Cisco Expressway

Let’s talk about one of the key technologies that resides within Collaboration Edge: Cisco Expressway Series. Expressway is a bit confusing at first, especially if you are working with someone who has performed several of the VCS deployments. I had the pleasure of trying to follow instructions from someone who was experienced with VCS but had not deployed the Cisco Expressway series just yet.  We ended up with a who’s on first, what’s on second scenario. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you must watch this classic video. Continuing on, Cisco has a Video Communication Server commonly referred to as VCS.   VCS has two servers: VCS Control, which is commonly located on the local area network, and VCS Expressway, which is usually found in the DMZ.   As of version 8.1, Cisco offers the VCS series and the Expressway series.  VCS servers are still called VCS Control and VCS Expressway while the Expressway servers are referred to as Expressway Core and Expressway Edge. Now the big question, what’s the difference????  VCS is aimed at customers who are video only customers or customers who require some of the advanced video features.   You can think of VCS as the enhanced version of the Expressway Series.   The Expressway series is geared towards customers running Unified Communications Manager 9.1 and above.  There’s no additional cost for the server licenses on the Expressway series!!!!……. until you start looking at capabilities like Business to Business video, which require rich media licenses. In summary, if you are a large video customer then you may want to look at VCS.  If you are a customer who has purchased CUCM 9.1 or above and are focused on enabling Mobile Remote Access or IM Federation then you may want to look at the Expressway Series, it’s free, why not try it out first anyways!

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