Version 8.5 was announced and is orderable since December 2010, although the data sheet is not up yet, there are a few new features that can and should be mentioned about it. It is not the most exciting version that has been announced, the new features are more administrators then users facing.
Here is a list of the important ones (at least in my humble opinion):
CUMA (Cisco Unified Mobility Advantage) which is the mobile phone client option is now supported on Call Manager and does not require a dedicated server. Just like they did with the mobility in version 6.0.
The Bulk Admin Tool (BAT) was enhanced to support additional device types, one that is important for Single Number Reach configuration is the 'User Device Profile' and there are more.
HTTP instead of TFTP for the 89xx and the 99xx phone models was made available; this can help since a tcp-based protocol will make the phone load its firmware and config faster.
SIP Trunk Early Offer is supported in version 8.5 without the need for MTP. Since MTP require more CPU resources on the server side, this is a performance/scalability enhancing feature.
There are other features, which will probably be described in the datasheet, once it is published. I tested this version by upgrading 7.1.3 system and the upgrade was simple and smooth, could not try the clean install so I cannot comments on that process vs. the previous one.
Should you upgrade? If running 4.x/5.x or 6.x then go straight to 8.5 but if you already run 8.0 and does not require anything major from the new features then perhaps you should wait a little longer for bugs to surface.
Unity connection 8.5 had a little more exiting new features, but that will wait for a future post.
Avner Izhar is an experienced IT professional; he has 14 years of experience in the networking area, on multiple continents, and has filled positions in post sales, pre sales and training. He currently holds CCIE in Voice (#15999), CCSI (#31623), CCVP and others. He is also the author of two CCIE voice training related books: CCIE Voice Technology Workbook and CCIE Voice written study guide, both published under NLI. When he is not blogging for Network World, he work as a Consulting System Engineer for World Wide Technology.
Through this blog, Avner will share his personal experience and assist junior and senior engineers in their IT tasks.