"They've added Call Admission Control, a common function in PBX systems that monitors how many users are allowed onto the network at one time," says Blood. "With OCS there was no ability to monitor how many users were using bandwidth. You could just keep adding users, which would eventually deteriorate call quality."
Lync's bandwidth management upgrade also allows IT pros to split what goes over the WAN and what goes over the Internet. For example, you can route voice calls over the WAN but route video over the Internet if the video doesn't have to be perfect quality. This is something you could not do with OCS.
The Lync Price Benefit
Lync Server 2010 follows the CAL (client access license) model, where a license is required for each user.
There are three license options for Lync: a Standard CAL includes instant messaging and presence and costs $31 per user; an Enterprise CAL includes everything in a Standard CAL plus audio, video and Web conferencing, and costs $107 per user; a Plus CAL includes enterprise voice telephony technologies plus everything in a standard CAL and a few features of an Enterprise CAL plus -- it also costs $107.
[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software -- including enterprise and cloud adoption trends and reviews of SharePoint 2010 -- see CIO.com's SharePoint Bible. ]
To enable all features, a user must be licensed with all three CALs.
In comparison, the basic voice licenses for Cisco and Avaya are $250.
"There's a good business argument here for putting in Microsoft's voice product instead of Avaya or Cisco," says Blood.
The savings become more apparent when you compare Lync to Cisco's full voice, video and messaging suite, called Cisco Unified Workspace Licensing. The cost for the Professional edition of Cisco's suite is $500.
Lync Still Uses a Lot of Bandwidth
Despite Lync's improved bandwidth management, it still uses a lot more bandwidth than traditional solutions, says Blood, and companies will have to account for that somehow.
With a PBX system you cannot do video, so that limits the amount of bandwidth you use. Having voice telephony and video in the same product are big bandwidth hogs, notes Blood.
"The downside is that with Lync you're going to spend more money increasing WAN capacity, possibly as much $250,000 to cover voice and video," he adds. "IT needs to prepare for that."
Lync Will Force Companies to Evaluate How IT Is Structured