Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Cisco CUCIMOC

CUCIMOC was officially released to the public on the 15th July as part of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 7.1 launch; but has been in private Beta for several months and was first shown to the public at VoiceCon Orlando ‘09.

CUCIMOC stands for Cisco UC Integration for Microsoft Office Communicator and is part of the Cisco Strategy to allow customers to embrace Microsoft OCS for Instant Messaging and Presence while allowing Cisco to continue to own the End to End Voice Estate.

So the question that has been asked over and over again is why did Cisco release CUCIMOC when they already have a method of integrating with OCS. The following is my view on this which is hopefully not biased in either direction (Cisco or Microsoft).

Prior to the release of CUCIMOC the only way to integrate between OCS and the CUCM was to utilise the Dual Forking and Remote Call Control (RCC) functionality within OCS; with Remote Call Control requiring the addition of the Cisco Unified Presence Server (CUPS).

For Cisco there are a number of issues here, firstly it requires the addition of the CUPS Server for RCC, for most customers the requirement to add an additional Server purely for integrating with OCS causes many issues, such as:

  • Cost to deploy the additional server
  • Administration overhead and cost
  • Licensing Costs

CUPS becomes even more expensive if you start to look at High Availability which requires the addition of a second CUPS Server and a pair of Load Balancers. For the Dual Forking side additional configuration is required on the CUCM to support this along with the OCS Mediation Server.

The other element for Cisco is that for Dual Forking, Microsoft own the Voice Path once the call hits the Mediation Server. Microsoft Voice is an engineering change to Cisco and makes the deployment more complex; in addition there is the requirement to configure all of the Voice aspects in OCS.

Finally for the Cisco aspect we need to consider what they lost to Microsoft and what they are trying to take back. With the Dual Forking and RCC route they lose both the Presence and Voice aspects. By moving to CUCIMOC they take back the Voice which for Cisco should be the preferred over presence.

For Microsoft there are also a number of issues, firstly they have made it no secret that they are not going to continue to develop the RCC aspects of OCS; so there is always a chance that either RCC will be removed or there will be a point were it will no long be viable for either Cisco or Microsoft to maintain the interoperability. Then there is the Dual Forking aspect while I do not envisage Microsoft removing this functionality it does not tie in with their plans for OCS to be a fully functional PBX replacement.

Getting the focus back to CUCIMOC the answer to the question of why did Cisco release this appears to be that Cisco did not want to be reliant on the Microsoft offered integration methods or be caught out if they were removed or deemphasized. It also allows Cisco to continue to own the End to End Telephony of a company.

Before focusing on what CUCIMOC offers in terms of functionality I just want to review the why they choose to offer CUCIMOC instead of pushing CUPS\CUPC (Cisco Unified Presence Client).

It would appear that the Cisco party line tends to be if the customer has OCS or wants to go OCS then it is better to support this decision and offer integration than offer nothing at all; this has been seen with Exchange Unified Messaging verse Cisco Unity.

If someone has not made a decision as to using OCS or another platform then Cisco will offer CUPS\CUPC as a possible solution.

So rather than as some say CUCIMOC it Cisco’s way to show the end of CUPS\CUPC it is more Cisco ensuring that no matter what route a customer takes Cisco has a solution for them.

So lets start to look at what CUCIMOC has to offer. CUCIMOC integrates with OCS through using the Tab functionality within Communicator; this functionality has been around since LCS (and incidentally was how Avaya “bolted” their Softphone into Communicator) and allows for a Web Page to be displayed and interacted with. This can be seen below (CUCIMOC is shown within the Red Box):

CUCIMOC Screenshot

So what does CUCIMOC have to offer; well the functionality is similar to that of if the RCC and Dual Forking route was taken.

The functionality includes:

  • Control of a Cisco IP Phone
  • Using the PC\Laptop as a Softphone (Cisco IP Communicator is not required)
  • Notification of incoming calls via a Toast Popup
  • Dialling from applications such as Internet Explorer
  • Dial Pad for Dialling
  • Call History
  • Calling Buddy List Contacts (Slightly different than the RCC and Dual Forking route)

In another post I will go into this in more detail (This post can be found here).

