Friday, 13 November 2009

Cisco Energywise

We've just tried Cisco Energywise for a customer who had a large flat Layer 2 network across a Metropolitan area. We enabled Cisco Energywise on every switch across the network for future use with an IPT system, but we hit quite a big problem.

We couldn't quite identify which switch was doing it, but we placed 3 Energywise domains into the network and at least one of the switches then started to broadcast around 3Mbit/s of broadcast traffic onto the network. We had to turn off Energywise on all switches to get the issue to go away!

Switch IOS used was 2960 LAN Lite 52.SE2

Enable with caution - use sniffer traces to check for broadcast traffic through VLANs and check interface statistics to see if your counters are incrementing like mad!

Friday, 25 September 2009

A view on the right task for the job

What got this post going was noticing the very exciting news about the new Microsoft Courier device on show on Gizmodo. For those not familiar, you should google it to find out what all the fuss is about and draw your own conclusions.

It got me thinking about how my sense of "want" or desire for these new type of gadgets is changing rather alot, and it's largely down to having to fight the urge to instantly think "I want!!", and think more about what the device can do for me. Unless if you have an endless stream of income it becomes difficult to justify trying to purchase every device under the sun; so it has led me to start to think more constructively about what I want from a device/gadget.

If we take my recent obsession with looking at Netbooks. Sure they look cool and seem to have enough poke to run Windows 7 (probably) but would I really need one? if you take for intance that i'm writing this blog post on a HTC Touch Pro 2; i have enough power in my hands to be able to do what i want to on the internet without having to find a charger for the netbook or wait for it to boot up.

There's quite a few comments out there about how the new Courier will be locked down that will prevent users from doing all sorts on them, such as using them as fully fledged PC's or trying to run games on them. But the reason why i think such a device (as well as others such as ereaders) could be very successful is because they arent trying to be a device that tries to do too many things. If it does then it becomes heavy, inefficient, and above all - expensive. I got quite excited about when i got my IBM x60 tablet PC but soon realised it wasn't all it was cracked up to be because it's still a very expensive way of being able to use digital ink for OneNote notes. Using the stylus for anything other than taking notes is pretty slow and cumbersome (hence why i think UMPCs never really took off).

I'll be curious to see what Apple does with it's tablet PC and whether it's a big hit or not (it might well be, just because it's an Apple - not my opinion of course). As far as I can see it will still fall into the same pit falls as Microsoft's tablet PC efforts but let's wait and see.

If the Courier does exist though i highly commend MS for their creative thinking and views on the devices' ability to satisfy the requirements of many people by using technology to actually do something more useful than it just being a cool feature.

Just make it cheap. Please!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Unity 7.0 with AD 2008/Exchange 2007 tips

With the problems encountered in deploying Unity 7.0(2) with Exchange 2007 and Active Directory 2008, these notes have been created.

Things to watch out for:

- The ADSchema update .exe file WILL NOT RUN on Windows Server 64-bit. So instead, you have to run the following on the FSMO role holder AD controller (Disable replication using repapp if you want to, but once happy you need to push replication out to all other DC's in the forest and wait for replication before continuing setup!). Ldifde.exe is included with Windows Server 2008 (Google to find out more on MS's help pages and read up about it first):

ldifde.exe -i -k -c "<ConfigurationContainerDN>" "CN=Configuration,DC=hyperv64,DC=local" -s -f "c:\Schema\LdifScripts\avdirmonex2k.ldf"

You may be tempted to think that "<ConfigurationContainerDN>" is a variable that you need to edit of some sort! It isn't - it's actually used by the script to replace all references of that string within the script with the DC names found in the "CN=Configuration..." stuff. However, DO change the "CN=Configuration..." part for your AD design and the location of your scripts.

The avdirmonex2k.ldf file is the only one you need to run, unless you wish to run Unity Bridge or VPIM - then you'll need to do the others too (All found in the \Schema\ folder on the Unity DVD 1). Successful running of the script will give you a short message to say that roughly 110 entries were added. You can also double check this by going to a user in AD (Users and Computers); then right click and Properties, and there should be a tab for Attributes. You should find a load of Cisco ones added.

- Make sure you set an MSDE password following the instructions! If you don't, the rollout of the Exchange 2003 MAPI (Found in the Exchange 2003 deployment tools) gave me error messages because it finds that there is no password on the DB. Don't forget to install Exchange 2003 SP2 updates (Found on the Unity Service Packs DVD) otherwise Unity installation will fail (The MAPI isn't up to date).

- Be careful to change the Unity installation directories to D: away from C: - it's easy to miss but will lead to a world of pain if you don't.

- Exchange 2007 with Unity 7 does NOT SUPPORT adding new subscribers through the interface. You have to add new users through AD/Exchange 2007 and then import them into Unity.

- Don't forget to harden up your restriction tables after installation. Don't forget that there are several restriction tables (Click the Looking glass/search button to find them all). Changing the top value to 9* and allowed "No" is enough to stop most/if not all toll fraud holes in Unity.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

CUPS 7 and VMWare

Aye up,

After a period that felt like pulling teeth, I finally got CUPS 7 to install on VMWare. I got all sorts of crashes and mount problems with even doing an upgrade using ESXi that I decided to use Windows based VMWare. Thankfully it installed, and as a matter of course i used IDE drive mode instead of SCSI. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has had similar problems. The version I was trying to install was

Oh and by the way, I certainly got stuck by this for not RTFM, but just so you know you MUST have CUPS 7, with CUCM 7, otherwise the Sync Agent won't work and you won't get AXL users jumping across the pipe to CUPS.

Monday, 2 February 2009

CUCM NFR bundle finally arrives!

Hi all,

We've probably been waiting 3 months for our NFR bundle, which is pretty ridiculous to be honest. We've actually been holding back putting CallManager 7.0 deployments for customers and going for 6.x instead as it's been such a nightmare waiting for software and licenses.

But today, I get excited!

I'm currently upgrading Presence 6.x to 7.x as we ran into a problem with CUPS 7.0 where it decided to stop it's Sync Agent working after we upgraded from CUCM 6.1 to 7.0! The symptoms are that the Sync Agent refuses to start on CUPS (And we get an error in the troubleshooter to say the version of CUCM has changed), and that AXL sync's no longer work to CUCM, so new users on CUCM don't get plumbed across to CUPS. More on this to follow!

One other bit of oddness was that i'm running Unity Connection 2.1 (latest ES release) in VMWare. I wanted to upgrade it to UCX 7.0, but the OS Administration tells me that the version i'm running does not permit upgrades using the disk I have. A bit odd, but i'll try to find a workaround before taking the plunge and reinstalling it completely.

Finally, I have the discs for IPCC Express 7, and Mobility Advantage, which should be pretty cool products to get going in the lab.

The intention is to buy a PC from Ebay (around £200) with a dual core Athlon CPU, load it up with RAM, Disk space and network cards; and then to run the four primary products on that server from my house as the start of a CCIE lab. Throw in some 2621 XM's into the mix, and we have a Cisco Disco!