This is the first Microsoft product to combine enterprise-ready IM (instant messaging), presence awareness, conferencing, and VoIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol) telephony, in a fully integrated and unified communications solution. Office Communications Server™ provides richer "presence awareness" capabilities, enhanced support for group IM, and improved deployment and management capabilities, than its predecessor, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server™.

Communications Server is available in two editions:

  • Standard Edition:

    Hosts all server components, as well as the database for storing user and conference information, on a single computer. Standard Edition provides full functionality for small organizations at significant cost savings.

  • Enterprise Edition:

    Separates server functionality from data storage to achieve higher capacity and availability. An Enterprise Edition pool typically consists of two or more Front End Servers, which are fronted by a hardware load balancer and connected to a Back-End Database. (It is also possible to deploy a single Front End Server without a load balancer). Optionally, certain conferencing components can be deployed on separate computers for higher capacity and availability. Enterprise Edition is appropriate for medium and large organizations.

Both editions support the full suite of IM, presence awareness, conferencing, and VoIP features.

Office Communications Server