Lync Server 2013 Persistent Chat Server

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Microsoft Lync Server 2013 introduces a feature change from the previous version, Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Group Chat, to the revised Persistent Chat Server. This new Persistent Chat Server feature enables multiple users to participate in conversations in which they post and access content about specific topics, including text, links, and files. Although users can communicate in real time during a session, the content of each session is persistent, which means it continues to be available after a session ends.

This feature change between the new version of Lync Server 2013, Persistent Chat Server and the previous version, Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Group Chat, include:

  • An administrative experience in Lync Server Control Panel and elimination of the Group Chat Admin Tool.
  • Integration of configuration settings for Persistent Chat Server into Topology Builder by eliminating the Group Chat Configuration tool.
  • Improve communication between geographically dispersed and cross-functional teams.
  • Broaden information awareness and participation.
  • Improve information awareness.
  • Easy migration and upgrade from previous versions of Persistent Chat Server.
  • High availability and disaster recovery solutions.

Key Topology Changes for Persistent Chat Server

Lync Server 2013, Persistent Chat Server includes the following high-level changes:

  • Persistent Chat Server is now a server role. In Lync Server 2010, Group Chat Server was a trusted application. In Lync Server 2013, Persistent Chat Server functionality is implemented using three new server roles:
  • PersistentChatService Main Persistent Chat Server services implemented as a Front End Server role.
  • PersistentChatStore Back End Server role.
  • PersistentChatComplianceStore Back End Server role for persistent chat Compliance.

These Persistent Chat Server roles are optional, and installed only by customers who want comprehensive Persistent Chat Server functionality.

  • The Persistent Chat Server Front End Server role runs on a computer not collocated on the Lync Server Front End Server, and runs two services:
    • Persistent Chat service
    • Compliance service

In Lync Server 2013, Persistent Chat Server, the file upload/download web service is now collocated with the Lync Server 2013, Front End Server. This results in a simplified configuration where, Internet Information Services (IIS) is no longer a prerequisite for Persistent Chat Server.

Additionally, running these services on each Persistent Chat Server Front End Server provides high availability for these services in a multi-server Persistent Chat Server pool.

  • In Persistent Chat Server, Lookup service has been eliminated. Lync Server 2013 relies on routing using contact objects, wherein each Persistent Chat Server pool is represented by a contact object that is used by the Lync Server 2013, Front End Servers to identify and route to a Persistent Chat Server pool, and one of the computers running Persistent Chat Server in the pool.
  • In Lync Server 2013, the Compliance service has been modified to run on all Persistent Chat servers, Front End Servers, alongside the Persistent Chat service. This change provides high availability in a multi-server Persistent Chat Server Pool.

The Message Queuing, (MSMQ) queue, shared by the Compliance service and the Persistent Chat service on each Persistent Chat Server, is now a private queue shared only by the two services. All compliance services write to the same Compliance Back End database. All compliance services also read from that database for the purposes of sending the data to their instance of the adapter. The Compliance Back End Server is represented as a new Back End Server role.

Persistent Chat Server High Availability Improvements

  • SQL Server mirroring is used to provide high availability for the Persistent Chat Server content database and persistent chat compliance database within a datacenter (in-site).
  • Persistent Chat Server supports a stretched pool architecture that enables a single Persistent Chat Server pool to be stretched across two sites. SQL Server Log Shipping is used for cross-site disaster recovery.

User Roles in Persistent Chat Server

Persistent Chat Server provides for the concept of Allowed/Denied members. They apply to persistent chat categories, and control what roles can be used in a particular category and its nested chat rooms.

This concept is used to provide ethical walls. For example, an administrator can create chat rooms in a category for Sales only, whereas chat rooms in another category can be used by Managers only. After the categories and allowed members are set up, further administrative actions cannot break that rule, unless that rule is changed.

The following four user roles exist in Persistent Chat Server:

Creator: Users who have permissions to create chat rooms. These users are in the Creators list of certain categories for chat rooms, meaning they can create chat rooms of that category, and can further assign membership according to the category, and assign managers to manage the chat room. A Creator is always added as a manager to the chat room it creates by the server.

A Creator simply provides rights for creating chat rooms. It is the automatic promotion to Manager that enables the Creator to further refine memberships, managers, and so on, on the created chat services.

This role exists because you might want to centrally manage creating chat rooms to enforce policies/conventions, and subsequently delegate the chat room management to other users in the organization.

Manager: Users who manage properties of a chat room. Chat room managers can, add and remove members, modify the chat room managers list, and participate with members and presenters if added to those roles. Chat room managers can disable chat rooms and can change all properties of the chat room, except change the category of the chat room. Only the Persistent Chat administrator can change this after the chat room has been created.

Member: Users who are members of a chat room. These users can see the chat rooms in the directory, even if the chat room is secret, as well as subscribe to the chat room, and participate in the chat room. Users, who are not members of the chat room, can search for the chat room, but need to request access to join these chat rooms to access content.

Presenter: Users who can post to an auditorium room.

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