Cisco Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration
First Published: December 21, 2017
Last Updated: December 21, 2017
Cisco Preferred Architectures provide tested and recommended deployment models for specific market segments based on common use cases. They incorporate a subset of products from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud portfolio that is best suited for the targeted market segment and defined use cases. These deployment models are prescriptive, out-of-the-box, and built to scale with an organization as its business needs change. This prescriptive approach simplifies the integration of multiple system-level components and enables an organization to select the deployment model that best addresses its business needs.
Documentation for Preferred Architectures
The following types of Cisco documents describe and explain the Preferred Architectures:
Preferred Architecture (PA) Design Overview guides help customers and sales teams select the appropriate architecture based on an organization's business requirements; understand the products that are used within the architecture; and obtain general design best practices. These guides support pre-sales processes.
Solution Reference Network Design (SRND) guides provide detailed design options for Cisco Collaboration deployments. The SRND should be referenced when design requirements are outside the scope of Cisco Preferred Architectures.
In recent years, many new collaborative tools have been introduced to the market, enabling organizations to extend collaboration outside the walls of their businesses. Providing access to collaborative tools for employees outside the office is no longer a luxury; it is mandatory for businesses to stay relevant in today's market. Today's users expect immediate access to these tools from a wide variety of portable and mobile devices. Many of these same tools can be extended to customers and partners, helping strengthen these relationships.
Organizations realize the added value that collaboration applications bring to their businesses through increased employee productivity and enhanced customer relationships. Not long ago, interoperability among collaboration applications was sparse, and applications were difficult to deploy and use. Since then, significant advances have been made in the collaboration space to simplify deployment, improve interoperability, and enhance the overall user experience. Additionally, individuals have adopted a wide variety of smart phones, social media, and collaboration applications in their personal lives.
Organizations can now feel comfortable providing collaboration applications that employees will quickly adopt and that provide maximum value. These new collaboration tools enhance an organization's overall business processes, make its employees more productive, and open the door to new and innovative ways for communicating with business partners and customers. Today's collaboration solutions offer organizations the ability to integrate video, audio, and web participants into a single, unified meeting experience.
The Cisco Spark services are delivered through the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. Cisco Spark services minimize the infrastructure at customer premises. Cisco Spark is built to enable today's teams to move faster and deliver greater results by bringing everything and everyone together. Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) enables service providers to offer hosted unified communications (UC) and collaboration services to multiple independent customers by hosting UC applications in a partner data center.
The Cisco Preferred Architecture (PA) for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration covers the complete cloud based collaboration solution for deployment of up to 1,000 users. This PA is a blend of Cisco Collaboration Cloud and Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution provided from a partner data center. For this deployment Cisco Collaboration Cloud provides the collaboration services such as meetings, messaging, white board, and file sharing. The desk IP phone system capabilities for this deployment are provided through Cisco Unified Communications services hosted at Cisco HCS partner data centers. The PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration provides the following collaboration services as a part of this solution:
Cisco Collaboration cloud provides collaboration services such as messaging, meetings, and video collaboration using Cisco Spark application and room devices.
Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) enables service providers to offer collaboration services to multiple independent customers by hosting UC applications at a partner data center. For this deployment, Cisco HCS delivers IP telephony services while voicemail services are provided by the partner data center.
Cisco Spark Hybrid Services bridge the Cisco Collaboration Cloud with the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution to enable calling capabilities between both of them and to the PSTN.
Technology Use Cases
Organizations want to streamline their business processes, optimize employee productivity, and enhance relationships with partners and customers. The Cisco PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration delivers capabilities that enable organizations to realize immediate gains in productivity and enhanced relationships. Additionally, the following technology use cases offer organizations opportunities to develop new, advanced business processes that deliver even more value in these areas:
Consolidate Communications Infrastructure — Brings together voice, video, and data into a single IP network delivered from the cloud to simplify management and support effective communications.
Improved Project Management — Project managers can use Cisco Spark team spaces for project kick-off, follow-up, progress status, and reviews.
Customer Support Projects — Customer support teams can use Cisco Spark team spaces to share best practices and build a knowledge base on diverse topics.
Incorporate Video into Meetings — Improves communications, relationships, and productivity by making it easier to meet face-to-face over distance. Employees can join the Cisco Spark meeting from their Cisco Spark application running on a mobile device or video device.
Extend Telephony with Video — Facilitates face-to-face video communications directly from end-user phones or softphone applications.
