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Community Manager

ASK THE EXPERTS: Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution

Read the bioWith Chris Ward

Welcome to the Cisco Support Community Ask the Expert conversation.This is an opportunity to learn about Cisco's new Hosted Collaboration Solution architecture and deployment with Cisco expert Chris Ward. Chris is a technical marketing engineer working on the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution. He previously held an escalation position in the Cisco Technical Assistance Center for the Cisco Unified Communications Manager team, where he worked for more than five years. Ward holds bachelor and master of science degrees in information technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and also holds CCIE Voice certification.

Remember to use the rating system to let Chris know if you have received an adequate response.  

Chris might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Remember that you can continue the conversation on the Other Service Provider Subjects discussion forum shortly after the event. This event lasts through July 29, 2011. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.


How does HCS automate the creation of new customer virtual machines? Thanks.

cscStage J Millers personalized signature

Hi J,

The process of creating a new customer is not yet fully automated, but we are working on vCenter integration that may eventually automate this process. With HCS, you would build a "golden template" of the UC apps that your customers would be consuming.

The golden template is essentially an image of the UC App (UCM Pub, UCM Sub, UCxN, and CUP) that has parameters and configurations that you think every customer will be using. There are some caveats to what you configure since the provisioning tool, Cisco Unified Communications Domain Manager (UCDM), will be provisioning the system for you after you create the customer instances.

Once you have your golden templates, you are ready to start rolling out customers. You would clone the golden templates to create your new customer instance. Then you run what are called the "new identity" scripts on the cloned VMs. This new Identity script is built into the UC application (From 8.0 and later). It essentially involves you using the Answer File Generator on to create an answer file for the application of interest and then you mount this answer file via a floppy image to your newly cloned VM. Once the floppy is mounted, you can go ahead and run the new identity script "utils import config" from the CLI of the UC app. It will rename, re-IP, change DNS servers, and lots of other platform information about the system that you can configure. Finally, it will reboot the system. Some of this process can also be automated using VMware's vMA toolset using scripts that the HCS team can provide.

Once the new identity script has been run, you have a new install for your new customer. Then you would input the new address information into UCDM and begin the bulk provisioning of the system. The UCDM would be bulk creating users, phones, VM accounts, partitions, CSS's, and just about everything else for the UC environment.

Once again, stay tuned for some future automation enhancements in this area, but at current (HCS 8.0.2 and soon to be 8.6.1) this is the method for provisioning a new customer from scratch in VMware.


I don't see any information about Cisco Quad on this site - am I looking in the wrong place?  What's up?  Social / Collaboration / hhmmm ... thanks!


Hi SandeeWeiner,

So good to see your interest.  If you are interested in Cisco Quad videos, blogs, and discussion forums that aren't focused on tech support, then you can find them at  That community is staffed by product managers, business development, tech marketing engineers, marketing professionals, services consultants, and business transformation folks.

It is a public community so browse away but we hope you log in with your id to post your questions or share your perspectives and own information.

Hope to see you there!

Laura Douglas

Cisco Collaboration Community Manager

Adolfo Suarez

Chris, can we use local PSTN access as part of an HCS service or do we have to use the provider’s PSTN connection in their datacenter? Thanks.

Both PSTN options are possible, either centralized at the provider, or via local breakout at individual sites.