BJ Haberkorn recently wrote an article entitled Cisco: Just Like Any Other Office Communications Server ISV?, while this article provides some interesting information and insight; BJ provides a link to the joint support statement which can be found here.
Within the support document is the following statement
“Remote Call Control is supported by Microsoft in Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and will continue to be supported for customers upgrading their Remote Call Control deployments to the next release of Office Communications Server. Microsoft has announced the deprecation of Remote Call Control in Office Communications Server. As a result, in the next release of Office Communications Server, new deployments of Remote Call Control will not be supported by Microsoft. “
This is the first time I have seen in writing that Remote Call Control will be depreciated in the Wave 14 Release of OCS.
So what does this mean for Remote Call Control (RCC) for customers looking to deploy OCS R2 with RCC today.
One of the main reasons why customers deploy RCC is that their users still require some of the PBX functionality that OCS cannot provide or customers have gone through a recent IP Telephony (IPT) upgrade but want to utilise some of the OCS Features such as Busy Lamp, Missed Call Notification and Caller Line ID (CLID) lookup.
For these customers as the statement indicates they will still be able to utilise this functionality with the Wave 14 Release, what we do not know at the moment is the lifecycle for Wave 14. While customers are not forced to upgrade to each release as it comes out customers often try to keep up with the release cycles. I think it is a safe assumption that for Wave 15 RCC will not be supported under any scenario. So the question is when will Wave 15 be released will it be in 2011 following the yearly releases we have seen with 2007, 2007 R2 and then Wave 14 or will the release cycle be extended, at this stage this is a complete unknown.
For customers who are utilising RCC due to a lack of telephony features in OCS some of these will hopefully be addressed in Wave 14 allowing some customers to migrate from RCC to Enterprise Voice (EV). Wave 15 will hopefully further extend the telephony features removing the reason for using RCC from being used due to a lack of features to being utilised by customers who do not want to move away from their IP-PBX.
So while we know that RCC is being depreciated what I have not yet seen a comment on is Dual Forking, this functionality is often used by companies who want to allow a user to use both a traditional PBX Phone and use OCS as a Softphone. While this functionality is not dependent on RCC the two go together and are usually deployed together. Until further information is released it will be an unknown.
The final thing to look at is the term “Supported”. The statement indicates that for customers upgrading from a previous version to Wave 14 it will be supported for them to use RCC but for new customers it will not be supported.
This indicates that the functionality will remain available and I am unsure how this will be “locked” out for new installs. What is more likely is that the term “Supported” to Microsoft usually means if it will be Supported by Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS). So while RCC may work for new installs it will not be supported by PSS.
While a lot of this is speculative it will hopefully give an indication of how the support for RCC is changing and hopefully the picture will become clearer as the Product Group release further details about the Wave 14 Release.