Skype for Business is transforming the UC landscape, but how can organizations effectively evaluate Microsoft's UC offering and the readiness of their own environment? This session will review UC assessment software in detail.
IR | BrightTALK
Join us for a demo of Prognosis for UC, hosted Dave Bottomley, Senior Solutions Engineer with IR who will also be taking live Q&A. To register simply click 'Attend' where you see the title slide of the presentation below.
Tia Fortier: Hello, everyone, thank you for joining us today, we've got another Prognosis for UC Deminar lined up for you. And as we wait for people to show up, I'm going to run through a couple of quick logistical items. And then we can dive right in.
My name is Tia Fortier, I'm a marketing coordinator here at IR. I've been with the company for - gosh - four or five years now. So I'm really excited to share with you today some of the stuff that we do.
So during the presentation today, we'll be taking questions from you also. Talking through use cases that you'd be interested to see, anything that comes up that you'd maybe like a little more detail on, you can use that Questions tab below the slides to let us know what you'd like to learn more about.
We also have a tab for attachments. So you can download today's slides and refer back to them. There are a couple of links in there - just to show you where to find some more resources if you're interested to really continue learning and find out more about what we do.
And then towards the end of the session, we'll ask for some feedback on what we've run through today. So you can let us know how we're doing and what we can do better next time.
Tia Fortier: Like I said, my name is Tia Fortier, and I'm the marketing coordinator here. I'm joined today by Chuck Geisler who's going to run us through the demo. Chuck, would you like to introduce yourself?
Chuck Geisler: Sure, thanks, Tia. Thanks for joining, everybody. I’ve been with IR for about a little over eight years or so now, probably starting my ninth year. And we are a monitoring platform that also has some other aspects to it that we'll get into. We've been not only a DevConnect partner with Cisco, Avaya, and Microsoft for years, now. But also we do some other things: We started in the payment system way back when, and we also do monitoring for Windows, Unix and Linux platforms. So we'll talk about that when we get into the nuts and bolts of what we're talking about today. We're going to focus on Cisco, but thanks for joining. We're glad you're here and glad you could spend the time with us.
Tia Fortier: Yes, definitely. And thank you, Chuck, for taking the time today to run us through some of what Prognosis has to offer. Let's have a look here at what we've got scheduled today.
Chuck Geisler: Okay, so today, basically we're going to focus on Cisco. And a real quick overview between what we do within the Cisco environment and IR’s partnership. Way back when Cisco bought their first-ever IP system -- if you guys remember the Cisco pieces from that far back, it used to be a product called Celsius.
The Celsius product was one of the first things that we monitored once we got into the voiceover IP space. Company-wise, we've been a development release partner with Cisco since Call Manager 3 was released. And lots of large Cisco environments are things that we monitor including the ability to be able to have Cisco in their own platform, their cloud component in their government cloud pieces. Because we're FIPS 140-2 compliant, we also monitor those platforms from our software.
Also, we're on the SolutionsPlus catalog. And part of their overall sort of buy-from list, which makes a huge difference and how easy it is to use Cisco's mechanism for purchase. So we're part of that, and we've been a partner for a long time. The relationship only gets stronger with time. And we are, from a development perspective, in their labs to certify not only against their components but there are lots of other things that will walk through in the show and tell portion of this that are part of this Cisco environment.
And again, certainly, there are other Cisco tools. Not only do we complement those tools, but in lots of cases we augment their ability to be able to do monitoring, because that's not Cisco’s strong point, by any means. Alright, next slide.
Chuck Geisler: Okay, perfect. So how do we get data? Holistically, there are lots of ways to garner data. If you're familiar with applications like Wireshark, they're probe-based and you span ports in those things-- we don't do that. We use a mechanism that uses native Cisco protocols, to basically bring metrics out of the environment, to be the equivalent of what is an additional billing receiver for CDR and CMR records from multiple sources within the Cisco environment that include the CUCM. We have some components around the Contact Center and UCCE, as well as UCCX. We pull metrics from the unified border elements, which are Cisco's version of an SBC. And the data network year that is all Cisco components, as well as other vendors network here, will pull metrics from at the port level.
