Mega Time of Day
Communications Manager / July 7, 2014

You know when you have a customer requirement and you have to spend a little time thinking about it and when you figure out the solution you feel quite a bit triumphant?  I had that recently and I’m going to write about it here.  Mainly so that I don’t forget what I have done several years down the road, but you may run into one of these niche cases at some point too! Requirements The customer is a school district and wanted to have their teachers route by time of day, you might say, “John, that’s too easy, why are you writing about this?”, but this was no simple time of day routing scenario.  Let’s list out all of the requirements for this particular scenario with bullets! First they wanted to make sure that outside callers could not reach classroom phones during instructional time Second, they wanted to make sure that admins at the school site COULD call the classrooms at any point Third, they wanted to make sure anyone else internal to the district could not call the classrooms during instructional time Fourth, each of their 51 schools could have a different schedule, so we couldn’t apply the same…

Is Your Backup Worthless?
Communications Manager / May 13, 2014

I have been doing a lot of upgrades to customer Cisco Unified Communications Manager clusters recently.  Upgrades to 9.1 and 10 mostly, and a lot of people are transitioning to new hardware.  When we sit down and discuss the project, one of the first questions that I always ask is, “Do you have your cluster security password?”  In the last four upgrades that I have done the answer has been no 100% of the time.  Hold on, let me step back, three of them said, “I don’t know what that is” and one said no.  But they all ended up being a no because no one appeared to have it documented. Now before you say, “well John, you’re the partner engineer, you should have this,” I will say that I agree.  Unfortunately, in all four of these cases the cluster was installed by another partner, I’m not going to mention who and play the blame game, I just wanted to explain why we are in the situation that we are in. The last customer that I was working with on this started out thinking that this was probably just a minor imposition, after all there is a process (which I…

Configuring Extension Mobility
Communications Manager / April 7, 2012

I just realized that this video I did awhile ago wasn’t on the site here. If you’ve seen this before, thanks for viewing! Quick tutorial on how to configure mobility in Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

Buying In Bulk
Communications Manager / August 10, 2011

Several years ago I couldn’t have said this, but by and large my favorite administrative tool for Communications Manager these days is the bulk administration tool.  It’s come a long way in it’s evolution: I don’t remember ever using it in 3 (if it was even available), 4 was useful but far from powerful (you could bulk import phones, but if you wanted to bulk update, not everything was available), 5 and 6 started to get really useful (you could now update just about everything on phones, but there were still some things like route patterns, translation patterns and so forth that weren’t available).  When you get to version 7, this tool really hits it’s stride and becomes a thing of beauty. Before writing this I had discussions with several people about the bulk administration interface and most people were comfortable with using the phone insert and update functions but a lot of people weren’t terribly well versed in the import/export functions which I truly think are what makes this tool shine. First let’s talk about what import/export is.  Like the name suggests, it’s a way for you to export configuration information out of the communications manager or import configuration…