Recently, I was involved in a customer success story that really displayed the value proposition that CDW brings to the market by combining the expertise of the best UC engineers in the business, with a dedicated practice support system that includes its own custom development team.

Earlier this year a local customer that is part of a larger global organization was presented with the challenge of needing to migrate from their legacy North American based 5-digit dial plan to a new global 7-digit dial plan that would allow them to seamlessly participate with other company managed CUCM clusters and non-VoIP enabled locations throughout their enterprise with a consistent private dialing structure.  To complicate matters, their CUCM cluster was not LDAP integrated and the user IDs were based on their legacy 5-digit directory number.

There was a lot of work put into the planning and preparation for executing such an involved set of tasks.  We spent a good deal of time helping them clean-up their legacy directory and ensuring the new LDAP environment would provide an appropriate Corporate Directory once it was integrated with CUCM.

Some key steps were identified as part of the planning and preparation process that were ideal for leveraging our beloved AXLTools:

1.)    Existing User IDs would need to be updated prior to the integration with their LDAP system so that legacy relational information (such as device associations and personal address books) would be left intact.

2.)    The DNs defined in the CUCM would need to be updated from the legacy 5-digit format into the new 7-digit format.

3.)    Any field data that referenced the 5-digits numbers (such as line text labels and descriptions) would need to be changed to the update 7-digit numbers respectively.

4.)    Call coverage paths with the legacy patterns would also need converted into the 7-digit equivalents to ensure nothing was broken following the actual DN updates.

5.)    Automatically updating speed/abbreviated dials that administrators or users had defined for their devices.

Through the power of some Excel magic, a heavy dose of regular expressions and most importantly, AXLTools, we were able to process these “global find and replace” updates ‘auto magically’ in CUCM that consisted of 75 different DN ranges.  There were nearly 500 AXLTools “calls” used throughout the overall update process.  Each series of calls built on each other so having the various tools perform precisely and be 100% trustworthy was absolutely essential.  Given the amount of change that was being undertaken, the only logical backup plan was to perform a full system restore which of course was the least desirable by the CDW team and the customer alike.  As we audited the results along the way, we were reassured that our tools were performing as promised and that our attention to detail was paying off.

To help ensure 100% success, CDW extracted the customer’s CUCM environment and restored it in a secure lab at CDW so the entire process could be tested prior to the actual go live effort on the production system.  Another example of CDW leveraging it resources to benefit the customer experience.

Here is an excerpt from an email I wrote to our team regarding our effort for this project:

I’m near the end of my First Day of Service and we have had zero issues with anything number migration related.  2500 DNs – 1500 devices…no issues.

I’m not surprised because I have been using these tools for years and the caliber of folks working on them is second to none.  But from the eyes of the customer, this is nothing short of amazing.  The IT director was very anxious about the change to begin with and was even more so when we sat down to review the entire plan.  It become apparent what sounded small and simple as a bullet point on paper, was far from it.  His quote today was

“I have been dreading this day for 9 months (when they first received word from the parent organization of the new initiative).”   He hasn’t had one phone call today of something being wrong or broken – no pissed off user to deal with, nada.  His last comment today was “I’m not sure how the hell all that stuff you talked about worked, but I’m happy.”

I stressed to our development team that they have such a significant impact on not only our engineering team, but ultimately our customers as well.  They worked with me on updating our tools to actually do more than originally designed due to the specifics of the environment and were even able to improve the performance and efficiency of the tools so the overall time needed to complete the migration was as short as possible.

Here is the best part…this is an example of things that happen every day at CDW!

#PeopleWhoGetIT

3 thoughts on “How AXLTools Made a Scary Upgrade a Breeze

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