The other day I was reading J. Bruzzese's excellent piece on InfoWorld.com, Microsoft Lync 2010: Finally, a Communications Server Worth the Effort. I happen to agree, but one thing jumped out at me.

The new Lync Server Roles were mentioned, though not in great detail. I thought, “What information is out there on the server roles? I should check.”

So I did. And I found out that while some server roles are discussed a bit, others have been left for IT people to simply figure out at install.

Let me fix that – at least in part. Here's an overview of each Lync 2010 Server Role, focused on their intended function in the Lync family (or “site” as the new terminology goes).

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Archiving and Monitoring – Just like the name says. This server role monitors your Lync Server usage. Archiving archives IM conversations, Group Chat and conference logs.

Audio/Video Conferencing – Conferencing is integrated into Lync Server; a separate client (like Live Meeting was) isn't necessary. This server controls that integration.

Central Management – Main configuration server. The Central Management Store provides a master configuration database that sends configuration information out to all the servers deployed.

Director – The Lync Director server regulates user pools. It's usually on the front-end server.

Edge Server – Like they did before, Edge Servers make communications with external users possible. Lync Edge servers have also added DNS Load Balancing (helps reduce the need for Hardware Load Balancers).

Group Chat – The Group Chat feature allows users to discuss topics over time, with those discussions saved and searchable. Think of it like a bulletin board or discussion forum, built right into Lync.

Lync Web Application – Maintains the new Silverlight-based Lync Web App client. In case you conference with non-Lync users who'd like to join in without installing extra software.

Mediation – Handles mediation between servers and gateways. If there's a break in Lync's communication,the Mediation Server Role allows the call to bypass itself and flow from the Lync Server directly to a gateway or IP-PBX.

Reach Application Sharing – As the name implies,this role handles sharing of applications between users while chatting or conferencing. Information was hard to find, but I presume the 'reach' means this role also allows application sharing with third parties not using Lync.

Survivable Branch Appliance
– This role helps keep remote offices connected. If there's a break in communication (say the network goes down), the Appliance Role will route calls through a local gateway out to the public phone network. So calls can continue even while the network's being fixed.

Unified Communications Application Server – This one was the hardest to get specific information on. As you might expect, it helps with recording voicemails & passing them to Exchange. I'll have to go into more detail when it arrives.

Web Conferencing – Provides a foundation for hosting Web conferences (with integrated audio/video from the Audio/Video Conferencing Server).

Rest assured, this is only a preliminary. I intend to get first-hand information on all of these server roles soon. When Lync Server is RTM, I'll be recording everything I can for future posts.

Speaking of, what do you think? “The Lync Insider” or “Lync-Updates”? Which sounds better for an OCS/Lync blog like this?

Lync Server Roles and What They Do
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