All the way back in 2015, Cisco announced Cisco Spark (now Cisco Webex Teams). Alongside the business messaging app, Cisco also announced Spark Room Devices (now known as Cisco Webex Devices), a new cloud service that allows customers to experience Cisco’s video solution on a subscription basis, without having to invest in the infrastructure, maintenance and heavy administration required by an on-premises video infrastructure.
However, when customers make the decision to register their video endpoints to the cloud, monitoring those endpoints often becomes an afterthought — but that’s a mistake.
In this post, I will discuss why it is important to monitor your endpoints, how recent Cisco capabilities enable endpoint monitoring, and what you or a partner can do to increase your service availability and quality through monitoring and proactive action.
Why Is Monitoring a Video Endpoint So Critical?
It (almost) goes without saying: After investing in a videoconferencing solution, you expect it to be ready for your users when they wish to use it. Whether it’s a branch meeting, an executive briefing or simply a team meeting, the user expects it to work 100 percent of the time. This expectation is the primary driver for endpoint monitoring with proactive alerts should an endpoint develop an issue. Armed with information from a monitoring platform, you can (ideally) fix an issue before a single meeting is affected, or at a minimum you can alert users to make other plans instead of putting them through the pain (and your IT department through the embarrassment) of a failed meeting.
What Issues Will Cisco Notify Me About?
Unfortunately, as of today, the only real “monitoring” option Cisco provides for cloud-registered video endpoints is a web-based “status page.” Anyone can sign up to receive alerts from Cisco’s status page, which I certainly recommend you do. Once you’ve signed up, Cisco will inform if you if there are any “global” issues.
But this leaves a gaping hole in an administrator’s ability to monitor endpoint availability and ensure a high-quality end-user experience. But you may say, “What about Cisco Webex Control Hub?” Webex Control Hub is, as the name implies, the central tool an administrator may use to configure and support their Webex-registered video endpoints.
And though Cisco Webex Control Hub will show an administrator per-endpoint status in near real time, it does not offer any notification or alerting of per-endpoint issues. Few IT departments can afford to put an employee in front of a laptop, continually refreshing their organization’s Webex Control Hub “devices” page.
Can I Get More Information from the Endpoint Itself?
Until recently, the answer to this question was no. But good news: a recent update to Webex Room and Desk Devices has opened up local access to the endpoint API. So, you can now query the endpoint by accessing this API and receive information including registration status, hardware health and many other useful data points.
CDW Managed Services has built an endpoint availability monitoring service on the back of these new API capabilities that provides customers with a 360-degree view of their environment including proactive notification and alerting of issues, filling that gaping hole in an enterprise’s visibility into its own environment.
Best of Both Worlds
In most environments, monitoring and managing Cisco video endpoints is essential. Consumption of cloud-based video services doesn’t change how critical these endpoints are – they’re the “face” of the service to end users. For customers wishing to take advantage of cloud registration yet retain the assurance of service availability and quality, reach out to your CDW account representative and ask about CDW Managed Services managing your Cisco Webex cloud-registered video endpoints.