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Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes? dismount databases? etc...

I am NOT the Cisco person. I AM the messaging and Exchange person. I want to clear some things up.

We are using Unity version 5.x (whatever the most up to date version of 5 is, we're on it)

I am being told that if the database that the main unity mailbox is attached to ever gets dismounted, that it basically blows up voicemail for everyone and all sorts of re-scans and synchronizations have to be done and initiated manually. Also being told I can't ever move it, or basically the same thing happens.

But I'm told that I can restart the exchange servers and Unity doesn't mind that.

None of this makes sense.

What happens if the main unity system mailbox is moved from one database to another?

What happens if the mailbox is on a database that gets dismounted?

What happens if I reboot an exchange server that the mailbox is on?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

Gotcha. My colleaugues and I have all seen this scenario more than

once. So, Unity Connection is either voicemail only or Integrated

Messaging (i.e., IMAP) solution. IMAP provides a way to get email in

your Outlook client but via separate folder and not the Inbox. Most

folks don't mind this but it depends on what the requirements truly

are. Unity can also forward messages via SMTP to an email address.

There are 2 flavors - Relay which blindly relays the message so there

is no MWI natively on phones and there is no message kept on the

Connection server. Then there's store and forward which I'm sure you

see where this is headed. You get MWI on the phone but there is no

sync beteen Connection and your email client. Connection also can tie

into Exchange for calendar integration and such as well. This cam be

independent of the other items above. I have clients that run Unity

for UM without issue, I have clients that run Connection, and I have

clients that run Microsoft UM with 3rd party MWI app (supposed to be

native in 2010) so I'm no MS hater at all...in fact, I started on your

side of the fence and happened to stumble into voice. The only caveat

I have for MS is that it's not "free" as advertised. You need an

Enterprise CAL (not cheap) and I believe the per user fee is something

like $100/user but depending on your size and relationship to

MS...this could be negotiable. The benefit to Connection is it is the

middle of the road as far as the solutions go. It offers a bit of

everything...but that doesn't make it the holy grail by any means. If

you have more questions or concerns, keep em' coming.

Hailey

Please rate helpful posts!!!

On Mar 25, 2010, at 10:18 PM, AaronJAnderson

7 REPLIES

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

The main Unity mailbox is the Unity Messaging System mailbox (Unity_).  If this account is going to be moved, you need to coordinate with the Unity folks as this can cause issues with messages getting stuck in the UMR (Unified Messaging Repository) in Unity.  If you are going to move the Unity_ mailbox, you need to follow the instructions for changing the partner Exchange server which are outlined in the installation guide for your version.  A link for all documentation is here: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/voicesw/ps2237/prod_installation_guides_list.html.

Mailbox is on a DB that gets dismounted  or reboot an Exchange server likely have similar impacts.  Messages recorded while the partner Exchange  server is down or disconnected are stored in the Unity Messaging  Repository (UMR) until the server is brought back up.  You can reboot a server, the UMR is there to catch issues in the event of an issue.

Another scenario - you make changes to storage groups.  Depending on what you do (ex: add a storage group and move mailboxes without coordinating with Unity folks), Unity will not have permissions on the new storage group.  You have to re-run the Permissions Wizard to set the correct permissions.

With that said, I wouldn't look at Unity as a hinderance to your Exchange administration.  Unity is just very dependent upon proper AD/Exchange integration and operation.  Re-running the permissions wizard is pretty benign.  Changing the partner server can be done too, it's just not something that you'd want to put the Unity admins in the position of having to do frequently unless there is merit to it...it takes time to get things synced, tested, and then deal with end-user facing issues that pop up.

Hailey

Please rate helpful posts!

Community Member

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

Thanks for clarifying some of that. The years of exerience in our Unity department combined are... low. Long story short, they've had a lot of trouble with people losing voicemails, delayed delivery, you name it we had it. So our IT Director is getting upset and concerned about the credibility of certain internal departments. As a result I think the Unity folks answer to have "zero voicemail problems going forward" is to tell me that the mailboxes can't ever be moved, ever, the server can't be turned off, ever, and the store can't be dismounted, ever.

I know not all of this is true. I'm not new to messaging or how third party applications utilize system mailboxes and the MAPI protocol.

If messages are in the UMR, are they later delivered once everything is reconnected? I believe they do because our Unity admin was adding some permissions to the unity install account and about 10 people got a weeks worth of voicemail all at once.

Community Member

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

One more quick (maybe) question.

We have Unity in failover mode. Our Exchange servers are currently not clustered (will be after we upgrade beyond unity 5 and have exch 2010)

Does the entire voicemail system rely on the one single database that it's main system account is hosted on, to be running? That database goes down and voicemail is down? If that DB is down, and a users tries to fetch a VM, do they get the message saying "the messaging server is offline" ?

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

So, to answer your question about UMR - the short answer is yes.  The UMR is a component within Unity that allows outside callers to leave messages for users  when their primary Exchange server is offline. Messages are temporarily  stored on the Cisco Unity server in the \CommServer\unityMta directory.  When the primary  Exchange server comes back online, Cisco Unity begins to pass the  messages as normal into the correct message store.

Does the entire voicemail system rely on the one single DB that it's main system account is hosted on to be running?  So, the main system account is primarily related to UMR as it is the voice mailbox that originates voice messages from outside callers.  With that said, it's not so much the account being offline as it is the partner server being down.  Unity has a 3 primary service accounts that receive permissions within AD so it can function.  UnityInstall is the most powerful and is used for installation.  UnityDirSvc handles directory services on Unity and is also the account used on the backend when adminstrators make changes in the Unity web admin portal.  The last is UnityMsgStoreSvc which handles all of the messaging communication with Exchange.  The partner server is essentially a bridgehead for Unity.  I'm sure you're familiar with the term bridgehead so think of it this way, when that server is down - Unity doesn't have anyone to talk to on the messaging side.  If a user tries to access a message and the message store is down, they will typically receive an error of some type via the phone interface that indicates a "system problem" or something to that effect.

One key point I would make is that it's hard to manage Unity in an organization where the "phone" guys are the "phone" guys and the "AD/Exchange" guys are the "AD/Exchange" guys.  Even though Unity serves a telephony purpose, from the system perspective it is an active member of the AD domain and Exchange environment.  The majority of Unity's functionality depends on proper setup and integration with AD and Exchange.  In fact, at one point Cisco made it a requirement that in order to receive a Unity Support certification that the prerequisite was an MCSE (and the paper MCSE would have been of little value).

If I may ask, I'd like to know if you're set up for Unified Messaging (users get voicemail as .wav attachments in their Exchange inbox) or voicemail only (users are only accessing voicemail via the phone).  If you're in a UM environment with that many problems, that would be frustrating on all sides.  If you're doing a voicemail only setup and having that many problems, it would be worth the time considering a migration to Unity Connection which is a Linux-based appliance with no dependencies on an external message store such as Exchange (or AD either).

Hailey

Please rate helpful posts!

Community Member

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

You're correct in all of your assumptions and everything you said makes perfect sense to me. Unity is very new to our business. We got the system last summer, so it's not even a year old. I wasn't there when it happened but I don't think any of our "unity guys" are formally trained. They are actually router/firewall guys, who got stuck with Unity because it says "Cisco" so it must be right up their alley, yeah?

We use Unity in what I'd call a "mixed" environment. Anyone who has a company issued smartphone has "unified messaging" enabled, so they get the .wav file. Only because most of them are never in an office or behind a real phone (read: insurance company with agents and adjusters, etc) That's about 500 people. Everyone else (1000+ phones and growing to more offices) just have a second AD account assigned as their phone.

We've had a LOT of problems. I am currently migrating to Exchange 2007. I had about 200 mailboxes moved over and had to quit because Unity was being a wack job. Turns out Unity needs to be paired with the newest version of Exchange... but nobody knew that.   You can imagine the headaches that brought on. When the Unity guy tried to home it to the new server, the TAC technician didn't tell him to disable the failover server, so before he could stop it, Unity created 468 new user accounts for peoples voicemail... More headaches. I was lucky enough to exmerge and SQL script his way out of that one!

Anywho. The Unity guys have been chanting about Connection but have not been able to really elaborate on why it's any better. Does it do anything for those needing access to their messages by their email inbox? Can it email them a link or a wav file? something like that? If it can't, I'm really aiming everyone at going towards Microsofts Unified Messaging system... it gives us a few other features that people are wanting (transcription, chat, etc) but it's not Cisco, so there are some naysayers.

/end.

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

Gotcha. My colleaugues and I have all seen this scenario more than

once. So, Unity Connection is either voicemail only or Integrated

Messaging (i.e., IMAP) solution. IMAP provides a way to get email in

your Outlook client but via separate folder and not the Inbox. Most

folks don't mind this but it depends on what the requirements truly

are. Unity can also forward messages via SMTP to an email address.

There are 2 flavors - Relay which blindly relays the message so there

is no MWI natively on phones and there is no message kept on the

Connection server. Then there's store and forward which I'm sure you

see where this is headed. You get MWI on the phone but there is no

sync beteen Connection and your email client. Connection also can tie

into Exchange for calendar integration and such as well. This cam be

independent of the other items above. I have clients that run Unity

for UM without issue, I have clients that run Connection, and I have

clients that run Microsoft UM with 3rd party MWI app (supposed to be

native in 2010) so I'm no MS hater at all...in fact, I started on your

side of the fence and happened to stumble into voice. The only caveat

I have for MS is that it's not "free" as advertised. You need an

Enterprise CAL (not cheap) and I believe the per user fee is something

like $100/user but depending on your size and relationship to

MS...this could be negotiable. The benefit to Connection is it is the

middle of the road as far as the solutions go. It offers a bit of

everything...but that doesn't make it the holy grail by any means. If

you have more questions or concerns, keep em' coming.

Hailey

Please rate helpful posts!!!

On Mar 25, 2010, at 10:18 PM, AaronJAnderson

Community Member

Re: Unity 5 and Exchange 2007, Can I move the system mailboxes?

We'll probably end up with Connection, and store and forward. Not sure how VM's showing up in a folder other than the inbox would affect users on mobile devices, but it's something to test.

I really appreciate your input. Gives me some ammo and power to start getting the kinks worked out of everyone elses systems. Typical me.

Thanks again for the help.

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