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Easy Unity (VoiceMail) Installation


We have got quite a few VoiceMail installations to perform and we would like to reduce the installation time of a VoiceMail box. We are thinking of building a fully functionnal VoiceMail system and then using Symantec Ghost 7.5 to make an image of the server; we would use this image for your new installations.

We would like to know:

- if it's possible after the Ghost installation, to change the USB dongle, upgrade the License and have a functionnal system ?

- if this would be supported by Cisco ?

We are using:

- Unity version 3.1.3

- W2K box with AD, Exchange 2000

- all installed on the same box

Or perhaps are the others ways to reduce installation time of a VoiceMail system ?

Thanks for your help,



Re: Easy Unity (VoiceMail) Installation

If you were to Ghost the systems they would have the same machine name, domain name and SID. Active Directory does not allow you to change these values on a domain controller.

Cisco only supports what we have tested. We have not tested cloning of machines with a product such as ghost and probably won’t because of the limitations listed above.

We are working on ways to stream line and automate the install but they probably won't hit the streets until Unity 4.0.


Cisco Employee

Re: Easy Unity (VoiceMail) Installation

As Keith mentioned, the SID issue is your biggest hurdle here (MS wont support deploying Windows from Ghosted images either - but folks do it anyway). Cisco TAC wont support you doing things along these lines, but that said I've spent a lot of time dinking around in this exact area. I wrote a "hybrid" install for this that use both Ghost and scripts to get a system installed quickly.

You can change the SID on a Windows install using SIDRoller or other tools that come with Ghost or IC3 or other imaging packages available out there - they work on the same basic principal and as far as I can tell work fine.

If you have Exchange on the box, however, it simply cannot be part of the Ghost image because the SID gets incorporated into it's security descriptors and the SID roller utilities can't reconstruct these. Short story - if you roll the sid while Exchange is on the box, Exchange will never operate properly again. Not good.

SQL has some of the same problems but I believe the roller utilities can handle patching this up - I did not deal with this.

So what I ended up doing was installing a system with Win2K, IE, IIS, SP2 and got it just the way I wanted it. I then added directories onto the HD that had the install images for Exchange and SQL. I then snapped a Ghost Image of it.

I got fancy with some "run once at startup" stuff such that after you restored the image when it came up it would automatically run the installs for Exchange and SQL in script fashion, remove the install images, reboot and it was ready to install the latest version of Unity. I was able to get a raw box to install Unity in about 50 minutes this way.

Microsoft put it's foot down, though, and told us (as Active Voice at the time) we would not be supported if we deployed product this way in the field. They may have changed that story but I kind of doubt it - they want you to use their scripted mechanisms for automating the install (although as I understand it folks like Dell use drive imagine in their production facilities - not sure how that works).

Anyway - short story is if you're going ot use a drive image, I'd leave Exchange/SQL and Unity off of it and install those via scripts or by hand on the resulting system. That's about as automated as you can get safely - at least at the moment.

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