Monday, January 30, 2012

SRSV end of life (EOL) is announced

SRSV stands for Survivable Remote Site Voicemail and is the twin brother of SRST (Survivable Remote Site Telephony). In a centralized Cisco Unified Cummunication Manager (CUCM), when local backup is needed for a remote site, in a WAN failure scenario, SRST is being used. But, SRST only handles calls and does not address voicemail issues, for that we could use Cisco Unity Express (CUE), SRSV or voicemail over the PSTN.


CUE is standalone and does not synchronize with the main voicemail system, which means that it will essentially create two voicemail boxes, one for normal operation mode and one for SRST mode, SRSV was suppose to address this shortfall by providing voicemail backup services to help ensure your remote site continues to have voicemail service. This solution also provides Automated-Attendant or call-handler services while in survivability mode.


The operational concept was based on the following:

  • At the central location, Cisco Unified Communications Manager provides advanced call processing alongside a Cisco Unity Connection solution to deliver powerful integrated messaging and voicemail services.
  • At the remote site, the Cisco Unity Express SRSV module (SRSV-CUE) handles the voicemail redundancy services during the network failure. This module is embedded in a Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) or Cisco Integrated Service Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2) platform.
  • At the central location or data center, the Cisco Unified Messaging Gateway SRSV module (SRSV-UMG) handles the voicemail provisioning between the central and remote sites as well as voicemail upload from the remote site to the central location after the network service is restored. This module is also embedded in a Cisco ISR or ISR G2 platform.

Well, that was a nice concept but apparently it didn't have enough sales for Cisco to continue supporting it. End of sale is at June 18 2012, Last day of support is at June 30 2015.


The full announcement is at:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6789/ps5745/ps8605/end_of_life_notice_c51-695653.html


At this time there is no alternative to the product, as the document specify:


Product Migration Options
There is no replacement available for the Cisco Unified Messaging Gateway - SRSV Feature Licenses at this time.
Cisco is transitioning the SRSV survivability and synchronization features from Cisco Unified Messaging Gateway and SRSV modules directly to Cisco Unity Connection. The availability of this solution will be announced in the second half of 2012. Contact your channel account manager for details.



That's all I had, hoping to hear about a new solution soon ...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ISR 819 cool video and what is Machine to Machine (M2M)

This is a real nice video that I had to share:








So what is M2M and where can those routers be used (besides a dog food plate)?


M2M is a way to provide an on demand connection without people operating it. It can be used for temperature sensors that need to 'call home' and report about current readings or for ATM machines that need to validate credentials. 


Its not new but Cisco did not have a device that could do it over multiple connections (3G, wifi, wired), at that price level and with a hardened option.


Besides, its a cool video :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whats new in Communication Manager 8.6 - two additions

This is in addition to my previous post called Whats new in CallManager 8.6 , two important things I forgot to mention about that topic are:

VC on ISRG2
Communication Manager 8.6 added support for meet-me and ad-hoc video conferencing on Cisco routers. Audio conferencing was supported for a while but video was always an issue, not anymore, if you have a G2 ISR (29xx or 39xx series) and in it a PVDM3 DSP components, video conferencing is supported with CUCM 8.6 .

The support is for the following codecs and resolutions: H.263: QCIF and CIF, H.264: QCIF, QSIF, CIF, SIF, 4CIF, 4SIF, VGA, W360p, W448p, and HD 720p.


Video transcodig is only available for standard definition video calls (not for HD) and require at least PVDM3-128 note that, wore details are available on the datasheet at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6790/gatecont/ps4952/data_sheet_c78-649427.html

EnergyWise Power Save Plus
This one is an addition to the basic power save mode and is included in CCM 8.6, but can be added to other versions by updating device packs. The power save plus adds the following modes to the device configuration page on Call Manager:

  • Enable Power Save Plus - Enable the feature.
  • Phone On Time - When to power the phone up.
  • Phone Off Time - When to turn the phone off.
  • Phone Off Idle Timer - Idle timer before initiating power off.
  • Enable Audio Alert - Ring warning before turning off, or a potential alarm clock for the IT manager ;).
  • Cisco EnergyWise Domain - Domain name to tie into the one configured on the switch.
  • Cisco EnergyWise Secret - Password for the domain on the switch.
  • Allow Cisco EnergyWise Overrides - allow remote override from a management platform.
Previous version only allowed control of the phone display on/off and idle times, the energywise power save plus mode can reduce the phone power consumption to less than 1 watt during off hours.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Whats new in CallManager 8.6

Cisco Unified Communication Manager (CUCM) which is also widely known as Cisco CallManager (CCM) version 8.6 has been out from around June of 2011.

