Cloud PBX is supported in complex forest scenarios (as long as all Cloud PBX requirements are met:
  • We used to state that “central forests” were not supported. Since the definition of central forest was quite ambiguous, we replaced it with the following wording and hope to unlock additional scenarios: When Skype for Business Server is deployed in one forest (a resource forest) but provides functionality to users in one or more other forests (account forests), users in other forests must be represented as disabled user objects in the forest where Skype for Business Server is deployed. An identity management product, such as Microsoft Identity Manager, needs to be deployed and configured to provision and synchronize the users from the account forests into the forest where Skype for Business Server is deployed. Users must be synchronized into the forest hosting Skype for Business server as disabled user objects. They cannot be synchronized as Active Directory contact objects, because Azure Active Directory Connect will not properly sync contacts into Azure AD for use with Skype.
    Regardless of any multi-forest configuration, the forest hosting Skype for Business server can also provide functionality for any enabled users that exist in the same forest.

Call to action

  • Get familiar with the updated TechNet documentation
  • If you are in complex forest scenario and were blocked from Skype for Business Hybrid, reevaluate your situation based on the updated documentation
  • Any questions or feedback? Discuss with us in our Community.


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‎Mar 27 2017 07:38 AM
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