Microsoft Announced the release of Skype For Business Cloud Connector Edition version 2.0, previously releasing GA version in April of 2016.
Cloud Connector Edition allows for 3 key features:
- Authentication of the local trunk to Office 365 Cloud PBX;
- Keep media within enterprise boundaries;
- Negotiation of codecs between the clients and a PSTN gateway/Session Border Controller (SBC)
What this really means is, it will allow the end customer to keep their existing investment in telephony equipment whether that be their existing PBX (digital or voip) or just the circuits (Analog, PRI, SIP) and integrate it with Office 365 (Skype for Business Online) . It will allow the client to leverage all the Microsoft Cloud Telephony services Phone System, Audio Conferencing.
- Phone System – a set of calling features delivered with a Phone System in Office 365. Allowing users to make and receive business calls in the office, at home, or on the road, using your phone, PC, or mobile device leveraging on-premises PSTN connectivity.
- Audio Conferencing – allows the Skype for Business Online users to utilize the PSTN conferencing capabilities in the cloud and allows the business to offload that modality and costs to the cloud rather then having to support that infrastructure on-premises.
The Cloud Connector Edition is a set of Virtual Machine’s (VM’s) which are a scaled down version of Skype for Business server pre-packaged by Microsoft that is deployed in 2 different scenarios:
- Deploy the VM’s on a new Hyper-V server that is setup in your DMZ which will proxy the communication from the customer telephony over SIP to the Office 365 cloud.
- Deploy a SBC/Gateway from a certified partner (Audiocodes, Sonus) which have the pre-packaged VMs built-in to the appliance so that the direct routing will occur within the appliance
More details about deploying Cloud Connector Edition can be found here.
Thinktel Communications has also created their version of Cloud Connector Edition , which alleviate the need for having a Cloud Connector edition on-premises. You are able to connect utilize this service in 2 ways:
- You can port your telephone numbers to Thinktel who are also a Telecom provider thus not requiring any other equipment on-premises and be fully on Office 365 Skype for Business Phone System
- You can call forward your current telephone numbers to Thinktel so you can still have utilize your on-premises equipment and slowly transition to Office 365 Skype for Business Online Phone System