Update 11/14/12 – Updated for RTM of Office Web Apps Server.
The Office Web Apps Server is a required role when deploying Lync Server 2013. You’ll notice that in Topology Builder, you will be required to associate the Standard Edition Server or Enterprise Edition pool with an Office Web Apps Server, either new or existing:
Defining a New Office Web Apps Server is easy…all you need is the FQDN of the server:
Once the Office Web Apps Server is defined, Topology Builder will let you continue:
So what is the advantage of using an Office Web Apps Server? From the Overview of Office Web Apps Server TechNet article:
How Lync Server 2013 uses Office Web Apps Server for viewing PowerPoint broadcasts
In Lync Server 2010, PowerPoint presentations are viewed in one of two ways. For users who run Lync 2010, PowerPoint presentations are displayed by using the PowerPoint 97-2003 format and they are viewed by using an embedded copy of the PowerPoint viewer. For users who run Lync Web App, PowerPoint presentations are converted to dynamic HTML files then viewed by using a combination of the customized DHTML files and Silverlight. Although generally effective, this approach did have some limitations:
- The embedded PowerPoint Viewer (which provided a more optimal viewing experience) is available only on the Windows platform.
- Many mobile devices (including some of the more popular mobile telephones) do not support Silverlight.
- Neither the PowerPoint Viewer nor the DHTML/Silverlight approach supports all the features (including slide transitions and embedded video) found in the more recent editions of PowerPoint.
To help address these issues, and to improve the overall experience of anyone who presents or views PowerPoint presentations, Lync Server 2013 uses Office Web Apps Server to handle PowerPoint presentations. Among other advantages, this new approach allows the following capabilities:
- Higher-resolution displays and better support for PowerPoint capabilities such as animations, slide transitions, and embedded video.
- Users who have appropriate privileges can scroll through a PowerPoint presentation independent of the presentation itself. For example, while Ken Myer is presenting his slide show, Pilar Ackerman can scroll through and view any slide she wishes, all without affecting Ken’s presentation.
Now that you know what the Office Web Apps Server does, how do you go about preparing to install it? From the Deploy Office Web Apps Server TechNet article:
Installing Required Roles and Services
Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 have slightly different prerequisites. Be sure to install the correct prerequisites for your operating system.
To prepare a server that runs Windows Server 2008 R2:
- Install the following software:
- Next, open the Windows PowerShell prompt as an administrator and run the following sample commands to install the required roles and services.
- Import-Module ServerManager
- And then run:
To prepare a server that runs Windows Server 2012:
- Open the Windows PowerShell prompt as an administrator and run the following sample commands to install the required roles and services.
- Import-Module ServerManager
- And then run:
Once you have the Office Web Apps Server installed and configured, the Lync Server 2013 Front End Servers will discover the Office Web Apps Server and you will see the following events in the Event Log on the Front End Servers:
What is the User Experience if you Don’t Deploy an Office Web Apps Server?
So what happens you define, but haven’t yet deployed an Office Web Apps Server in your environment? The first thing you’ll notice is that the Lync Server 2013 Front End Servers will throw the following error in the Event Log:
Office Web Apps Server (WAC) discovery failed, PowerPoint content is disabled.
Attempted Office Web Apps Server discovery Url: https://TEST-OWAS.test.deitterick.com/hosting/discovery/
Received error message: The remote name could not be resolved: ‘test-owas.test.deitterick.com’
The number of retries: 2, since 8/7/2012 10:38:06 PM.
Cause: Office Web Apps Server may be unavailable or network connectivity may have been compromised.
Check HTTPS connectivity from this box to the Office Web Apps Server deployment using the discovery Url.
Also, clients will notice the following error message when they try to share a PowerPoint presentation:
As you can see, the Office Web Apps Server will be an important component in your Lync Server 2013 deployments! Make sure to plan and include it when installing/migrating to Lync Server 2013.