Cisco Unified Communications Manager BAT
The Communications Manager has a tool that's called Bulk Administration Tool (BAT), that allows you to perform adds, updates, deletions and changes to large groups of devices. This can be IP phones, it could be users, could even be gateways. So it's a really good tool, I don't want you to just of it as a tool that we use to add phones in the beginning and they we're done with it. This will let you make massive modifications if necessary to a lot of different devices in your environment. We can export data, we can export the phones, users, gateways, and these files contain the data fields that are needed for configuration, such as if your gateway is going to modified all the parameters that are involved with your gateway. That export file can be modified then you re-import it, that's how you do the changes and updates and may be even deletions of information from your Communications Manager.
The key pieces that make up BAT, are a BAT template that's a comma-separated value. Easiest thing is use Excel, it's an excel spreadsheet opens up really nice and it has all kinds of macros, so you are going to want to make sure you enable macros when you do this. And again this will allow you add, update, and delete devices, records, automatically based on what information you put into this file. We can do things like work with Forced Authorization Codes, Client Matter Codes, call pickup groups, the users, maybe depopulate a region, or insert, delete, or export access lists, export and import configurations. I mean there is just a ton that we can do with our BAT tool. Another thing I thought of is, what if you are migrating from one Communications Manager solution to another and they are not compatible. Example the Microsoft solution moving into the Communications Manager version 8, which is Linux-based, you need to export those users, so that you have, and export your phones and everything, so you have all of that, and then you can import it to the new system that might be an option for why you are using this Bulk Administration Tool.
The BAT spreadsheet (it's called BAT.XLT), is that Excel spreadsheet with macros embedded into it. Highly recommend you use it, it's the template that's been designed for the Bulk Administration Tool. So when you use this, it'll have the appropriate fields, that are necessary for managing your phones, whether or not you have MAC addresses things of that nature. Your data file can be customized within this BAT XLT file, and it'll also go through and do some error checking, and it does the file conversion to the CSV format that is necessary. So it's nice in case you made a mistake on the phones and the phone buttons, we are going to go through a process where it will actually verify and make sure that you are not doing something that's going to cause a major problem in the system like change the phone button template on a 7940 phone to a 7960 template. So there's all kinds of safety mechanisms, built in to protect ourselves from ourselves and from making mistakes.
Bulk Provisioning Service
BAT jobs can be scheduled, and it's through the Bulk Provisioning Service (BPS) that you can set up or submit the jobs that you want to have happen and when. And the BPS is listed under the database service in the Service Activation Page. So BPS needs to be activated on the Communications Manager publisher, because that's where this is really taking place. And that bulk administration menu is visible only on the first node in your Communications Manager cluster. Again, the first node is the publisher and that's why.
We have some common phone attributes that are used when we want to add phones. And here is the list of parameters that you can set up:
- Device Name
- Directory Number
- Calling Search Space
- Device Pool
- Device Type
- Call Pickup Group
- LSC Status
- Device Protocol
- Security Profile
- Common Device Configuration
Everything from the device name, on down to the protocol and security profile. So this is the type of template that we want to apply with these phones. Well the same thing goes with your gateways and your user device profiles. So, before we create the BAT template, we want to make sure that our settings, like our device pool, our locations, our calling search space etc, have been configured in the Communications Manager so that can get pulled in when we add these devices.
When we want to insert a phone we create the CSV data file with the different values for each phone or user, then we associate the file format with our CSV data file. It's going to validate the phones with the user records, and again that's kind of double checking to make sure we haven't done anything crazy like apply the wrong templates in places, and then it'll insert the phones with the user records. So, this is just an example of one of the ways that we can import and add phones using BAT.
The BAT utility is so universally helpful all over the place, because just think about this, you could even export your information, save it in the CSV file and keep this as a backup. I would highly recommend that. Even if you are doing your disaster recovery processes and backing up other ways, this is just another format that allows you to have all this information and then later on be able to import it. Just think if your publisher went down and maybe you weren't able to access some of the tapes or however you store your backup information, you could quickly grab this file and import it. So exporting that CSV text file, it can be modified too with the text editor, so if you needed to make changes...
It just one of those utilities that I think is under utilized by a lot of us and I just want to make sure that you have a really good feeling about this utility in your environment and that you utilize it to its full potential. So you don't waste time making moves, adds, and changes or even just being able to export this information. And then you can actually merge records from bunches of different Communications Manager servers in to one database. So it just so helpful I can't stress it enough, it gets me excited to be able to have a utility outside of just a backup strategy to be able to manipulate the data before you bring it in. I mean that is just an awesome way to manage your telecommunications environment.