Cisco UC 8: Service Advertisement Framework and Call Control Discovery

In this blog series, I’ll discuss a new feature in Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 8.0.

One of the biggest cosmetic changes in the Cisco Unified Communication Manager Administration webpage (/ccmadmin) is the removal of the voicemail menu. An “Advanced Features” menu now appears where the voicemail menu used to be. The voicemail menu has now become a sub-menu under the advanced features menu. There are many new features in the Advanced Features menu including SAF, EMCC, and VPN. We’ll take a look at SAF in this blog. Service Advertisement Framework (SAF) is a transport layer protocol that dynamically communicates application data in a manner very similar to layer 3 routing protocols. Cisco modeled this protocol after the Cisco proprietary Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP). The initial implementation of SAF allows various Cisco UC clients to dynamically communicate call control information over a call control discovery (CCD) mechanism that is forwarded by Cisco routers beginning with Cisco IOS 15.0. Cisco UC 8.0 products running CCD acting as SAF clients: CUCM, CUCME, SRST, Gateways, and CUBE. SAF and CCD will allow large distributed multi-cluster deployments to have the directory number (DN) ranges of each call routing element advertised dynamically over SAF. Cisco routers act as SAF Forwarders (SAFF), while the call routing elements (e.g. CUCM) act as clients that register with the routers to advertise their DN ranges and listen to the advertisements of other routers. It will be very interesting to see where Cisco takes the Service Advertisement Framework. Do you think Cisco will enable this functionality in their Cisco UCS servers and the Nexus platforms that support layer 3 routing capabilities? VMWare VMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS) technology currently has the limitation of only being able to use virtual machines (VM) on the same layer Layer 2 switched network. Maybe SAF could be extended into VMWare ESXi to allow virtual machines to be moved across layer 3 boundaries… or maybe this is just wishful thinking… because Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) on the Nexus 7000 is the only platform to address this VMWare requirement. OTV’s layer 2 MAC based routing paradigm sounds very compelling, but the Nexus 7000 is a significant capital investment. In the next blog, I’ll continue covering some of the new features of the UC8 products...

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