With the release of Exchange 2007, Microsoft included voicemail as one of the core components of the product, and as a v1.0 technology, we didn’t have a lot of organizations choose to implement the Exchange 2007 voicemail. However with the release of Exchange 2010 and the inclusion of core features in the Exchange update, we’ve been implementing more Unified Messaging servers that we have ever done in the past.
Technologically, the voicemail in Exchange 2010 now works and provides similar capabilities in the best voicemail systems on the market, so Exchange 2010 voicemail is technologically “as good” as what else is available. However a couple strong reasons for organizations implementing Exchange 2010 voicemail include:
So with features that are similar to other voicemail systems along with the voice to text conversion function and the ability for Exchange 2010 voicemails to follow the user's mailbox in DR scenarios, Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging servers are common in our standard implementations of Exchange 2010 these days.
The following are excerpts from my book “Exchange 2010 Unleashed” on the step by step installation of Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging.
Installing the Unified Messaging Role
The first step is to install the Unified Messaging role. This procedure assumes that the Exchange Server 2010 server has already been installed. To add the Unified Messaging server role, complete the following steps:
The basic software has been installed, but the UM server needs to be configured post-installation to function properly.
After the server has the Unified Messaging server role installed, you need to complete several postinstall configuration tasks for a basic installation:
Following these tasks results in a functioning Exchange Server 2010 Unified Messaging system. The remainder of this section details the installation steps for each task.
Creating a UM Dial Plan
The first task is to create the central organizing element of the Exchange Server 2010 UM infrastructure—the dial plan shown below:
To create a dial plan, execute the following steps:
The newly created dial plan should be shown in the results pane. Notice that the default mailbox policy (SFO Dial Plan Default Policy) was automatically created at the same time.
Associating Subscriber Access Numbers
For subscribers to access their mailbox, one or more subscriber access numbers must be specified in the dial plan. This should be the pilot number for the PBX hunt group that the subscribers will use.
To associate a subscriber access extension to the dial plan, execute the following steps:
The UM server will now recognize that subscribers will use the extension to access their mailboxes.
Creating a UM IP Gateway
The next task is to create an UM IP gateway to link the dial plan with the IP/VoIP gateway and the PBX.
To create the UM IP gateway, execute the following steps:
Select a dial plan to associate the IP gateway with, such as the SFO Dial Plan.
This also creates a default hunt group (which will be deleted later).
Click New to create the UM IP gateway.
Click Finish to close the wizard.
The newly created UM IP gateway should be shown in the results pane. The default hunt group will be removed and a new one created in a later task.
Associating the UM Server with the Dial Plan
The dial plan needs to be associated with the UM server that was installed in the first task. This eventually causes the UM server to register with the IP/VoIP gateway to receive calls.
To associate the UM server with the new dial plan, execute the following steps:
The pilot number will now be associated to the dial plan for subscriber access.
Create a Unified Messaging Auto Attendant
For the UM server to answer callers, a UM Auto Attendant must be created and associated with a dial plan. This allows incoming calls to be answered and directed to the appropriate voice mailbox.
To create an Auto Attendant and associate it with a dial plan, execute the following tasks:
Click Finish to close the wizard.
The newly created auto attendant should be shown in the results pane.
NOTE: If the Auto Attendant is created as speech-enabled, a secondary fallback Auto Attendant that is not speech-enabled should be created and that option configured on the primary Auto Attendant. If a user cannot use voice commands, he can use DTMF commands on the secondary Auto Attendant.
Although the speech-enabled auto-attendant accepts DTMF commands, the user is not notified this is possible unless a DTMF fallback auto attendant is configured.
Creating the Hunt Groups
The default hunt group that is created with the UM IP gateway does not contain a pilot number. To have the system handle incoming calls correctly, the default hunt group should be deleted and new ones created for the caller and subscriber hunt groups.
To accomplish the creation of the hunt groups, execute the following steps:
The result of the configuration is shown below, including the new hunt groups.
The system is now configured and ready for the final configuration step in the basic configuration—the enabling of a user for unified messaging.
Enabling Mailboxes for UM
The last task is to enable a user’s mailbox. This associates the user with a mailbox policy and, therefore, to the rest of the unified messaging infrastructure.
To enable a user, execute the following steps:
Click Finish to close the wizard.
A simple welcome email message with the extension and their confidential PIN will be automatically sent to their Exchange Server mailbox.
Hopefully this gives you a little snapshot of the implementation process of putting Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging into an Exchange environment and the steps necessary to configure the Unified Messaging role. This is definitely a feature worth working with and getting familiar, it’s something that we’re implementing more and more often these days.
Rand Morimoto has been in the computer industry for more than 30 years and has authored, co-authored, or been a contributing writer for a couple dozen books on Microsoft Windows, Security, Exchange email, BizTalk Server, and remote and mobile computing. Rand is the president of Convergent Computing, an IT consulting firm that has been one of the key early adopter program partners with Microsoft, implementing beta versions of Microsoft technologies 2-3 years before the product releases to the public. This provides Rand and the consultants in his company extensive knowledge on the technologies long before the products are generally available.
Besides speaking at more than 50 conferences and conventions around the world in the past year on tips, tricks, and best practices on planning, migrating, and implementing technologies, Rand is also head judge for the worldwide Imagine Cup competition, is a Board member for the Chabot Space and Science Center and planetarium, and a Regent for the Board of Saint Mary's College of California.
Rand's book Exchange Server 2010 Unleashed was selected as the November, 2009, book of the month book giveaway. Read a free sample chapter of this book,, hosted exclusively by Microsoft Subnet. Buy the book now from InformIT.
Rand's latest book, Microsoft System Center Enterprise Suite Unleashed has been selected as the April, 2010, Microsoft Subnet book giveaway. Read an excerpt of Microsoft System Center Enterprise Suite Unleashed.
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