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Comparison Between Office Communications Online Standard and Office Communications Server 2007 R2

Communications Server 2007 R2

More and more organizations are looking at the option of hosted services for their users. This article is not about whether or not to use hosted services. It is about the differences between the current release of Office Communications Online Standard and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 from a Microsoft Office Communicator point of view.

Author: Tommy Clarke

Publication date: April 2010

Product version: Microsoft Office Communications Online Standard, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2

With more organizations looking at the option of hosted services for their users, it is beneficial to look at the differences between having Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 deployed in your organization’s network and using Office Communications Online Standard. This article is not about why an organization should or should not use hosted services. It is about the differences between the current release of Office Communications Online Standard and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 from a Microsoft Office Communicator point of view. This article covers only topics that differ between the two offerings and assumes that you already know the feature set of Office Communications Server 2007 R2. For more information about the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 feature set, see the table in Figure 1 later in this article or see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=133618.

noteNote:
This article only discusses Office Communications Online Standard, which is occasionally updated. Therefore, the information in this article may not reflect the most recent updates or future updates. It does not cover Office Communications Online Dedicated. For more information about the difference between the Standard and Dedicated offerings, download the datasheets from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=190483.

Office Communications Online does not support Mac OS X or Microsoft Messenger for Mac as a client. The 2007 R2 release of Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile is also not a supported client. So, Mac and mobile phone users cannot use Office Communications Online.

Whether you use Communications Server 2007 R2 or Office Communications Online, you will have to buy the Communicator client license (which might already be included in your Microsoft Office license). You will also have to deploy and manage Communicator for both scenarios.

The topics that follow compare feature areas between Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Office Communications Online Standard occur. While this is not a complete feature by feature comparison, key features are analyzed for both offerings.

In Office Communications Online users may have no more than 250 contacts in their contact list, and presence subscribers for an individual user may not exceed 250. A Presence subscriber is a user who can see the published availability of another user and receives updates as this availability changes.

In Office Communications Server 2007 R2, the number of contacts a user may have is configurable.

As shown in Table 1, Exchange 2007 (on-premise) is supported by both Office Communications Online, as well as Office Communications Server 2007 R2. While Exchange Online integrates seamlessly with Office Communications Online, it is also supported with Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (on premise).

Table 1. Integration with Microsoft Online Services and servers that are on premises

Office Communications Online Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (On Premises)

Exchange Online

Integrates seamlessly

Is supported

Exchange 2007 On-Premises

Is supported

noteNote:
Office Communicator will use the external URLs defined for Exchange servers.

Is supported

noteNote:
Communicator 2007 R2 must have the October 2009 update or more recent updates.
noteNote:
Integrating Office Communications Online with Communications Server 2007 R2 is not supported. (However, it is possible to integrate Exchange Online with an Exchange deployment in your organization.)

In Office Communications Online the Communicator 2007 R2 client can support only a one-to-one connection, because Office Communications Online does not currently have media relay functionality. As a result, no audio/video conferencing with more than two people is possible when using Office Communicator client and Office Communications Online.

At this time, file transfer in Office Communications Online is limited to two computers on the same corporate network (no firewalls or other devices can exist between the computers).

In Office Communications Server 2007 R2 file transfers can traverse firewalls and clients can stay on multiple subnets and still transfer files.

The following distribution list features are available in Office Communications Online:

  • Distribution list expansion is allowed only for distribution lists with 100 or fewer individual members (regardless of the members’ presence or sign-in status).
  • Distribution lists with more than 100 members are allowed, but these distribution lists may not be expanded to display individual members of the list.
  • A distribution list counts as one contact against the 250-contact limit per user. The distribution list counts as one contact regardless of the number of individual members within the distribution list.

In Office Communications Server 2007 R2, these settings are configurable.

Federation is not currently possible with Office Communications Online in the following scenarios:

  • With other companies that use Office Communications Online Standard
  • With companies that have Office Communications Server deployed (unless federating with Microsoft)
  • With companies that use public IM services, such as MSN or Live or Yahoo

Federation is possible with Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

Archiving and Monitoring is not supported in Office Communications Online Standard, so reports that inform you, for example, about faulty headsets are not available. You can enable archiving and monitoring in Office Communications Server 2007 R2, and I highly recommend that you add a monitoring role to your deployment.

Office Communications Online does not support any telephony-related features.

The table in Figure 1 lists additional feature comparisons between Office Communications Online Standard and Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

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