These individual pieces give us a really good view of performance within your overall UC ecosystem. And that includes the Cisco pieces, but also other native protocols that we use for SNMP on other people's data gear at the port level, gives us a view of what's going on. Not just voice-centric, when we get to the show portion of this, we’ll talk about video endpoints and those kinds of things.
Full visibility over trunking, whether they're SIP trunks or PRIs and other things like certificates and those kinds of things. We're pulling this information without using Cisco native tools like RTMT. We use native protocols. To learn about the environment pieces, and we'll talk through that when we get to the show portion of this. But understand that holistically, we do a very good job of not just monitoring and alerting, but also things like capacity planning and that kind of stuff.
Chuck Geisler: Alright, architecturally, what are we talking about that belong to the Prognosis Suite?
Chuck Geisler: If we stop and look at the pieces that are available within the portfolio, the very first piece is up on top, the red bubble, red circle that says Prognosis for UC and the inside components. These are the on-prem pieces that we use to monitor UC environments that include Cisco. Again, it's certainly multi-vendor. And we'll see that as well when we get to the live portion, but we're focusing on Cisco.
It's a Windows Server that pulls this information out and we see not just things like from call streams and endpoint information because we're collecting CDR and those records that come out of the Cisco cluster, but also because we're involved with the SOAP AXL type interfaces to learn about the environment and pull specific metrics out and again, port level metrics with path insight.
We have, if you follow those bubbles around, a little purple circle that says Network Assessment within a piece called UC Assessor. This was designed around the Microsoft framework, but it can be used for anything, and it runs on a Windows Server. It's a scaled-down version of our Prognosis Suite that is used primarily for network readiness. And we can test things like latency, jitter and packet loss, to be able to grab information out of the environment and to determine your readiness for voiceover IP and real-time protocols like video. So that piece is a separate component that's called the UC assessor.
And then we have our Outside-in Testing, which from a component perspective, there's nothing to install. It's all our own internal cloud component to the PSTN, or the web interfaces that are on the internet or something even internally. We can basically not only can we do the equivalent of a stress test, which let's say you've got 500 SIP connections or 1000 SIP connections that you want to test to make sure all those pieces work properly, but also something that we call Customer User Experience. We can dial out a number if you got, let's say it's 5000 DIDs and you're cutting those 5000 DIDs over, we can not only make sure that the DIDs are ending up getting answered in the right place, either within a call center or going to a voicemail Vtn or vector. But if there's a problem within the PSTN that doesn't allow that routing to function properly, we have the ability to be able to pull that back and alert an alarm and let you know that “Hey, this call never even made it to the PBX or the IVR,” or whatever it is that we're testing.
So for you folks that have mission-critical applications that need to be up and functional all the time. Whatever that business line is, it could be a toll-free number. We can originate calls in Europe, or the majority of the calls that we do the testing come from PSTN pieces and we can talk about if you've got something that has to go to a particular site in Europe or wherever that is. We talked about the pieces to enable that but it's all Outside-in. We put it on a website, we record every interaction. So if we're doing the equivalent of user experience test or test number, we record the instance of everything we're going to get.
So if we expect a thank you for calling ABC Company, and we don't get that response, because we go to a different something like a vacant number route or something like that within the PBX will not only flag that, but you'll also have the recording of what that instance is. And we do this not just for a number of the DID’s, but we also do it as we talked about earlier, a little bit, stress test.
So if you said “Hey, I need to test my environment for 1000 calls over either PRIs or SIP trunks,” we absolutely can do that. And we ramp that up within a test block to say “This is how fast we're going to do it.” And if we're going to do 2000 calls, we get the 500 calls and they fail at five the 500 and first call. We don't keep blasting the test, we’ll stop the test and try and mitigate whatever the issues are around why that's not functioning properly, whether or not it's PSTN-related, and then continue from there. But again, completely product agnostic. And we absolutely can, for you guys that are here for Cisco, test all of those sorts of environments, things from the testing pieces. And we're going to focus primarily on the prognosis for UC and PathInsight pieces today. So you're aware that that's also what we do.