Support Teleworkers and Branch Offices — Allows employees to work from multiple locations, whether from satellite offices, from home offices, or while traveling. Employees can even join meetings remotely using a web version of Cisco Spark through a browser.
Collaborate with External Organizations — Easily share information, interact in real time, and communicate using technologies beyond email and telephone.
Create Flexible Work Areas and Office Spaces — Scale office space and create work areas that foster employee inclusiveness, collaboration, innovation, and teamwork. Employees can also use Cisco Spark Board, which provides enhanced features such as wireless screen sharing, white board, and audio and video conferencing.
Additional information about Cisco Collaboration technologies and use cases is available on Cisco.com.
The Cisco PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration provides end-to-end collaboration targeted for deployments of up to 1,000 users. This architecture incorporates high availability for critical applications. The consistent user experience provided by the overall architecture facilitates quick user adoption. Additionally, the architecture supports an advanced set of collaboration services that extend to mobile workers, partners, and customers through the following key services:
Voice and high-definition video communications
Rich media conferencing
White boarding and content sharing
Enablement of mobile and remote workers
Cloud-based collaboration service management
Because of the adaptable nature of Cisco Spark application and room devices and their support for IP networks, this architecture enables an organization to use its current data network, the Internet, and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud to support messaging, voice and video calling, and meetings as well as content sharing and white boarding. The PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration provides a holistic approach for cloud-based collaboration services and service management to ensure the best possible user experience for deploying pervasive voice, video, and content sharing over managed and unmanaged networks.
The PA for Cisco Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, shown in Figure 2, provides highly available cloud services. These services extend easily to both headquarters and remote offices and mobile workers, providing availability of critical services even if communication to organizational locations is lost. Centralized cloud-based collaboration services also simplify management and administration of an organization's collaboration deployment.
In this PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, the collaboration services such meetings and messaging are provided through the Cisco Collaboration Cloud over the customer on-premises Internet connection. The messaging capability is provided through the Cisco Spark application running on Mac OSx, Windows, Apple iOS, Android, or a web browser. The Cisco Spark application enables one-to-one and team persistent messaging using virtual team spaces. Users can also share files, start a white boarding session, and start a video call using their Cisco Spark application. There are two types of cloud-based meeting capabilities that are offered through the collaboration cloud: Cisco Spark meetings or Cisco WebEx meetings. The central site, branch site, and remote users can join the meetings by using the Cisco Spark application running on a PC, Mac, or mobile device or by using Cisco Spark Room devices registered to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
The other core component of this architecture is the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), hosted at a Cisco Partner data center. Cisco HCS allows partners to host Cisco Unified Communications services such as IP telephony call control and voicemail services for multiple customers. The end-user desk IP phone installed at the central site or branch site registers with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) hosted at the Cisco HCS partner center, which provides calling capabilities including PSTN dialing.
The Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service integrates Cisco Collaboration Cloud with Cisco HCS to provide a unified and consistent user experience across the two separate platforms.
Figure 2 Cisco Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration
Table 1 lists the products in this architecture. For simplicity, products are grouped into modules to help categorize and define their roles. The content in this guide is organized in the same modules.
Table 1 Components of the Cisco Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration
Requirements related to bandwidth, high availability and redundancy, port numbers, and firewall traversal
The PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration ensures high availability for collaboration services because these cloud-based services are natively redundant by virtue of elastic compute and highly available service distribution within the cloud platform. The Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution partner ensures high availability by deploying redundant collaboration services in their data centers using the Cisco Unified Communications clustering capabilities.
If an instance of an application or service fails, cloud-based services and Cisco HCS services – such as endpoint registration, call processing, messaging, and many others – continue to operate on the remaining instance(s) of the application or service. This failover process is transparent to the end users.
In this PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, the following cloud services are deployed redundantly:
Cisco Spark Control Hub
Cisco Spark Messaging
Cisco Spark Hybrid Services such as Directory and Call services
Cisco Spark Meetings
Sizing for cloud services is typically not something that needs to be considered, given elastic compute and service replications. In some cases, on-premises sizing must be considered for Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service as provided by the on-premises Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Node. For more information, refer to https://support.ciscospark.com.
