NetCraftsmen’s Enterprise Directory Application

Author
William Bell
Vice President, Solutions and Products

Brief Background

I have built custom corporate directories before using the Cisco IP Phone SDK. For those who don’t know, the IP Phone SDK contains a bunch of different ASP (Classic ASP) and JSP applications. (IIRC most of these apps were developed by Berbee. The same folks that put together the original InformaCast).

Anyway, building a new application using Classic ASP didn’t seem like a good idea. So, this time around, I built it from scratch using ASP.NET and C#. Right now the app is called the “NetCraftsmen Enterprise Directory” but we may change that.

The App

Version 1.0 (actually, it is the third or fourth version but with a complete re-write) was built with the goal of providing the following key features:

Directory Lookup Rules

The ability to provide “Directory Lookup Rules” similar to what is found in CUCM. In a later release, I may even just absorb the Directory Lookup Rules from CUCM. For now, we provide a method via a local config. The main reason I went this route is to tie the lookup rules to different tenants on the system.

Multi-tenant Support

This was a feature from 1.0. Basically, we use the IP address to determine location and then apply dial rules based on the device’s location. This can come in handy when you have different abbreviated or off net dialing rules.

In a future release, I plan on adding some features from a previous version. Specifically, the ability to have different dialing rules for intra-cluster (i.e. inter-site) dialing rules. Perhaps adding in “filters” to allow some segmentation based on “who” is calling “whom”.

Multi-Directory

In previous “versions”, I used code which leveraged LDAP. This method was essentially based on the LDAP COM+ component Cisco provides in the SDK. I also had a separate “train” (if you will) that leveraged AXL/SOAP from CUCM.

In the new app, we added a few things. First, we have built in a way to have more than one directory and each directory can have more than one source. In the “dot zero” release, the sources can be a local directory cache and a CUCM cluster (via AXL/SOAP). The app blends the two sources into one. In the future, I expect to re-add an LDAP capability (rewritten, of course). I also plan to expand the app to allow for more than one CUCM cluster.

The Wrap

There are some other little bells and whistles, but nothing mind blowing (or even all that interesting?). I am thinking I may put in a few other features and possibly approach my fellow NetCraftsmen to see if we should package this app up for general availability. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first of its kind but I think we can add some interesting features that differentiate our offering.

If you think this would be something of interest, let me know.

6 responses to “NetCraftsmen’s Enterprise Directory Application

  1. Hi Bill,

    I just stumbled across this whilst doing some research on directories for a customer who is not satisfied with the Corporate Directory provided by Cisco.

    I have used the old multidirectory.asp from the SDK to search their AD but it is not ideal as I need to set up three separate URLs to search ipPhone, telephonenumber and mobiletelephone. What they ideally want is a single directory that returns all three contact numbers for a user – similar to the way that Personal Directory works.

    I guess that I could learn asp and javascript and modify the SDK script to do this but having little programming experience it is not something that would be easy for me and I would resent spending time learning a legacy technology.

    The other requirement that they have is to look up incoming PSTN numbers in a directory and display the name of the caller.

    I think that people would be willing to pay for a good quality directory app for CUCM. I have tried a couple of evals that claim to do this and they either have limitations (e.g. no support for E.164+ format) or are very expensive.

    Hope this helps.

    James

  2. James,

    Thanks for the comment, I really appreciate the feedback. Yeah, I wouldn’t spend time with the SDK and .ASP. Not that there is anything wrong with ASP, it is still very widely used. But, if you were going to start something new might as well try to be current.

    Processing the incoming PSTN call to display name would be interesting. We could look into building a TCL agent or something similar to pull directory information from the same app server feeding the phones. Avoiding duplication of information would be a key requirement.

    We have the E.164 handling down. The first version focused on building in digit manipulation functions akin to dial rules on UCM. Personally, I was always amused that directory lookup rules in UCM never worked with the Corporate Directory.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. Any more info on this app? I have been looking for something similar to the asp scripts in the sdk but want to use axl instead of ldap. I have seen some of your blogs and netpro post referencing this integration but no samples to build off of. You have anything you could release as a reference? Will this be a product that will be available for purchase?

  4. Hey Brent,

    I just saw the comment post. Thanks for the interest. I have replied to your earlier email on the topic and look forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,
    Bill (@ucguerrilla)

  5. Hi Bill,

    Brilliant article. Like Brent, I have also read your forum comments and other blogs. I’m looking into how we build a Multi-Phone-Directory for a private Multi-tenant environment. Each environment has their own Active Directory, and as per Cisco documentation we are building an AD LDS environment to be the common LDAP source. As for the phone directory, we were looking at the asp script in the SDK, which I have used before. But reading all your comments I would much rather go down a more modern path. Is this a product that we can purchase or trial? Do you have any further documentation, or a diagram that will help explain the connectivity.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  6. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the comment and the interest. Presently, the application has evolved beyond its original build but I still have not packaged it for direct resale or download as a standalone package.

    However, we do sell the solution as a custom integration package. Either on its own or as part of a Dial Plan customization/redesign package. The base package includes integration, configuration, customization, testing, and support services.

    If you would like a demo or more information, drop me a line at info@netcraftsmen.net. Just reference the UC Enterprise Directory Application and this blog entry and I can work with you on getting more information.

    Regards,
    Bill (@ucguerrilla)

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.

 

Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.

 

John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.