Chuck Geisler: Architecturally, we already talked about NOT using probes. Well, what does that mean? All of the things on the left that are part of Cisco (in blue bubbles), the CDR, CMR, the SOAP AXL and SNMP components, and the screen scraper things like HTTP for a particular phone to get real-time information. Those are the protocols we use within the Cisco environment. You build a Prognosis user in the CCM environment that has SOAP AXL capabilities and SNMP-type roles, to be able to use those methodologies to pull information up. Not only get a display for real-time monitoring and things like trunks and so forth, but we’ll grab that information and correlate it over time. We do databases for call quality and those kinds of things that we'll get into here in a little bit. But those components, over time, will give us not only trending and capacity planning and those kinds of things but a real view of the troubleshooting pieces and what it means to be able to run our architectures.
Scales very well. Typically, it's around the 35,000 - 40,000 endpoints per monitoring server. And those server roles, because you see the little blue box that's up on top and a little gray boxes, as a monitoring node. We scale to 800,000 endpoint environments by adding more monitoring nodes. And still log into one server, one management note, if you will, with visibility into the whole network.
The other thing to keep in mind is we have the ability to segregate, not just by site information and those kinds of things, but we used role-based access onto the Windows Server to be able to figure out when we log in, who can see what devices. You need to segregate those things. If you need SAML compliance, SAML 2.0 and single sign-on, we can support those environments, and the Prognosis-to-Prognosis connections are also encrypted. So there's data between the components, there are no issues associated with being able to look at the data between the prognosis pieces - that we can have the ability to not only FIPS 140-2 compliance but also if you have an environment where you want to lock down certain things related to the server itself because it runs on a Windows environment, we can accommodate those types of application pieces.
Another thing to keep in mind: All the other things, by design, Microsoft, not just Skype but also Teams, as the APIs for Teams get rolled out in the Avaya environment, we've also been in for years and years as well. So if you've had a mix of technologies between Avaya, Cisco and Microsoft, we’re including the SBC components to follow those pieces are absolutely something to consider.
Chuck Geisler: We'll start with the demonstration and let me figure out how to share my screen.
Tia Fortier: Alrighty, and thanks again Chuck for running us through all that information. I know there's a lot to it, but it's always super cool to see and sort of understand what's going on and what we're able to do. And it looks like your screen is up there. So we should be good to go.
Chuck Geisler: Alright, super. Thanks for that.
Chuck Geisler: Again, this is Windows Server, so I'm logged into a Prognosis Server. One of the questions we get frequently is, “Can we function in a cloud environment? “
Well, ultimately short answer’s - yes. We absolutely can be in a cloud environment. The cloud means that someone else is running the network, we just need to be able to see the components we're monitoring from the interfaces where the Windows Server sits. So whatever cloud environment is running, Prognosis, as long as we can see the devices we're trying to monitor with those protocols that we talked about, like the SOAP AXL pieces and the users that have the ability to log into those UCM cluster environments and all the other things we're monitoring. We absolutely can sit anywhere, whether it's cloud network or on-prem, in your own environment or wherever those pieces are. Windows Server, virtual socket, eight-cores, those kinds of things, and that's basically all it takes.
So from a Cisco component, all of the pieces that make up a Cisco cluster, and these are all the things that we monitor on the left here, including the Cisco Call Manager components to CUCMs. There are pieces associated with their SRSTS, which are those surviveable routers. The Cisco CUBE and a number of different flavors that we'll talk about. And lots of other devices will pull metrics out of those pieces, contact center components for UCCE and UCCX, which is SNMP-based and pull all the server pieces. But understand that all of the things that we pulled in the environment are based on a display, and this display information is right out of the box, there's nothing special here. We will show you a few special displays that we do for things in custom environments here in a little bit. But these are all the stuff that's right out of the box.
So some of the things that we do from a management perspective, is that our whole mentality about how we do management is all about being able to present information, not only in a display that makes it clear to understand but also in an environment where I can quickly determine “Do I have a problem that is user-based with the end-user, the telephony components or even if it's a piece of video gear?” “Is it something that's related to an architectural piece from the server itself?” So we're talking about server pieces, we have the ability to not just see active calls and those kinds of information, but we're logged into every publisher and subscriber. And we'll get this information in real-time with hardware details associated with those components. And a little bit about the interface -- It's HTML5 compliant. So if you wanted to run this from anything that understands HTML5, you certainly could.
