Unity 4.0 to 4.2 - in stages???

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Jan 28th, 2008
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I have a scenario that I would like to ask a question about to make absolutely sure before I go back to the customer with the answer they probably do not want to hear.

SCENARIO: Customer currently has a Unity 4.0 UM deployment on a server that has low spec (no RAID). Addtionally, the server is not on the Supported platforms list for Unity 4.x. A bad start. The customer wishes to upgrade to Unity 4.2 to make use of T.37/T.38 on-ramp/off-ramp faxing etc. He also wants some more resilience within the hardware platform, so wanted to supply his own server (which was also not on the Supported Platforms lists!!!). So, I have recommended a 7825-H3, then installing Unity 4.0 on this, exporting the existing config etc using DIRT, import on the 7825-H3 using DIRT, then upgrading 4.0 to 4.2 on the new server.

I have checked the above actions with our nice Cisco bods and they have confirmed this is the correct course to take.

Now the customer has come back and is a bit horrified by the price (as always) and has asked whether we can do this in stages to reduce the initial cost. My first reaction is "NO". Here is my reasoning.

Firstly, to get the functions they want, they will need to upgrade their UNity software. To do that, they need to purchase all the Unity software and licenses, as they did not have a software maintenance contract, and 4.0 is so old now, that it is necessary to repurchase all the licenses again (I found this out through Cisco also). Also, to upgrade the software, they need to have a new hardware platform, as their existing one cannot support Unity 4.2.

Secondly, I guess that their exchange infrastructure, and each mailbox within it, is going to have to communicate with two separate Unity versions to be able to do this in stages. Does that cause any issues?

I may well have missed something on this, so please feel free to chime in and let me know what considerations I may have missed and what impact they have, both for and against this course of action.

The question that I am going to get asked is: cannot they not run in tandem, only buy a few user licenses to start with and then move the users over bit by bit. Does anyone know of any reasons that I can give as to why this can or cannot be done? And, if so, what would need to be done to carry this out? And, if so, what sort of effect would it have on the professional services by doing it in stages?

I hope that makes some sense. IF anyone knows anything on this, any feedback would be much appreciated.


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Ginger Dillon Mon, 01/28/2008 - 09:29
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Hi Marc -

Something for you to consider and discuss with your Cisco reps/TAC ... install the second Unity server into the same domain and digitally network it to the current Unity server. You could then use Global Subscriber Manager to move the users from the old server to the new server. You didn't mention which 4.0 version of Unity, i.e. 4.0(4) or 4.0(5) etc. because there could be a specific configuration required or 4.0(4) SR1 for example required to perform digital networking between servers. You may even be able to install 4.2 directly on the new server and still digital network with the other. You could then move your users over and retire the old server. Also, the 7825-H3 server only supports 1000 offbox Exchange subscribers and 24 ports. That may be sufficient for your customer's anticipated growth. If you are going to add fax capabilities, you may also want to consider adding a second CPU.


marcbutler Tue, 01/29/2008 - 03:13
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Hi Ginger

Thanks for getting back to me.

The UNity build is 4.0(3)SR1, yes, pretty old! Not sure whether that would have an affect on the digital networking, whether this version and 4.2 are compatible for that or not.

I take it you are suggesting VPIM. If so, I guess that would need a VPIM license to perform this? Anything else on top of that?

The 7825-H3 will be plenty for any deployment they will need, as they only have 50 users and will, at a maximum expand to 100.

If anyone could shed light on the above that would be greatly appreciated.



Ginger Dillon Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:10
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Hi Marc -

Check out this document - http://www.cisco.com/en/US/customer/docs/voice_ip_comm/unity/42/addendum/42ad40.html

You can digital network a 4.2 server to a 4.0(1) or better server, which is what you are running. There are no licenses needs to digital network two Unity servers together, just have to be in same Exchange routing group (administrative group) and domain/forest. I would confirm with TAC of course, to see if there is anything you need to add to your 4.0(3)SR1 system.


Ginger Dillon Tue, 01/29/2008 - 14:09
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Hi -

I was reviewing Bug Track and came across this open defect which is based on a possible recommendation we were discussing to network Unity 4.0(3) and Unity 4.2(1) and move subscribers between servers - http://tools.cisco.com/Support/BugToolKit/search/getBugDetails.do?method=fetchBugDetails&bugId=CSCsh15645&from=summary

Just an FYI! - Ginger

clarkjason Mon, 02/04/2008 - 10:18
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Hi Marc,

i just got done with a 4.0(4) to 4.2(1) upgrade and I awas able to run in parallel on the failover server until the primary was back up in 4.2(1). I completely formatted and restored from the backup of the failover. Throughout the whole process I have learned that I could have done the whole thing during the day, just remember you will lose the information difference between the backup of the failover and the restore to the new primary. I was also able to build the new failover server while the primary was servicing customers, I simply ran the failover configuration wizard after hours. All in all the process outlines by Cisco does work, but when it doesn't make sure you are able to completely ready to reload from back.. even that isn't that bad..


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