Friday, April 13, 2012

Troubleshooting FindMe Alias Forbidden Error on Cisco VCS

I just wanted to dump a quick blog on using FindMe configurations on the Cisco Video Communications Server (VCS) Express Starter Kit. I was doing some testing with FindMe and realized pretty quickly that I may want to RTFM a little more. I thought the quick troubleshooting exercise may be of interest to someone out there in bitLand! 

The Issue

Quite simple. I was testing a call to Movi on my MBP from a Movi client on my iMac. Calls to this client used to work and then earlier today they stopped. I have been making a lot of changes to test out various configurations, so the cause was not immediately obvious (read: I could have botched multiple things!).

Clue #1
From the Movi client making the call, I see this error.

The errors says the call failed. More specifically, the call is being denied. That is an indication that the VCS is giving a definitive "no you didn't" (more formally known as a nACK).

Clue #2

When troubleshooting call setup issues on the VCS, I like to go to the search history logs first. Go to Status>Search History to display the entire search history. In my scenario, I am looking at the Status field in the search history log. I noticed that the status was "Forbidden". How tantalizing.

Clicking on the specific search entry can give you a little more detail. You can see from the following that the URI we were calling (wjb@laurel.cnclab.priv) was not found (Reason: Forbidden). Later on in the search record, you can see that the alias is a FindMe alias and there is a clue here. There are no resulting aliases from the FindMe search. Hmmm.


At this point there is obivously something going on with the FindMe alias. The first place that should be scrutinized is the user configuration. Use configurations are located under Maintenance>Login Accounts>User Accounts. In the user listing, pick the user with the FindMe ID that is being annoying (in our example: wjb@laurel.cnclab.priv ). In my case, I found that the device configurations on the admin page for this user look fine. So, I went to the "Edit User" link under "Configure devices and locations" and here is what I saw:

The issue is that there are no device aliases associated with the location (Location01 -- which is the default location). There are devices associated to the user (the Movi and EX60) but if you don't map them to the location, you are toast.

To resolve this issue, edit the location and configure the devices you want to call and how you want the VCS to handle call coverage. Remember to click on Save. Once this minor edit was finished, everything worked.

So, how did this happen...

I am all about trying to nail down root cause. Like I said in the intro section, calls to this device worked at some point. I found out pretty quickly that (a) you can't save a FindMe location without having at least one device selected and (b) when you create a new FindMe alias and you associate a device, that device is automatically added to the default location (Location01). So, that explains why things worked on initial provisioning but not what happened to cause things to go awry. 

I found indicates that a specific sequence of events is needed to break the process. If you had a device alias (e.g. wjb.movi@laurel.cnclab.priv) associated to a user and then you disassociated the device from the user, it is removed from any FindMe location assignment. That makes sense. However, if you were to re-associate the device to the FindMe alias it won't automatically be added to any location. