Cisco Conductor 2.3 – BE6000 and BE7000

Just bringing you a few highlights about Conductor 2.3 which should align with Telepresence Server 4.0.

Conductor XC2.3 has a new API that will allow Cisco TMS to obtain conference information, capacity information, and provision conferences. The client can create a new ConfBundle with auto-dialed participants and conference aliases. It is important to note that these API provisioned conference details will only be available through the API and not the Conductor web interface. In short – you still need TMS for scheduling which isn’t a big deal.

Putting the pieces together the scheduling of TP conferences connecting TMS to Conductor is a welcome addition. I’m making an assumption that vTS 4.0 and TMS 14.4 will be available very soon. This should speed the adoption of the vTS and Conductor within the Be6000 and Be7000 platforms. I’m still not 100% positive how TMS and TMSPE with Exchange will play into this but I’m assuming those pieces will be available soon.

Most likely this will all align with announcements we’re going to hear from Cisco Live.

More Telepresence!

VCS and Expressway 8.1 to 8.1.1 Patch

If you patch 8.1 to 8.1.1 and your Mobile and Remote Access stops working you need to regenerate your certificates.

During the patch from 8.1 to 8.1.1 the XCP/XMPP router service is being introduced. When modifying anything related to XCP/XMPP on VCS or Expressway you need to regenerate the certificates. The same applies when you modify or add XMPP chat node alias.

The certificates need to be regenerated on Core and Edge. Once applied a restart will have it take effect.

The documentation does not currently reflect that this is a required step and should be updated soon.

When can I start upgrading my Cisco CM subscribers?

Upgrading a rather large Communications Manager cluster I needed to upgrade all of the subscriber nodes at the same time.

The general rule still applies when upgrading a Cisco CM cluster – Publisher upgrades first and do not switch to upgraded partition.

Now there is a certain point during the publisher upgrade that I can actually start upgrading on all the subscribers in parallel. Be sure you have the proper compute and MHz reservation because you don’t want to overload all subscribers at once.

  1. SSH to your Publisher or get on the console
  2. List the install logs
    1. admin:file list install install_* date
    2. install_log_2014-04-
    3. dir count = 0, file count = 1
  3. Search the most recent install log for “PRODUCT_VERSION”
    1. file search install install_log_2014-04- PRODUCT_VERSION
      1. 04/06/2014 20:52:30 post_upgrade|PRODUCT_VERSION is|<LVL::Info>
      2. 04/06/2014 20:52:30 post_upgrade|PRODUCT_VERSION_DISPLAY is|<LVL::Info>
      3. Search completed
  4. When the file search command finds the PRODUCT_VERSION string in the install log, you can start the upgrade of the subsequent nodes.
    1. If you want to upgrade the subsequent nodes in parallel with the publisher node, do not choose the Reboot to upgraded partition on either publisher node or subsequent nodes while configuring the upgrade options. If selected, the publisher node may complete its upgrade and reboot while the subsequent nodes are upgrading, which causes the upgrade of the subsequent nodes to fail.

When you are ready to activate the new version, you must activate the new software on the publisher node before activating it on all other nodes.

Deployment is dead! User adoption and BYOE.

Deployment is dead. It is less about technology deployment and more about getting people to actually USE it. Get out of the clouds for a moment and think about how all of these clouds are transforming your user experience. A desktop is a desktop is a desktop and I don’t care if I consume a desktop from an Android, Mac, Chrome, Windows, or Linux.

So how do we as collaboration architects stop worrying about deployment and more about the user experience? First of all we need help from Cisco, Avaya, Google, and Microsoft. The user experience has to come first. The new generation workforce has very high expectations that things just WORK. Did Twitter, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram deploy themselves to the user community? No, it was very cool and users adopted it. Our workplace has always been a place of we’re going to deploy this desktop, with this office suite, with this phone and you’re forced to like it.

Enough already! Bring Your Own Everything – BYOE. Desktop, Mobile Device, Instant Messaging app, social sharing app, and web collaboration app. I’m not the first person to talk about BYOE and a few searches around the Internet and you’ll see other posts.

Have you looked at HTML5, WebRTC, VP9, and H.265? These things may not transform your business this year but be prepared Q4FY2014 and 2015.

Jabber and Expressway – Still in beta!

Quick post — The Cisco Expressway “Mobile and Remote Access” feature for Cisco Jabber is NOT officially supported by Cisco at the time of this post.

In fact only Jabber versions 9.6.1 will support “MRA” and the IOS+Android versions of 9.6.1 are still in BETA!

Just be aware that if you’re doing a Jabber deployment today we might see the Jabber 9.6.1 clients released by end of March. There are no official commitments on that date.

Cisco Expressway (Hint: It isn’t Collaboration Edge)

Quickly I’d like to clear up that there two primary products in the “Collaboration Edge” architecture.

#1 Cisco CUBE 10.0 – Internet connected SIP proxy allowing remote worker desk phones to connect back to Communications Manager.

#2 Cisco Expressway – Jabber and Telepresence endpoint firewall traversal product. Also the XMPP federation endpoint for IM!

Cisco Expressway deployment model consists of an Expressway-Core and an Expressway-Edge. Best of all these two servers are FREE. The only piece of the puzzle you need to license is if you want to use Expressway to do business-to-business video calling. Of course you do! So that is where the “Rich Media Session” license comes into play. There is a trick – you need RMS licensing on both the Expressway-Core and Expressway-Edge. There isn’t a lot of documentation that mentions that so when you’re ordering RMS licensing be sure to up the quantity by two. How do you get Expressway for free? Order a $0 product “R-UCL-UCM-LIC-K9”.

Expressway-Core can also be deployed as a B2BUA between Lync 2013 and Cisco Telepresence. This is important if you want Lync 2013 video enabled clients to call directly to Jabber or Cisco Telepresence endpoints. This is also a big deal if you have new or existing Cisco vTS (telepresence server) allowing Lync to call into your bridge. Obviously this interop is to bridge the H.264 SVC and H.264 AVC codec gap between software and hardware vendors. $20K list price for this single license key.

Fortunately Cisco is firing back at the codec wars and going to H265 with their new MX800 and SX80 endpoints. Hopefully we’ll see quick H265 and WebRTC adoption. (yeah right)

I’ll have more to talk about as I digest all the updates from Enterprise Connect!