Cisco Unified Communications - Home Lab (CUCM Details)

This blog will cover running CUCM and/or CUCME for a home lab environment. I put together my home lab over seven years ago when Call Manager 3.0 could not be run on a non-Cisco approved platform. The only way to get Call Manager to install was to first install Windows 2000 server, SQL server 2000, and the required Microsoft service packs. I decided to buy my own Compaq DL320 at the time, but I highly recommend using VMWare nowadays. We’ll get back to VMWare… If you are planning on running a version of Call Manager before version 5.0, you will need to obtain a registry hack so the hardware looks like a Cisco approved platform to the Call Manager installation. The registry hack can easily be obtained by doing a Google search for “Call Manager Reg Hack” or asking your Cisco SE to share with you. Beginning with Cisco Unified Call Manager 5.0(4), Call Manager will install on any platform. The installation will warn you that Cisco will not support the non Cisco approved platform. I don’t think that’s a problem for anyone putting together a home lab. Unfortunately, Call Manager 5.x versions will require a license file to work. CUCM 6.0 has a built in trial license that will be more than adequate for a home lab, but it will not support clustering. At the time of this writing, I recommend using CUCM version 6.1 for your home lab. If you have the installation discs, you can go through the laborious process of installing CUCM from scratch. Hopefully your Cisco SE or one of your geeky friend has a VMWare image with CUCM already installed so you can hit the ground running. The Call Manager virtual machine will easily exceed 6GB (gigabytes). Let’s start talking about VMWare a little bit. You do not need to buy VMWare workstation for your lab environments, but some people like the ability to create snapshots with VMWare workstation so you can go back to different configurations when something blows up. VMWare player and VMWare server can be downloaded from for free. VMWare player will only allow you to run one virtual machine at a time. I don’t recommend using VMWare player because of this limitation. I frequently run a Unity VM and a Call manager VM at the same time. Multiple virtual machines can be run using VMWare server. Let’s talk about resources for a moment. I have found that each virtual machine requires a minimum of 1GB DRAM each. The host operating system will also require 1GB. You will need a lot of DRAM in the machine you wish to run these virtual machines. My laptop has 4GB to allow me to comfortably run two virtual machines on top of Windows XP. Windows XP SP3 will only recognize 3.5GB of DRAM if you’re running a 32-bit flavor of the OS. You will be wasting 512MB of DRAM, but DRAM is relatively cheap. I recommend a multi-core processor CPU as well. One VM will run on a Pentium M processor, but you need a dual core processor to maximize your use of the virtual machines. I’ll go into some VMWare details early next week when we continue this conversation.

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