Digging deep into Unified Communications from Spain.
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As I commented in my previous post, I am planning the implementation of big unified communications lab environment based on the Cisco and Microsoft UC portfolios.

The goal of this personal project is to show everyone how unified communications connect us with people and information, helping us to improve our collaboration experiences. I will try to show you all the features available and how to implement it following the design rules and best practices provided by each vendor with the methods and tools that help us to build  simple and scalable solutions for large environments, despite the nature of my lab.

As depicted below in the diagram the idea is to have two sites, one located at Madrid, Spain and the other one located at New York, USA. Both sites will have their own and independent solutions to see how to interoperate different platforms with the same or different vendors.

UC-Lab

Following a high summary of the versions that I will use at each site:

CompanySP, Madrid Site

  • – Cisco UC based on 9.1
  • – Lync 2013
  • – Cisco Gateway with an E1 PRI and a ISP SIP Trunk
  • –  Exchange Server 2010
  • – Active Directory
  • – Cisco SME

CompanyUS, NY Site

  • – Cisco UC based on 8.6
  • – Lync 2010
  • – Cisco Gateway with an E1 PRI and a ISP SIP Trunk
  • – Exchange Server 2010
  • – Active Directory
  • – Cisco Webex Meetings Server

I will deploy the platform over virtual machines with two host VMware ESXi 5.1, both managed by a vCenter 5.1. My hardware is limited so I will try to allocate the resources as efficiently as possible.

More details and requirements coming!

I can say that my ESXi server is the heart of my lab, so before I got everything, I was doing some research to get the best deal. The easiest way to get it built, is to follow the VMware hardware guide to get a supported server, but it means a higher price and maybe, pointless features for our purpose like redundant PSUs. On the other hand, you will, unlike me, save some headaches with the supported path. I like challenges!

In my case, I wanted something small with support for VM Direct Path and of course, all the hardware embedded on the motherboard. Based on those prerequisites, I found the Asrock Z68 Pro3-M, a micro-ATX form factor motherboard.

Hardware list:

– Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Pro3-M (Graphics and NIC on-board)

– CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 (note that is the non-K version, to take advantage of the virtualization features)

– RAM: 4x8Gb G.Skill Ares

– Case: Cooler Master Elite 342 MicroATX

– PSU: Tacens Radix V 450W

– HD: 1x Samsung SSD 830 128Gb – 4x2TB Seagate ST2000DL003

– Extra: Intel pci NIC.

Considerations

I boot ESXi 5.0 from a USB pen drive and without doing anything, everything is recognized, the NIC Realtek RTL8111E included.

Continue reading…

A brief review of my home lab

May 9th, 2012 | Posted by Jaime Diez in Cisco | Lab | Lync - (0 Comments)

In this first entry, I’m going to show you the curent layout of my lab, I say current because I’m always introducing new elements and making changes. My goal here is to have (almost) the same things that you can find in the real world and in most of  enterprise environments.

Despite the constant changes, the network is always the same with a WAN, LAN and DMZ well-defined. Let’s show you a picture in general.

Continue reading…