Introducing Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
See the following sections:
•About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace
•About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace provides a rich-media conferencing solution that includes the following:
•Voice, web, and video-conferencing capabilities
•Integrated-network security that uses the existing telephony or IP-based infrastructure of your organization
For more information about Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, see the applicable Installation Planning Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/ps5664/ps5669/prod_installation_guides_list.html.
About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing provides real-time collaboration functionality to an organization's intranet and extranet, and integrates Cisco Unified MeetingPlace with a web server, thus providing users with a browser-based interface. Web Conferencing enables Windows, Mac, and UNIX users to schedule and attend conferences, access meeting materials, and collaborate on documents from common web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Apple Safari.
This section provides information about the following Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing concepts:
•Overview of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Components
•Benefits of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
•Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service
Overview of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Components
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing is implemented by using a combination of technologies, including the following:
•Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
•Internet Server Application Program Interface (ISAPI)
Table 1-1 describes the Web Conferencing components, which work with the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Audio Server system and the Cisco IPVC Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) to fulfill user requests and deliver functionality.
Table 1-1 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Components
Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service
Maintains a constant connection between the web server and the Audio Server system. Priority = Normal (8).
For more information, see the "Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service" section.
Cisco MeetingPlace Audio Service
Converts Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Voice (.mpv) files. Priority = Normal (8).
For more information, see the "About Audio Conversion" section on page 3-8.
Cisco MeetingPlace Conferencing Gateway
Auxiliary service that provides web-conferencing capability. Priority = High (13).
Cisco MeetingPlace Conferencing GCC
Auxiliary service that provides web-conferencing capability. Priority = Normal (8).
Cisco MeetingPlace Conferencing MCS
Auxiliary service that provides web-conferencing capability. Priority = Normal (8).
Cisco MeetingPlace Conversion Agent
Polls the SQL Server database for any Microsoft PowerPoint files and converts them to presentation slides. Priority = Normal (8).
Cisco MeetingPlace Replication Service
Synchronizes the local web server database with that of the Audio Server system. Priority = Low (4).
For more information, see the "About the Replication Service" section on page 3-3.
Cisco MeetingPlace Video Service (optional)
Provides video conference integration by communicating with Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Video Administration, the Audio Server system, and the web server.
Cisco MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
Priority = Normal (8).
All of these services are controlled by a master service called the Cisco MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Service. For information about this service, see the "About the Cisco MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Service" section on page 2-2.
End users participating in a web conference view and collaborate on documents in the meeting console or a T.120 application, such as NetMeeting or SunForum. For information about the meeting console, see the "About the Meeting Console" section on page 8-4.
Benefits of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
As part of an integrated rich-media conferencing solution, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing provides four key benefits, which are described in the following sections:
Web Conferencing includes a Java-based endpoint called the meeting console, which facilitates participation in Cisco Unified MeetingPlace web conferences. The meeting console is automatically loaded on the web browsers of users as soon as they join their meetings, and allows them to host and collaborate on shared documents. Users can also choose to participate through a T.120 endpoint, such as Microsoft NetMeeting, which is bundled with many Microsoft products.
The use of these common endpoints allows meeting attendees to view any document being shared by the host regardless of whether they have the applications installed on their PCs. For example, if the host shares an Excel spreadsheet, all attendees are able to view the shared spreadsheet. If the host enables collaboration of the shared document, all attendees can then take control of the shared application and modify its contents—regardless of whether they have Excel installed.
Web Conferencing takes advantage of server-based conferencing, which connects each user directly to the web server. To access a web conference, users either sign in through the Web Conferencing home page by using their user ID, user password, and meeting ID, or click the click-to-attend link in their meeting notification. Either action launches the meeting console, which connects users to their meeting. Because of server-based conferencing, users do not need to know the IP addresses of other PCs to connect.
Web Conferencing not only makes scheduling and attending meetings easy, but also increases the reliability of a meeting for the following reasons:
•The web server continues to host conferences even if an individual user's system crashes.
