UC500 or CUCM?

Unanswered Question
Dec 5th, 2011

Hi,

I need a suggestion about a choice for a solution that I've to provide to one of my customer. They needs a complete solution of Unified Communications. Their needs/specs are:

1) Three sites connected through a VPN connection (or MPLS, this choice depend on our ISP offers) so the users can make calls between sites with extension number

2) In one of these location there is a Call Center (about 15 people) that need to record part of the calls that they receives (the best would be by clicking something like a "record call" button (I've seen this feature in the Contact Center solution)). After a supervisor need to listen these recording through a simple GUI/Web Interface.

3) Every single user need to have a personal VoiceMail and a personal fax number (no paper, all the faxs need to be received in their mailboxes)

4) They needs an integration with IP Communicator (if possible) and Webex only for some training. (this could be a separate solution)

5) They actually have four ISDN lines (for a total of 8 numbers) but the cost for these lines are too expensive so my goal is to transfer all these lines (with number portability) on a SIP Provider so they completely dismiss the ISDN lines

7) In the future they are likely to a solution with IM, Telepresence and so on....

8) Call Accounting

These company is continuosly growing so actually the total number of users are about 30 but in the next 1 year they could be 60, so I need a very flexible solution. With these information I have seen something like CUCM with Contact Center but the costs are too high for the actual infrastructure (appliance and licenses) so I have seen that the UC560 support until 104 users and has almost everything we need but I'm not quite convinced especially for these elements:

1) Is possibile to record calls with UC560 or I need a third-part software?

2) How is the integration with IP Communicator and IM?

3) How many ISDN lines or SIP Trunks it support?

4) How the fax is handled? I've seen that there is this feature but I never used it...

5) How many voicemails are manageable? Is there the needs of a Unity Server?

6) Is the SRST supported?

If possibile I don't want to use third-party software because I want to have one single support and a single point of reference for these products but as I've seen this is quite possibile only for the CUCM solution...The UC500 series solution is great but it lacks of something that has to be integrated with third-party software (i.e. Call Accounting)

Thanks to all who can help me.

Have a great day!

I have this problem too.
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David Trad Mon, 12/05/2011 - 15:45

Hi Steffano,

I'll try and give you the best answer I can, but I am sure with input from others on here as well you should get the right solution for the client

1) Three sites connected through a VPN connection (or MPLS, this choice  depend on our ISP offers) so the users can make calls between sites with  extension number

This can be achieved with any of the Cisco UC Appliances, MPLS might be more difficult if the ISP will not route multiple subnets for you unless you are controlling the edge devices (And this is not recommended unless you want to manage the MPLS network).

2) In one of these location there is a Call Center (about 15 people)  that need to record part of the calls that they receives (the best would  be by clicking something like a "record call" button (I've seen this  feature in the Contact Center solution)). After a supervisor need to  listen these recording through a simple GUI/Web Interface.

This can be achieved through a vanilla flavor setup of either a UC-500 series or a BE-3000 Series appliance

3) Every single user need to have a personal VoiceMail and a personal  fax number (no paper, all the faxs need to be received in their  mailboxes)

You can achieve this with any of the UC appliances either the UC-500 series or the BE-3000 series, IMAP is recommended for this as the Exchange Server admin can setup a mail distribution system easily and setup a great storage system for it.

4) They needs an integration with IP Communicator (if possible) and  Webex only for some training. (this could be a separate solution)

You can achieve this with any of the UC appliances, the UC-500 series though has a basic WebEx connect system that can integrate into WebEx, it is being truncated but it still works (Well I think it is being truncated as they haven't done much to it in a couple of years), not sure if the BE-3000 model has this level of integration though.

5) They actually have four ISDN lines (for a total of 8 numbers) but the  cost for these lines are too expensive so my goal is to transfer all  these lines (with number portability) on a SIP Provider so they  completely dismiss the ISDN lines

You can do this but another recommendation would be a PRI service, these days you can get fractional PRI (E.G) 10/20/30 Line service and you can insert onto it a In-Dial number range 20/50/100 numbers, this is more ideal then SIP as SIP still has some maturity in my opinion for prime time commercial implementation, especially if the business is mission critical on in/out calls.

