WebEx Connect vs. OCS R2

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Jan 21st, 2010
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Guys, my company is looking at deploying either WebEx Connect or OCS R2 and we already own CCM 6.1, IPCC 7.0 & Unity 5.0. Traditionally I have been extremely Cisco friendly over the years and I always have a tendency to gravitate towards Cisco products. However I need to remain unbiased in order for our business units to make a clear choice so that they don't think we "sold" them something that we wanted, and it truley wasn't in their best interests because the data was weighted in favor of Cisco. My question is does anyone have any experience integrating WebEx Connect and or OCS with their Cisco AVVID platforms and can you share your experiences and caveats to watch for? I have already compiled a list of OCS R2 caveats based on a mini pilot I ran. If anyone can confirm/deny or comment on these that would be helpful too. Since I have not been able to run a pilot of WebEx Connect yet, I guess I am also looking for caveats on that product to balance against my list of OCS caveats. Before you comment please consider that we already have the Cisco suite mentioned above and we are not going to rip out our existing Cisco platform so this isn't a perfect "green-fields" scenario.




The caveats I have found with OCS R2 when integrating are:


- No ability to create custom status. Available, Away, Be Right Back, Do Not Disturb, Busy, Inactive & Offline is all you get. ie) No: I'm in a call, I'm with customer, Running Late etc.


- MS does not officially support Cisco Unity VM so we will be counting the a ringer timeout on Cisco to get the call to the correct VM system.


- When you set your OCS IM client to do-not disturb your phone will go to fast busy because of the above limitation. (your OCS client will timeout first because of the DND status set in IM; thus the Cisco phone never even gets a chance to ring & redirect to Unity because MOC took over quicker via DND (Workaround: use Exchange UM exclusively so call can be dumped into VM when DND IM status is set )


- Loss of inbound caller name from the PSTN. This feature doesn't exist in their SIP stack and will not exist in the 2010 release.


- No ability to check VM through 1 button press in the MS client. You have to manually dial the VM pilot # (Unless you use MS Exg UM exclusively)


- Once converted to MS Exchange UM you need a 3rd party program to light the MWI on all Cisco phones.


- Once converted to MS Exchange UM you will experience loss of features

<---I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THIS; PLEASE COMMENT. This is just something I heard.



- Converting to Exg UM would require a prolonging battery of system tests especially for Call Center (IPCC) and other xfer to VM applications ie) Attendant Console etc.


- Complicated Architecture to produce true redundancy. Even with infrastructure in place for redundancy at multiple locations potential outage risk still exists since users accounts are hard coded into a specific server and need to be manually moved if one location goes down. ie) no dynamic recovery.


- Difficult integration with Cisco Voice. Requires additional administration on both Cisco Phone & Unity VM systems and and in MS OCS platforms to make sure every person's client is set up correctly.


- Client's settings and preferences are set by the user locally at the PC client. The Administrators have no ability to see those settings or preferences and therefore cannot remotely fix them for users through a Admin console.


- No ability to forward calls to a remote phone and upon no ring pull back to corporate VM. (Not sure this truly exists in Cisco either. PS) “Mobility” in CCM does not count. I'm referring to the old Avaya way of making this work.)


Thank you everyone for your time and input



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Jonathan Schulenberg Thu, 01/21/2010 - 12:14
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    2017 IP Telephony

WebEx Connect is essentially an XMPP chat system that is hosted in the cloud as a SaaS offering. The integration is similar to what you can get with CUCiMOC and OCS/MOC in that it uses the CSF at a client level to integrate with UC Manager.


My question to you would be whether you have a preference for the SaaS model or not?


