Internet2 Telepresence Interop Install Update: First Cisco TelePresence to H.323 Call Successful!
Earlier this month, our Internet2 sys admin Jeff Hagley traveled out to Kansas City to meet up with Chris Booth from SKC in order to complete the hands-on portion of the telepresence interop install. Jeff and Chris braved the high winds and arctic temperatures of the POP to slot in the blades, plug in the cables, and make everything reachable from more hospitable locations. We're happy to report that the install was a success, and we're now proceeding with configuration and shaking out bugs.
The primary infrastructure element here is a Cisco TelePresence MSE (Media Services Engine) 8000. This is a beast of a chassis, weighing in at 110 lbs. at nineteen rack units with a ten blade capacity. We're currently filling three of the blade slots, one with a supervisor blade, and two with the secret sauce of the operation: Cisco TelePresence Server 8710 blades. Clustered together, this will give us 32 ports of interoperable telepresence bridging capacity, with seven slots open for future expansion.
The other invaluable piece here is the collection of Cisco VCSs (Video Communication Servers) that we're deploying to replace our existing national hierarchy for the Global Dialing Scheme. GDS has provided the research and education community with a cohesive international dialing plan for H.323 for years, but we're hoping that by migrating to the VCS platform we can pave the way to integrate this scheme with URI dialing for SIP and E.164 dialing for Cisco TelePresence. We're working out the kinks as we bring everything online, so when we come out the other side we'll hopefully have a set of best practices for other institutions in our community that want to get hooked into this infrastructure.
We're also pleased to report that we had our first successful H.323 to Cisco TelePresence call this past week. Stay tuned for more updates as the install progresses.