Cisco Unity with Microsoft Exchange over WAN Question

Answered Question
May 6th, 2010

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A customer has several offices. Each office has a separate Exchange Server. The partner was considering a single Unity deployment connected to all of the exchange servers over the WAN, but has decided against that because the latency of the WAN is too high to do this. They are looking for a best practice way of deploying Unity for these multiple Exchange servers at multiple sites. This might mean a separate Unity server for each exchange server at each site .

                However, we’re wondering if there is a better way to do this. With multiple unity servers we’ll likely have different prefixes for each unity server at each location . This is something that the customer would like to avoid. We’re wondering if there any best practices for a deployment like this that we can offer as options for the customer.

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I have found some related information but really customer is altogether looking for an option away from Exchange networking over WAN.

I found:

“Multi-Site WAN with Distributed Messaging”

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/unity/5x/design/guide/5xcudg040.html#wp1077309

“Networking Options Requirements for Cisco Unity”

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/voicesw/ps2237/prod_installation_guides_list.html

Design Guide for Cisco Unity also talk as much is there in the first URL.

Please Help!

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Correct Answer by David Hailey about 6 years 8 months ago

This may be counter to your customer's desire or requirements but I must ask the question.  Has the customer considered Unity Connection vs. Unity?  Granted, Unity Connection provides integrated messaging whereas Unity is the unified messaging application; however, CUC has become Cisco's flagship messaging product over the last couple of years and I only see this expanding to be honest.  So, for new installs - I push hard on Unity Connection.  Sometimes, it's a sell but sometimes the customer has a hard requirement for UM and thus you have to go with UM.  In your scenario, your customer could potentially save a LARGE amount of money as CUC is not dependent upon Exchange at all; however, you still have the option to tie into Exchange 2003/2007 as an external service where users can access messages in a 3rd-party message store and also access calendar data and so forth.  The platform is very feature rich.  Many of my current Unity customers are migrating off of the platform to the more "agnostic" CUC platform to avoid issues caused by such dependence on AD/Exchange.  In addition, as Microsoft continues to develop and push it's own UM solution - integration for Unity is being forced to change (ex: changes to MAPI in 2010 caused problems for Cisco and required them to rework a bit of the underpinning integration points between Unity and Exchange).  With CUC, you also have the flexibility to implment a dial plan within voicemail system itself...not to mention it is extremely scalable.

Hailey

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Correct Answer
David Hailey Thu, 05/06/2010 - 11:44

This may be counter to your customer's desire or requirements but I must ask the question.  Has the customer considered Unity Connection vs. Unity?  Granted, Unity Connection provides integrated messaging whereas Unity is the unified messaging application; however, CUC has become Cisco's flagship messaging product over the last couple of years and I only see this expanding to be honest.  So, for new installs - I push hard on Unity Connection.  Sometimes, it's a sell but sometimes the customer has a hard requirement for UM and thus you have to go with UM.  In your scenario, your customer could potentially save a LARGE amount of money as CUC is not dependent upon Exchange at all; however, you still have the option to tie into Exchange 2003/2007 as an external service where users can access messages in a 3rd-party message store and also access calendar data and so forth.  The platform is very feature rich.  Many of my current Unity customers are migrating off of the platform to the more "agnostic" CUC platform to avoid issues caused by such dependence on AD/Exchange.  In addition, as Microsoft continues to develop and push it's own UM solution - integration for Unity is being forced to change (ex: changes to MAPI in 2010 caused problems for Cisco and required them to rework a bit of the underpinning integration points between Unity and Exchange).  With CUC, you also have the flexibility to implment a dial plan within voicemail system itself...not to mention it is extremely scalable.

Hailey

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Jonathan Schulenberg Sat, 05/08/2010 - 14:57

Since you are a Cisco Employee: check with the BU about Unity Connections support for unified messaging in a near-future release. A public forum isn't the place to discuss the details.

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