[This is pre-release documentation and subject to change in future releases. This topic's current status is: Milestone-Ready]

Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-18

The first part of the planning process is deciding which Microsoft Communications Server 2010 workloads and major features you want for your organization.

  1. IM and presence are always enabled. In any Communications Server deployment, the IM and presence workload is installed and enabled by default. IM enables your users to communicate with real-time text messages, and presence enables them to see the status of other users on the network. A user’s presence status provides information to help others decide whether they should try to contact the user, and by what means. For details, see IM and Presence.

  2. Do you want to deploy any modes of conferencing? Conferencing is another core feature of Communications Server. Several modes of conferencing are supported. You can choose to deploy all supported types of conferencing, or just some of them. Web conferencing enables users to see a file, such as a PowerPoint slide deck, that is being presented. Application sharing enables users to share all or part of their desktop with each other in real time. With A/V conferencing, users can add audio (and possibly video) to their conferences and peer-to-peer communications. Dial-in conferencing enables users to use standard PSTN phones to join the audio portion of conferences hosted at your organization. For details, see Conferencing.

  3. If you deploy A/V conferencing, you should also monitor the audio quality of these conferences. Many factors affect the audio and video quality of Communications Server A/V conferences. By using the A/V quality monitoring features (provided by the Monitoring Server role), you can detect issues that affect media quality, and ensure that your users have the best possible media experience.

  4. Do you want high availability for your IM, presence, and conferencing servers? If you have only one server at a site providing IM, presence and conferencing features, your users’ productivity will be greatly affected if that server goes down. By deploying a pool of multiple servers for these functions, you make it possible for Communications Server functions to continue if one server goes down. Additionally, if you have more than 12,500 users at a site, you must deploy a pool to serve this number of users; this pool will also provide high availability.

  5. Do you want to deploy Enterprise Voice? Enterprise Voice is the voice over IP (VoIP) solution provided by Communications Server. It provides an attractive alternative to traditional PBX-based telephony. Enterprise Voice enables users to place calls from their computers by clicking a contact in Outlook or Communicator. They can place calls over the IP network from computer to computer, computer to telephone, or telephone to computer. Users benefit from having all of their communications options-voice, e-mail, IM, and conferencing-available and integrated on their computers. For details, see Enterprise Voice.

  6. If you deploy Enterprise Voice, you should also monitor the audio quality of these calls. We recommend you use Monitoring Server to ensure the audio quality of your Enterprise Voice calls, if you deploy Enterprise Voice.

  7. Do you want to deploy Exchange UM? If your organization uses Microsoft Exchange for its email services, you can deploy the Exchange UM features of both Exchange and Communications Server to enhance communications capabilities for your users. Exchange UM features include enabling users to receive voicemail notices and listen to voicemail within their Exchange mailbox; access their Exchange mailboxes using a telephone; and receive faxes in their Exchange mailboxes.

  8. Do you need to archive IM content or meeting content for compliance purposes? If your organization has to archive IM content or meeting content for compliance purposes, you can deploy an Archiving Server.

  9. Do you want to enable your users to communicate and collaborate with external users? Enabling communication and collaboration with external users can increase your return on investment in Communications Server. This enables your organization’s own users to benefit from Communications Server features even when they are working outside your organization’s firewalls. You can also federate with your partner or customer organizations that run Communications Server. By doing so, your users and federated partner users can easily exchange IM messages, invite each other to meetings, and see each other’s presence. Additionally, your users can use an email message to invite specific outside users to online meetings they organize.

  10. Do you have branch offices in your organization? If your organization has small branch offices, Communications Server 2010 supports a variety of ways to support them and ensure their resiliency for voice and other features. In particular, at a branch office that does not have a resilient WAN link to a datacenter, you can install a Survivable Branch Appliance to maintain Enterprise Voice support should the WAN link go down. For details, see Enhanced Voice Resiliency in Central Sites and Branch Offices.