•Typically, the web server is a powerful system that can support a higher volume of transactions than a user's PC.
•You can locate the web server in the server room for redundant power backup.
•You can deploy multiple web servers in clusters to provide web conferencing load balancing and redundancy. For more information on load balancing, see Chapter 4 in the Installation and Upgrade Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace.
Web Conferencing provides increased network security when conducting web conferences with users outside your organization for the following reasons:
•Because the web server provides a central point of connection, you need only to provide inbound network access to one server rather than to all desktops in your organization.
•You can install Web Conferencing on an external web server with attend-only capability and deploy it in a publicly accessible network, such as in a demilitarized zone (DMZ). For more information on segmented meeting access deployments, see the "Configuring External Access to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing" chapter.
•Web Conferencing supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which allows the web server to send and receive encrypted data over your network. For more information on SSL, see the "How to Configure Secure Sockets Layer" section on page 5-10.
Locking down Microsoft web servers by using the Microsoft Lockdown Utility is an increasingly popular way to close potential security holes. The Cisco MCS operating system used with Web Conferencing is already locked down. If you are using a legacy, non-Cisco MCS server, see the release note or readme file for the latest Cisco MCS OS to identify supported security settings.
Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service
The Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service maintains a constant connection between the web server and the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Audio Server system. If you have Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Video Integration installed, the Agent Service also acts as a communicator between the Audio Server system and the Video Service.
The Agent Service processes all user-invoked transactions, including the following:
•Scheduling and attending meetings
•Managing profile information
•Requesting lists of meetings to which a user is invited
This section provides the following information:
•How Users Connect to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
•How Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Fulfills Requests
How Users Connect to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
When a meeting is scheduled to begin, the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service instructs the web engine to initiate the meeting. After the meeting is initiated, the meeting console is downloaded on user desktops, allowing them to connect to the web server.
The meeting console communicates with the web server through TCP port 1627, as shown in Figure 1-1. If this port is blocked due to a firewall, the Java client establishes a tunnel connection over HTTP through port 80. This process allows the meeting console to bypass firewall restrictions so that external users can participate in web conferences.
For more information on allowing external access to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace web conferences, see the "Configuring External Access to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing" chapter.
The web server also supports tunneling over HTTPS by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). For more information about SSL, see the "How to Configure Secure Sockets Layer" section on page 5-10.
Figure 1-1 How Users Communicate with CCisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
1. For external participants, the meeting console tunnels communication by using HTTP through port 80.
2. For internal participants using the meeting console, connection is made directly to the web server over TCP port 1627.
3. For internal participants using NetMeeting, a speed dial file (.cnf) is automatically downloaded that launches NetMeeting and connects it to the web server over TCP port 1503.
How Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Fulfills Requests
Figure 1-2 shows how Web Conferencing components work together to fulfill user requests.
Figure 1-2 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Components
1. Users submit requests to schedule meetings, change their profile, and join meetings.
2. ISAPI processes user requests for the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service and generates HTML pages to display to users.
3. The Agent Service manages all user requests from ISAPI and accomplishes the following:
–Passes the scheduling requests and profile updates to the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Audio Server system.
–Acts as a communication channel between the Audio Server system and the Video Service. For information about the Video Service, see the applicable Administration Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Video Integration, at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/ps5664/ps5669/prod_maintenance_guides_list.html.
–Retrieves and stores information in the MPWEB database.
–For more information about the Agent Service, see the "Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service" section.
4. The Conversion Agent polls the SQL Server database for any Microsoft PowerPoint files and converts them to presentation slides.
5. The Replication Service copies meeting materials from the Audio Server system and stores them on the web server. Pointers to the data are kept in an SQL Server database. The Replication Service also forwards voice recordings to the Audio Service for file conversion. For more information about the Replication Service, see the "About the Replication Service" section on page 3-3.
