When you spend as much time configuring Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) servers as I do, you do one of two things. Either you spend a lot of time reading through documentation, or you write down the important steps as concisely as possible for later use. Documentation has uses. When you are first learning something or you need the explanation for exactly what a partition does, documentation is your best friend. However, when you’ve configured a ton of servers already and know the basics cold, wading through page upon page of prose to find the missing parameter of your Automated Alternate Routing (AAR) configuration is time consuming and frustrating. If only there was some book that you could keep with you that has the basic configurations spelled out in short snippets. A book that would allow you to quickly look up a function or feature and get it up and running without a fifteen page lead-in. Thankfully, such a book does exist:
Tanner Ezell (@tannerezell) does a great job of condensing the mountain of documentation that Cisco has produced to support CUCM into 285 pages of tips and tricks on configuring important features that you’ll run across every day. Unlike the Cisco Press CUCM guide I reviewed previously, Tanner’s book doesn’t step through the details of configuring a partition or a calling search space (CSS) for the first time. Instead, this book assumes that you are a professional that has done tasks like that many, many times before. Instead, this book concentrates on some of the newer features in CUCM 8 that may or may not be something that the reader has configured before. Things like E.164 normalized dialing using the “+” symbol or Cross-Cluster Extension Mobility. In fact, after reading the first three recipes in the book, I configured plus-dialing on my production cluster with no fuss. That’s not something I was comfortable doing after reading through the tome of configuration on Cisco’s website or in the Solution Reference Network Design (SRND) document.
Think of this book as a reference guide for the 20% of features that you may configure once or twice every six months. Sure, I can create a North American Numbering Plan (NANP) route pattern list in my sleep. However, when it comes time for me to configure AAR or setup the Real Time Monitoring Tool (RTMT) to email me when something breaks, I’m going to have to look up how to do that. Now, all I need to do is flip open this book to the appropriate chapter and get right to work without using CTRL + F to sort through to what I need to know.
CUCM 8 Expert Administration Cookbook was a pretty quick read for me. That’s because I’ve seen many of the things in here before. The problem is that I don’t remember them since they aren’t things I do every day. It’s nice to know that I have a good reference book that I can rely on to help me in those times of need when I have to have a feature up and running quickly and my mind has gone totally blank on it. I commend Tanner Ezell for taking the time to boil the feature configuration down to the bare necessities needed to get everything operational and then put it into printed form for us to enjoy. I’m sure that my copy of this book is going to be well worn for many deployments to come.
The copy of CUCM 8: Expert Administration Cookboook that was reviewed was purchased by me from Amazon. It was not provided by the publisher. As such, neither the publisher nor the author were granted any consideration in the writing of this review. The opinions and analysis contained herein are mine and mine alone.
FWIW…I purchased this book right after I read your article and was able to apply E.164 Dialing, Mobile Voice Access, and other aspects of Mobile Connect relatively quickly (I had a client that was specifically needing these features right away and it had been a while for me). It definitely doesn’t replace the official Cisco documentation (SRND and Feature Guides), but it does help to distill the information for quick application.