Cisco Systems flagship contact center, Unified Contact Center Enterprise or UCCE, has long been heralded as one of the best in its class for resiliency and redundancy.
The system has been fully fault tolerant with the capability of being geographically dispersed between two data centers. Well, for the most part that is, because there has been one outlying exception to the rule: the dialer component. Throughout the years, we have seen some improvements to the dialer on capacity to its underlying communications protocol. But the one piece that has been lacking is the single point of failure in its subsystem.
The dialer architecture was only associated to the Logger A process and database. Consequently, if you lost the Logger A machine, your dialer would also go down until that device was recovered. This is different than what happened with inbound voice calls, which would still come into the system and get answered by agents, as the rest of the devices were redundant. Cisco has rectified this deficiency in 11.6 by bringing redundancy into this feature as well.
Setting Up the Switchover
Let’s take a deeper look at how this all works. Outbound Option High Availability (HA) enables a two-way replication between Logger A and Logger B databases. It uses a standard SQL publisher/subscriber scenario so it all still runs on Microsoft standard SQL. The dialer acts in an active/standby mode. Campaign records are replicated between the two loggers. If a failure is detected, then a switchover process begins. The standby side campaign manager becomes active. If the CCE router and Media Routing Peripheral Gateway (MR PG) are still accessible, then the dialer continues to dial all of the items in its cached memory until the cache is empty. Note some calls can be lost during a failover due to the nature of failures.
Outbound option configuration setup steps are all laid out in the Cisco Outbound Option guide. The steps are straight forward for new installs and some massaging needs to occur for upgrades to 11.6. But suffice to say, Cisco has done a nice job of laying out its deployment guide and they cover the configuration step by step, regardless of the style of deployment you are doing.
Going Fully Redundant
Cisco has put some focus and effort into their Enterprise System Dialer in the last two iterations of their software. Previously, it had wrapped a restful API around the dialer, allowing you to control campaigns, import records and much more. With 11.6, Cisco has finished off the dialer by making it a fully redundant architecture.
For information on the dialer, you can check out the Outbound Options guide yourself.