This article gives an overview of the Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Hosting Pack, including what it is, who it is for, and how its functionality and deployment compares to the on-premises edition of Lync Server 2010.

Author: Steven van Houttum

Publication date: August 8, 2012

Product version: Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting

Introduction

The Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting enables a single Lync Server 2010 environment to host multiple organizations. By default, these organizations, or tenants, are not aware of each other’s existence. Like Lync Server on-premises and Lync Online deployments, organizations can be configured to allow communication with other tenants in the deployment and external Lync Server deployments through federation.

Benefits of the Lync Server Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting

More and more organizations are looking at cloud-based Lync Server solutions such as Lync Online (part of Microsoft Office 365), or other third-party solutions. Service and hosting providers have the option of reselling Office 365, or providing Lync services themselves. Lync services can be customized by the service provider, or they can take advantage of the Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting to offer functionality similar to Lync Online—see Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack Features. Service providers can add functionality to the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack deployments to provide unique feature sets, customized to meet the needs of their customers.

The Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Hosting Pack can be used by hosting and service providers, and it is also viable for companies that want to customize offerings for their customers or provide specialized Lync services to their subsidiaries.

Sometimes, cloud-based solutions present legal and retention compliance challenges. In those cases, a local provider can use the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack as an effective solution. Additional functionality, supported by the provider, can also result in a Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack that is better suited to meet the needs of the customer. The extended functionality can include integration with other Microsoft products, such as Exchange or SharePoint, or with products from third–parties. These third party services range from SMS to SIP trunks and audio conferencing providers (ACP) to video conferencing gateways. With these additional features and services, providers can deliver a complete Unified Communications solution to their customers.

In addition, a shared environment makes it possible to provide enterprise level services, such as high availability, to a wide range of customers.

So what constitutes the Lync Server Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting multi-tenant?

Lync Server 2010 includes the ability to scope the Address Book by using the msRTCSIP-GroupingID attribute. In Office Communications Server 2007 R2 this is known as PartitionbyOU. The msRTCSIP-GroupingID attribute is also utilized in the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack. By itself, msRTCSIP-GroupingID only prevents the display of unwanted search results, and does not provide full segmentation of the tenants in the deployment. By default, Lync Server Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting tenants are not able to communicate with each other unless the hosting provider enables this communication.

Caution: The attribute msRTCSIP-GroupingID should not be used in a commercial hosting environment and is not supported by Microsoft due to the privacy and security risks when providing multi-tenancy in a hosting environment. The use of the attribute only simulates a grouping of users in logical partitions, and does not create a true partition in which the security and privacy of the tenants can be tightly controlled. For additional information see: PartitionByOU Replaced with msRTCSIP-GroupingID.

Part of the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack post-installation configuration is updating the Active Directory. During the update process, the OCSTenants OU is created. The Tenant OU’s are created inside the OCSTenants OU, with their own SIP domain or domains and UPN suffixes. The Globally Unique Identification (GUID) of the Tenant OU is used as the GUID for msRTCSIP-GroupingID and msRTCSip-TenantID values for that specific tenant.

Users can then be created within these Tenant OU’s, and the corresponding GroupingID and TentantID attributes assigned. The GroupingID attribute scopes the search results in the Address Book by only allowing search results within same GroupingID. The TenantID attribute scopes by only allowing for communication within the same TenantID. TenantID is also used as a scope for assigning Lync Server policies.

Use Windows PowerShell (scripting examples are provided in the deployment guide) or third-party provisioning products to create the Tenant OU’s and provision the users.

The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack includes a set of Windows PowerShell cmdlets in the LyncOnline module, and some Lync Server 2010 on-premises cmdlets are extended with tenant specific options.

Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting Functionality

The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack offers different functionality and feature sets than Lync Server 2010 on–premises and Lync Online.

The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack does not include support for Public IM, XMPP, Lync Mobile, and Group Chat. The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack does not support advanced calling features, such as Team Call, Response Groups, Delegation, Private Line, Call Park, and Caller ID manipulation. In addition, not all IP Phones are qualified for the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack yet.

The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack does allow for PSTN access

The functionality of the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack, Lync Server Control Panel is limited. Enabled users are not visible and changes to user settings and accounts must be made by using the Lync Server Management Shell.

Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack Deployments

The deployment process is similar to a Lync Server 2010 on-premises deployment. However, the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack installation media is different, and there are some specific post-deployment steps that must be performed to configure the deployment. These steps are included in the Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting Deployment Guide, which provides guidance for a 5,000 and a 50,000 tenant user environment. Additional post deployment steps consist of deploying Active Directory extensions, installing the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack specific PowerShell cmdlets, and running the LyncServerUpdateInstaller tool. Virtualization is supported for all server roles, as is the case for Lync Server 2010 on–premises deployments.

In the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack, all users are considered to be external users. Users connect directly to the Front End Servers or Directors, not to the Access Edge component of the Edge Servers. Because of this, the Lync Server 2010 Front End Servers must be deployed as dual homed with one NIC in the perimeter network. Lync Server 2010, Edge Servers are still used for media traversal and for federation.

The installation media for the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack is available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site. This also includes the System Center Operation Manager Management Packs. Active Directory extensions specific to the Lync Serer Multitenant Hosting Pack are included in the support folder in the ServiceSchema.ldf file. Tracing tools are also provided, and the LyncServerUpdateInstaller.exe is included in the AMD64 folder.

There are multiple resources available for the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack, including a deployment guide and a reference architecture whitepaper that includes best practices.

Summary

The Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack provides a customizable platform that hosting and service providers can use to create unique UC solutions for their customers. These solutions can include third-party as well as Microsoft technologies. Because of this flexibility, providers can leverage the Lync Server Multitenant Hosting Pack to cost effectively create customized solutions for a wide range of customers.

Additional Information

To learn more, check out the following articles:

Lync Server Resources

We Want to Hear from You

Keywords: Lync Server 2010, Multitenant Hosting Pack