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Decommissioning Skype for Business Hybrid and Going Cloud Only

There is a lot of documentation out on the internet on the benefits of Skype for Business and Skype for Business Hybrid, how to configure, how to move users etc. However, there appears to be little information about what to do when Hybrid is no longer required. We have become so focused on what benefits hybrid gives us now and in the future with Skype Broadcast Meetings, Cloud PBX etc that perhaps we have forgotten not everyone needs it. There are still businesses out there who made a heavy investment in on premises infrastructure for Instant Messaging and Presence services only who are now looking at Skype for Business Online as a cheaper alternative due to its OPEX pricing model. For these businesses, they simply want to use hybrid to move users from on premises to the cloud and that’s it. So what to do once we no longer need hybrid – just turn off on premises servers? No.

Unlike Microsoft Exchange Hybrid where the integration is more heavily woven together, Skype for Business Hybrid is actually nothing more than 2 independent federated domains with the additional configuration that they share a common namespace. The sharing of the namespace allows administrators to move users between the two deployments with their data and redirect sign-in requests to the correct deployment. With any Hybrid configuration, the on premises deployment is the source of authority for that service. Therefore, sign-in requests will come to the on premises front end servers using lyncdiscover and SRV records. The on premises front end server is clever enough to realise that the user’s SIP identity and service lives (courtesy of AD) in Office 365 and will issue a redirect to the cloud service from the discovery phase. This allows the user’s client to sign in directly to the online tenant using Microsoft Office 365 URLs.

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Hybrid or No Hybrid? Skype for Business

One of the key decisions Skype for Business administrators are going to have to make in the near future is whether to implement a hybrid solution or keep it on premise only.

Why is this a more pertinent question for Skype for Business than it was for Lync?

Firstly, the decision to deploy Lync on premise was driven by the simple business requirement of: “Does your business require enterprise voice?” If the answer to that question is Yes, you have no choice but to deploy on premise. If the answer was No, then it is far more cost effective to use Lync Online.

So for the businesses who required enterprise voice, Microsoft came up with the idea that a hybrid deployment could save your business money. How?

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