Does Exchange 2007 need the UM Role in order to use all features of Cisco Unity?

Posted on 2007-11-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2009-03-12
We are currently looking to deploy a Cisco based IP Telephony system into our company. Alongside this we are deploying Exchange 2007. We have purchased Cisco Unity 5.1 to use the Unified Messaging features of the Cisco telephony system.

Microsoft told us that Exchange 2007 Enterprise CALs would be required as the Exchange 2007 UM Role must be used to implement UM functions regardless of 3rd party vendors.

Cisco claim that Unity only uses the Information Store and does not require the Exchange 2007 UM Role. Of course MS disagree.

I'm inclined to believe Cisco but we are being audited by MS licensing so we can not afford to be uncomplient.

Does anyone have a Cisco Unity system running with Exchange 2007 and can verify that the Exchange 2007 UM Role was not required?
Question by:netadminsge
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 20336781
This is where the two vendors collide.

You need to split the functionality that Cisco provide in two.

The core is the PBX. Standard VOIP, pick up phone, make calls.
That is required no matter what.

Then you have the voicemail functionality, which also includes fax and the ability to read your emails to you etc.

Cisco can do that.
So can Exchange 2007.

Now you haven't said what you have bought form Cisco exactly, but you may have duplicated roles.


Author Comment

ID: 20336995
Thanks for your comments Simon.
We have purchased the IP Telephony system from Cisco - CallManager 5 I believe. This will do all the standard PBX functions. Unity is intended to handle the voice mail. We basically have two Cisco routers and three Cisco servers/applicances (CallMgr Subscriber, CallMgr Publisher and Unity) and a heap of Cisco handsets.

Currently we purchased from MS, Exchange 2007 Enterprise Server and 300 Standard CALs under the impression that is what was required. Since then MS

You are correct that we have a duplicate of roles - we want to use the Cisco Unity and not the Exchange for Unified Messaging but MS tell us that we still need Enterprise CALs and not Standard CALs (the main difference between Std and Ent is Unified Messaging) regardless of which 3rd party equipment used. It seems to us that MS are demanding we pay them for CAL licenses to use a function provided by a 3rd party.

Microsoft's argument for this is that Unity requires that Exchange 2007 UM Role be installed in order for Unity to work.

LVL 104

Assisted Solution

Sembee earned 600 total points
ID: 20338834
I think what Microsoft are saying is that if you want the UM functionality of Exchange then you have to pay for the CALs. Don't install the UM role in Exchange, and the functionality is not there.

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LVL 10

Accepted Solution

cstosgale earned 900 total points
ID: 20344176
This is correct. Microsoft are talking about the third party PBX system, i.e. callmanager. Unity vs Exchange 2007 Unified messaging is a choice, i.e. you can use one or the other but they both provide the same functionality so there's no point in having both. Unity relies on exchange but not the unified messaging part of it. This is in fact a competitor to Unity.

Something to bear in mind is there are currently several caveats with using Unity in a fully exchange 2007 environment which means some of the functionality is not available. This does not apply if you still have some exchange 2003 servers, as Unity can interoperate with these instead of the 2007 servers.

The bottom line is if you have already bought both, I would ditch unity and go with the Exchange 2007 UM component instead. This will offer you more functionality than Unity, and better e-mail and voicemail integration.


Author Comment

ID: 20347751
Thanks both of you for your comments.

We currently have purchased only Standard CALs and Unity and do not wish to spend the extra on Exchange Enterprise CALs to make use of the Exchange UM.

Simon - I agree with your assessment,  but can anyone verify this in reality? I think MS is just money grabbing to force people to use their UM solution as mentioned by cstosgale as they have already paid for it.


Author Comment

ID: 20347827
Offical Verdict From Microsoft just in from Redmond in case anyone is interested.

Cut and pasted email from our account manager:

"Your correct, I got my answer back from Redmond over the weekend. You will only need to license for the Standard Exchange CAL. The UM roles sit with the Unity Server, and you won’t need to install the Enterprise CAL at all for that functionality."


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