Microsoft is retiring Unified Messaging (UM) in Exchange Online and replacing it with Cloud Voicemail and Auto Attendant services. This impacts voicemail processing and Auto Attendant in Exchange Online for all customers using these workloads. The following servers connecting to Exchange UM Online will be transitioned by Microsoft to Cloud Voicemail on or before February 28, 2020:
Lync Server 2013
Skype for Business Server 2015
Please note this announcement refers to Unified Messaging which is the processing of voicemails and Auto Attendant in Exchange Online. Storage of voicemails will continue to be supported in Exchange Online and Exchange on-premises Servers.
Customers using the above-mentioned servers to connect to Exchange UM Online will be transitioned to Cloud Voicemail by Microsoft. The transition timing will vary depending upon how your company has utilized the UM features. Over the course of this calendar year, we will selectively notify customers via the Office 365 Message Center of their coming transition. The first group of customers will be notified in February 2019 and then can expect to be transitioned in March 2019. The experience for each customer will be transparent – Microsoft will switch your users over to Cloud Voicemail and perform the necessary validation and testing. Customers who have received a transition notification and would like to request postponement can do so by submitting a request via the support tool in the Office 365 Admin Portal. Please remember that final retirement date is February 28, 2020. Lync 2010 Servers connected to Exchange Online Unified Messaging will not be transitioned or supported with Cloud Voicemail. Customers using this topology must upgrade to Skype for Business Server prior to February 28, 2020 for continued voicemail support via Cloud Voicemail. The benefits of Cloud Voicemail are many. Cloud Voicemail uses Azure services based in the Microsoft Global Network to provide flexibility and scalability. It harnesses additional modern platform services such as Cortana, Graph, and AI to enhance those core experiences. Being native to the cloud allows for a single support model for all voice modalities including Skype for Business on-premises, Skype for Business Online, and Microsoft Teams. As we update Cloud Voicemail, all customers benefit regardless of platform. Cloud Voicemail also supports Microsoft voice architectures including Phone System, Calling Plans, and Direct Routing meaning it works great today and is ready for tomorrow’s innovations. Cloud Voicemail also adds additional countries to its regulatory compliance list making the technology available to more customers. And finally, Cloud Voicemail has successfully been at work since 2016 processing millions of calls per month for cloud customers. Customers using Auto Attendant in Exchange UM Online are required to upgrade to Cloud Auto Attendant before February 28, 2020. Administrators will need to recreate their auto attendants in Cloud Auto Attendant and switch their phone numbers over to them. Microsoft plans to introduce enhancements to the Cloud Auto Attendant service in Q1-CY2019 to provide customers with the necessary features to migrate their Auto Attendants from Exchange UM online, such as Hybrid Number support, multiple number support, transfer to PSTN, and more. See Set up a Phone System auto attendant to learn more about creating Auto Attendants. For further information on this retirement, please visit our support article.