have recently installed a ShoreTel phone system and setup a standalone Windows 2003 server virtual machine to run the voicemail/application server software that comes with the phone system.
My current configuration is as follows:
- ESX 2.5 (VMotion, Dell/EMC CX300, Dell PE-2850)
- Windows 2003 Server (not a member of a domain)
- Gigabit NIC to Gigibit switch
I have a 2-part question:
1) Has anyone attempted to use or is currently using a ShoreTel VOIP system with the ShoreWare voice server installed on a Windows virtual machine running on ESX?
2) Can anyone think of a reason why ESX might be responsible for auto-attendant voice-call packet loss?
The ShoreTel system uses a combination of "Enhanced SIP" and RTP to send media to the ShoreTel switches and then MGCP between the switches and the phones. In my scenario, ShoreWare is running on a VM, so it is sending the media via SIP/RTP from the ShoreWare/Windows 2003 server VM through the virtual switch in ESX, out the physical NIC, through the ethernet switch to the ShoreTel phone switch, then back through a PoE Ethernet switch and off to the phone.
Our integration/solutions provider claims that VMWare is responsible for causing infrequent packet loss in auto-attendant messages to the IP-phone. After we set everything up and were preparing to move into production, ShoreTel told us that ShoreWare in a virtual machine environment isn't supported, although they admitted to never testing it themselves and couldn't say why it wasn't supported.
We went ahead and rolled it out anyway because the problem was very infrequent, but we still occasionally experience it.
We have been advised to install a standalone hardware server for the ShoreWare software rather than using a VM running on ESX. Personally I don't think the issue is VMWare, and I'm not excited to lose all the benefits of redundant hardware/software that I have through ESX and our SAN.
We currently have pretty much solved the packet loss since sinking our system time with the VMware Server.
We still occasionally have a problem with the auto attendant failing. About once a week when our auto attendant status changes it goes dead. You pickup and hit voicemail and get nothing and when people call in they get put into a contact your voicemail administrator message.
Does anyone have any comments or suggestions about this?