Book Review – Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager Part 1

CUCM Part 1

Summary

Now that the CCIE version 3 blueprint is being tested on, I have started working on my second CCIE in Voice. While the new blueprint is focused on CUCM version 7, it turns out this book adds value even if it’s based on version 6.

What worked

I wanted a good refresher so I could come up to speed on the latest improvements from version 6 of CUCM and higher. For me, the content in this book is great for understanding the latest features available in CUCM version 6. If you are already familiar with Call Manager than this book will definitely benefit you the most.

I felt the chapter on installation and upgrading was very well done. There are a lot of different versions you have to make sure you’re running before upgrading and this explains things well. It’s definitely going to be something you’ll need to refer to the upgrade guide for, but it’s a good place to start.

I would say this book covers all the basic areas of configuration in Call Manager that you will probably do to get a cluster up and running. I really liked the coverage of Presence support built into the CUCM. You should be able to get a basic Presence configuration working from reading this book. Presence is definitely one of those cool new features to play with.

The end of the book has some great examples on integrating Cisco Unity 5 and Video Advantage into the CUCM. You can use the chapter on Unity as a reference for creating the integration between Unity and CUCM.

Target Audience

This book is obviously geared towards the CCVP 642-446 exam, but it can be used for those preparing for the CCIE exam as well. If you just need a refresher (like me) on CUCM, then this is also a good read.

What didn’t work

You know, I’m kinda used to the “self-study” version of these books having walk-through labs in the end of each chapter vs. exam-like questions. Usually the “certification guides” have the exam questions after each chapter. If I remember right, the CUCM version 4 printing from a few years ago had some walk-through labs. I wouldn’t say there are a ton of walk through examples, rather screen shots of certain sections. If your expecting a book you can use to walk you through the basic configuration, you should reference the config guide on Cisco’s website. Not a big deal, but surprising for a “self-study”guide. Personally, I would read this to get yourself up to speed, then take a look at the actual version 6 SRND guide.

Ratings

Presentation (8/10)- Lots of tables/figures and example screenshots from the version 6 GUI. Plenty of visual aides. The examples given to explain a given topic make sense.

Content (7/10)- The book manages to come in at about 500 pages. Granted a small chunk of that are the exam questions at the end of each chapter, but not bad considering there are no detailed walk-through labs provided.

Practicality (6/10)- I would say if you have access to a CUCM version 6 cluster, you should be able to read each chapter and figure out how to configure the different areas within CUCM. I would recommend having access to a cluster so you can follow along. Not exactly a walk-through, but close…

Shelf Appeal (3/5)- Definitely worth keeping. There are a few chapters in the book that will prove to be a good reference. For example, the chapters on Presence and Unity are good ones to have to refer back to.

Value (3/5)- Probably going to cost you around $50 dollars online. Plan on buying Part 2 as well (to be reviewed in near future). I would have preferred both books bundled into one, but they are separate CCVP tests…

Overall (Great 8/10)- Overall a great read and I’m currently reading Part 2 of the series. After reading this book you should have the CUCM basics down, and a good idea how to get a basic CUCM config up and running.

Ted Romer
CCIE No. 21785

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