Voicemail Options in Skype for Business, Cloud PBX, and Exchange (UPDATED)

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion when it comes to voicemail services in Microsoft’s offerings, whether it be on-premise servers or in the Office 365 suite. Which is understandable, given there are a plethora of scenarios and they each have their own technical dependencies. In this article, I will be giving a high-level overview of these voicemail solutions that are native with the Skype for Business (Skype4B) and Exchange product lines.

Note that Skype4B/Lync always requires a secondary product that provides voicemail services and e-mail messaging deposit. There are other 3rd Party voicemail solutions available that I will NOT be covering in this article (example: AVST).  It is also important to note that Exchange Unified Messaging (UM) is able to provide voicemail services to Skype4B/Lync and to traditional PBX’s.

UPDATE NOTES:

  • 10-4-2016: Table has been updated to include new scenario (#2 below) with the delivery of Cloud PBX Azure Voicemail to Exchange Server UM On-Premises
  • 7-18-2017: Table has been updated to include the End of Life of Exchange Online UM & IP-PBX via SBC (Scenario #6)
  • 4-24-2018: Timeline updated for the End of Life of Exchange Online UM & IP-PBX via SBC (Scenario #6)

Here is a table of the possible scenarios and the appropriate Voicemail solution.

Scenario-Table-3

As you can see, your organization may have users that fall into a single scenario or even all of them! It can get a little daunting if you have a large mix of users and a support ticket is submitted with “My voicemail doesn’t work”.

Scenario 1

  • Telephony Solution – Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX
    • This includes the following Cloud PBX solutions:
      • PSTN Calling
      • On-Premises PSTN Connectivity (Hybrid Voice)
      • Cloud Connector Edition (CCE)
  • Exchange Mailbox Solution – Exchange Online
  • Voicemail Solution – Cloud PBX Voicemail – hosted in Azure and comes bundled with the Cloud PBX user license.
  • Description – An Exchange Online Mailbox is required only for the actual email deposit of the voicemail recording – this is NOT leveraging the Exchange Online Unified Messaging service.
  • Technical Resources

Cloud-PBX-Voicemail

Scenario 2

  • Telephony Solution – Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX.
    • This includes the following Cloud PBX solutions:
      • PSTN Calling
      • On-Premises PSTN Connectivity (Hybrid Voice)
      • Cloud Connector Edition (CCE)
  • Exchange Mailbox Solution – On-Premises Exchange Server
  • Voicemail Solution – On-Premises Exchange Server Unified Messaging
  • Description – All services are on-prem. Skype4B/Lync communicates with Exchange UM for voicemail. Also, Exchange Server provides e-mail deposit. OAuth between Skype4B Online and Exchange Server on-prem is the key mechanism with this scenario.
  • Technical Resources

cloud-pbx-ex-op-voicemail

Scenario 3

SfB-EV-EX-UM

Scenario 4

SfB-EV-EXO-UM

Scenario 5

PBX-EX-UM

Scenario 6

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Exchange Online Unified Messaging for 3rd-party PBX connections via Session Border Controller (SBC) will be discontinued as of April 30th 2019.

Please see the latest official announcement: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2018/04/24/new-date-for-discontinuation-of-support-for-session-border-controllers-in-exchange-online-unified-messaging/

  • Telephony Solution – Traditional PBX (Avaya, Cisco, Nortel, etc.)
  • Exchange Mailbox Location – Exchange Online
  • Voicemail Solution – Exchange Online UM
  • Description – requires a Voice Gateway/SBC to establish a secure SIP trunk from the local PBX to Exchange Online. You may already have an IP-PBX that is capable to be configured to connect to securely to the cloud, check the TechNet articles that follow to verify. NOTE – the SBC/Gateway is the key component that is securing the communications over the internet to Office 365.
  • Technical Resources

PBX-EXO-UM

Hopefully this helps when you are considering to adopt a new technology, troubleshooting a user’s issue, or an Exchange guru working on mailbox migrations.

6 thoughts on “Voicemail Options in Skype for Business, Cloud PBX, and Exchange (UPDATED)

    1. Hello joelclyburn. It sounds like you are asking if you can split the Exchange UM workloads between Online and On-Prem. If so – you cannot do this.

      The UM solution either needs to be fully functional Online or On-Prem. It is dependent on where the user’s mailbox is homed.

      Online mailbox = serviced by Exchange Online UM

      On-Prem mailbox = serviced by Exchange On-Prem UM

      Like

  1. Hey there…supposedly it’s possible to utilize Exchange 2010 on premise for UM services with a S4B Online\Cloud PBX environment, but there’s zero documentation out there for it. Everything out there is focused on setting OAuth up in Exchange 2013\2016…any pointers?

    Like

    1. I am not aware that SfB Online/Cloud PBX can utilize Exchange 2010 UM. I have not tried it myself.

      If someone has this working with Exchange 2010 I would love to hear how it was accomplished.

      Like

  2. In Scenario 4, that is the new going forward design by Microsoft right? Skype Edge to Online exchange instead of Scenario 6 which is being depreciated? This is because that’s no longer a SIP MWI notify message?

    Like

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