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Single Inbox using Cisco Unity Connection



What is Single inbox and Who needs it ?


As IT infrastructure and the applications are growing in a fast pace, IT administrators in Enterprise segment have the greatest challenge - How to integrate solutions of multiparty vendors deployed already in the infrastructure and how to simplify  the end user experience.

// Here in this document I shall refer to Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail application for describing how it works. This is one of the application among others which Cisco supports Singe Inbox feature.

++ Single Inbox is a innovative method by Cisco which can provide Customers the Unified Messaging experience.

++ Single inbox is a  Voicemail option that will allow you to receive your voicemail in your Exchange (Outlook) email inbox, as well as on your desk phone.

++ It means users can listen to their Voicemail messages and delete them right from their email inbox, without picking up the phone.


Note ::

// Single Inbox helps to simplify and unify the messaging system in your existing infrastructure.

// Cisco Jabber solution if available, could also retrieve the Voicemail messages if integrated properly with the Cisco Unity Connection.

//  If you are syncing your Exchange email to your mobile device, you will also be able to check your voicemails through the email app on your mobile device.


How it works ?

All voice messages, including those sent from Cisco Unity Connection ViewMail for Microsoft Outlook, are first stored in Cisco Unity Connection and are immediately replicated to the Microsoft Exchange mailbox for the recipient.

All voice messages remain on the Cisco Unity Connection server regardless of the type of messaging deployment.Cisco Unity Connection is the authoritative source of voice messaging traffic, notifications, and synchronisation.


Note ::

// Replication to Microsoft Exchange Mailbox is optional.

// If required, you may configure the feature per individual user, not cluster wide.



Where the messages are being stored ?

The user’s email becomes a single container for all messages, including email and voicemail.

If a message is moved to any other folder under the user’s Inbox, it will continue to show up in Cisco Unity Connection.

Note ::

//  If the user moves voice messages into Outlook folders that are not under the Inbox folder, the messages are deleted from Cisco Unity Connection but they can still be played by using ViewMail for Outlook because a copy still exists in the Outlook folder.

//   If the user moves the messages back into the Inbox folder or into a folder under the Inbox folder, the message is synchronized back into the Cisco Unity Connection mailbox for that user.



What will happen when you delete a message ?

When a user deletes a voice message from Cisco Unity Connection message gets deleted.

 Due to  ageing policy in Cisco Unity Connection, the message is also deleted from Microsoft Exchange.


Note ::


// When a voice message is deleted from Microsoft Exchange, it is also deleted from Cisco Unity Connection.



Secure and Private messages and associated policies

If a message is marked as secured and private, the actual message is not replicated in Microsoft Exchange; instead, a placeholder with a brief description is created for the message and you can view the same in the Microsoft Outlook application.


Note ::

// The only copy of actual message in this case stays on Cisco Unity Connection, and when the user retrieves the message it is played back from Cisco Unity Connection directly instead of from a local source, unlike in the case of a normal message. This also means that there is no local access to the audio file if it is accessed through voicemail from Outlook.

// Movement of the secure and private message to any folder other than Inbox and folders below Inbox would result in deletion of the message permanently, thereby leaving no opportunity for retrieval.


Choices of clients that may be used  to play, compose and delete Cisco Unity Connection Voice Messages

1. GUI access to Cisco Unity Connection using a native browser - Unity Connection Web Inbox

2. Microsoft Outlook - Cisco Unity Connection Viewmail add-in

3. Blackberry devices - supported by default.Client should be angled with Active Sync technology

4. IMAP Email Clients and Other Email Clients that are configured to synchronise to Exchange by Single inbox feature

5. Cisco Jabber


Deployment considerations

(Important ones only cited below . Check design guides below for more information)


// The minimum size of the message in Microsoft Exchange should be bigger than the maximum size in Cisco Unity Connection.

//  HTTPS is chosen as the default option for communications between Cisco Unity Connection and Microsoft Exchange.

// HTTP is also supported but not recommended because it reduces security and might also need further configuration on Microsoft Exchange.

// There is an option to validate the Microsoft Exchange certificate, provided that access to the certificate server is available.


References for Design and Implementation ::

Single inbox in Cisco Unity Connection 8.5 ::

Single Inbox in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x ::

Single Inbox in Cisco Unity Connection 10.x ::

Single inbox in Cisco Unity Connection 11.x ::


RTMT trace references to troubleshoot the problems with Single Inbox issue  ::

// Connection Conversation Manager
// Connection Message Transfer Agent
// Connection Mailbox Sync traces
// Connection Tomcat Application
// Connection REST Service
// Connection IMAP Server

More Information

Cisco now supports the single inbox feature with majority of the pioneers and existing players in the E-mail client and Server market. Here are some of them -


// Microsoft E-mail Products ::

Cisco Unity Connection supports the Single Inbox feature with Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007, and 2010 (clustered or non-clustered).
Cisco Unity Connection can support all three of these Microsoft Exchange versions simultaneously or any one of them separately.
Cisco Unity Connection also supports interoperability with the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)-Dedicated Services and Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based exchange server.

// IBM E-mail Products ::

Cisco Unity Connection can be integrated with IBM Lotus Domino using software from Cisco partners Esnatech and Donoma to enable the Single Inbox feature.
Esnatech Office-LinXTM Cloud Connect Edition and Donoma Unify for Lotus Notes both enable integration between Unity Connection and IBM Lotus Domino.

// Other 3rd party cloud based applications ::

Cisco Unity Connection also supports integrated voice and fax services with cloud-based applications such as Google Apps Gmail and VMware Zimbra.
Unity Connection can be integrated with these email applications using Esnatech Office-LinXTM Cloud Connect Edition. This solution allows for bidirectional synchronisation of voice messages between Cisco Unity Connection and these email applications.


Note ::

// Esnatech Cloud Connect Edition uses the Cisco Unity Connection Messaging Interface (CUMI) API and the Cisco Unity Connection Provisioning Interface (CUPI) API for synchronisation of subscriber and messaging information.

// Users can also initiate calls through Gtalk using the Click-to-Dial feature.This call control information gets exchanged with Cisco Unified Communications Manager through the CTI (TAPI) interface.





Aditya Ganjoo
Cisco Employee

Useful info :)...good compilation..

Vimal K V
Cisco Employee

Hi Aditya,


Thank you for your time and comment. :)





Very good compilation of the important key topics.

What I couldn't find anywhere is, how Unity and Exchange are synching each other. Let's say I delete a voicemail delivered by unity in my inbox folder in exchange. How does unity know, that it was deleted. I thought it uses EWS Synching feature which is just unidirectional?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you.


Esna has been purchased by Avaya and it is unclear if they still sale and support the Cloundlink software that was used to integrate Single Inbox with Gmail. What is not mentioned here is that Donoma has a product that does the same thing called "Donoma Unify For Gmail". This post should be updated to reflect this. There is still no way to have Single Inbox with gmail without a 3rd party integrator. If there are others out there besides Donoma please comment with those. 

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