I was amazed at the simplicity of configuring Outlook Voice Access (OVA) on Exchange Server 2007. You could be up and running with Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging in just a day.
Whatever the case may be, I will have to admit one fact: Microsoft has lived up to their ‘VOIP AS YOU ARE’ campaign. You practically don’t need any extra hardware as long as you have an IP telephony infrastructure in place – one that is not archaic, and you have a VOIP gateway that falls within the List of Supported IP Gateways for Exchange 2007.
Many VOIP hardware vendors have taken advantage of the release of the new Unified Messaging features in Exchange 2007, to push for upgrades and new installations of their own VOIP equipment/solutions. Some try to sell their own replacement for OCS (with voice integration), others try to bring add-ons or a replacement to the Office Communicator client. Some vendors even say that their hardware is necessary to "enable" the Exchange UM features. Others go a step ahead, and try to make an impression that its their hardware that’s doing the Voice access to email.
As far as configuration on your IP Gateway is concerned, the only thing you need to do to get OVA working is to configure the gateway to redirect the Subscriber Access Number (the phone number on which people dial in to OVA) to forward all calls to the IP Address of the Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging Server. In short, its like telling the telephony infra to just forward anything on the OVA phone number to the OVA server and stay put.
Here are the things that I had to do on Exchange Server 2007:
- Install Exchange Server 2007 UM role
- Create a UM Dial Plan
- Create a Unified Messaging Mailbox Policy based on the above dial plan.
- Create a UM IP Gateway, and set it to point to the IP Address of your VOIP Gateway
- Create a UM Hunt Group for the above UM IP Gateway
- Associate the UM Dial Plan with one or more Exchange UM Servers
- Enable Unified Messaging for one or more users
You don’t need to configure a UM Auto Attendant if you want to just enable Outlook Voice Access.
On our Mitel VOIP Gateway:
- Forward all calls incoming on the pilot number (our Subscriber Access Number extension) to the Exchange UM Server’s IP address.
Outlook Voice Access Rocks!
Getting the Exchange UM Test Phone to work
Preparing for Unified Messaging, Part 1
Preparing for Unified Messaging, Part 2
Preparing for Unified Messaging, Part 3
Preparing for Unified Messaging, Part 4