6. The Audio Service converts voice recordings and passes the converted files back to the Replication Service. For more information about the Audio Service, see the "About Audio Conversion" section on page 3-8.
The following sections describe particular terms of agreement that you should be aware of when configuring or using this product.
See the following sections:
•Terms for Single Sign On Software Integration
•Terms of Support for Single Sign On Software Integration
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing deployments that are customized beyond the built-in configuration capabilities of the product, or beyond the documented configuration settings, procedures, or instructions, are not supported by Cisco Systems. Examples of such customizations include, but are not limited to, the following: modifying web page templates, changing HTML or Javscript code, changing IIS running parameters or applying custom ASP pages or ISAPI filters, modifying SQL server configuration or authentication method, modifying Windows OS security through IPSec policies and NTFS ACL, and so on.
Terms for Single Sign On Software Integration
•Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) customers who implement SSO software integrations on their Cisco Unified MeetingPlace web servers do so at their own risk and are responsible for understanding the technical implementations and feasibility of SSO integrations on their systems.
•By allowing SSO software integrations, we do not claim support for any SSO software packages or vendors.
•SSO software integrations require proper configuration of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing systems through the Admin pages. If your SSO software integration requires a change in the Web Conferencing product source code, your SSO integration becomes an SSO customization, and we do not support customizations by either customers or any other parties.
•CPE customers who want to integrate SSO packages can contact Cisco Managed Services to obtain a Service Request to implement SSO. This service is offered as a convenience and does not change the scope of the SSO integration: this service is an integration and configuration of the Web Conferencing product, not a customization of the product code.
•Customers must first implement SSO software integrations on test or lab servers and verify that the integrated systems work, including Web Conferencing features and operations.
•Customers are responsible for ensuring stability of integrated Web Conferencing-SSO systems, including communicating with SSO software vendors for the following reasons:
–To obtain necessary fixes and support
–To troubleshoot functional problems and technical problems, including crashes triggered by the SSO package
•SSO software often includes a web-server extension, called the IIS ISAPI extension or filter. Web Conferencing installs and uses four IIS extensions. Any incompatibility between an SSO software extension and the Web Conferencing extensions can make IIS non-functional or unstable. Any crash of the SSO IIS extension can cause IIS to crash and can generate a full Web Conferencing outage, resulting in a full system restart, ending of in-progress meetings, and disconnecting of Web Conferencing users. Any memory leak in the SSO package or module can make IIS or the whole server unstable, as well.
•Although SSO software integration is productized for the Web Conferencing system, any changes in overall configuration, including Web Conferencing upgrades and SSO package upgrades, can potentially break integrated Web Conferencing-SSO systems.
Terms of Support for Single Sign On Software Integration
•Customers must inform Cisco TAC that their Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing servers have third-party SSO packages installed and configured with Web Conferencing when opening a service request for Web Conferencing, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace for Outlook, or Cisco Unified MeetingPlace for Lotus Notes.
•Customers must be able to provide SSO integration details upon request. Inability to provide details can result in Cisco TAC not being able to proceed with service requests.
•If a service request is about troubleshooting the SSO integration, Cisco TAC can review the logs and identify if the problem is on the SSO side or the Web Conferencing side. If the problem is on the SSO side, information will be provided to customers, so they can further troubleshoot with their SSO vendors.
•If the service request is about troubleshooting a Web Conferencing problem that does not seem to be connected to the SSO integration, Cisco TAC will proceed per the normal support process. If TAC discovers that the SSO integration plays a role in the problem, information will be provided to customers, so they can further troubleshoot with their SSO vendors.
•If Cisco TAC believes the problem is triggered by an SSO package, Cisco TAC can require customers to disable the SSO package to troubleshoot further.
•Microsoft Debug Diagnostic tool, also called DebugDiag, may be required for troubleshooting IIS crashes and memory leaks to determine if these problems are produced by the SSO package.