So we're using Google Chrome right now on a Windows PC, but could I do this or see this in another environment, a Mac or something else? I certainly could. Anything that's HTML5-compliant will get this information. And lots of things that we put up on a display in our environment related to performance, I see things like voice-quality distribution, in near real-time, I get all of these metrics. These are actually here because we're pulling in information out of the environment because we're logged in there via that SOAP axle piece. So we talked about the pullback, SNMP, metrics, that kind of stuff.
All of the things we're getting out of the hardware details, which are, these are called drilldowns. And anything that has a line under it with the name of a device -- this happens to be VCM1. Hardware details we can pull up and this is physically the hardware components. And we're getting things like temperature information and the drives that are internal, that kind of stuff. All of that is related to specific pieces that we not only alert an alarm on, but we also put it in as a display they can easily get to, to help you understand what's going on in the environment -- things like Route Pattern summary.
Route Patterns are how the CUCM clusters see the outside world from a trunking perspective. We'll get all that information. We know we have one of those Route Patterns that’s degraded. We know it's degraded because there's a trunk to Bangalore that's degraded. We get individual information on not just Route Pattern pieces, but how the system uses those Route Patterns. So individual route groups and how they're built. We know that we got an individual trunk that's the Bangalore that's down we know that it is a particular type of trunk and how it gets used within the system. We can see that it's down and that makes that Route Pattern degraded.
We’ll also track things like Gateway Utilization and those kinds of things and we see every gateway. So that means that from a component perspective, I'm getting information on Route Patterns and Gateways that I don't have to issue commands for within other tools to figure out what's going on. I get a real snapshot of what's going on and you can see things very easily. Green is good, orange is degraded. And if there are things that are down they’re going to show up Red. And I can see down to the PRI level of status information. And again, things like DSPs, those are all things that we can get and track overtime for those pieces. Other things that are related to not just capacity planning for gateways and stuff that we can track over time. And we'll see all of those gateways. But understand that we can also see things like Certificates.
So from a Certificate perspective, because the Certificates within the server architecture are now something that is an additional piece that you have to keep up with, we have the ability to do alerting and alarming on Certificates -- makes a big difference. Every phone that's built, we're going to know about.
And we know about them because of the way we're in the system and device pool information. I can get this particular information into a spreadsheet anytime I see this Excel export. Now I have a spreadsheet of all the phones in my environment that are built on particular device pools and it's a very easy component for me to manage the environment. And I get phone status information and things in my device pool for how many phones are up and registered. All of that it's very easy to manipulate. And once I have that information, I can have it in a spreadsheet and I can manipulate the spreadsheet however I like or want to do.
Also, not just things related to voice but also video components. We have support for a wide range of components within the Cisco architecture, the old tampered pieces, MCUs, we’ll get information from and track over time, as well as the new pieces that are part of the video year that Cisco supports things that are registered to the expressway. We're going to get information on those kinds of things as well.
So that being said, for you guys that are also working in the environment to look at endpoint statistics related to Cisco video pieces, we’ll also get that information related to those pieces. And we'll track this over time. We have a database, this happens to be video finished calls, I can get the information associated with these components, basically into a database that I'm going to hold on to and keep information for. So when I look at things like a calls database for a particular cluster, not only do I see them by call type, but I can also look at the release code for these pieces and grab information.
So again, holistically in the Cisco environment, lots of information related to those pieces we’ll figure out things like trunk information, we’ll figure out information related to the server components. We’ll figure out things like certificates and the phone’s bill. We’ll also see individual users.
So if I'm looking for a particular user, I can look up something by name, I can look up something by directory number (DN), I can look at the phone being built.
And I can see that “Okay, I've got Ranjana Tyson built in the system,” I can see what her user experience is like over the last hour on the Mumbai cluster. She's built more than one cluster, which potentially could exist. And I can see what's gone on within the last hour and go through. This basically is a database we're going through - from a time perspective able to see what our user experience was.
