Skype for Business in-place upgrade and SQL Express 2012

If you’re a small business using Lync 2013 standard edition, you might want to in-place upgrade your current Lync server to the new Skype for Business Server.
If you followed the prerequisites I previously listed here, or better yet, Greig Sheridan’s comprehensive article on how to upgrade, you should have the basics ready by now.

Lync 2013 is originally installed with SQL Express 2012, However, if you’re falling behind on SQL updates, you might not be able to complete start the installation as Skype for Business Server 2015 requires at least SQL Express 2012 SP1:

SQL2012SP1 missingUpgrading SQL Express 2012 to SP1 or SP2 is an easy task, but might be a little time consuming if you do it manually: You’ll need to update each database individually, meaning running the process 3 times (for RTC, RTCLOCAL, LYNCLOCAL).

update DB1
A faster way is to run it via command prompt or PowerShell:

First, download SQL Express 2012 SP2 (I know they only ask for SP1, but walk that extra mile, will ya?).
Choose to download the SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe file, this is all you need.
Place the file in a local folder on the server and run the following command:

SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe /action=Patch /allinstances /quiet /IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms

Command

The above will do the following for you:

  • Run the update process (/action=Patch)
  • Update all instances on the server (/allinstances)
  • Hide the GUI part where you need to use the mouse at least 5 times (/quiet)
  • Accept the T&Cs on your behalf (/IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms)

You’ll have no visibility of the update process (unless you choose to omit the /quiet switch) so go grab some coffee, this might take up to 20 minutes.
Look for event 17069 in the Application Log. you’re expecting to see “Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – 11.0.5058.0 (X64)” on the first line of the event – this means your upgrade process is complete:

SQLVersion

There should be an event per updated database.

Once completed, a restart of the server is recommended. Additionally, you’ll have to update the Lync databases with the following command:

Install-CsDatabase -ConfiguredDatabases -SqlServerFqdn <FEServer.domain> -Verbose

This will update the databases and will show you the following output in the log:

****Creating DbSetupInstance for ‘Microsoft.Rtc.Common.Data.LisDatabase’****
Trying to connect to Sql Server FE02.y0av.local\rtc. using windows authentication…
Sql version: Major: 11, Minor: 0, Build 5058.
Sql version is acceptable.

You can now run the Skype for Business Server 2015 installation on this server.

 

 

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Install Skype for Business Server 2015 prerequisites on Windows Server 2008R2, 2012 and 2012R2

Skype for Business Server 2015 is here now, along with a new set of demands to install it right on your Windows Server. Here’s how to get it done: Windows Server 2008R2: Microsoft recommends that you only install Skype for Business Server 2015 on Windows Server 2012 or 2012R2. However, if you’re in-place upgrading from an existing installation of Lync 2013, you might like to use your existing Windows 2008R2 server. The following procedure assumes you already have Lync 2013 installed on your system, so all prerequisites should already be installed.

  • First, make sure you’re patched and up to date with Windows updates.
  • Download and install KB2533263.

Windows Server 2012:

  • First, make sure you’re patched and up to date with Windows updates.
  • Download and install KB2858668.
  • Run the following from an elevated PowerShell console:

Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Desktop-Experience, Telnet-Client, BITS -Source D:\sources\sxs

  • -Source D:\sources\sxs” is the location of the .Net framework installation files, located on the “Sources\SXS” folder on your Windows Server 2012 installation media. You can point this to any other location that has this data.

Windows Server 2012R2:

  •  First, make sure you’re patched and up to date with Windows updates.
  • If you’re running an in-place upgrade from Lync Server 2013, Download and install KB2533263. All prerequisites should already be in place.
  • For a new installation of  Skype for Business Server 2015, run the following from an elevated PowerShell console:

Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Desktop-Experience, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Telnet-Client, BITS -Source D:\sources\sxs

  • -Source D:\sources\sxs” is the location of the .Net framework installation files, located on the “Sources\SXS” folder on your Windows Server 2012 installation media. You can point this to any other location that has this data.

You’re all set and ready to install Skype for Business Server 2015 now.

First glimpse at the Skype for Business client

So, word is out – the new client is here. How does it look like and what are the big changes? Let’s have a look: (Click on the images to enlarge)

The client is branded with the Skype for Business logo and name, and has a similar feel to the consumer version:

S4B Client

Similar to the Lync 2013 client, if you hover over a contact’s picture, you can see the quick options menu:

Hover Preview

The number pad tab is colourful. The UM piece is missing the playback speed feature that was introduced in Lync 2013.

Numpad

The IM window will always show the participants. You can expand this to see a full list of all participants:

Video preview is similar to the one we’re familiar with in Lync 2013:

Video Preview

And so is the call option menu:

Call select

Content sharing button is similar to the Lync 2013 client with a nice preview of the desktop (Not shown here):

Presentable

PowerPoint sharing within a Lync 2013 Server environment uses Office Web Apps, just like the Lync 2013 client:

PPTSharing

The greatest improvement maybe is to the call window;

Skype-like feeling:

Calling

PSTN Navigation options: Transfer within a click of a button, instead of a quick programming tutorial:

InCallWindow

And no more “Where’s my conversation window? How do I hang up or mute?!” as we have the Skype-like hover window:

Hover window

Oh, and one last small thing: Every active window has the option to change views during a call:

View