Skype for Business Online Coexistence with Exchange On-Premises

As Skype for Business Online gains adoption, there are more questions regarding feature support with Exchange On-Premises and pure Skype for Business Online (not hybrid). Specifically, what integrated features are supported and what limitations exist? This article provides a summary of what to expect in this scenario.

For starters, Exchange Server 2016/2013/2010 on-premises and a pure Skype for Business Online is supported with the right configuration. This Microsoft Support article is not well advertised but is a good reference on how to support this scenario: How to integrate Exchange Server 2013 with Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Online, or a Lync Server 2013 hybrid deployment.

More details on co-existence with Exchange Server, support criteria, and limitations in various combinations of on-premises and online are detailed in this TechNet article: Plan to integrate Skype for Business and Exchange. Note, this article highlights a best practice, which is to “move the user’s mailbox to Exchange Online before moving the user’s Skype for Business home“. In practice, I have not found anything detrimental to moving the Skype for Business user first; aside from the feature limitations discussed here.

The most challenging issue I’ve seen so far is multiple sign-in prompts in the SfB client, especially when MFA is enabled. This can happen with SfB on-premises and Exchange as well however, and I have not been able to pinpoint anything specific with the SfB user residing online.

Generally, from a feature standpoint, the full set of integrated features are supported with the exception of:

  • Outlook Web App integration – Instant Messaging and Presence
  • Outlook Web App integration – Scheduling Meetings
  • Unified Contact Store
  • High Resolution Photo’s (in the SfB/Lync client)

Feature support does differ slightly between Exchange 2016/2013 and 2010. Here I’ve summarized the feature support for just Exchange 2016/2013 vs 2010 on-premises and SfBO scenarios, and highlighted unsupported features in red:

Skype for Business Feature Exchange 2016/2013 Exchange 2010
Presence in Outlook Y Y
Respond via IM, PSTN Call, Skype Call or Video Call from an Outlook email Y Y
Schedule and join online meetings through Outlook Y Y
Presence in Outlook Web App N N
Respond via IM, PSTN Call, Skype Call or Video Call from an OWA email N N
Schedule and join online meetings through Outlook Web App N N
IM/Presence in Mobile Clients Y Y
Join online meetings in Mobile clients Y Y
Publish status based on Outlook calendar free/busy information Y Y
Contact List (via Unified Contact Store) N N
High-resolution Contact Photo (Requires Lync 2013 or Skype for Business clients at a minimum. Not supported for LWA, mobile apps, Lync 2010, Lync for Mac, and other older clients.) Y N
Meeting delegation Y Y
Missed Conversations history and Call Logs are written to user’s exchange mailbox Y Y
Archiving Content (IM and Meeting) in Exchange N N
Search archived content N N
Exchange UM Voice Mail Y Y
Server Side Conversation History Y N
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