If not, the product you should be comparing against MOC is Cisco Unified Presence Server and Personal Communicator, especially the 8.0 version of it that is about to release with the rest of UC 8 this year. CUPS/CUPC has a solid offering in 7.1. Version 8.0 will introduce significant product enhancements including most of the things that are missing in 7.x. You should speak with your Cisco AM for further details. I cannot speak in detail on this forum until the product FCSs. One of the more fundamental advantages of CUPS is that the presence is managed server-side. OCS and WebEx Connect are both client-side presence clients. This means the user must be online to update their presence. CUPS can update their status to 'In a Meeting' or 'On the Phone' without any user intervention due to it's Exchange and UCM integrations at the server level.



Lastly, there is one caveat you listed that I will comment on:

Difficultintegration with Cisco Voice. Requires additional administration onboth Cisco Phone & Unity VM systems and and in MS OCS platforms tomake sure every person's client is set up correctly.

This assumes that you use the voice capabilities of OCS and integrate the two PBX systems. Yes, at that point you have two separate PBX systems. Yes, that is difficult to do and manage. If you ultimately do choose OCS, I would strongly suggest you use it only as a chat platform and use CUCiMOC to provide UC functionality. Cisco wrote this client primarily for customers who already have an investment in OCS but you could use it on a new deployment as well. It is a snap-in for the MOC client that enables hard- and soft-phone functionality using Cisco UC infrastructure, not the disaster that is OCS voice.

KEVIN DELANEY Fri, 01/22/2010 - 07:41
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Hi, Thanks for your reply.


To answer your question I am fine with a SaaS model. In my opinion the thing about CUP 8.0 is its still trying to catch up to OCS R2. While it may be the Cisco on-premise equivalent product its certainly not a feature-wise apples to apples comparison. I know this because I've attended our latest UC customer briefing center meeting. Furthermore CUP 8.0 is due out in Sept where we are looking to make a move in late Q1. Therefore I need to look at WebEx Connect vs. OCS R2 or else CUPC doesn't stand a chance against MOC R2 simply based on the client features.



Any and all comments are welcome.


Thanks guys.

This is truly a great topic and I look forward to more input on it from others who will be using it. I've just signed us up for WebEx Connet so I will give a write-up once I have done my testing.


One thing I have heard that is a big advantage for Connect over OCS is the ability to IM/Chat with other entities external to your organization, easy as pie in Connect, but not so easy in OCS (this is what I have heard)



As was stated this is a cloud-based solution versus an in-house one, but I have a few clients asking the same questions.




Keep the thread alive,


Bob James

CHRIS KALETH Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:40
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Bob,


What are thoughts after comparing the 2 products?  We are a MS shop and OCS is the preferred IM solution but its hard to not want to use Connect.  I'm looking for real disadvantages of using OCS (not from a marketing perspective) against connect.  Some feel the look of the connect client is too much like AOL or a "non business" class feel.  I've tested the video/audio against OCS and have to say OCS is much better.  The video for connect was on-net and from what I understand it stays local on our network but it surely didn't feel like it.   We are moving to Unity Connect and I don't like the fact a user has to dial the VM pilot.  Side note...I'm seeing Cisco/MS UC going silo again.

So here we are over a year later and it's still a question Connect/Jabber versus Lync. We are just finishing a POC with a customer on the Jabber side and will be doing the same with Lync in the new year. I have a friend who just did the bake off and here's the details I heard;


Lync cannot do IM logging in the cloud based model (Must be onsite)

The BB Client (RIM's own for Lync) will only work with an on premise deployment

Neither product has AD integration in the cloud based model.


I cannot comment on Lync yet as I have not done the testing myself but will in the new year and re-post back how it went.


And MS just release their mobile clients for Lync, but again I have not seen them.



Bob James

Tommer Catlin Tue, 12/20/2011 - 08:30
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Keep in mind the licesning costs when comparing the two products.   CUWL standard now includes Connect/Jabber for your users in the cloud or if you hardware available, CUPS 8.x server.   Jabber will also support 1080 video in the client where as lync does not (720 only).   The features/costs, etc are becoming more of a compelling story when you talk Jabber vs Lync.   

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