We recently conducted some tests to confirm that Office Communications Server 2007 can be delivered via Citrix Presentation Server 4.5. While these are not “official” test results, I thought many of you might appreciate an early look at what we found in case you’re considering rolling out OCS 2007.

Office Communications Server, the successor to Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005, is Microsoft’s entry in the Unified Communications space. It brings together Voice-over-IP (VoIP), Instant Messaging (IM), audio and video conferencing, and integration with Microsoft Office. OCS includes presence information so you can see at a glance whether someone is available to receive your phone call or instant message.

We didn’t test video conferencing. That would require USB webcam support on Presentation Server. Our focus was on the Instant Messaging and Microsoft Office integration features of OCS 2007.

We published the Office Communicator client on Presentation Server and successfully used its Instant Messaging and presence functions. OCS integrates presence information from multiple sources including the Outlook calendar and Out-of-Office Assistant. From an e-mail message in Outlook, you can view the presence information for each addressee and then initiate real-time communications from within the message without switching applications.

Office Communicator can also be used to control a physical telephone set. For example, you can instruct Office Communicator to place a call in your behalf and, leveraging your telephone system, it will ring your phone (office, home, or mobile) and then call the other party and bridge the connections. You can’t yet use Office Communicator on Presentation Server as a pure softphone with voice-over-ICA; one of the reasons is that softphones need to open the audio driver more than once (ringtone/busytone, voice) and the current audio driver in PS 4.5 FP1 doesn’t support that. (We previewed an enhanced audio driver for softphone support and voice-over-ICA in the Tech Lab at iForum in October and I’ll blog on various aspects of voice-over-IP in the new year.)

If you have any experiences running Office Communicator on Presentation Server that you’d like to share, please write a comment on this blog post. And I’ll keep you informed as we learn more about delivering Unified Communications via Presentation Server and XenDesktop.

Derek Thorslund
Product Strategist, Multimedia Virtualization