First look into Call Manager 8.0

Call Manager 8.x new features and some basic install tips

Call Manger 8.0 has been announced and will begin shipping in April 2010; here are some new features that I can see an immediate benefit in:

It can be virtualized on top of VMware ESXi 4.0 running on Cisco's UCS. Not every hypervisor, not every version of VMware and not on every hardware. The official reason is that it will be impossible to support all hardware or hypervisors, next thing you know someone will open a TAC case saying call quality is bad on his laptop running VMware workstation 5.5. In the future the field of supported hardware/software is expected to grow.

It adds the option to do cross cluster extension mobility. Extension mobility is Cisco's option to login to a phone and have your settings downloaded to it like a roaming profile on a windows environment (if the term still exists ...). This may be good for organizations that have one cluster but might be limiting to one's that have many. Version 8.x will allow this cross cluster roaming profiles behavior.

Caller-ID support in MGCP FXO gateway. This used to be an H.323 only option.

The iSAC (Internet high-fidelity codec) codec has been added to the system, but remember that the phone and the gateway need to support it for full support. iSAC along with iLBC is a codec developed by GIPS and is widely used in Skype.

Phone services are now using https instead of http. This applies to Extension Mobility, IPMA, Corporate directory etc.

LDAP filtering ability has been added to the interface, it was available before using the SDK but now it's a lot easier to use. Why should you care? Have you ever tried to integrate Call Manager with a part of an AD tree, based on specific object level properties and not based on an OU. If you did this was hard to do or not even available prior to this.

Analysis Manager which turns RTMT from a node based solution to a system based one. This means that tracking a call between two phones that are registered to two different call managers is done from a single place and not by collecting logs from multiple sources and synthesizing them.

There are many other new features, all are described at:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6788/vcallcon/ps556/ps10662/data_sheet_c78-584298.html

So far from what I have experimented with using the Beta version, the interface looks the same with some menu changes that reflect the new functionality.

The install process ran pretty much like the one for 7.1 with one exception, I had to use a live NTP server for the install to finish; it just didn't allow me to complete the install without it. In my case that was not a problem since the VM had access to the internet but a typical install will probably have no access to a public NTP server so make sure you configure one prior to the install (it has to be with stratum 1-9 for this to work). On an IOS device that is done using the command 'ntp master 5'. Cisco might change/fix it in the FCS version.

In future posts I'll try to use some of those new features and share my experience about it.

Happy spring break ;)

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