Monthly Archives: January 2017

How to automatically extract data from an Avaya Communication Manager

You might call this post “the secret of my success” as a PBX admin for Avaya Communication Manager. Avaya provides some utilities for their techs and business partners, but customers don’t really have a lot of tools to easily extract data. In this post, I’ll show you how to extract ANYTHING from Avaya from a command line so it’s suitable for scripting. In my case, I parse the data further and generate a list of all stations and report of changes to my PBX every 15 minutes. Have you ever wondered who used to have extension 4438? How about that phone for the intern over the summer named “Bodkin Van Horn” that you deleted but now he has been hired and you want to give him the same extension? How about the question “how long has this extension been unplugged”?

Back in mid 00s, I wrote some PHP integrate with CM using telnet. Since I didn’t know much about PHP’s ANSI support, I ended up writing my own ANSI parser of the raw data. Anyway, it was great, but many customers don’t support telnet and want all communication to CM to be through ssh, which is reasonable, right?

Then I found this post from Benjamin Roy where he provided a perl module to do it through ssh. Also, he meticulously reverse-engineered Avaya’s OSSI protocol, which I think is impressive and sounds like fun. But I didn’t use OSSI; I just wanted a way to get data using ssh. So I took Ben’s code and tweaked it a little bit. It’s straight perl code – it’s not a module or anything like that. It does have dependencies on a couple other modules though. You do not need to be a perl developer to use this. It’s really easy. Here is a link to the script. Just save this as “av.pl”. Try to run it with “perl -c av.pl” (the -c means just check to make sure it compiles but do not run it). You might get some errors about missing modules. There are only three, and this is how you install them if you need to:

perl -MCPAN -e "install Expect"
perl -MCPAN -e "install Data::Dumper"
perl -MCPAN -e "install Term::VT102"

I should probably mention here – if you don’t have a Linux server in your environment, you should really get one. Your Virtual Machine team can make one for you – just about any distribution of Lunux will do and they take almost no resources. If you need to justify it, just say something like “utility server for PBX monitoring” or something like that.

Anyway, back to the script. Naturally, it needs to connect to your PBX, so create a little text file like “mypbx.txt” with the contents

10.10.40.89,5022,cmusername,Passw0rd,ssh

Obviously, replace the IP address, username, and password of your PBX.

And then create another file called “commands.txt” with the contents

list trunk
display station 3100

This can contain whatever commands you’d like. list reg, list station, list trunk, list locations, list measurements, stat cdr, etc. It should be any command that can be “paged” through, you know?

And then simply run this line

perl av.pl mypbx.txt commands.txt

The script will connect to the PBX defined in mypbx.txt, run the commands in commands.txt and output the results to STDOUT!

This is the core script to a bunch of stuff I automate in my PBXs. In a later post, I’ll show you how I parse the results with Perl and make use of the data.

I call this “the secret of my success” because I use this data to build a simple html page of all extensions in all of my PBXs every 15 minutes. I keep this page up all the time in a browser tab, which enables me to simply “control-f” for any name in the PBX and I have the extension number and the IP address of the station (or ‘unregistered’ if it’s unplugged). I can see unregistered ‘guest’ numbers, see the station’s history, etc. There’s a lot more I do with this information and I look forward to showing you.

Please let me know what you think! And if there’s anything I can do to help you get it working.

Lastly, if any of you need to do any telephone system testing (capacity, QA, DID number ports, call-flow, queuing, etc), please check out my post about CallsByCloud. If you sign up and use the promotion code ‘roger2015’, you’ll get $10 in credit and a 20% discount on the per-minute rate.

Also, if you hate unsolicited outbound telemarketing, consider subscribing to the Jolly Roger Telephone Company. Your telemarketers will entertain and delight you. Sample recordings here.

Thanks all!

Roger