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Death toll for Cisco Unity?

With the upcoming release of Unity Connection 8.5 from Cisco, a number of questions are brought to light. A single feature in this release, in my opinion, marks the end of our need for Unity. It is with a heavy heart and many fond memories that I’ll watch her sail into the sunset.

This feature is coined ‘Single Inbox’ though we all know it as a unified inbox. Prior to release 8.5, the only way to manage voicemails stored on a Connection server was by use of an IMAP connection. (a finicky IMAP connection I might add seeing as it wouldn’t work from mobile phones and really any device or application outside of Outlook)

Using WebDav for Exchange 2003 or EWS for Exchange 2007 or 2010, a user can now see and manage voicemails from their exchange mailbox exactly like Unity UM provides.

Now the key here is that Unity had only provided this functionality at some higher costs and risks. Not only did Unity require a schema update to install, it has been plagued by permissions and cohabitation issues from the beginning. Now, to be clear, none of these issues are product or development problems. Actually it couldn’t be further from that. Jeff Lindborg and his team have consistently developed some of the best well crafted products and management tools I’ve ever seen.

In fact, nearly all issues are self inflicted. Think about it, with Unity UM, the active directory, exchange, windows server, or the security teams all have the ability to ‘affect’ Unity by way of it’s many dependancies.

With Unity Connection’s new release it now has caught up with all Unity features and is provided through an hardened appliance which removes nearly all of the dependencies mentioned above.

…and the migration ain’t that bad either. Cisco deserves an atta’ boy on this one.