So I know she said good MOS scores. I can also do things like look at voice quality for those individual calls that come from more than one source. So things like the Cisco CUBE. We're pulling that information from as well. And we'll get specific information related to performance. Not just the ASRs, the ISRs, but the individual components as well, about performance metrics will get Dow Peer Summary information, which also means that if we have a problem related to individual Dow Peers not being available, not only will we see that, but we can alert, alarm on those. And from an Alerts perspective, we get lots of alerts that we can present. And manage what's going on within the system that augments other processes.
If I want to use Prognosis to be my first source for alerts and then send us downstream to the ticketing system, I absolutely can do that. If I use some sort of manager of managers. We can grab this information and stick specific information out of that environment and send it to a manager of managers related to service types in those kinds of things. So we can populate that information with specific text that is important to the whole process of how you guys do troubleshooting and site information in those kinds of things. That's easy to do.
I also have the ability to sort of consolidate and say, “Okay, within architecture, I want a specific component to show up, where I'm using site information.” And we call this a live canvas. So this is something that's customized. Everything I showed you up to this point was not customized here, something that is customized in our environment. It's a map with all the component pieces. These are Cisco architecture status information along with side things like total endpoints that are there. Things like licensing use, those kinds of things. And then when I look at this environment, I see that I have site-level information. I've got a site in New York, a site in London, a site in Sydney and a site in Mumbai. And I can have this on a board that sits in my NOC. I see this information around the NOC center about not registered information for phone, information in those kinds of things.
I see cluster status, that kind of stuff. If I have a problem, with one of these environmental variables, something either comes down it shows up now I have the Mumbai cluster that tells me I have a problem, I can drill into that Mumbai cluster, use another component of this live canvas piece that will pull up specific information related to the call center. And I can see well I've had some failures here. This is Prognosis data that gets populated to a Vizio and I can have a Vizio of anything. This just happens to be the call center components that are represented here, one’s in Nashville, one’s in Dallas. And I can see that I have a problem, not just here, CPU utilization here with the routing engine, but also problems related to the disc components. And these are again, all drilldowns that you know, I can drill down into the specific process of what those components are. So all of that is part of the overall portfolio.
One of the things we do with our “customer success plan,” is not just to turn you loose with the software, but we have the ability to be able to have our consultants and our consulting services folks tailor what it is you need to see in your environment to make sure that all of the things that you're using these pieces for are most effective.
So again, it's not just presenting the information. It's not like trying to peel through a bunch of log files, that we have the ability to present those log files. It's not just throwing all that stuff out there. It's the ability to be able to manage that information effectively and figure out again, “Is it a user problem?” “Is it a network problem?” “Is it a server-related issue?”, related to like shared resources, things like DSPs or trunking within the environment, what we actually see component pieces from, and again, things that underpin the data network for video and voice, it’s called Path Insight, we have the ability to get information specifically over those performance pieces.
And I’ll just do this real fast. I have the ability to map endpoints in the network, behind pieces of components that make up Switchgear. So layer 3 and layer 2 routed switches. I'll see information for and I'll get individual port problems that I can bubble up and see related to switches. And this is all through something called Path Insight.
You want more information about any of these pieces, any of the availability for how we do outside in-testing any of the information related to not just the Cisco pieces, related to video or the endpoints? You can absolutely reach out to your local sales teams in your area. We'd be more than happy to not just to give you more information, but talk through what the process is, deployment options, those kinds of things. And again, even things like we'll talk about servers for a little bit, in the Windows environment, we pull up the information out of the Windows Server Environment, we can do this remotely or run onboard, and we can get lots of information related specifically to how those pieces function.
So again, things like the busiest processor or not just the CPU, but what's going on in the individual environment. This happens to be a look at the Windows Server that's running Prognosis, and I can see things like average CPU utilization and drill into those pieces to look at specific processes. We can do this for soft clients and those of you that are deploying softphone agents. Pull this information up via WMI and get a real good picture of what's going on. We've had issues related to telephony, where we had an agent watching, you know, World Cup soccer from the same machine they're using for their soft client. We were able to figure that out and say, “Look, here's the thing, don't watch World Cup on the PC that you're working from, watch it on another box. And that'll eliminate the problems you're having with your telephone gear.” That kind of stuff. That's the level of internalized metrics that we can get to see from a centralized site.
