I am a big fan of Lync Server 2010 Standard Edition but it was lacking in some key areas which held it back from being a deployment architecture of choice. From my experience with UC over the last 7 years there is a lot to be said for simplistic architectures. Lync Server 2013 SE has some new DR features that could mean it’s a whole lot more applicable in the UC space for mid to small organizations.
What can Standard Edition do for you?
- Scalable up to 5000 users, which covers a large percentage of companies.
- Simple to deploy. No load balancers required for the Front Ends.
- Separate SQL deployment not required for Front Ends.
- Supports all workloads (IM, Presence, Voice, Video, Desktop Sharing and Web conferencing).
What's new in 2013?
- DR failover just got a lot better with Front End Pool Pairing.
- No restriction on distance between SE servers paired together
- More feature resiliency beyond just voice
- Collocation of the group chat role. This is only possible with SE. EE requires standalone servers.
- Collocation of the monitoring server role (backend still requires SQL DB instance)
- Archiving can now be consolidated with Exchange 2013 along with collocation on SE server.
Overall Standard Edition has a lot to offer to small and midsized organizations. I expect to SE deployed more often with Lync Server 2013 as companies look to consolidate down their server footprint and simplify their environments.