Office Communications Server 2007 R2 reduces management overhead and simplifies deployment and ongoing operations. These management improvements include the following.

Simplified Topologies

The recommended topology for Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is the consolidated configuration, in which:

  • All server roles in a pool are collocated on each Front End Server in the pool.

  • Each Edge Server in the perimeter network runs all three Edge Server roles.

The consolidated configuration reduces both deployment and operational overhead while reducing cost of ownership. Scalability is achieved by adding computers to the pool or perimeter network and load balancing them.

In addition, Call Detail Record (CDR) and Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring and reporting have been combined in a single new server role, the Monitoring Server.

Enhanced Administrative Snap-In

The administrative snap-in has been updated for Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to include the following:

  • Application Server

  • Response Group Distributor

  • Conferencing Attendant

  • Conferencing Announcement Service

  • Outside Voice Control

  • Application Sharing Server

The new snap-in enables administrators to configure and manage each of these new components using a familiar interface. In addition, these new components appear in the server-by-role view in the snap-in.

Optional Installation of Administrative Tools

Installation of the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 snap-in is now an option, rather than automatic. The Communicator Web Access administrative snap-in and the deployment command-line tool, LcsCmd, are also no longer installed by default.

Conference Directories

Conference directories are new entities that provide persistent identities for scheduled conferences that are not tied to the conference organizer’s identity. The conference directories assigned to a pool – like the pool’s users – must be reassigned when the pool is taken offline, to maintain uninterrupted service. Conference directories, including those that are as yet unassigned, are listed in the tree view of the administrative console.

Automatic Updates

Administrators can push updates to the Office Communicator 2007 R2 Communicator Phone Edition and RoundTable without relying on the refresh cycles of other administrators and with little or no involvement from users.

Improved Certificate Wizard

An improved Certificate Wizard allows administrators to create multiple certificate requests offline for the same computer and then send them to an enterprise or public certification authority (CA). After certificates are imported, the Certificate Wizard allows the administrator to specify the certificate assignments to specific services. The Certificate Wizard also warns when Subject Alternate Names (SANs) include spaces and special characters, which are not allowed.

Simplified Firewall Configuration for the A/V Edge Service

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 simplifies firewall configuration for the A/V Edge service to support audio and video scenarios that involve remote users and federated users. In Office Communications Server 2007, the perimeter network’s external firewall needed to be configured to allow inbound and outbound connections with the public Internet to the A/V Edge service on ports 3478 for User Datagram Protocol (UDP), 443 for Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and 50,000-59,999 for both UDP and TCP.

With Office Communications Server 2007 R2, if you are not federating with other Office Communications Server 2007 organizations, you can configure the perimeter network external firewall to allow only inbound and outbound connections on ports 3478 for UDP and 443 for TCP. This reduced port range simplifies the configuration changes required on the external firewall.

If your organization will federate with other organizations that run Office Communications Server 2007 R2, you will need to open the 50,000 to 59,999 port range, but only for outbound TCP connections. If you are federating with organizations that are running older versions of Office Communications Server, you still need to open the 50,000 to 59,999 port range for both inbound and outbound connections, and both UDP and TCP.

In Office Communications Server 2007, the external IP address of the A/V Edge service had to be publicly routable and not located behind a network address translation (NAT). In Office Communications Server 2007 R2, if a public IP address is not available, the A/V Edge service can be deployed behind a NAT if you are using a single Edge Server topology. If you have a load-balanced array of Edge Servers, you still need a publicly-routable IP address.

Planning Tool

The Planning Tool for Office Communications Server 2007 R2 provides prescriptive guidance for planning and deployment. The Planning Tool is a wizard that asks a series of questions about features of interest, information about your organization, and anticipated capacity. Based on the answers you provide, the Planning Tool creates a recommended topology for each of your organization’s main sites, specifies recommended hardware, and prescribes the planning and deployment steps to implement the topologies. The Planning Tool takes about 10 minutes to complete, depending on the complexity of your organization.