Details about the individual licenses for the endpoints and cloud components and services in the PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration are beyond the scope of this document. Information about Cisco Spark Flex Plan licensing is available at
Cisco Collaboration Cloud endpoints and software applications provide a wide range of features, functionality, and user experiences. Because Cisco endpoints range from low-cost, single-line phones and soft clients to presentation, white board, and multi-screen Cisco room systems, an organization can deploy the right variety of endpoints to meet users' needs (Figure 3). Additionally, these devices enable users to access multiple communication services such as:
Voice and video calling
Meetings and conferencing
Desktop and content sharing
Figure 3 Architecture for Endpoints
In this PA for the Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, the Cisco Spark Room devices (Table 3) and the Cisco Spark application (Table 4) running on laptops or mobile devices register to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. The endpoint registration process can be done through the Cisco Spark Control Hub, which is the management interface for Cisco Collaboration Cloud. Desk IP phone (Table 2) registration and calling capabilities are supported through the Cisco Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. Even though the end-user Cisco Spark application, video device, and desk IP phone in this deployment register to different platforms, they are integrated using Cisco Spark Hybrid Services and provide a unified and consistent experience across both platforms.
We recommend the endpoints listed in the following tables because they provide optimal features for this design. Cisco has a wide range of Collaboration Endpoints with various features and functionality that an organization can also use to address its business needs.
Table 2 Cisco IP Phones – Cisco Desk Endpoints
Cisco IP Phone 7800 Series
Cisco Unified CM hosted at Cisco HCS partner data center
Public space and general office use single-line and multi-line endpoints
Cisco IP Phone 7832
Cisco Unified CM hosted at Cisco HCS partner data center
Cloud IP conference phone
Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series
Cisco Unified CM hosted at Cisco HCS partner data center
General office use, multiple-line phone
Table 3 Cisco TelePresence and Video Endpoints, and Cisco Spark Room System
2.These devices can register to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud; but for this Preferred Architecture, these endpoints register to Cisco Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center.
3.Only the Cisco IP Phones 8845 and 8865 support video.
4.These devices can register to the Cisco Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center; but for this Preferred Architecture, these endpoints register to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
This Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration includes Cisco Collaboration Cloud meetings, which offer multi-participant audio and video conferencing with screen sharing capabilities.
There are two cloud-based meeting offerings:
Cisco Spark Meetings — Provides audio/video and content sharing capabilities for meetings, and supports scheduled and non-scheduled meetings. Cisco Spark Meetings is recommended for smaller meetings with the Cisco Spark application and room devices and for enhanced feature such as white boarding.
Cisco WebEx — Provides audio, video, and web conferencing as well as screen sharing capabilities. Cisco WebEx is recommended for larger meetings such as scheduled or non-scheduled video, audio-only, and web-based conferencing.
Table 6 further describes these two components for Cisco Collaboration Cloud meetings, and Table 7 compares their features and capabilities.
Cisco Collaboration Cloud supports three types of meetings:
Non-scheduled permanent meetings
– Static meeting
– Personal meeting
Table 8 describes these meeting types in more detail.
Table 8 Meeting Types Supported by Cisco Collaboration Cloud
Recommended for large and formal meetings
Scheduled before the meeting starts
Can be integrated with a cloud calendaring services such as Google Calendar
Can be integrated with an on-premises calendaring service such as Microsoft Exchange.
Non-scheduled permanent meeting
Always-on virtual meeting room
Randomly generated video dial-in URI
Always-on virtual meeting room
Belongs to an individual user
Permanent video dial-in URI.
This Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration uses the messaging and meeting services from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. For calling services, this PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration incorporates two main components:
The Cisco Spark application and room devices for this deployment (see Table 3 and Table 4) register to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. They use the calling capabilities from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud for on-network calling, and they use the PSTN gateway hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center for PSTN calling. (See Figure 4.)Cisco Spark Room devices as well as the Cisco Spark application running on laptops or mobile devices can use URI dialing to join collaboration meeting room (CMR) hosted meetings. If a Cisco Spark registered user initiates extension dialing to call a user registered to the Cisco Unified CM based in the Cisco HCS partner data center, Cisco Collaboration Cloud uses the Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service to fork the call to Unified CM through the Expressway-C and Expressway-E pair hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. If the Cisco Spark registered user initiates an off-network call, then the Cisco Collaboration Cloud routes the call to the Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. Unified CM, in turn, extends the call to the PSTN gateways hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. The Cisco Spark Control Hub is used to provision and manage the Cisco Spark devices. For more information on calling integrations to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud, see the section on Cisco Spark Hybrid Services.
Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) enables service providers to offer Cisco Unified Communications and Collaboration services to multiple independent customers by hosting UC applications in the partner data center. This architecture enables service providers to manage and deploy highly scalable and reliable collaboration services for mid-sized businesses as well as large enterprises.
For this architecture, all supported Cisco IP Phones (see Table 2) register with the Cisco Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. Cisco HCS enables service providers to offer voice, voicemail, and mobility solutions. The calling capabilities from Cisco HCS are used when an end user initiates on-network or off-network calls from an IP phone. For an on-network call, if the called user is not enabled for Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service, then Unified CM routes the call to the called user’s IP phone.
For an enterprise call, if the called user is enabled for Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service, then Unified CM directs the incoming call to a Cisco Spark Remote Device configured in Unified CM for the called user. Unified CM then routes that call to Cisco Collaboration Cloud through a media and signaling Expressway-C and Expressway-E pair. Upon receiving that call, Cisco Collaboration Cloud routes the call to the dialed end user's Cisco Spark application. If the end user dials an off-network call from their IP phone, then Unified CM routes the call directly to the PSTN gateway hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. For more information on this, refer to the section on Cisco Spark Hybrid Services.
For more information about Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution and offered services, refer to the latest Cisco HCS documentation available at
This PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration addresses persistent messaging requirements with the Cisco Spark Messaging service. Cisco Spark Messaging is the cloud-based persistent business messaging service within the Cisco Spark application. Messaging capabilities are accessible from any device and come standard with all paid levels of the service.
The Cisco Spark application is supported on the Mac OSx, Windows, Apple iOS, and Android operating systems. Cisco Spark enables collaboration spaces that bring your teams together in a place that makes it easy to keep people and work connected. Cisco Spark enables users to collaborate from desk devices and mobile devices or even a web browser, anywhere, anytime.
Cisco Spark collaboration spaces are multipurpose, fully searchable, and accessible from any device, anytime, anywhere. Users can send messages, share files, and make video calls using the Cisco Spark application. Messaging conversations can easily be elevated to a video call for a face-to-face meeting with one click. Communications and content associated with a team, project, or topic are easily organized and categorized. End-to-end encryption secures all messages and files sent within the application, and when needed, you can assign moderators to control access to the spaces.
Table 9 lists and describes the components of Cisco Spark Messaging in this architecture and the services they provide.
Table 9 Components for Cisco Spark Messaging
Cisco Spark Messaging
Cisco Spark Control Hub
Cisco Spark Control Hub allows the administrator to enable users for Cisco Spark Messaging entitlements.
Cisco Spark application
The Cisco Spark application is supported on Mac OSx, Windows, Apple iOS, and Android operating systems. The application allows users to create virtual team spaces to collaborate in an effective way.
Cisco Spark web version
The web version of Cisco Spark provides access to the same capabilities and services as the Cisco Spark application.
To deploy Cisco Spark Messaging, enable Cisco Spark Pro Pack for Cisco Spark Control Hub. The Pro Pack provides advanced security features such as mobile PIN enforcement, data retention policy definitions for the organization, mobile device management, and data loss prevention (DLP) compliance features.
Cisco Spark Hybrid Services
In this Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, Cisco Spark Hybrid Services are used to:
Simplify the user provisioning process by using the Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service to integrate the customer’s on-premises Microsoft Active Directory with the Common Identity Service hosted in the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
Integrate the Cisco Collaboration Cloud with Cisco Unified Communications services hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center, to enable the Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service calling capabilities.
Deploy the Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Node for media optimization. The Cisco Spark application and room devices can terminate media on-premises using the Hybrid Media Node instead of sending all media to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
Simplify the scheduling of meetings by using the Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service.
Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service
The Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service automatically synchronizes users between Microsoft Active Directory and Cisco Collaboration Cloud Common Identity Service (CIS). (See Figure 5.) This ensures that the user information is always current in Cisco Spark.
For administrators, the Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service simplifies not only the Cisco Spark on-boarding experience, but also the day-to-day user management. Without it, administrators have to manually add, delete, or edit user information in Cisco Spark every time they make a change in Microsoft Active Directory.
The Cisco Directory Connector server runs on a Microsoft Windows Server and must be actively joined to the Active Directory domain. (Refer to the latest version of the Deployment Guide for Cisco Directory Connector for version support information.) A read-only administrator account is used to authenticate the Directory Connector to the Windows domain.
