April 18, 2016
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) is the unsung hero of the collaboration world. While software solutions such as Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise are stocked with a robust feature set and instantly drive revenue for the business, they are all dependent on CUCM. It’s easy to laud these applications and overlook CUCM, but without exaggeration, CUCM is the center of the collaboration universe. Different applications such as Jabber, WebEx, Unity Connect, and more are then connected to and empowered by the Unified Communication Manager to create a connected system of voice, video, and asynchronous communication tools.
What would life be like without it?
A History of Cisco Unified Communications Manager
To understand the history of such a fundamental building block of all Cisco collaboration deployments, you have to start at the beginning. You have to go back to the mid-90s.
- 1994 – 1997: Selsius Systems developed what they called “Multimedia Manager” for Hewlett Packard’s old operating system, HP-UX, as well as Windows NT 3.5. Multimedia Manager at that time was designed for video conferencing applications. Three years later, Multimedia Manager was renamed by Selsius Systems as Selsius Call Manager. The big change was prompted by the addition of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) call routing. Call Manager would carry this name for nearly ten years. In this early state, Call Manager was very simple. As we’ll soon see, call features that we take for granted, were not added until sometime later.
- 2000: By the end of the century, Selsius Systems had been acquired by Cisco and the application was called Cisco Call Manager 3.1 (CCM 3.1). Several new features were added including message on hold (MOH) as well as XML and HTML support in the phones.
- 2001 – 2004: Through the following years, Cisco released new versions of Call Manager and expanded its capabilities to include more advanced calling features like time of day routing. Furthermore, the maximum number of endpoints able to be connected to the application was drastically increased. CCM clusters could then support up to 30,000 phones is necessary.
- 2007 – 2008: As the avenues for communication and collaboration with Call Manager expanded, Cisco rebranded the product as Cisco Unified Communication Manager. It still bears that name today. Soon after the rebrand, Cisco would acquire Jabber in 2008 and further drive home the message that collaboration in the 21st century would involve far more that VoIP.
- 2008 – Today: Once call Manager became Unified Communications Manager, Cisco began to implement capabilities outside of the traditional call and further refined its call management features. It gained VMware support, helped remote devices connect without using a VPN, enhanced bandwidth management for more efficient operation, and a collection of other efficiency and usability updates. Today, CUCM continues to develop with the release of CUCM 11.0.
What Would Call Management Look Like without CUCM?
Multi-Site Deployment Model
In short, it wouldn’t look like much of anything at all. Cisco Unified Communication Manager sits at the heart of any organization’s communication and collaboration strategy. If you were to look at any environment’s collaboration diagram, you’ll find a CUCM cluster at the center.
Without CUCM, this environment would need a new platform to connect endpoints, media resources, and applications. Even the Cisco products used to connect remote branch offices or remote workers like Cisco Expressway still link these remote parties back to the central CUCM cluster. It truly is the center of the universe.
Cisco Unified Session Management Edition
A primary location with a remote office is but one deployment model of CUCM. It can become far more complex and still function. In another example, this deployment model features multiple CUCM clusters managing the communication within each campus of the enterprise. Operating above that is the Cisco Unified Session Management Edition. This product helps organize large, multi-site, multi-cluster communication strategies. It can be deployed either as part of a CUCM cluster or even its own independent platform.
Communication management would be all but impossible without Unified Communication Manager at the center to power it all.
Like what you read?
Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.
For Further Reading:
Campus architecture images for this blog have been gathered from the Cisco Unified Communications Manager SRND.