In my job, I do a lot of UC pilots. Before heading to a potential customer, I usually write a small technical document with the hardware and software requirements.

Over time, I noticed that these pilots are very similar, that's why I decided to write this post. My objective is to list a small Bill of Materials for a UC pilot capable of delivering the following features:

  • Enhanced Presence
  • Instant Messaging (IM)
  • Audio and Video
  • Enterprise Voice
  • Web Conferencing
  • Federation and external access

The image below depicts the reference architecture for a pilot like this:

uc-pilot-architecture-small

 

Finally, here's a table with the recommended Bill of Materials:

uc-bill-of-materials-table

The architecture figure shows a single Edge server, because, for simplicity, we use the consolidated edge topology: the Access Edge Server, Web Conferencing Edge Server, and A/V Edge Server are collocated on a single computer.

Since the Edge server is placed on a perimeter network (or DMZ), the firewalls must be configured in order to allow the OCS network traffic. All the required ports are depicted on the next picture (the different Edge roles are shown as separate machines for better understanding, but only one server will be used).

uc-pilot-firewall 

Although Exchange Server 2007 is part of the Microsoft Unified Communications portfolio, it isn't listed here. I intentionally left it out, because usually the Exchange infrastructure is already in place. And after all don't forget, this is just for reference, there isn't such a thing as 2 equal customers with equal business needs.

What are the next steps? The immediate one is to gather the necessary technical information. I strongly recommend the following documents:

This pretty much covers the requirements for a successful UC pilot. If you already have all this stuff in place, hey, give me a call and I'll pay you a visit!