I should also point out what CUCIMOC takes away or at least what Cisco suggests you take away.

The Installation Guide asks the implementer to configure OCS for Instant Messaging and Presence Only; disabling all Voice and Video functionality within OCS. Cisco list 3 reasons for doing this:

  • Single User Experience
  • Inconsistent Voice Traffic
  • Mixed Configuration is harder to manage and monitor

While all of these are valid reasons the one thing that always springs to the top of my mind is if OCS is only used for IM and Presence then only the Standard OCS CAL is required.

The one thing they do not mention disabling is Web Conferencing AKA On Premise LiveMeeting to comply with the Standard CAL requirements you would also have to disable this.

The problem with disabling this functionality is that CUCIMOC only replaces the Voice Aspect there is no support for Video or Web Conferencing.

This functionality is available within the Cisco Portfolio using products such as WebEx for Web Conferencing and Cisco Unified Video Advantage for Video.

So the question is will we see these being tied into a future CUCIMOC release; for the Video aspect I would hope so as it is a natural progression. WebEx I am not sure as it is a hosted subscription based service.

The last thing to touch on is the Remote Access and Federation abilities of OCS. Firstly Federation from a Voice (and Video) point of view allows federated OCS systems to easily communicate. By disabling all but IM and Presence this functionality is removed; users in other organisations receive messages informing them that the functionality is disabled if they attempt a Voice or Video call.

For some this loss of this functionality is a major issue for others it is more an annoyance depending on the usage of this functionality within their organisation. Currently I do not see how Cisco can work around this and provide the functionality within CUCIMOC.

For Remote Access users OCS has the ability to use Voice (and Video) remotely through the Edge Servers; this is something that CUCIMOC does not currently offer.

Within the Cisco Telephony Portfolio it is possible to use Cisco IP Phones without a VPN through using the Cisco ASA Phone Proxy. It will be natural extension for CUCIMOC to utilise this functionality to provide Voice without needing a VPN.

So in conclusion CUCIMOC is a good start towards Cisco building Voice into the Communicator Client without relying on Microsoft to continue to provide functionality such as Remote Call Control and Dual Forking. Like any new software release; the first release is usually a public statement of intent with further releases building on this to provide the functionality that customers require.

Hopefully within the next few releases things like Video Support and Voice (and Video) without a VPN will be added allowing customer to not lose functionality if they choose to use CUCMOC.

45 comments:

  1. Very good post Adam. I just wish my VAR and Cisco Rep told us about this before converting to CUWL. I think it was still a good move considering where we are with both companies, but it defenitly open options going forward.

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  2. Thank you for your wonderful article
    Is it possible or have it been tested to do this integration without disabling the other features.

    Cant afford to lose functions such as:
    - Video Conf
    - Desktop Sharing
    - File Transfer

    do you think there is any limits or any effects from integration point view if these features were not disabled.

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  3. I have not tested with this features being enabled. They would require the Enterprise CAL through.

    While it may work I am not sure how the Cisco TAC would comment if there were issues.

    The one thing to note is Cisco only say is disable the Voice aspects which covers Video. Desktop Shareing and File Transfer can still be there, there is just the licensing consideration.

    Adam

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  4. Great post Adam. It's nice to finally read some real press on CUCIMOC.

    Keep up the good work.

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  5. Hello Adam - I am working on a solution for a client and would like to be able to use exerpts from your post. Would you grant me that persmission? Thank you - allen

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  6. So does the CUCIMOC remove A/V from working in the LiveMeeting client? I understand escalation fails, but makes the client stop A/V for that user?

