If you are familiar with Microsoft Office Communication Server (OCS) 2007, you probably know OCS 2007 introduces communication and collaborative integration with Microsoft Office and Exchange.  What you may not know is that between 60 – 80% of customers surveyed said they use Presentation Server to deliver Microsoft Outlook and Office apps to their users. And with increasing number of customers putting focus on user communication and collaboration, we needed to see whether we can run OCS 2007 with PS. With help from the Microsoft Unified Communications team late last year, we were actually able to get some good results from our preliminary testing.
The Setup:
Our test bed was quite simple - 3 servers and 3 clients configured as diagramed below. Obviously, your environment probably looks different, but you get the point.

 
 
The Results:
With our setup, we were able to get the following OCS2007 features to work on PS:

  • Office Communicator 2007 – the IM client running in PS 
  • IM (instant message) – IM’ing with other users on your IM list
  • IM Presence – see in real time whether the user is available (online, offline, etc.)
  • Microsoft Office integration – IM and presence of a colleague… say, you want to see in Outlook if Jane is online before sending her the email

And while we didn’t test the Remote Call Control (RCC) features in OCS 2007 (couldn’t get permission to connect to the corp PBX), we believe this feature should work without issues. After all, Presentation Server is simply “rendering” the remote call control interface over ICA (just like any other app) and the calls are handled by the OCS2007, Mediation Gateway and PBX. If anyone out there can try RCC over Presentation Server, and I’d love to get your feedback on this!

More Work Underway:
Of course, it’s clear there is more work to do – notice voice and video are missing  from the above list. We tried voice, but that didn’t work. We need to figure that one out. Video conferencing is yet another hurdle at this point. Some customers have told me the wider adoption voice and video is still 12 – 18 months out. Do you agree?

In the coming weeks, I’ll follow up with more information on the configurations and setup. Hopefully, I’ll have time to do a video demo’ing the OCS 2007 features we test with Presentation Server as well. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about your plans for bringing communication and collaboration to your organization! Submit your comments or shoot me an email!

May 14: Sporadic presence status with OCS and XenApp? Please see my blog on Microsoft’s update to address this problem.