Skype for Business Server 2015 has all the roles which were part of the Lync Server 2013 and comes with SQL Server 2014 Express edition. The new server role “Video Interop Server” has introduced in Skype for Business Server 2015 which will act as an intermediary between Skype for Business server infrastructure and third-part video teleconferencing systems. In this article, will talk about all the server roles which are part of the Skype for Business Server 2015 and collocation of these server roles. Below is the graphical representation of server roles.
Standard Edition Server: Same as Lync Server 2013 Standard Edition Server, Skype for Business Standard Edition Server is basically for small deployments or can be used for branch sites. You can collocate Mediation server or deploy a stand-alone Mediation server according to your design and requirements. Even Persistent chat server also be collocated with Standard Edition Server. Same as Lync Server 2013, if you deploy archiving, monitoring or persistent chat server then you should have dedicated SQL server to deploy their databases.
Front End Server: There are no major changes in Front End Server. Front End Server is a core server role of the entire Skype for Business topology and works in similar way as it was in Lync Server 2013. You can start with minimum three FE servers and can go up to twelve FE servers in a single pool. Same as standard edition server, you can collocate Mediation server with FE pool or can deploy a stand-alone Mediation pool. There are few changes have been done in terms of Windows fabric and services/pool availability which will be written separately in another post. Same as Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server Front End pools are the primary store for user and conference data, each user data is replicated among three FE servers and same backed up on Back End Servers.
Back End Server: There are many options which can be used to deploy Back End Servers. Skype for Business support many options to achieve high availability of Back End databases. SQL Server 2012 with SP1 and SQL Server 2014 can be used with SQL Mirror / Failover Clustering or SQL Always-On to deploy Back End Server pool.
Mediation: Same as Lync Server 2013, Mediation server is required to implement Enterprise Voice, Call-via-work, and dial-in-conferencing features. Mediation server works as an intermediary between FE Servers and Enterprise voice setup and facilities signaling and media. In few cases Media can be bypassed but signaling always need Mediation Server component. As discussed earlier, Mediation server can be collocated with FE pool or can be deployed as a stand-alone pool.
Director: Director is still an optional server role or can be deployed as needed. You can have maximum 10 Director Servers in a single pool. Director can simplify your redirection and authentication process if you have multiple pools. It can also save your Front End servers from denial-of-service attack. This role cannot be collocated with any other server role.
Edge Server: Edge Server is require to allow Skype for Business services to those users who are not part of the corporate network, such as users logging remotely. It also allow commination between external/federated users and corporate users. Skype for Business Edge Server works in same way as Lync 2013 Edge Server. This role cannot be collocated with any other server role.
Video Interop Server: This is a new server role which has been introduced in Skype for Business Server. VIP works as an intermediary between Skype for Business infrastructure and third-party video teleconferencing system (VTC) solutions such as Cisco/Tandberg VTC solutions. This is an independent server role cannot be collocated with any other server roles. This role is only required if you need to integrate third party video teleconferencing systems with Skype for Business Server.
Apart from all these roles, there is one more server role which is not part of the Skype for Business Server but it is required if you have to collaborate with external/federated/remote users. Reverse Proxy server is required to share web content such as meeting url etc. The existing reverse proxy server can be used if exist in the environment.