Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cloud Collaboration (HCS) partner training

December 11, 2015

The adoption of cloud based Collaboration services has been accelerating in the UK and across Europe, and Cisco’s HCS (Hosted Collaboration Solution) partners have been key to delivering this. To prepare for the release of HCS version 10.6(2), Cisco invited the technical leads from our partners in EMEA to attend a week long HCS Advanced Partner Training and Workshop in Berlin. This training and workshop was organised with the Cisco HCS Business Unit, and as well as partners there were a few people from Cisco technical sales (including myself), Advanced Services and TAC (Technical Assistance Centre). As a dynamic city, Berlin was a fitting location for training on the fast changing area of cloud Collaboration, and it will also be hosting Cisco Live in February 2016.

Julian blog 1

The event was a mix of deep dive, technical presentations and “deploy-athon” labs, where an HCS system would be deployed and configured based on real customer profiles. The “deploy-athon” used Cisco dCloud, which provides partners and customers with repeatable demos as well as fully customisable labs of Cisco solutions. The focus of the training was Cisco Unified Collaboration Domain Manager (CUCDM), the multitenant fulfilment platform in HCS that provides workflows and northbound REST APIs to allow partners to simplify and automate customer on-boarding and add new services. The CUCDM labs covered customer on-boarding, managing and customising a customer’s dial plan, and configuring user services, including LDAP integration, SSO and end user self-care. A new feature in CUCDM 10.6(2) is customer overbuild, where an existing customer’s CUCM (Cisco Unified Communications Manager) can be added to CUCDM and the business logic in CUCDM configured appropriately – this allows a partner to move an existing customer system to HCS and take advantage of the CUCDM workflows for adding new users and services.

Another topic covered at the event was data centre architecture in HCS. Partners can deploy HCS on Cisco VMDC (Virtualised Multiservice Data Centre) Large and Small PoD designs as well as Micro Node, and as of HCS 10.6(2) there is also support for “HCS Flexibility”. HCS Flexibility allows partners to design their own data centre which meets Cisco CMSP (Cloud and Managed Services Programme) IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) requirements. This means partners can now deploy HCS on an existing Cisco IaaS platform, or build a new one using Cisco ACI (Application-Centric Infrastructure), an SDN (Software Defined Networking) architecture for data centres which enables cloud automation.

An element of the workshop was to encourage discussion and debate between partners and Cisco. A room was set up in Cisco Spark for all attendees and presenters to share content, ask questions and provide updates on the training – this was used extensively by everyone and proved to be far more useful and user friendly for this sort of team collaboration than email. Spark was also used for organising social events in the evening, including a dinner for everyone at an Oktoberfest celebration (coinciding with the real Oktoberfest in Munich over 300 miles away) that not surprisingly was very popular.

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  1. Good blog Julian. It will be interesting to hear how the recent announcements on SPARK will enable our HCS partners to further enrich their offerings and scale down to smaller customers.