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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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ACE Network: Seeing Important Calls Faster with Visual Voicemail

February 6, 2013 at 10:18 am PST

Whether I’m at my desk, working from home with my laptop, or walking out of a meeting, I don’t worry about missing an important message thanks to our Cisco Unity Visual Voicemail service.

Visual Voicemail provides me a list of all waiting messages and it is one of the first things I check at work every day: in the display on my Cisco Unified IP desk phone, on the Cisco Unity Web portal, or in the Cisco Jabber client on my laptop or smartphone. Scrolling through the message list, it’s easy to prioritize which calls I need to return right away, which messages I can delete or forward, and which ones I can deal with later.

Visual Voicemail helps me be more responsive to my colleagues, partners or stakeholders and it’s a big timesaver. To illustrate my point, a study we conducted showed that 62 percent of our ACE Network users save at least five minutes each day. They tell me that it keeps them from having to check multiple voice mailboxes and playing phone tag. If the entire Cisco sales force adopted Visual Voicemail capabilities, the potential productivity benefits to Cisco could be worth US $44 million per year -- and that’s for Visual Voicemail alone!

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How Cisco IT Organizes Its Voice Operations

How many people does it take to manage the service infrastructure supporting over 150,000 hardware phones, 50,000 soft phones, and 10,000 room and desktop video devices. That’s the size of our UC infrastructure at Cisco, and today we manage all our voice, voicemail, and video services with an integrated voice and video Tier 3 operations team of 25 people, and another 5 people supporting contact center applications and services. We do this by continually finding new efficiencies – learning new ways to support existing services so we can spend more time learning how to support the new technologies.

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Simplifying Global Voice Operations

Cisco IT has deployed voice infrastructure around the world in order to handle our 1+ million voice calls per day with high levels of quality and reliability. We used to manage this infrastructure with four separate regional teams: one managing the Western part of North America, another managing Eastern North America and Latin America, the third Europe/Middle East/Africa, and the fourth Asia/Pacific. But we found that this regional organization led to inconsistent operations because the regional teams had different ideas on how things should be done and they applied our corporate standards in different ways.

Our early lack of global consistency led to inefficiency in our support operations.   We would have people from different time zones trying to help troubleshoot problems and be unable to support an unfamiliar configuration.  And this meant that our regional teams had to provide around-the-clock support by themselves – which led to sleepless nights and frayed nerves.
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How Cisco IT Migrated 87,000 Voicemail Boxes in a Weekend

Changing voicemail systems--or the servers they run on--can be a big, time-consuming, and difficult task. Yet recently we did both.  We migrated our application platform from Cisco Unity 7.0 (2) running on Cisco 7800 Series Media Convergence Servers,  to Cisco Unity Connection 8.5 running as a virtual machine onthe Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform. What’s more, we completed the cutover of more than 87,000 voicemail boxes to the new platform in a single weekend.
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