Tia Fortier: All right, this is all great. You know, getting that level of detail. Just being able to say, “Hey! Let's focus on making sure that you're not using your machine for too much, to make sure that everything runs the way it needs to.” I always think that's super interesting. And it's great to see all of the stuff that we're able to get into and then see it in an over overview level because for me, I love details and I love stats but sometimes it's a little bit Greek to me. So being able to see it at an overview level is really cool.
Tia Fortier: As always, thank you for sharing, Chuck. And folks, if you have any questions, feel free to send those through. We are just over the half-hour mark here. If we don't have a chance to talk about it now, Chuck or I will follow up with you and make sure you get those answers that you need. And as always, you can reach out to your account representative if you know who that is. And they'll be more than happy to help.
And just before we wrap up today, I've got a couple of other items to run through. If you are interested in learning more in person about any of what you've seen today, we are holding a number of IR summit events.
The first one we've got coming up is in Denver, that'll be October 15, through the 17th. And that's sort of our flagship America's event. We've got lots of training lots of sessions, we're going to have a ton of people there to work through your issues or use cases or whatever you want to talk about. We've got a ton of sessions. And we would love to see you there. If coming out to Denver is really not an option.
We've also got a couple of international events that we've introduced this year. So we will be in Frankfurt in Germany, in I want to say November 26. And in London on, I'm sorry, November 26, and then London on November 28. So, you can definitely check those events out as well.
There's a link in the slides that we've attached today that will bring you to the Summit website, and from there, navigate to one of our other events. If that's a little better suited for your needs. I think that's about it on Summit.
Do you want to speak to that as well Chuck?
Chuck Geisler: Yeah, this is a really good environment, not just to meet with the IR folks and subject matter experts on certain components, and will span different technologies, including things like payments, but also the fact that you get to interface with other customers and learn how they're doing things. So some of the customers in the UC space, use things like E-911 deployment components, and that kind of stuff like that, that are really not just important in their environment, but other customers can benefit from as well. And this is a great, great environment to be able to do that.
So it's not just us in our roadmaps and talking to customers about what they want to see from a user perspective, but it's also other customers saying, “Hey, this is what we do in our environment. And there are lots of benefits from that.”
Again, Denver is the one that's coming up in October. But if that's not in your geographical continent and you want to do the other ones, they'll be well represented as well with folks travelling from Sydney to those other places as well as the local in-country subject matter experts as well, the places that, that those other Summits are being held, you’ll have local experts there as well - you'll be in good hands. So it'll be something that's worthwhile attending.
Tia Fortier: Yeah, we've had a lot of fun in the past with these Summit events in the Americas. So I've been really glad that we've been able to expand on that and bring it to our European customers as well. Something else that’s available in the slides here are links to a couple of additional resources, if you'd like to read more about what we do for Cisco and about IR, just kind of in general, you can check out our Cisco guide, our blog, on our website.
We're also active on LinkedIn. If you want to hop over there and read through some of our recent goings-on, we've got stuff about the trade shows we’ll be attending and referring back to those blog posts and all that good stuff. I believe we've actually got promo running for Summit right now. If you'd like to take a look at that as well. So again, these are available for download. You can take a look at that attachment tab and download the slides from there.
So, I think that is about it for us today.
Chuck, was there anything else you'd like to go over real quick?
Chuck Geisler: No, I think we're good. Yeah. I always appreciate you hosting, you do a great job and I appreciate the time you spend with me. It's certainly one of the highlights of my weeks when we do these.
Tia Fortier: Thank you, Chuck. Yep, these are always great fun. So thank you again for running us through that demo, Chuck. And talking to us about Prognosis. And thank you, everybody, on the line for joining us today. I know time is valuable. So we always appreciate when folks take the time to spend half an hour so with us and listen to what we've got going on.
Again, if you have any questions, you can always reach out to us. We'll be more than happy to help. And if you have any feedback for us, now would be a good time to go over to that feedback tab and leave us a note. Let us know what we can do better next time and what you enjoyed about these sessions.
So that's about all for us. So we'll sign off now. Thanks again for joining us and we will speak to you next time. Bye, everyone.
Chuck Geisler: Hey, thanks. I appreciate it.