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New version of Lync SDN interface now available

Today’s post was written by Jamie Stark, project manager on the Lync Team.

It’s been just a few months since were at TechEd talking about how Unified Communications (UC) can take advantage of Software Defined Networking (SDN). Since then the industry hasn’t stopped talking about the utility of UC SDN across different scenarios, from diagnosing where media issues happen in the network to automating Quality of Service (QoS).

In the meantime, we’ve been hard at work across three paths.  First, we have a growing list of partners working to integrate, test and qualify with the Lync Server SDN interface—most recently being Meru Networks and Extreme Networks.  These partners are joining Aruba Networks, Nectar Services and HP Networking in bringing solutions to market that take advantage of the Lync SDN interface (you can learn more about all of their solutions presented at the 2014 Lync Conference.

Second, our partners have been actively working to deploy with Lync customers at scale, where we have received a ton of feedback and great learning about how to make the product better.  And so that’s the third piece—iteratively enhancing the interface to make it more capable.

The 2.1 version of the Lync Server SDN interface is now available for download.  In this release we have:

  • Evolved the architecture to better support High-Availability topologies.
  • Simplified deployment and configuration of the SDN interface.
  • Extended the device information presented to network management systems for better diagnostics and event correlation.
  • Qualified functionality across Lync Server 2010, 2013 and included IPv6 topologies.

Our customers and partners have been such a critical part of this work for us, we wanted to share their thoughts with you as well:

“Workplace mobility and the criticality of communications services to today’s enterprises have driven a sea change in expectations for Run state networks. Dynamic Quality of Service optimization and visibility into Lync media across Wi-Fi and wired networks are now top of mind for IT managers. To obtain them you need a window into Lync call activity, and that’s exactly what the SDN API 2.1 delivers. Aruba’s Lync qualified networks use the API to proactively set-up appropriate Quality of Service and to track, monitor, report, and diagnose call and network activity. You can’t manage what you can’t see and the SDN API 2.1 delivers unprecedented visibility.”

—Michael Tennefoss, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at Aruba Networks

“We have seen tremendous adoption of the Lync SDN API over the past six to nine months with the majority of our partners implementing the SDN API with our UC Diagnostics solution to support not only their internal Lync deployments, but making it an integral part of their Lync managed services offering for their customers. With the release of the Lync SDN Interface with in-call quality updates available and integrated with our network awareness application, it will provide customers greater real-time insight of the user experience and help speed the time it takes to identify, isolate and remediate issues impacting Lync.”

—Tom Tuttle, vice president of the Microsoft Practice at Nectar Services Corporation

“Businesses want and need the benefit of Unified Communications, but often struggle how to align infrastructure and business process objectives while maintaining a high quality user experience. The integration of HP Network Optimizer SDN Application with the Microsoft Lync SDN API has resulted in new joint customers, (Istanbul Kultur University for example), to support automated network policy and Quality of Service (QoS) provisioning for Lync.”

—Michael Zhu, senior director of Global Solutions and Alliances at HP

If you’re a Lync partner and you haven’t started integrating the Lync SDN interface into your product portfolio, now is the time.  And for our customers please don’t delay in getting the great benefits of this technology into your business.

If you have any questions or want to hear more, I’ll be talking about UC SDN and Lync at TechEd in Barcelona in session OFC-B340.  See you there!

—Jamie Stark

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