Understanding Cisco Unity Connections

Understanding Cisco Unity Connections

Cisco Unity Connections

Most people take Cisco Unity as “the voicemail solution” for their VoIP network, but Cisco designed it to be much more. The term Unity related to messages not only expresses voice messages, but also instant messages, e-mail messages and fax messages. The basic goal of Cisco Unity was to make any message retrievable from any voice-enabled application or device. It means, a caller could leave a voice message that you could retrieve from an e-mail client inbox. You could even listen to your e-mails from any mobile device or have them faxed to an offsite fax machine.

Cisco introduced Unity Connection as an alternative using the same appliance-based model as CUCM. After few years, support for Cisco Unity Connection surpassed the original Windows-based Unity platform and is now the more popular and scalable solution. Table below depicts the various voicemail solutions you can use for your IPT network and their scalability limits.


Maximum Mailboxes



Cisco Unity Express 300 Router Not Supported
CUCM Business Edition 500 Appliance Not Supported
Cisco Unity 15,000 per server Windows Server Active/Passive
Cisco Unity Connection 20,000 per server Appliance Active/Active

In addition to supporting more mailboxes, Cisco Unity Connection also supports features that are not found in the other Cisco voice-messaging products.

Cisco Unity Connection Key Features

The following are some of the major features of Cisco Unity Connection:

Proven appliance-based platform: Cisco Unity Connection is built on top of the same stable, hardened, appliance-based operating system as CUCM.

Access voicemails from anywhere: Cisco Unity Connection allows voicemail retrieval from phone, web browser, mobile devices, e-mail, and instant-messenger platforms.

Up to 20,000 mailboxes per server: Cisco Unity Connection scales to a massive size per server. Even though Unity Connection supports a single-server configuration, most organizations will opt for a high availability pair of servers.

LDAP directory server integration: Cisco Unity Connection can integrate with an existing corporate directory, such as Microsoft Active Directory to avoid creating a duplicate user database.

Microsoft Exchange support: It is very easy to integrate Cisco Unity Connection with an existing Microsoft Exchange deployment to enable fantastic features, such as manage Exchange calendar from a phone, e-mail text-to-speech, different call treatment based on your Exchange calendar, and so on.

Active/active high availability: Cisco Unity Connection uses a Publisher/Subscriber IBM Informix database scheme between a pair of servers. The pair of servers is capable of supporting up to 20,000 mailboxes. Both servers can accept client requests that provide active/active redundancy. Typically, the largest Cisco Unity Connection server can support up to 250 voicemail ports. By creating a high availability pair, you can now support 500 voicemail ports.


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