Configuring and Importing Cisco Unity End Users

Let’s think about how we can manually add a new user to Cisco Unity Connection. We go under the Users menu option on the left-hand pane of Cisco Unity Connection. We select Users and we say we want to create a New User. We can select a User Type, in other words a user with a mailbox or a user without a mailbox. We could create this user based on an existing template, which allows the user to inherit settings specified in the template. We could give an Alias for the user. We can specify their first and last name, where a mailbox store is located, what is their phone number, their extension and do they have a going fax number, the number of the fax machine, to which the user sends faxes for printing.

User and User Template Verification

We mentioned that we could leverage a template when we’re adding a new Cisco Unity Connection user. Settings for the template are going to be applied to that user, but of course there are some customized parameters that that user needs. They might need to create their own outgoing message, they might decide whether or not they want their number listed in the corporate directory, they might want to configure their own private distribution lists. So there is some additional information that we would probably need to give, but after we add a user based on an existing template and press the messages button on the phone, that starts the self enrollment process, and it can prompt the user for their outgoing message, their PIN, if they want to be listed in the directory, and so on. We could then individualize that user account as we mentioned, by maybe creating alternate extensions for the user, creating private distribution lists and maybe adding external service accounts such as Microsoft Exchange or Cisco Unified MeetingPlace.

Alternate Extensions and Names

If we’re adding an alternate extension, we need to say what kind of phone is this. Is it mobile phone, for example? What is the display name for this alternate extension? What’s the phone number? This phone number doesn’t necessarily have to be just a string of digits, it could be something like a SIP address to reach a SIP phone.

We could also configure an alternate name for a user. We could configure the first and last name.

Private Distribution List

Something else we might do to customize a Cisco Unity Connection user is to have them create a personal distribution list where they can leave a message for a group of users by sending that message to this distribution list. To add a new distribution list, we need to give a name for the list, and optionally we can give an alternate name. And then we start giving the list of members.

Import Users from CUCM

In addition to creating an end user from scratch within Cisco Unity Connection, we can import existing users – maybe we have users in a Cisco Unified Communications Manager server, maybe we have users defined in an LDAP directory. Well, let’s see how to import those users. First in a Communications Manager environment we have to have the Cisco AXL Web servers running on Cisco Unity Connection and on the Communications Manager, and there needs to be a user created that has AXL privileges. You could create a new user and assign them an appropriate role, or you could use the main administrator, the main application administrator for Cisco Unified Communications Manager, but either way you’re going to specify logging credentials to the Communications Manager, and you’re going to identify the AXL server. Well, the AXL server in this case is the Communications Manager server and typically you’re going to be specifying the IP address of maybe both the publisher and the subscriber, and the port number of 443. And to make sure that connectivity has been established with the Communications Manager server, there’s a test button you can click to verify the connectivity.

Once we have our AXL server – our Communications Manager server, in our case defined in Cisco Unity Connection – we can then say that we want to import users from the Cisco Unified Communications Manager server. To do that we go under the Users area and we select Import Users. And we’ll see a list of users that exist on the Communications Manager server, and we can select individual users or we can select all the users, and we can say we want to import those users based on a template.

We get to specify a voicemail template that can be applied to user accounts being imported. And if we make a change on the Communications Manager server to those users and we want those changes to be reflected on Unity Connection, we can say that we want to sync users. We also do that under the Users area in Unity Connection.

Import Users from LDAP

In addition to importing users from a Cisco Unified Communications Manager server, we also have the option of synchronizing with a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or an LDAP server, such as Microsoft Active Directory. It is a checkbox that says we want to Enable Synchronizing from LDAP Server. We also need to specify the LDAP attribute in the LDAP directory schema that represents the user ID, such as the sAMAccountName. And we also need to specify the LDAP server type, and many people use Microsoft Active Directory for that. And by the way for this to work on Cisco Unity Connection, there is a service, the Cisco DirSync service, that needs to be activated.

In addition to saying that we want to synchronize with an LDAP directory, we need to provide some specific information about that LDAP directory. We can go under LDAP and select LDAP Directory Configuration, and we can specify a name. We can specify credentials to log in to and get information from the LDAP server – we need a username and credentials that has permission to browse the users within the search base that we’ve defined. And speaking of search base – that’s one of the great things about this LDAP synchronization – if we have a massive LDAP directory and maybe it spans several sites, and we only want users from one specific site, we don’t have to synchronize with the entire directory. We can specify a user search base, which is essentially saying, start the search here. Even though we might have this hierarchical directory tree that spans multiple countries and multiple cities, we could point just to one city in that tree and say start your search here and go down from there. So we’re only going to get users within that city’s container in the LDAP directory. And we can also say how often we want to perform this synchronization. Do we want to do it just one time or do we want to do it periodically, and if so how often do we want to do it?

Bulk Users

Yet another way of adding users to Cisco Unity Connection is to use BAT, the Bulk Administration Tool. We go into the Tools menu, select the Bulk Administration Tool. We say what we want to do. Do we want to Create, Update, Delete or Export users? Maybe we want to Create new users. We select an object type. For example, do we want to create users without a voicemail box? With a voicemail box? Do we want to create system contacts, or do we want to create users from LDAP directory? And we’re going to specify a comma-separated value file, and that’s something that you could create in something like Microsoft Excel. It’s going to have fields for the user information that needs to be imported. You might have 100 different rows in this spreadsheet, and each row might contain a user’s alias, their display name, their first name, their last name, their template alias, their extension and whether or not they’re going to be listed in the directory. And if there’s a conflict with what’s in the CSV field and what’s in the user template, we can say whether or not we want to override this CSV field with what’s in the user template.

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