Cisco Directory Connector is deployed on-premises, and it communicates and synchronizes over the enterprise network with Microsoft Active Directory. In turn, the Cisco Directory Connector pushes directory data and communicates over the Internet through the secure enterprise boundary and corporate firewall with the CIS and SSO service within the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
Directory Connector is configured to pull user information from the Microsoft Active Directory. User information can be pulled from the entire domain or from specific containers and organizational units. It is also possible to create LDAP filters if more granularity is needed.
Users log into the Cisco Spark application using their email address, which corresponds to the mail LDAP attribute with the default Directory Connector attribute mapping. Once provisioned for Cisco Spark Hybrid Services, each user receives an automatic email from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and is prompted to confirm their email address and specify a password.
Figure 5 Architecture for Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service
Table 10 lists and describes the components of the Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service in this architecture and the services they provide.
Table 10 Components for Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Directory Service
Directory Connector Management interface
This is the software that is installed on a trusted Microsoft Windows server. Using the software, you can run a synchronization to bring your Active Directory user accounts into the CIS, schedule and monitor synchronization status, and configure Directory Connector services.
Directory synchronization service
This service queries Microsoft Active Directory to retrieve users and groups to synchronize with the CIS.
Microsoft Active Directory
This is the full directory of corporate users and their attributes.
Install Cisco Directory Connector on a separate machine from Microsoft Active Directory Domain Service and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD DS/AD LDS).
Install the Directory Connector in a more restricted environment at the customer’s premises because with this deployment the system administrator will have more control over Directory Connector and user provisioning. Cisco Directory Connector software may alternatively be deployed at the Cisco HCS partner data center. The Cisco Directory Connector server must be part of the customer’s Microsoft Windows domain, and due to this requirement we recommend installing it at the customer’s premises. If you deploy Cisco Directory Connector server at the partner data center, then consult the partner regarding the required firewall ports that must be opened at the customer’s premises to allow the Directory Connector Windows Server host to join the customer’s Microsoft Windows domain.
If your network is behind a firewall, ensure that your Directory Connector server system has HTTPS (port 443) access to the Internet because Directory Connector communicates with the Cisco Collaboration Cloud using HTTPS on port 443. Because this is an outbound connection from the Cisco Directory Connector to the Internet, it does not require any inbound ports to be opened on the internal or external firewall.
Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service provides integration between Cisco Unified Communications call services hosted in the Cisco HCS data center and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. This Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration includes Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM), Cisco Expressway-C and Expressway-E, and the Expressway-C Connector Host installed in the Cisco HCS data center. (See Figure 6.) Integration between the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and the calling components located in the Cisco HCS data center enables the users for calling capabilities, including PSTN dialing.
Figure 6 Architecture for Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service
Table 11 lists the roles of the Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service components in this architecture and the services they provide.
Table 11 Components Hosted in the Cisco HCS Data Center for Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM)
Provides IP phone registration, call processing, and media resource management
Cisco Expressway-C Connector Host Call Connector
Provides integration between Cisco HCS hosted call processing services and Cisco Collaboration Cloud
Cisco Expressway-C and Expressway-E
Enables interoperability and firewall traversal with the Cisco Collaboration Cloud
Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR)
Provides public switched telephone network (PSTN) services for the end users
The integration between the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and the calling services hosted in the Cisco HCS data center enables following functionality:
Cisco Spark Call Service Aware makes the Cisco Collaboration Cloud aware of all active calls (for the users enabled for Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service) on the Cisco Unified CM hosted in the Cisco HCS partner data center. This enables capabilities such as zero-touch meetings, which allow two Cisco Spark users who are in an active call to share their desktops instantly without the need to set up a formal meeting. After the call is connected on their Unified CM registered IP phones, their one-to-one Cisco Spark Messaging space is moved to the top of their space list within their Cisco Spark application. If they do not have a one-to-one space, Cisco Spark instantly creates one. In either case, both users simply press a single button within their Cisco Spark application to share their desktop when the call is connected.
Call Service Connect
Call Service Connect connects the Cisco Collaboration Cloud with Cisco Unified CM so that they work together. Every Call Service Connect user requires a Cisco Spark remote device configured on Unified CM in order to fork call legs to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. This virtual Cisco Spark remote device is associated with the user's work directory number and links a user's Cisco Spark identity (Cisco Collaboration Cloud SIP URI) to the enterprise SIP identity.