7) In the future they are likely to a solution with IM, Telepresence and so on....

8) Call Accounting

This can be achieved with either the UC-500/BE-3000 Solution, however the call Accounting part is tricky... The UC-500 series spits out quite a complicated CDR system to an FTP server, it is flaky at best in my experience, but if you have a talented programmer on staff, they can take the near-real-time deposits and turn it into a basic "Boarding" system and display near-real-time results... If you are wanting to spend more time for stuff like this and do not want to get Cisco Contact Center Express, you can use TAPI to get real-time results (More tricky but I have seen two clients do this with some effort involved but it works).

Now onto your main questions

1) Is possibile to record calls with UC560 or I need a third-part software?

Yes the UC-500 and I believe the BE-3000 series both have Live record, this is a soft key on the phone, by pressing this button you create a Conference Bridge between you, the third-party and the extensions associated Voice Mail Inbox, it is a very primitive form of call recording, but it does work and for a free feature with no requirement for third-party systems it is quite good

2) How is the integration with IP Communicator and IM?

A Cinch I have done previous deployments where 25 out of the 30 phones were IP communicators on a desktop, and it works brilliantly, but it just comes down to what you want to do, since it is considered a Phone it just uses up a use license... Very cost effective way of doing deployments as you can reduce costs of deploying handsets (I didn't say that, you heard this on the grape vine )

3) How many ISDN lines or SIP Trunks it support?

For this type of deployment you wouldn't consider going anything less than a UC-560, which can support up too 12 lines in ISDN format (6X BRI ports) or 60 lines via PRI which is two PRI circuits, SIP trunks well that comes down to how much bandwidth you have and what the ITSP is willing to offer you, but again this is not the direction I would opt to steer you down, PRI should be your first preference in my opinion.

4) How the fax is handled? I've seen that there is this feature but I never used it...

You can setup Fax-2-Email, yeah it is so-so but I have seen others say that it is very reliable now, again try and use IMAP for this as SMTP is inherently troublesome with this type of service and Cisco in their infinite wisdom did not put in any form of e-mail retry facility if it fails to send out the first time (HUGE mistake or badly thought out on their part). Again you will need a decent number in-dial range so you can allocate numbers to each inbox.

5) How many voicemails are manageable? Is there the needs of a Unity Server?

Now this is a very good question and I wish one that more would ask DO NOT use anything less than the UC-560 if Voice Mail space is a must, given that the UC-560 has 2X Compact Flash Storage space, the second one is used for the VM system, you can remove the 2GB one that comes with it and use a decent Transcend 8GB card (No I just didn't tell you to do that either ) this will give you truck loads of Voice Mail storage and should be ample coverage, you can then increase and individuals storage capacity on a per user basis to pretty large storage spaces.

6) Is the SRST supported?

On the UC-560 in theory yes, in practice NO because you cannot do it via CCA, to go down the CLI path is a path that will bring you many...many...many headaches and I strongly discourage you from doing it. With the BE-3000 series I am not sure, I never had a chance to test one and play with it in a LAB environment before I moved on to a new path in my career, sad really because I was looking forward to giving that system a big bash.

All-in-All what you want to achieve can be done with little hassle and with minimal third-party integration if any at all, but I would spend some time going over the makeup and composition of the deployment with an internal Cisco Staff member who your Cisco AM can organize for you, make sure they keep you within SBCS scope and CCA scope, to many of them they don't care of that arrangement or as I have found don't know how to keep it in scope, but you can achieve this, you just have to spend time planning it, documenting it and most importantly put it down on a Visio or something similar how you are going to deploy it, your subnetting will be important to ensure routing being appliances is going to work properly and consistently.

I hope this information helps you out

Cheers,

David.

stefano.pilla Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:45

Hi David,

I want to say you a really big "Thank you!".

This is one of the best and complete answer that I have ever received!!!

Now everything are more clear and I can work easily on the UC500/BE 3000 solutions!!

I will update you about the solution that the customer will choose and I will not hesitate to ask something else if I need help. ;-)

Your answer has been really really appreciated!

