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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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Managing a Massive Voice Infrastructure with Cisco Prime Collaboration

Cisco IT monitors and manages a huge voice infrastructure, with over 200,000 UC endpoints, and the Cisco Prime Collaboration solution helps us do this work efficiently.

For example, a common problem for my team is identifying which devices are provisioned in the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM), but are no longer in use. This issue is getting more complex as Cisco employees have multiple devices associated with their one directory number. In a typical case, a salesperson might have a desk phone and a Cisco TelePresence personal video endpoint in the office, another phone in their home office, and use Cisco Jabber clients on a laptop and smartphone at home, at customer sites, or while traveling. Cisco Prime Collaboration lets me easily view this information and verify that the employee is actively using all of these devices.

Hardware phones in particular can become inactive when an employee leaves or transfers and no one else moves to that desk. Cisco Prime Collaboration lets me easily identify and remove that phone. We can also detect which employees haven’t downloaded the latest Jabber client version and encourage them to update their devices to the currently supported software.

Cisco Prime Collaboration gives me a very easy graphical interface to see into the whole global network, and then allows me to drill down to any components to see what’s going on.

Figure 1:  Sample CPC Network Topology, enabling drilldown on each location and device

CPC Voice Jim Marshall - Figure 1 of 2 Read More »

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Deploying Extension Mobility Globally

Cisco employees are moving towards a mobile collaborative office environment – within the workplace. We sit where we like and log into the nearest phone, using extension mobility. But when we traveled to different Cisco offices around the world, we couldn’t log in to the Cisco IP phone:  extension mobility only worked at certain limited locations within our home region.

Now, employee phones can essentially follow them to any Cisco office worldwide because Cisco IT deployed the Extension Mobility Cross Cluster (EMCC) feature on Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM).

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Collaboration Evolution: Why Your School Should Migrate to Next-Generation Communications Systems

In today’s digital world, communication platforms matter. In a recent Cisco Government blog post we looked at how antiquated communication systems hold back government agencies. The same holds true for educational institutions.

Legacy TDM and Centrex systems are costly to manage and limit collaboration, precluding schools and universities from truly embracing the advantages that next generation communications has to offer. As the advantages of voice over IP (VoIP) systems become well-known and widespread, more colleges and schools are making the transition and network administrators, students, teachers and parents are reaping the benefits. Read More »

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Collaboration Evolution: Why it’s Time to Upgrade to VoIP

Communication is key, yet too many government agencies voice platforms are living in archaic times.

As government agencies are turning to collaboration technologies like voice, video and mobility to increase efficiency and lower costs, many are faced with outdated voice platforms like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) .  However, the shift to VoIP enables organizations to modernize their communications platform for more robust communication applications, while significantly reducing operating costs.

VoIP provides significant net savings by allowing the management of managing one unified network and no longer needing to sustain a legacy phone system. It also provides enhanced features and VoIP services that improve the user experience. Advanced call routing, image transfer, phone portability, as well as integration with other collaboration applications, such as voicemail delivery via email, voice call button on email are examples of functionality users have come to expect. Read More »

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