UCX Release 7.0 Update April 2022

This bulletin provides an update on our progress towards the next major software release planned for E-MetroTel UCX software.

The next major UCX software release will be designated UCX Release 7.0. The primary objective of this release is to transition the UCX to leverage the use of Oracle Linux version 8 as well as Asterisk 18 open source software.

April 2022 Release Content

Operating System Update

For the UCX Release 7, Oracle Linux 8 (OL8) was selected as the base operating system with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK).  OL8 with UEK is a Linux distribution provided by Oracle that is engineered to provide secure, scalable, and reliable solution for mission critical workloads. The end of support for OL8 is currently planned for July 2029.  As such, the operating system can provide a solid base for UCX software releases for an extended period of time.

Telephony Framework Update

For the UCX Release 7, Asterisk 18 was selected as the latest long time support (LTS) version of the Asterisk open source framework. This version provides many security and feature enhancements over the Asterisk 13 used by the previous UCX release. The end of support for Asterisk 18 is November 2025.  As such, this version can be used during the planned lifetime of UCX Release 7 with the option of eventually upgrading to the next LTS release of Asterisk.

Hardware Device Interface Update

The hardware device interface drivers used by the UCX software - Digium Asterisk Hardware Device Interface (DAHDI) - has been updated to the latest version DAHDI 3.1.0.

Browser Support

In previous UCX releases, the Google Chrome browser was recommended as the main supported browser to be used with the UCX Web-based Configuration Utility. With UCX Release 7, it can support a variety of current browsers without any limitations including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera, etc. The InfinityOne softphone is supported with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers.

Web-based Configuration Utility Update

UCX Release 7 includes several functionality enhancements in a refreshed Web-based Configuration Utility. The release introduces several new pages that allow administrators to perform various maintenance and/or troubleshooting tasks directly from the GUI. These new pages include:

  • Database Repair
  • Analog Trunk Tune-Up
  • Ping
  • Traceroute
  • View Changelog

UCX Release 7 also introduced a new page - Addon Packages - that greatly simplifies installation of all optional packages. This new GUI page replaces the System - Updates - Packages page that was used for this purpose in previous UCX releases.

Virtual Appliances

UCX Release 7 continues to support virtual appliances on the following virtualization platforms:

  • VMware
  • KVM
  • Hyper-V

A new set of UCX Release 7 images is provided for the x86_64 architecture for all these platforms.

A new UCX Release 7 AMI (Amazon Machine Image) is provided for easy deployment of UCX under Amazon Web Services with the full support of the latest Amazon instance types - which includes the very competitively priced general purpose instance types. For example, in Release 6.0 the operating system software was not able to operate properly with certain t3 storage offerings; UCX Release 7 is now able to operate when using a t3.small configuration in AWS.

Cloud Solutions

The new UCX Release 7 software can be used as a cloud system provided by E-MetroTel at very competitive prices and monthly payment options.

Using the E-MetroTel partner portal, a new UCX Release 7 cloud system can be launched in less than 5 minutes.

Terminals

In addition to a wide range of Nortel and Avaya terminals, the UCX Server adds support for Panasonic devices. After the initial limited support for Panasonic terminals introduced in UCX Release 6, the UCX Release 7 introduces full support for a number of Panasonic telephone sets. Panasonic digital phones can be used with UCX servers via the E-MetroTel Galaxy Express / Galaxy Expand devices with DSM16p cards. Panasonic IP phones can be used directly the same way as many other IP phones.

The following Panasonic telephone set types are supported:

  • KX-DT321
  • KX-DT343
  • KX-DT521
  • KX-DT543
  • KX-DT680
  • KX-T7630
  • KX-T7665
  • KX-T7667

Other models are planned but not supported in the initial release:

  • KX-DT333
  • KX-DT346
  • KX-DT546
  • KX-DT636

Upgrade of UCX Appliances

Due to the significant changes in the underlying operating system, UCX Release 7 does not offer in-place upgrades.

To upgrade to UCX Release 7, a new UCX software image must be installed on the storage device. In order to make this process relatively simple and at the same time reasonably fast, a new imaging tool - UCX Imager - is provided to resellers and customers. This tool comes in the form of a bootable USB flash drive with prepared software images for E-MetroTel UCX appliances.

The actual imaging process requires just 5 to 15 minutes.  The total time including preparation time (e.g. software update, backup, etc.), restoring of backup after reimaging, and the time to upgrade a typical UCX appliance (e.g., Galaxy Mini, Galaxy 250) is expected to be 1 hour or less.

See Galaxy Portfolio - Updating to UCX 7.0 for detailed instructions to upgrade your UCX system.

Factory Reset of UCX Appliances

The UCX Imager tool not only handles upgrades, but it also provides the ability to factory reset UCX appliances. Updating the UCX software image without carrying forward any previous configuration allows the device to be reset to a state as it would be shipped from the factory.

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