Migrate to Skype for Business 2015 – Part 1 – Your Options

Migrate to Skype for Business 2015 – Part 1 – Your Options

If you are using Microsoft Lync Server and want to move on to Skype for Business 2015 you have a couple different ways to perform the migration depending on your starting point.


Note: I will be concentrating on the migration from Lync Server (2010/2013) to Skype for Business. If you are using the Office Communication Server (OCS) you should migrate to Lync Server first, before moving on to Skype for Business. You can also set up a new Skype for Business environment.

This will be a two part series of posts:

  • Part 1 – Your Options (this part will focus on the theory and your options from which you can choose for the migration)
  • Part 2 – Perform the Migration (this part will take a closer look into the actual steps you will perform while migrating)

So this part will cover options for migrating. Basically you have two options: InPlace upgrade or a “regular” migration. Depending on your Lync version you may have to use a certain one.

Original topology New topology Migration options
 Lync Server 2010  Skype for Business + Lync 2010  Regular migration
 Lync Server 2013  Skype for Business + Lync 2013  InPlace upgrade or regular migration
 Lync Server (2010/2013) coexistence  Skype for Business + Lync 2013  First migration from 2010 –> 2013 –> then InPlace upgrade or regular migration

InPlace upgrade

It is a more convenient upgrade path which is started through the Lync Topology Builder. It preserves the existing hardware/server investments and is supposed to reduce the overall cost for the deployment/migration. As you can see in the table above, you can only use the InPlace upgrade with Lync Server 2013.

As an upgrade order you want to move from inside to outside. So you may want to start with your Front End servers. The following servers require an upgrade to Skype for Business:

Components/Roles Require update to Skype for Business?
Front End Yes
Director Yes
Mediation Yes
Persistent Chat Yes
Edge Yes
Trusted Application Pool Yes
SQL Server store Yes
Survivable Branch Appliance No
Survivable Branch Server No
File store No
PSTN Gateway No
Trunk No
Office Web Apps Server No

If you want to upgrade your SBA to Skype for Business you should contact your vendor.

 Upgrade process

An InPlace upgrade can be done in five simple steps. Follow this process to go through the InPlace upgrade


The prerequisites are the following:

  • CU5 and latest hotfix for Lync Server 2013
  • Windows PowerShell 3.0 (at least build version 6.2.9200.0)
  • At least Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1
  • And also one of the following:

Also, you want to have 32 GB of free disk space before you start the upgrade.

I will go deeper into these steps in the next part of this series.

Upgrade Path

Migrating using InPlace upgrade gives you two upgrade paths – online mode and offline mode. Online mode (also known as  “move users method”) will not affect your users while migrating. So your users can continue using Lync during migration. For offline mode you may want to send a maintenance note to your users, because they will experience unavailablity of the Lync services.

Online mode

You will need at least two Lync 2013 Front End pools. This way you can move the users to one pool while upgrading the other. Follow the process described above for the upgrade.



Offline mode

The offline mode migration can be performed with just one Lync 2013 Front End pool (of course it can also be more). As said above, your users will experience disconnection. Again, follow the process described above for the upgrade.




“Regular” Migration

For me a “regular” migration means adding a new Skype for Business Server infrastructure to your existing topology and moving the users to the new servers after you’re done deploying. You can then decommision your old Lync servers. Starting point can be either Lync 2010 or Lync 2013.



You may ask why you should perform a regular migration for Lync 2013 if you have the choice of using the InPlace upgrade. A regular migration gives you the chance to play safe and move back to Lync 2013 if something during the migration doesn’t work out as planned. It is your choice whether you want to invest that extra time or not.

If you are working with Lync 2010 and you do not want to migrate to Lync 2013 first before upgrading to Skype for Business, you have to perform a regular migration.


For a closer look on how to perform an InPlace upgrade from Lync 2013 to Skype for Business, please read part 2 of this series. Part 2 will be published soon.


 Further reading:






My name is Simone Liebal and I’m working as a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft in Germany with the focus point on Cloud Voice.
I support partners with their Skype for Business projects and offerings following the Skype Operations Framework.

Opinions displayed on this blog and my social media pages are my own and do not express the views and opinions of Microsoft.

2 thoughts on “Migrate to Skype for Business 2015 – Part 1 – Your Options

  1. mkap

    Hi Simone,

    Great post! I have a scenario that most resembles the Online upgrade options where I have an existing Lync enterprise deployment. What I’m hoping to do is create a second Pool in another region already using Skype for business, establish some users and services on that, then once that is figured out, upgrade the Lync environment. Can you advise on the best way to do that?

    Many Thanks,

    1. SimoneSimone Post author

      Hi Mike,

      thank you for your comment. I understood (if that is not the case please correct me) that you want to add a new site, but within the same forest. To be honest, that sounds like a plan to me. Of course if you have SfB within the same forest the schema update will be applied. So if this is something you worry about, you can always test your scenario in an evaluation lab first. Is there a specific topic about your planned migration you would like some advise on?


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