Thank you for your questions. Please, find my answers below.
MP8.5 on VMWare platform is supported ONLY on Cisco UCS servers.
"Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Application Server software is installed on either a Cisco Media Convergence Server (MCS), or on VMware ESXi running on top of Cisco Unified Computer Servers (UCS)."
No ESXi host running on MCS platform is supported by Cisco in this case.
MCS platform can be used only for direct installation of the MP8.5 OS with Application (the same as MP8.0).
MCS7845-I3-RC2 platform is supported for MP8.5, but it does require a firmware upgrade before installation:
As for the move from MP8.0 to MP8.5, keep in mind that this is not a direct upgrade, but a migration. You would need to run the MP8.5 upgrade .bin file on MP8.0 Application server just to create 4 migration files. Then, you would need to upgrade the firmware of the server, and do a clean install of MP8.5. Once you are done installing it, by using those 4 migration files you go through the migration process and restore data on MP8.5.
Please, let me know of any additional questions in regards to this, or the migration itself.
What is your / Cisco's recommendation for callers using G.729 and calling into MeetingPlace (for example, calling across the WAN), as by default it is designed to handle G.711 calls only. I have heard of several different options, such as:
1) Have the local gateway where the MP server is located handle the transcoding to G.711 (using DSP resources).
2) Set the MeetingPlace server to HQ mode instead of HC mode so it can handle multiple codecs.
3) Set the regional relationship between MeetingPlace and all remote sites to G.711 (in CUCM)
It is good to see your questions. Let me try to answer them.
As you know, MeetingPlace 8.5 can handle all the codecs (G.711, G.729a, G.722) in High Quality mode (acting as a transcoder). However, doing this significantly decreases the capacity of the system.
When the server is in Express Media Mode, and you configure it for High Capacity mode (G.711 only), 1 audio port = 1 SRU. However, if you configure it for High Quality mode (G.711, G.729a, G.722), 1 audio port = 8 SRU.
With this in mind, your capacity decreases 8 times. In my opinion this is one expensive transcoder.
Based on the above, I personally always advise my customers to use their CUCM Media resources (if available) to do the transcoding there, so the calls that reach MeetingPlace are using G.711.
Please, let me know if this answers your questions, or I should elaborate more.