Installation and Upgrade Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Release 6.x
Introducing Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing
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Introducing Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

Table Of Contents

Introducing Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace

About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

Overview of Web Conferencing Components

Benefits of Web Conferencing

Common Endpoints

Server-Based Conferencing

Increased Reliability

Network Security

Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service

How Users Connect to Web Conferencing

How Web Conferencing Fulfills Requests

Terms of Use

Configuration Restrictions

Cisco Policy for Use of Third-Party Software

Terms for Single Sign On Software Integration

Terms of Support for Single Sign On Software Integration

New Feature and Enhancement Information


Introducing Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing


This chapter contains the following sections:

About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace

About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

Terms of Use

New Feature and Enhancement Information

About Cisco Unified MeetingPlace

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace provides a rich-media conferencing solution that includes the following:

Voice, web, and video-conferencing capabilities.

Centralized access.

Real-time collaboration.

Integrated-network security that uses the existing telephony or IP-based infrastructure of your organization.

For more information about Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, refer to the Installation Planning Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace.

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. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing enables Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX users to schedule and attend conferences, access meeting materials, and collaborate on documents from common web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.

For more information about Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing, refer to theConfiguration Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing.

This section provides information about the following Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing concepts:

Overview of Web Conferencing Components

Benefits of Web Conferencing

Overview of the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service

Overview of Web Conferencing Components

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing is implemented by using a combination of technologies, including the following:

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

JavaScript

Adobe Flash

Internet Server Application Program Interface (ISAPI)

Windows services

ASP.NET

Table 1-1 describes the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 

Component
Description

Cisco Unified 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 Unified MeetingPlace Audio Service

Converts Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Voice (.mpv) files. Priority = Normal (8).

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Connect Application Service

Performs meeting load balancing functions and sends commands and events from the meeting room to other Cisco Unified MeetingPlace components. Priority = Normal (8).

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Connect Gateway

Receives commands and events from the Agent Service and translates them into meeting room activity. Priority = Normal (8).

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Flash Media Administration Server

Auxiliary service that provides web-conferencing capability. Priority = Normal (8).

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Flash Media Server

Serves the web-conferencing meeting room client to end-users. Priority = Normal (8).

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Replication Service

Synchronizes the local web server database with that of the Audio Server system. Priority = Low (4).

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 Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

Priority = Normal (8).


All of these services are controlled by a master service called the Cisco MeetingPlace Web Conferencing Service.

Benefits of 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:

Common Endpoints

Server-Based Conferencing

Increased Reliability

Network Security

Common Endpoints

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing includes a Flash-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. Users can download the Cisco Unified Presenter Add-in to share their desktop or to upload and share documents and presentations from their desktop.

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.

Server-Based Conferencing

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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.

Increased Reliability

Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing not only makes scheduling and attending meetings easy, it 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 the "Installing Web Conferencing in a Load Balancing Configuration" chapter.)

Network Security

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 to provide inbound network access only 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).

Web Conferencing supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which allows the web server to send and receive encrypted data over your network.

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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 the 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 contains the following information:

How Users Connect to Web Conferencing

How Web Conferencing Fulfills Requests

How Users Connect to Web Conferencing

Users connect to the Web Conferencing home page to sign in, schedule or find meetings to attend, and update their profile settings. This connection uses the primary IP address (or hostname) configured on the Web Conferencing server and port 80.

When a meeting is scheduled to begin, the Cisco MeetingPlace Agent Service instructs the web engine to initiate the meeting. As users join the web component of the meeting, the Flash-based meeting console is downloaded on their desktops, allowing them to connect to the Flash Media Server running on the Web Conferencing system by using the secondary IP address (or hostname) configured on the server.

The meeting console communicates with the Flash Media Server on the Web Conferencing server through TCP port 1627, as shown in Figure 1-1. If this port is blocked due to a firewall, the Flash 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.

The web server also supports tunneling over HTTPS by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

Figure 1-1 How Users Communicate with Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing

1. For external participants, the meeting console tunnels communication by using HTTP through TCP port 80.

2. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing home page traffic (signing on, scheduling meetings, changing profile settings, etc.) for both internal and external participants uses port 80.

3. For internal participants using the meeting console, connection is made directly to the web server over TCP port 1627.

How Web Conferencing Fulfills Requests

Figure 1-2 shows how Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 for meeting scheduling, meeting details, and account update pages.

3. When users join a meeting, their meeting consoles connect to the Flash Media Server on the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing server.

4. 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.

Coordinates between the meeting room components (Connect Gateway, Connect Application Service, Flash Media Administration Server, and Flash Media Server) and the rest of the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace system.

Acts as a communication channel between the Audio Server system and the Video Service. For information about the Video Service, refer to the Administration Guide for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Video Integration.)

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.)

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.

6. The Audio Service converts voice recordings and passes the converted files back to the Replication Service.

Terms of Use

This section contains information on particular terms of agreement that you should be aware of when configuring or using this product:

Configuration Restrictions

Cisco Policy for Use of Third-Party Software

Terms for Single Sign On Software Integration

Terms of Support for Single Sign On Software Integration

Configuration Restrictions

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, and modifying Windows OS security through IPSec policies and NTFS ACL.

Cisco Policy for Use of Third-Party Software

The Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing documentation describes the system, end user, and other requirements for the use of Web Conferencing software. Failure to meet these requirements or the introduction of certain third-party products may interfere with the operation of the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing software, and may affect Cisco support for the Web Conferencing product.

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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing features and operations.

Customers are responsible for ensuring stability of integrated Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing installs and uses four IIS extensions. Any incompatibility between an SSO software extension and the Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing outage, resulting in a full system reboot, 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing system, any changes in overall configuration, including Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing upgrades and SSO package upgrades, can potentially break integrated Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing when opening a service request for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace for Microsoft 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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 Cisco Unified MeetingPlace 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.

New Feature and Enhancement Information

For information on new and changed functionality in Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing, refer to Release Notes for Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Web Conferencing at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/ps5664/ps5669/prod_release_notes_list.html.