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UC on UCS – The Invisible Servers

Cisco IT completely changed our voice and video infrastructure in the data center – and nobody noticed!

We changed the systems that Cisco IT uses to run ALL our voice and video supporting:

  • 200,000 voice endpoints in 540 buildings around the world,
  • 87,000 voicemail boxes
  • 1600 TelePresence units
  • 8.6 Million Webex meetings per year
  • Our customer contact centers handling 22M calls / year

It was a big job, migrating all these services off of 574 Cisco MCS servers, and onto new Virtual Machines running on 191 Cisco UCS servers in 12 different data centers.  It took a while, but it was truly worth it, despite the fact that nobody noticed.

We reduced the amount of data center resources significantly – less space, less power, fewer cables. Even better, we now have all our voice and video running on virtual machines, making operations jobs and updates and growth a good deal easier, and faster. Best of all, though, we moved all our voice and video to a completely new server platform  — and nobody noticed!

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“Rules of Thumb” for Co-Locating UC Hosts on Cisco UCS Servers

One part of my job involves designing the virtualization model for our internal unified communications (UC) system deployments around the world. A critical task in this design is specifying which UC virtual machines (VMs) can share a Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) server chassis or blade and which ones can’t. When migrating UC servers to a shared virtual environment, we need to make sure we carefully balance each VM’s needs for CPU, storage, network and memory. Read More »

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Upgrading Five UC Clusters to Cisco UCS Reduces Servers and Costs

In an earlier post, my colleague Reid Bourdet described how we migrated our largest Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM) cluster to a virtual machine environment running on Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers.  This was the 19-node (server) Cisco UCM cluster that serves the Cisco headquarters campus in San Jose, California; and we completed the migration over a weekend.

What makes that move even more interesting is that we’re nearly done consolidating 5 separate clusters into one virtual environment, and reducing the total number of servers by a factor of four. Virtualization on the Cisco UCS hardware allows us to consolidate multiple UCM nodes on a single blade.  In this post, I’ll provide more details about the scope of this migration, the results we’ve gained, and how we’ll continue migrating other Cisco UCM clusters to Cisco UCS servers around the world.

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Migrating a Large Cisco UCM Cluster to Cisco UCS over the Weekend

To serve our headquarters campus in San Jose, California, Cisco IT deployed one of the world’s largest Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM) clusters, with 9 pairs of subscribers and a publisher supporting this one campus. Together with these main 19-servers the campus cluster also includes Unity node servers, presence servers and management servers, for a total of 48 Cisco MCS 7845s. In June 2012, we migrated these legacy servers to virtualized machines running on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers over a single weekend. Read More »

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Migrating a Cisco UCM Cluster to UCS from a Small Village

Upgrading a critical enterprise call processing system to a completely new virtualized server platform sounds pretty tricky. Doing it from 5,000 miles away, in the public square of a sleepy Spanish village using your laptop and a VPN connection over the free municipal WiFi service sounds … well, maybe a little crazy. Recently, I did just that, migrating our Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) cluster in Johannesburg, South Africa to the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform from the small village in Spain where I was vacationing.

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