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Unity 3.1 Failover

Unanswered Question
Sep 21st, 2006
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Hello Folks,

Due to the nature of my customer's business, we can not afford even 1 minute downtime for the voicemail. We have a unity 3.1 which I need to upgrade to the latest version (probably 4.1). The server is a stand alone Unity voice mail but it's going to be a Unity failover environment (only voicemail). In order not to lose any voices messages and avoid any downtimes; here's what I have in mind for upgrading the Unity from 3.1 to 4.1 and at the same time building a failover environment. And what I am expecting from you is to let me know if this can be a solution for my customer.


Before upgrading to any version, I am planning to implement a Failover environment for our Unity 3.1. In order to do that I need to take the Mailsotre out of the current Unity box and store it into a new Mailstore (Exchange, a brand new server is available) and copy all the messages into the new Mailstore. The old Unity server is going to be my primary Unity Server and I need to build another 3.1 Unity (secondarry, another brand new server is available) for the Failover purpose. Once I am done with the second Unity server, I can say that I have a Unity 3.1 failover environment, am I right? Then, I am going to upgrade the Unity Servers one by one without interrupting the service until I get both servers upgraded to the latest version. I know this idea may not be the best but I welcome any other ideas which allow no downtime and no lost voice messages.


Thanks,


BT

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Tommer Catlin Thu, 09/21/2006 - 11:08
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Either way, you will have to have downtime. The only way you are going to get to 4.2.(1) (which you should upgrade to, is to upgrade the 3.1 server. If you do not upgrade the 3.1 server, you will only the ability to export the voicemails to the new server, not the database. The only way to transfer databases is the database have to be the same version, such as 3.1 to 3.1 or 4.2 to 4.2. Failover is not meant for upgrade purposes, it is meant only for failover if primary goes down. These servers replicate to each other. You are better off just upgrading in place the 3.1 to a newer version, then installing a new secondary server with the same version, and load failover.


This is taken from the link:

The failover feature cannot be used for continuing Cisco Unity service on one server while upgrading the Cisco Unity software on the other server. Both the primary and secondary servers must be out of service while the Cisco Unity software is upgraded. The secondary server cannot handle voice messaging while the primary server is being upgraded. While you do these procedures, callers and subscribers will not be able to record or listen to voice messages. We recommend that you upgrade when phone traffic is light, for example, after business hours.


http://www.cisco.com/en/US/customer/products/sw/voicesw/ps2237/products_upgrade_guides_chapter09186a0080205a78.html


I would also recommend buying a second drive to have a backup the entire server before you start. Worst case, throw the backup drive in and reboot on that drive so you have the entire system back online "like nothing ever happened)


cheers

bahman.tajkarim... Thu, 09/21/2006 - 12:50
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Thanks for the reply,

Let's say I have the existing 3.1 Unity Server and a brand new 4.2(1). Is there anyway that I can import the voicemails (not the database)from the 3.1 server to the 4.2(1) one? If so, could you please let me know how can I do that?


Thanks,

Matthew Bryant Thu, 09/21/2006 - 11:54
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I agree with the previous post. You won't be able to have zero downtime with this.


You also need to make sure that both servers are the same hardware platform, I have had failover running on different servers before, but it was temporary and I wouldn't recommend it, and I don't think Cisco wants to support it either.


I would upgrade your existing server, do a backup then restore to a new server, then set up failover. The failover will have a few minutes of downtime, but not much.


If you going to do all that work, you might as well put them on newer servers that they will last you a while, instead of using existing hardware, it will save you some downtime down the road.

bahman.tajkarim... Thu, 09/21/2006 - 13:00
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I appreciate your reply,

As I see in the Compatibility Matrix, in order to get into the 4.2(1) version in need to upgrades from 3.1(4b) to 3.3(5) and then to 4.2(1). Am I right?


My other question is to know how long it normaly takes (in hour) upgrading from 3.1 to 3.3(5) and then to 4.2(1)? Just an approximation.


Thanks,

Tommer Catlin Thu, 09/21/2006 - 13:18
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I just did a 4.04 to 4.2 and it took about an hour to 2 hours of actual loading time. The worst part is loading all the MS patches because it is not package. You have to do them all manually.. ugg.

This one was just about 60 users. If your 3.1 database is small, it will go quick. If you have a large database, it will take hours for the conversion process of SQL.


It's a couple reboots, waiting around. You will have to prep your AD with the new Schema, Exchange, etc. Let that replicate, etc. (if you have a large enviroment)


You will need the new TSP software if your are using CCM. If you are Dialogic cards, those have to have the newer software loaded etc.


Good luck!

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