Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 Computer Science Essay

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The purpose of this paper is to give the reader a proficient knowledge of Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007. The Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 was designed to be a part of Microsoft's solution to streamline communication through software by what Microsoft considers, Unified Communications. [1] Communication through such means as voice over IP, instant messaging, application sharing, desktop sharing, web audio conferencing and web video conferencing are provided by Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007. [2] 

Updates from Previous Versions:

The Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, as denoted by the R2 is an updated version of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 but the two versions run on different hardware requirements. Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, can only be run on 32bit hardware, while Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, is only compatible with 64bit hardware. [3] The change from 32bit hardware to 64bit hardware was made to allow an increase in expandability, but also mandates the ender users to upgrade both software and hardware, thus increasing the total cost of the Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007.

Microsoft Office Communications server R2 2007, benefits from a few features such as the support for early media. [4] Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, suffered from having a delay in time when data would be sent over the network and when the receiving user would answer a call, thus causing what is known as audio clipping.4 Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 rectifies this by connecting both media endpoints, before allowing the receiving user to answer the connection.4

Another update Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, had over the previous editions was the inclusion of TCP mode for application sharing. The addition of the TCP protocol over UDP allowed for greater support for endpoint hosts.4 The TCP mode also guaranteed data transfer over the network and is more reliable than utilizing a UDP mode.

A third update which benefits the Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 was in the increased functionality of conference calling. The previous version, Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007, allows for joining a conference using a telephone to add authentication information, and in the event of an error, the user must start over.5 The new version, Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, allows the user to utilize Microsoft Office Communicator which allows for easy one click access to a conference call. [5] 

Hardware Requirements:

Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 as noted above, requires the use of 64bit compatible hardware and because of the scalability of Microsoft Office Communication Server R2 2007, the required minimum configurations will differ.

Microsoft states that when the Communications Server R2 2007 is used at the client level or for a front end part of the server it must have at a minimum 8GB of ram, at least 30GB of disk space, a central processing unit running at least at 2GHz, either dual core or quad core and to have a recommended 1Gbps network adapter. [6] 

An organization that wishes to scale Microsoft's Communications Server R2 2007, to accompany an average of 100,000 end users then Microsoft requires them to have at least eight front end servers. [7] The eight front end servers are required to have a minimum of 8GB of ram, greater then 30GB of free disk space, a dual core, or quad core central processing unit running at least at 2.0GHz and a recommended two port 1Gbps network adapter.7 A back end server will accompany the front end servers and it is required to have at least a 2Ghz dual core or quad core central processing unit, a minimum of 16Gb of ram, a recommended two port 1Gbps and three RAID configurations.7 The first RAID configuration is required too utilized disks running at 10,000 RPM or 15,000 RPM and will be configured to RAID 1, for add redundancy of system files.7 The second RAID configuration will be set up again as RAID 1 with 15,000 RPM disks, for redundancy or database log files.7 A third RAID configuration will be used for database files and configured as RAID 10. The RAID 10 configuration will utilize 15,000 RPM disk to further increase to access speed and add redundancy.7

Another situation in which an organization would follow a different set of minimum requirements is if the organization must serve 200,000 endpoints. The organization must have at least eight front end servers allocated for only presence and instant messaging. [8] The eight front end servers have the same minimum requirements as the previous configurations. The back end server again has the same configuration as the previous one, except it must have at least 32GB of RAM.8

What Purpose does it Serve:

The Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007 is a part of Microsoft's solution for Unified Communication. The use of utilizing specific hardware for each type of communication, for each communication device can be very expensive. Organizations looking to reduce their overhead by using software to combine the various forms of communications instead of multiple hardware solutions would benefit from Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007.

Organizations such as Intel and Sprint make use of Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007, to allow them to communicate and share resources in and around the company. The some projects and research being performed by such a company as Intel as stated by the vice president Gregory Bryant of the Business Client Group at Intel, is being done at different stages at different sites with a large number of employees. [9] The employees must be able to communicate with each other without spending money to travel to each different site. Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007, allows those employees to easily connect to a conference, share applications, share desktops as well as instant messaging.

Readable Input Formats:

Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007, can only run on the 64 bit edition Windows Server 2008 Standard/Enterprise, Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard or Enterprise x64 edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Standard, Enterprise edition with service pack 2. [10] The back-end server databases for Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, must be installed upon Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise/Standard edition or Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise/Standard with service pack 2.10 Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and Access can be read be Office Communications Server R2 2007, as well as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. The default location, where this server stores its files will vary depending on the number of servers and which services they are running.

Writable Output Formats:

Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007 can only be installed on select Windows Server operating systems. Microsoft products such as Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, and all Microsoft Office Applications, can be exported to using Office Communications Server R2 2007.14

Security Concerns:

Microsoft suggest a number of basic rules to follow to protect your organization from security concerns such to keep the windows operating system up to date with all available patches installed, install antivirus software on each server, provide physical access restrictions, disable unneeded system services and to correctly set up group policies. [11] When using Microsoft's Office Communication Server R2 2007, a client better protect themselves by using strong passwords, only utilizing HTTPS on the internet, keeping up to date antivirus software, using appropriate group policies and permissions and by activating the requirement for clients to us SIP high security mode. [12] 

Competitors:

Lotus Sametime, created by IBM is considered a competitor to Microsoft's Office Communications Server R2 2007. Lotus Sametime is very similar to Microsoft's Office Communication Server R2 2007, in that it works to combine different forms of communication through software. IBM's Lotus Sametime can perform instant screen sharing, instant messaging by a connection through browser or installed software as well as video and audio communication. [13] 

The advantages of IBM's Lotus Sametime include the ability to run Lotus Sametime on different operating systems. Microsoft's Office Communication Server R2 2007, can only be run on select Microsoft operating systems increasing the possible need to purchase more licenses thus escalating the total cost. 10 Lotus Sametime integrates with other IBM Lotus software such as Lotus Notes as well as Microsoft Office application, but Microsoft's Office Communication Server R2 2007, will not work with IBM's applications.11

The disadvantages include the fact that IBM's Lotus Sametime, unlike Microsoft Office Communications Server R2 2007, requires third party add-ons to allow for telephony systems to be integrated into the software. Lotus Sametime, also only supports point-to-point video, and does not allow firewall traversal for IP voice and video, unlike Microsoft's Office Communications Sever R2 2007. [14] Another topic discussed in the article from NoJitter.com by Brent Kelly comparing the two different products was the ease use and amount of familiarity. The Microsoft product benefits from having a common layout through all of its products, and allowing the user to use a single application to pull information from other compatible applications.11

Cisco's Unified Meetingplace 8.0, is another competitor to Microsoft's Office Communication Server R2 2007. Meetingplace 8.0 allows its users to easily communicate through audio, video and web conferences, point-to-point video, WebEx Training Center, WebEx Meeting and many others. [15] 

The advantage Cisco Unified Meetingplace has over Microsoft's product is that it does not need multiple servers for voice and video communication. Cisco Unified Meetingplace utilizes only a single appliance for an audio and video conference, allowing for a decreased number of servers, and thus reduced cost. [16] 

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