Office Web Apps Server & Lync 2013


Office Web Apps Server is required server role for Lync 2013 deployments. You can have too many questions in your mind regarding OWS for Lync 2013 such as what, why, how, where, when etc. To make it simple, I am creating flow which can help you to know more about Office Web Apps Server.

What is Office Web App Server? Office Web Apps Server is a new Office server product that delivers browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. A single Office Web Apps Server farm can support users who access Office files through SharePoint 2013, Lync Server 2013, Exchange Server 2013, shared folders, and websites. (Microsoft definition)

History? Don’t be confused between Office Web Apps in 2010 which was tightly integrated with SharePoint 2010 and Office Web App Server which is an independent office server product build by MS to support SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in advance fashion to provide rich experience to end users. Now, you can have a question in your mind about Windows Live Office Web Apps which is free for Windows Live and small-business users. Yes, you are absolutely correct but if you need these functionality on-premises, deploy Office Web Apps server.

Why do we need OWS in Lync 2013 deployment? Basically, Lync Server 2013 use OWS to handle PowerPoint presentations and improve the overall experience for presenters and attendees both. It provides rich presentation experience with high resolution and all new set of features which are available in PowerPoint such as transitions, animations and embedded videos etc. Lync 2013 supports standard DHTML with Java script which enable users to view presentation in mobile devices which doesn’t support Silverlight. Authorized/Privileged users can also scroll PowerPoint presentation as per their own wish without disturbing presenter.

How does it make difference? Lync server 2010 users (Lync Clients) were used to use PowerPoint viewer (which is based on PowerPoint 97-2003 and doesn’t support new features and other OS platforms except windows) and Lync web app users were used to customize DHTML with Silverlight which also doesn’t support all new features. Many mobile devices don’t support Silverlight which can’t be a part of PowerPoint broadcasts. To mitigate all these issues MS came up with Office Web Apps server which support all the features and provide rich experience to end users.

When should we deploy OWS? To make the things simpler you should deploy OWS before Installing Lync Server. You can also continue without deploying OWS server and use futuristic/planned FQDN of OWS in Lync topology builder. If you have existing OWS, you can use same for the Lync also.

Where should we deploy OWS? You should deploy OWS in your corporate network where you will deploy Lync Front End Servers.

How should we deploy OWS? OWS supports Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 and Windows Server 2012.

Prerequisite for Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1:

  1. .NET Framework 4.5
  2. Windows PowerShell 3.0
  3. Platform update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (KB2670838)
  4. Install Windows Features:

Import-Module ServerManager

Add-WindowsFeature Web-Server,Web-WebServer,Web-Common-Http,Web-Static-Content,Web-App-Dev,Web-Asp-Net,Web-Net-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Filter,Web-Includes,Web-Security,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Filtering,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Dyn-Compression,Web-Mgmt-Console,Ink-Handwriting,IH-Ink-Support

  1. Restart the server

Prerequisite for Windows Server 2012:

  1. Install Windows Features:

Add-WindowsFeature Web-Server,Web-Mgmt-Tools,Web-Mgmt-Console,Web-WebServer,Web-Common-Http,Web-Default-Doc,Web-Static-Content,Web-Performance,Web-Stat-Compression,Web-Dyn-Compression,Web-Security,Web-Filtering,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-App-Dev,Web-Net-Ext45,Web-Asp-Net45,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-ISAPI-Filter,Web-Includes,InkandHandwritingServices,NET-Framework-Features,NET-Framework-Core –Source “D:\sources\sxs\”        (Note: Here D: indicates path of Windows Server 2012 Media)

  1. Restart the server

Install Office Web Apps Server. Click here to download

Install the Office Web Apps Server update KB2810007

Install Language Pack to support multiple languages. Click here to download

Configure Office Web Apps Server farm

Configure certificates, url etc.

Add more servers in OWS farm

Configure load balancing.

High Availability Options in OWS? You can deploy stand-alone Office Web Apps Server farm which supports all the features but doesn’t provide High Availability. If you need HA for OWS farm, deploy more than one OWS server and configure load balancing. Office Web Apps Server only supports Windows Network Load Balancing or Hardware Load Balancing.

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