Voice engineering is a world apart from the run-of-the-mill routing and switching work most network rock stars do regularly. Lots of browser screens, few opportunities for CLI work, and an ever-evolving interface make for interesting work even in the best of times. Technology changes so quickly that people who have been out of the loop for more than a couple of years may find themselves adrift in a sea of confusion.
When the first edition of Configuring Cisco CallManager and Unity came out, it quickly became a go-to reference for voice engineers that wanted to learn all about Cisco’s preeminent call processing platform. Today, however, that volume is severely out of date, referencing CallManager 4.x and Unity 4.x, both long retired. With the changes that have been introduced since the move away from Windows-based platforms and Exchange, it was time to update the Cisco Press tome of voice knowledge. Not coincidentally, I give you Configuring Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Unity Connection, Volume Two.
Title just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Along with the change to CallManager, now abbreviated CUCM, we get updates to the platform in the book. This volume focuses on CUCM version 8.x and Unity Connection version 8.0. There is also some coverage of Unity 8.0 as well, since those of you with strange curses may find yourself running into it like a patch of poison ivy.
For those of you that are new to CUCM v8, or new to CUCM in general, this book is a wonderful resource that guides you step-by-step through the menu options and settings in CUCM. There is very little discussion about voice theory or SIP proxy setup or Nyquist’s Theorem. Instead, the meat of the book tells you how to make CUCM sing, from esoteric Enterprise Service parameters to the confusing Calling Search Space (CSS) setup. It guides and teaches do that you can spend time setting things up the right way and less time scratching your head. The style is simple and easy to follow and unlike online documentation, doesn’t read like stereo instructions.
The second half of the book deals with Unity and Unity Connection. Setup, PBX Integration, and even digital networking get their share of coverage. The instructions and features are presented generically so that they may apply to both platforms as necessary. Only in places where a feature is only related to one platform is there specification, such as the need to sprinkle holy water on Unity to make it boot up. Call Handler configuration gets a chapter as well, and I found the information there very good reference material for a feature that can become complicated quite fast.
If you are a new voice rock star that has a CUCM server to set up and no experience with the knobs and switches on the platform, go buy this book now. It will guide you through your first deployment much more gently than searching for hours through acres of documentation. For the grizzled veterans of CallManager 4.x who are just getting back into the game after years of therapy deprogramming all those Windows admin skills, this is also a must read. It will get you up to speed on new features like SUBSCRIBE CSS and new interface features.
For the voice rock stars that have been configuring CUCM through version 5 & 6, the purchase of this book is a little less compelling. Many of these things are things we do every day or each time we setup CUCM, so it may feel like a bit of a rehashing. I found some of the more trivia-oriented content, like explanations of Service parameters and less-used feature configuration, to be of great value. I’m going to toss this book into my voice bag and keep it handy for those times when I need to configure a Unity Interview Handler and I don’t have Internet access on site. Think of it more as a Physician’s Desk Reference rather than Encyclopedia Britannica.
Cisco Press provided an evaluation copy of this book. At no time did they ask for, nor did they receive any consideration in this review. The analysis and opinions presented here represent my views and mine alone