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  7. We're playing around with CUCIMOC. So far, I'm liking it, but a few observations:

    1. The performance of the application is not all that great. It noticeably slows down Communicator as well. They need to squeeze out some performance efficiencies before this can be rolled out to end users in general.
    2. Disabling Voice will also disable Video. We have not implemented Cisco's telepresence solution, so I cannot go along with their "best practices" suggestion. We want to use Communicator for Video/Conferencing.
    3. I'd love to see this better integrated with Outlook, for example, having context menus for CUCUMOC extend into my Outlook contacts would be welcome. The cut and paste into CUCIMOC is kind of kludgy for this purpose.

    Overall, not bad, but it feels very much like a 1.0 product. If they squeeze out some performance, I could see this replacing softphones at the desktop in an environment that is already running OCS.

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  8. With regards to re-using parts of this post, that if dine although I would like to know what it is used for any where.

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  9. With regards to disabling the Video, as mentioned in one of the other comments this is done when you disable Voice.

    LiveMeeting operates separately from these settings, as it is controlled through the Meeting Policies at the Forest Level.

    So you can fire up a LiveMeeting and do Video via that, but you need to take in to account that you would need the Enterprise CALs

    Adam

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  10. Right, but using Live Meeting just do to video is a bit overkill, especially when it is not a conference.

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  11. Is the ciscocm.csf.cop.sgn required for a system running 7.0.2a SU1 ?

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  12. Hi,

    I believe it is required as the CSF Device only came in, in 7.1.

    I have just taken a look at the 7.0.2 system we have and the CSF Device is not listed.

    The easiest thing to do is see if "Cisco Unified Client Services Framework" is listed when you try to add a new phone, if it isn't you will need the ciscocm.csf.cop.sgn file installed.

    Adam

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  13. Hi, thank you, very nice report.

    We are just starting to play with CUCIMOC and I'd like to check, if OSC 2007 R2 server is supported. I can't remember, but somewhere I read that not...

    Andrej

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  14. Hi Andrej,

    OCS R2 is supported and listed within the Cisco Docs.

    Adam

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  15. Adam,
    I would be giving a presentation on UC at a conference in a couple of weeks and would like to use some of your comments on it and even the image of cucimoc that you have here if possible. You can contact me through my website listed and I can give you more info.
    Regards.

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  16. Does the CUCIMOC work in a Terminal Server/Citrix environment? Is it supported by Cisco?

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  17. Hi,

    I do not know what the official supported line is with Cisco. I have run it via Terminal Services for research purposes and it works in the Deskphone mode but when using it in the Softphone mode it can not make calls due to the lack of a sound device.

    Your best route is probably to check with your Cisco Account Manager\Channel Contact around the Cisco support stance.

    Adam

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  18. Hello,
    we are using Microsoft BPOS OCS (hosted OCS 2007 R2) so the only thing we have on-premise with the desktop with CUCIMOC integrating to our Call Manager.
    Has anyone worked in this configuration to deliver the usual features? I'd be interested to discuss further with someone who has gone through this.

    Thank you,

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  19. I have not done that, but there is no reaso why it shouldn't work, since CUCIMOC has no interaction with the Server it is all client based.

    Adam

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  20. Hi Adam,
    I have recently deployed an instance of CUCIMOC in a terminal services environment, however I am running into a snag with trying to use more than one CUCIMOC instance at a time on the terminial services server. Have you heard anything?

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  21. Hi Chris,

    I have never tried it within a termain services sessions before, I am guessing it was not tested or designed to work within it, probably due to the Voice Aspect.

    Adam

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  22. What is the use of ldap in cucimoc?

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  23. It is used to do the name to number lookups for incoming calls into CUCIMOC.

    Adam

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  24. I have just setup CUCIMOC and it is working except for one feature. when a user is dragged onto the CUCIMOC call button, I get a message that "No phone number is associated with this contact." The user has a number programmed and I looked at the CM LDAP settings and we are using the same seting for business phone for the CM corporate dir, telephoneNumber. Any ideas?

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  25. Is the Telephone Number in Active Directory?

    Adam

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  26. I´ve got the same issue/same message. No contact of my personal adressbook is dialable. I´m able to establish a call to all contacts of the global adressbook. If i take a closer look on the details in the communicator part, i can see the numbers in grey.