Call Service Connect enables ringing of both Cisco Spark and Cisco Unified CM devices associated with the same user. In addition, it keeps the user experience consistent so that the Cisco Spark user can use the same dialing habits and have the same calling ID as on their Unified CM device, thus providing a unified call history.
Call Services Connect supports the following call flows:
If a user dials from an IP phone registered with Unified CM, Unified CM extends the call to the endpoint associated with the called user. Unified CM also uses the Cisco Spark Remote Device to fork the call through the Expressway-C and Expressway-E to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud over the partner Internet connection.
If a user dials from their Cisco Spark application, then the Cisco Collaboration Cloud extends the call to the called user’s Cisco Spark application and also forks the call through Expressway-C and Expressway-E to the Unified CM hosted in partner data center.
When the call reaches Cisco Unified CM, the system changes the calling party ID to match the Unified CM calling ID. Thus, when the call is delivered to the destination, the called user does not know if the call is coming from Cisco Spark or from an internal endpoint.
Cisco Unified CM dialing habits (including PSTN access codes) are preserved for Cisco Spark users.
Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service is an optional component of this Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration. It enables organizations to deploy an instance of Cisco Spark media processing on-premises. This means that Cisco Spark endpoints (room devices and applications) can terminate media on-premises instead of sending all media to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. The benefits of Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service include:
Improved call quality because media stays local, which reduces latency and packet loss
Reduced consumption of Internet bandwidth
Simplified on-premises deployment via Cisco Spark Control Hub
The central component of Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service is the Hybrid Media Node. Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service can be deployed on a virtual machine on a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server or on specifications-based hardware in the organization’s data center(s). (See the Cisco Spark Hybrid Services Data Sheet for more information.) The Hybrid Media Node registers to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud, and most management tasks are performed from the Cisco Spark Control Hub. The Cisco Spark Control Hub also provides automatic software updates and usage reports.
This PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration addresses these needs with the Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service architecture shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7 Architecture for Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service
Table 12 lists and describes the components of Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service in this architecture and the services they provide.
Table 12 Components for Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Node
Provides on-premises audio, video, and content processing capabilities for Cisco Spark Meetings
Cisco Spark Control Hub
Provides central administration for Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Nodes
If the customer chooses to use Hybrid Media Nodes for bandwidth savings within their premises, the Hybrid Media Nodes should be deployed in the customer’s corporate network. The nodes may be deployed in either the customer’s data center or the customer’s DMZ, but we recommend deploying them in the data center. Deploying Hybrid Media Nodes in customer’s premises keeps the media flowing within the customer’s network and it keeps external media out to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud because there is a cascaded link between the on-premises Hybrid Media Nodes.
Hybrid Media Nodes may also be deployed at the partner data center for ease of management.
Hybrid Media Nodes can be deployed in the largest campus sites such as the headquarters. This would enable the Hybrid Media Nodes to handle most of the internal media.
Hybrid Media Nodes require a number of open firewall ports to enable cloud management, signaling, and media traffic flow. For more information about the ports and protocols used by Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service, refer to the latest version of the Deployment Guide for Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service, available at
This PA for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration enables Google calendar integration through the Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service (Figure 8). This integration provides enhanced meeting invitation capabilities with automatic Cisco Spark space creation and Cisco WebEx Personal Meeting Room inclusion for scheduled meetings. Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service can also be deployed with an on-premises Microsoft Exchange server to enhance meeting capabilities. For more information on Microsoft Exchange integration, refer the Deployment Guide for Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service, available at
Figure 8 Architecture for Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service
Table 13 lists and describes the components of the Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service and the services they provide.
Table 13 Components for Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service
Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service with Google Calendar
Provides calendar integration for Cisco Spark, and enables @spark for automatic meeting space creation and @webex for automatic WebEx personal meeting room inclusion
Google Cloud Service
Google G Suite Organization
Provides cloud-based calendar services that enable Cisco Spark users to schedule Cisco Spark and WebEx meetings
The Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service provides two key features:
When @spark is added to the location field of a Google calendar invitation, Cisco Spark Hybrid Calendar Service creates a new Cisco Spark space with a name that matches the invitation subject. All users in the calendar invitation are added to the Cisco Spark space. This facilitates collaboration and allows the meeting organizer and attendees to communicate and share material prior to, during, and even after the meeting. If a calendar invitation includes a distribution list, users on the distribution list will not be added to the Cisco Spark space automatically; however, they will receive the meeting invitation with details on how to join the Cisco Spark space.
