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New Member

Multi-Tenant Unity / Multiple Unity Servers

I have some design questions for using Unity in a multi-tenant scenario. I already know about the standard pat answer of "Unity isn't supported in multi-tenant", but that's using only ONE Unity server. Since I can have multiple Unity servers with a CM Cluster, my question is this:

Since Exchange does support multi-tenant (when hosting email only) and since you can create different OU's and completely separate them, it is possible to have multiple Unity servers pointing to one Exchange server? It would seem that you could point Unity server A to OU X and Unity server B to OU Y, correct? Using multiple Unity servers seems to be the only real supported configuration, but does that mean that you must have multiple message stores as well??

What impact would something like that have on the changes made to AD/Exchange during Unity integration? If the schema was extended once, there shouldn't be any reason to extend it again, correct?

In this setup, we would only be using Unity 4.x or better and Exchange 2000, so forget any caveats about Unity 3.x or exchange 5.5 and no other message store would be considered.

If anyone sees a technical reason why it can 't be done, I like to know or if someone can see some diminished functionality, I'd be interested in knowing specifically would be broken.

Thanks!

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Cisco Employee

Re: Multi-Tenant Unity / Multiple Unity Servers

The message store question is a function of where the mail users are created in Exchange - we don't have control over that directly - The message store wont follow the Unity server per se, it'll follow where the mailstores are for all the users setup as subscribers on the particular Unity server. Short story, if you're careful when creating/importing users such that you make sure you create them on the mailstore you have allocated for that tenant in Exchange, then this is a true statement.

I would think this would be supported by TAC (perhaps a TAC manager type would want to jump in here) - you're not doing anything I see that's unsupported here. If the Exchange server is properly loaded there's nothing wrong with pointing more than one Unity server at an Exchange box. It all seems "above board" to me.

3 REPLIES
Cisco Employee

Re: Multi-Tenant Unity / Multiple Unity Servers

Couple things here... you may want to wander through the "Audiotext Applications In Unity" doucment on the Documents page on www.CiscoUnitytools.com. In there I spend a little time talking about how close you can get to a "proper" multiple tenant solution in 4.0(1) and where the holes are.

Yes, you can have multiple Unity servers pointing to the same Exchange machine no problem. The Unity Message Store and default objects (example admin, example subscriber, unaddressedmessages public DL etc...) are all tagged with a unique "system ID" in their mail aliases such that they wont conflict with one another in the directory.

Yes, you can select that new users created in the SA are stuffed in a particular OU during setup for each Unity server you install.

The only down side is that all the Unity servers will be pushing messages to the same Exchange server so if you're talking about a _bunch_ of Unity servers it could keep that box pretty busy - where are the users actually going to be homed in Exchange? All on this box? How many users are we talking about?

Certainly if you want to keep all the boxes completely seperate from one another then you stick them in their own dialing domains (or just don't define one at all) and set the maximum search scope for addressing and audio text lookups to "local" or the "dialing domain" and you're good to go.

If you want some level of interaction between these boxes, that may be trickier - are you going for anything along these lines?

The Global Subscriber Manager tool (ships with Unity - latest is always available on CiscoUnityTools.com) can help you manage all the users accross all the "tenant" boxes here which may be of interest to you.

New Member

Re: Multi-Tenant Unity / Multiple Unity Servers

Jeff -- Thanks for the insight. I have looked the AudioText document, although just breifly, not in depth.

While it's true that this could push exchange to the limit, we would be following some standard ASP hosting guidlines. Since this would be an entry-level enviroment, the server would be sized to hold anywhere from 250-350 users, but no more. After that, we would be looking at another exchange server. Basically we are looking to provide Unified Messaging & Telephony in an office building while providing phones, email, LD, dial-tone etc.

At this point, I see no need for interaction between the different Unity severs as each one represents a different company.

Two more questions -- I assume in this setup that I could create a different mailbox store for each Unity server correct? This would solve some backup/restore issues as well.

What kind of support can I resonably expect from TAC on something like this? In other words, what is the offical Cisco position? If needed, email me directly to take this offline.

Thanks.

Cisco Employee

Re: Multi-Tenant Unity / Multiple Unity Servers

The message store question is a function of where the mail users are created in Exchange - we don't have control over that directly - The message store wont follow the Unity server per se, it'll follow where the mailstores are for all the users setup as subscribers on the particular Unity server. Short story, if you're careful when creating/importing users such that you make sure you create them on the mailstore you have allocated for that tenant in Exchange, then this is a true statement.

I would think this would be supported by TAC (perhaps a TAC manager type would want to jump in here) - you're not doing anything I see that's unsupported here. If the Exchange server is properly loaded there's nothing wrong with pointing more than one Unity server at an Exchange box. It all seems "above board" to me.

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