As with other newly created applications, the data sheet is not available yet but here are the high level new features:





Video updates:
  • Tandberg E20, EX60, EX90, and C-series endpoints can now register with CUCM 8.6.
  • Native interop between UC & Telepresence endpoints.
  • Codian can be used as an ad-hoc conferencing bridge.
  • More codecs are enabled to allow wider interoperability between CIUS, Tandberg and Telepresence endpoints.

Mobility updates:
  • Remote Destination is now called Alternate Number, Access List is now called Allowed or Blocked Lists
  • Cisco Mobile enhancements for Android & Nokia clients
  • Dial Via Office (DVO) enhancements

Security updates:

  • Cisco Communication manager is certified under the UCR 2008 DoD certification.
  • Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) replaces Cisco Security Agent (CSA)
  • Single Sign On (SSO) support includes CM Administration, Serviceability, Reporting, OS Administration, Disaster Recovery System, RTMT, CCMUser, CUCiMOC

Platform Enhancements:

  • Install/Upgrade process enhancements
  • JTAPI Native x64 Client
  • Cisco UC client support for Windows 7 x64
  • iLBC voice codec support over H.323 trunks
  • Windows 7 (including 64 Bit) support for CTL client

Once the official datasheet is available, I'll update this post but for now this should do. If you are facing an upgrade and trying to decide between, 8.0, 8.5 or 8.6, this should help to make a decision.


*** The official datasheet is published on Cisco's web site, for a post about that please see 
Whats new in CallManager 8.6 - recap



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Whats new in Communication Manager 8.5 - recap


This is an update to a post I have made called 'First look at Cisco's Call Manager 8.5', which was published in Networkworld.com. The post was created prior to the CallManager 8.5 datasheet being published on cisco.com and now when the datasheet is available (it has been available since November 2011 AFAIK), I'm revisiting what was written then and identifying the key updates that the datasheet has added. It may not be very technical or interesting to post sales engineer, but many users are trying to decide which version to go with and this can assist with that decision.

In the previous post, the important updates which were mentioned in CUCM 8.5 were:

  • CUMA (Cisco Unified Mobility Advantage) which is the mobile phone client option is now supported on Call Manager and does not require a dedicated server. Just like they did with the mobility in version 6.0.
  • The Bulk Admin Tool (BAT) was enhanced to support additional device types, one that is important for Single Number Reach configuration is the 'User Device Profile' and there are more.
  • HTTP instead of TFTP for the 89xx and the 99xx phone models was made available; this can help since a tcp-based protocol will make the phone load its firmware and config faster.
  • SIP Trunk Early Offer is supported in version 8.5 without the need for MTP. Since MTP require more CPU resources on the server side, this is a performance/scalability enhancing feature.
  • Video support was enhanced to include more H.264 features, asymmetric video streams, mid call codec parameters change and more.
  • Additional servers hardware models are supported, such as the MCS 7816/25/28-I5 (IBM x3250-M3 based) and the UCS newer servers (UCS M2).


In addition to those updates, ccm 8.5 datasheet brings up the following new features:
  • The Session Manager edition of version 8.5 has been updated and enhanced in multiple aspects, to name some,  Cisco SIP Early Offer and SIP Normalization and Transparency are mentioned.
  • CIUS support.
  • Contact Center related features were added such as: agent whisper, Agent greeting, CTI visability to more triggers which allow enhanced 3rd party functionality.
  • Single Sign On (SSO) enhancement which allow login to CCM user pages without additional authentication prompt.
  • Spec based Call Manager support for HP and IBM servers, on VMware.
  • Cisco IP Phones from the 69xx series has been added, including the VoIP phones  6901, 6911, 6921, 6941, and 6961 (SIP) models.

More details are available, including features I didn't mention, at Cisco's web site.


Before rushing to upgrade, be advised that version 8.6 is already out and it may be better to go directly there. My next post will be about 8.6 .