Again... Thank you!

bill.roland Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:12

David did a great job as always answering your individual questions, I would just add that I would strongly urge you to get a quote for something like a CUCM Business Edition 5000 as well.  When we were getting quotes the BE5000 was actually cheaper than a bunch of UC500s.  To say I was stunned was an understatement.

stefano.pilla Tue, 12/06/2011 - 12:48

Thanks for your suggestion, I never have seen this product/series but I surely will consider that option.

Thank you.

David Trad Tue, 12/06/2011 - 15:31

Hi Bill,

The only problem with the BE-5000 and BE-6000 series is that you cannot purchase them as a select partner?... Or that is what I was lead to believe, unless something has changed this required further certification requirements given the hardware that was shipped out with them.

I guess in the context of things I was only pushing the BE-3000 because it fell within the Select Certified range, but yet appears to have the power and GoGo Juice of the CUCM options. Put it simply though, looking at the specs if they tweaked it a little and made the available phones much better than the current range, I wouldn't even consider a UC-560 as the BE-3000 appears to just be a far better thought-out system.

Stefano, you are most welcomed

Cheers,

David.

bill.roland Tue, 12/06/2011 - 19:38

Hi David.  I don't really know much about how the Cisco/Partner stuff goes.  I know when I went to the vendor I use and told them I wanted to tie my sites together, we all had it in our minds we'd use UC500's and that would be that, but apparently they just worked up a couple of options "just to see" and to everyone's surprise, the CUCM BE5000 was cheaper.  While I had no probloms with our UC560 once we got some bugs worked out, the CUCM/Unity Connection/CUPS product is just light years beyond it.  This solution is so flexable and robust, its fantastic. 

Oh, and now that we actually use G722 wideband for internal calls, I can see why Cisco brags about it.  It takes a bit of getting used to because it sounds so good, it doesn't feel right for a phone call.  Its really sounds like the person is standing right in front of you. 

David Trad Tue, 12/06/2011 - 21:16

Hi Bill,

G.722 Is an awesome Codec and I have no idea why it was not adopted more widely by industry (ITSP's Manufacturers, Carriers) There is more then one incarnation of it and some of them are adaptive to the bandwidth available and can work their magic, but as a whole I am a HUGE fan of G.722

My only regret is that I departed my Cisco based role without having a chance to play with the BE-3000, but I hope it gets traction in the market place and the Select partners out there look at the value it represents and properly position it, I believe it has the power to take away a significant market share away from the UC's and I am confident that many of the partners out there will even consider using it for smaller deployments <30 seats.

Good to see you still coming onto the forums though

Cheers,

David.

dschlicht Mon, 12/12/2011 - 22:38

@David, you're correct that select partners cannot purchase BE5000 or BE6000. Only Advanced Unified Communications specialized partners are authorized to sell these products.

Something to consider that may or may not have been mentioned previously in this thread is that if customer is on growth path of doubling employees year over year they will become very dependent on whatever solution gets put in place. So pitching and selling a scalable solution is important.

With that said I'd look directly at BE6000 and run it on UCS C200m2 servers. This will give you platform that is able to be setup in high availability mode from day one, and cost for licensing to do HA is zero, just need the second server. Where you'd run into extra fees for HA in this scenario would be for the high availability cluster license for CCx. With the c200 you can run 4 servers, or services, so cucmbe, ccx, presence, etc.

Depending on your geography there are fantastic promos out there customer would likely qualify for. If you are in US take a look at collaboration breakaway. Depending on the BoM you have a chance to get up to 65% off of list on qualifyimg hardware and software licensing.

Have a great day

_dschlicht

Sent from Cisco Technical Support iPad App

renato.guimaraes Tue, 12/13/2011 - 06:26

I have to agree with what Bill said about analyzing the CUCM costs vs UC500. The UC560 is a great system for small-medium businesses that does lots of things but in the end it's just not cut out for the enterprise level.  When you start getting into things like call recording, accounting, and call center type solutions, the best thing to do is look to the high-end solution.

By the way, if you do decide to go with the UC560 solution, there is a call recording software called "CallRex" from TelRex.  We recently did an eval on one of our UC540's. It basically is a software that grabs the packets from the ports on the switch where the phones are plugged into and records the phone calls and sorts them out based on your user configuration.  The web console is nice and gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of storing the audio files, playback, etc.

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