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  27. The numbers are grayed out, due to the user not being enabled for Telephony within OCS. You either need to select "Call" from the right click menu or drag and drop.

    Adam

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  28. Where does MSFT state they are depricating Click to call/RCC?

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  29. It is mentioned here http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9700129

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  30. Does that essentially kill Cucimoc?

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  31. Not at all, CUCIMOC does not use OCS for any of the telephony functions. The Call Control that is used in CUCIMOC is 100% controlled by Cisco.

    Adam

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  32. Adam I am looking to deploy BPOS and OCS. I have been told by a few people that BPOS and OCS does not integrate with Cisco UC even if you deploy CUCIMOC. Do you know if this is true?

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  33. I can't think of any reason why it would not work.

    CUCIMOC hooks into the Communicator Client and has nothing to do with the Server Infrastrucutre from an OCS standpoint.

    I have never tried it, but it should work since from an OCS standpoint it only interacts with the client.

    Adam

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  34. Hi - I have the same issue (when a user is dragged onto the CUCIMOC call button, I get a message that states "No phone number is associated with this contact") - did anyone ever figure out what causes this?

    Thanks - Rob.

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  35. Resolved the "No phone number is associated with this contact" issue (if I clicked on the "phone" menu to the right of a contact no phone numbers appeared there - that is the first step).

    I had my A.D. person change the phone numbers to E.164 format for a couple of test users (change from (617)XXX-XXXX to +1-617-XXX-XXXX) and that did it - the numbers appear in the phone menu to the right of the contact and CUCIMOC can drag_drop them to the conversation pane to dial or right-click and select "place call" to dial the users fine (once the Application Dialing Rules are in place).

    Apparently OCS will not even attempt to send any numbers to the MOC unless they are in E.164 format, or unless OCS has Normalization Rules enabled and in place (which is the solution we will likely pursue).

    Rob.

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  36. Hi Adam,

    Thanks a lot for your excellent article.

    There had been recently some changes with OCS Documentation.

    A couple of months ago, the future of RCC was unclear as MS pointed out: "As a result, in the next release of Office Communications Server, new deployments of Remote Call Control will not be supported by Microsoft."

    However surfing back to the article a couple of weeks ago that sentence has disappeared from the text and now you can read "Remote Call Control is supported by Microsoft in Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and will continue to be supported for both new customers and customers upgrading their Remote Call Control deployments to the next release of Office Communications Server."
    The article can be found at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=78814f28-2df5-4cff-a166-73622c7830bb

    All best, Frank

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  37. Just wanted to post that if the contact is from your local Address book from Outlook and the client cannot call and gives you the No phone number is associated...
    Even though a number is and is in E.164 :(
    Still loooking for a fix for that.

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  38. I think till Cisco makes CUCIMOC so that the IT Org can choose who they want to do what it is not a good solution. Federation in MSFT is way better than Cisco. I would just want Cisco to do the Call Control and MSFT the ability to do everything else.

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  39. great article and very informative.

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  40. Great article but I am having issues setting up CUCIMOC to work with the BPOS mail servers does anyone have or know where I can find the necessary parameters to make this work.

    Thanks,

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  41. From what I recall CUCIMOC has no direct interaction with mail system be it on premise or BPOS since it uses Outlook to do this, so not 100% sure what issues you would hit.

    What information are you needing to complete this?

    Adam

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  42. How CUCIMOC work? Is it helpful? I'm just curious! cisco ccna training

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  43. To interconnect CUCIlync you no need CUPS (Presence server)

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  44. Let us give credit to the launch of CUCIMOC as part of CUCM. Thank you so much for providing an overview of this program, its features and functionality.

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  45. CUCIMOC can provide Remote Call Control functionality of an existing IP phone without the need for Cisco Unified Presence Server (CUPS). CUPS was needed previously to provide a CSTA gateway for OCS to use Remote Call Control.

    In addition, CUCIMOC can act as a Soft phone. You can use it to make calls using your computer, rather than a traditional IP desk-phone.
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