In one of my classes on Lync 2013, a couple of people asked about Skype for Business (S4B), as the product had been released a couple weeks prior to this specific Lync 2013 class.

Since each of us in the class had a working Lync 2013 deployment (two central sites and one branch site), I decided to upgrade my deployment on Thursday night and teach the last day of class on Friday with S4B.

Yes, there actually is an upgrade path other than migrating from an older version. 

There are advantages of having a Sandbox environment (or in our case a classroom environment) because you get to try new items, configuration, installations, then see what happens without effecting a production environment.

Most of the classes I teach use virtual images with Hyper-V, so Thursday night after class I took a snapshot of my deployment, then ran setup of S4B on the first front-end server on the first central site that we’d built during the week.

Did you catch that? Ran setup. I didn’t look for the documentation to read about what should be done to prep the environment first. I just ran setup. This was one of those moments of “Let's just run it and see what happens.”

Welcome to the fun that can happen in one of my classes! Also, remember that if I was unable get Lync 2013 to upgrade, I always had the snapshots with which to revert back to the original configuration. In a sandbox (or classroom) you get to explore this way. This is not how you would accomplish this in a production environment.

The goal here was to surprise the class with a working S4B deployment Friday, since one of the modules we were going to discuss was the upgrade from previous versions of OCS 2007 R2 or Lync 2010 to Lync 2013. What better time to have S4B to also use?

If you haven't kept your deployment up to date with the CU updates or SQL 2012 with SP's, then you’re going to have some work to do before upgrading. Our class deployment was for Lync 2013 (Enterprise Edition) with SQL 2012, but no updates.

When I ran setup, the deployment tool came back with a list of items that needed to be upgraded (Front End server with updates, SQL 2012 with SP1, etc.) and the list went on and on. In the long run I managed to upgrade all sites to S4B, the last one finishing about 9:00am Friday morning, and taught all day using the upgrade. It was a nice addition to the content for the day.