When @webex (or @webex: <site> for organizations with multiple WebEx sites) is added to the location field of a Google calendar invitation, Calendar Connector automatically populates the invitation with the user's WebEx personal meeting room information.
Google G Suite Organization with Google accounts is required for all the users in the organization.
A Cisco WebEx site (WBS31 and above) for @webex scheduling is required.
User email addresses should match exactly in Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx, and Google.
Cisco Spark Control Hub
Cisco Spark Control Hub is a single source for user provisioning, administration, analytics, management, and reporting for Cisco Collaboration Cloud services. (See Figure 9.) The Cisco Spark Control Hub enables partner and customer administrators to manage the entire Cisco Spark deployment effectively and easily. The Cisco Spark Control Hub also provides the management interface that allows integration between the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and the Hosted Collaboration Solution via the Cisco Spark Hybrid Services menu, which can be used to enable the following services:
Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service
Directory and calendar services
Cisco Spark Hybrid Call Service
Cisco Spark Control Hub provides analytics with a view into engagement, quality, and opportunity. Administrators have access to dashboards that display useful information for monitoring Cisco Spark, and they can use these reports to make highly informed business decisions about Cisco Spark usage and performance.
Figure 9 Architecture for Cisco Collaboration Cloud Management
Network Deployment Considerations
This Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration includes careful consideration of network, firewall, and bandwidth requirements.
Network and Firewall Considerations
The Cisco Spark application and room devices deployed at the customer’s premises always initiate an outbound connection, and there is no incoming connection from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. We recommend conducting a pre-deployment network assessment using the Cisco Spark Network Test available at https://mediatest.ciscospark.com/ in order to verify the network connectivity at both the port and protocol levels. The Cisco Spark Network Test is a web-based tool that runs from a WebRTC enabled browser and presents the results on screen.
For the best possible media quality, we recommend opening the firewall for inside initiated UDP traffic. Cisco Spark also supports TCP fallback or TLS fallback for media.
The Cisco Spark application and devices send two types of traffic:
HTTPS and Web Services Security (WSS) traffic. This traffic is protected by TLS.
Real-time media (audio, video, and content sharing) traffic. This is primarily SRTP, but it also includes STUN and other protocols necessary for media.
Bandwidth management is about providing the best possible end-to-end user experience for all media capable endpoints, clients, and applications in the Cisco Collaboration Cloud solution. Adequate bandwidth provisioning is a critical component in the success of cloud-based deployments because traffic goes over the Internet, where no Quality of Service (QoS) is defined. This section presents some bandwidth guidelines and examples to help with provisioning of the required bandwidth. Figure 10 shows the endpoint registration and network connectivity.
Figure 10 Network Deployment Considerations for Endpoint Registration
Cisco Spark Hybrid Services deployed from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud have the following bandwidth requirements:
This bandwidth is for the direct Internet connection from customer premises, and it is used mainly for following types of connections:
Call signaling and media traversal for Cisco Spark Room devices
Call signaling and media traversal for the Cisco Spark application running on laptops and mobile devices
However, if the Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Node is deployed for media optimization, then Internet bandwidth will not be used by all of the above types of connections. Refer to the Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service section for more detailed information.
This bandwidth is for the direct MPLS VPN link between the customer premises and the Cisco HCS partner data center. For this Preferred Architecture for Midmarket Cloud Collaboration, devices uses this bandwidth to register end-user IP phones to the Cisco Unified CM hosted at the Cisco HCS partner data center. The MPLS VPN bandwidth is used for the following types of connections:
Call signaling for the desk IP phones registered with the Cisco Unified CM at the Cisco HCS partner data center
Call signaling and media traversal if a Unified CM registered IP phone initiates a connection to the Cisco Collaboration Cloud through Expressway-C and Expressway-E
Deploy redundant Internet gateways for high availability.
Route network traffic to the Internet as close to the Cisco Spark end user and device as possible, in terms of geography and network topology.
Focus on addressing latency issues over bandwidth requirements. Above a minimum bandwidth level, bandwidth considerations are significant for Cisco Collaboration Cloud services.
Run the Cisco Spark Network Test tool from multiple ports and multiple locations of the same site to get accurate results regarding network readiness for deployment of cloud services.
If you are using proxy servers, then keep the proxy in a location that is close to your users and their Internet egress point, in terms of both geography and network topology.