We have had some questions about Microsoft Lync Hybrid deployments. These questions have usually taken the form of “If we do a Lync Hybrid deployment, does that mean that Lync users on Office 365 can now take advantage of enterprise voice functionality?”
A Microsoft Lync hybrid deployment is one in which some users are homed on-premise and some users are homed online but all the users share the same domain name. You can use this hybrid deployment with Lync Online and use Active Directory Synchronization to keep your on-premises and online users synchronized. You can also configure hybrid deployments for integration with other Microsoft Office 365 applications, including Exchange Online and Sharepoint Online.
In a hybrid voice solution, domain users who are enabled to register with Lync Online would be granted telephony services by the Enterprise Voice services of a Lync on premise implementation. The services provided by the hybrid voice would be a subset of enterprise voice features for configured users.
This is a function that Microsoft was planning to implement with Lync Online when Wave 15 of Office 365 became available. Unfortunately, the hybrid voice scenario was deprecated by Microsoft in May of 2013. Therefore the hybrid voice scenario is not available or being provisioned.
With that said, ONLY the hybrid voice capability of Lync were deprecated. No other functionality of Lync Server, Lync Online or Office 365 were affected. Therefore all other hybrid capabilities will continue to be supported, including using Lync Server on-premise with Exchange Online and splitting users between Lync Server and Lync Online.
To discuss these two hybrid capabilities further –
Lync Server may be used in conjunction with Exchange Online, which allows missed call notifications, voice mails, and unified messaging capability for Lync to be delivered using Exchange Online through a connection to the on-premises Lync installation. This is particularly useful for Exchange Online customers who need the full Lync enterprise voice feature set.
Second, Lync Server may be used in conjunction with Lync Online in a “split domain” configuration. This allows customers to home some users on Lync Server and others in the Office 365 cloud, with users homed on Lync Server taking advantage of the full Lync Server feature set, including all enterprise voice features.
Microsoft made the change in “Hybrid voice” for several reasons. While both “split domain” and “hybrid voice” require customers to deploy and manage Lync Server on premise, “split domain” provides the complete Lync enterprise voice feature set for voice configured users. Further, after announcing their intention to deliver enterprise voice in the cloud and progressing their design approach, the architectural model of “hybrid voice” is not optimal to be carried forward. It would have required customers to invest in a short-term approach that may require complex migration scenarios in the future.
Jacob Eker, PEI