HOWTO on Virtual Voice Rack
Petr Lapukhov CCIE #16379 (R&S/Security/SP) InternetworkExpert Inc.
One day it happens. You decide to go after your Voice CCIE, and nothing can stop you. It takes some time, but you pass the written test, and plan to take the lab exam. You got a moment to look at the list of the lab gear, and now it does not look so good anymore. Too many of it, not to mention, that it’s probably going to cost some big money to obtain. Now do not fall into despair, and take a quick look on a list of things that you need for a full-blown voice rack:
. Catalyst 6503 SUP2 with 6608/6348 blades
. Catalyst 3560 PoE
. Bunch of 2811 with NM-HDV2/PVDM2s and WIC-2MFT-T1/E1
. About six 7960 IP Phones
. At least one ATA 186
. VG 248 gateway
. NM-CUE or AIM-CUE Three servers to run CCM Publisher/Subscriber and Unity Let us hold for a second and think about virtualization. Is there anything we could do to offload a deal of work to virtual routers and servers? Definitely, there is a lot of it. To begin with, we can run CCM and Unity under VMware, as well as use SCCP softphones to simulate the real 7960.
Next, for the routers emulation, we can use the product everyone loves - Dynamips. Of course, we cannot simulate NM-HDVs, PVDMs, FXO/FXS or E1/T1 digital trunks with Dynamips (yet). While this is sad, to say at least, it is not really that bad as someone may think, because the good news is that we can use virtual routers as IPIP gateways to simulate PSTN switch behavior and provide H.323/SIP signaling interface to CCM.
Surely enough, we can provide CME and SRST functionality to IP telephony endpoints, as well as run H.323 Gatekeepers on Dynamips. Combining all that with virtual CCM and Unity servers, we may quickly get a virtual lab that smoothly emulates the very “core” of Voice exam: applications and services along with IP telephony endpoints.
Before we move any further, let us clearly outline what we are going to miss within our virtual lab:
. Hardware Media Resources (XCONF, CFB) on NM-HDVs and 6608 DSPs
. PSTN Signaling (ISDN PRI, E1 R2, FXS/FXO)
. MGCP and Q.931 backhaul
. ATA186 and VG248 analog gateways
. Catalysts 6500 and 3550/3560 port config
. 6608 blade functions (CFB/XCODE/GW)
On contrary, here is a list of stuff we can still play with:
. Cisco CallManager 4.x with all it’s Applications and Features
. Unity 4.0 Voice Mail
. Cisco CallManager Express
. H.323 gateways and gatekeepers
. IP PSTN Simulation (IPIP GW)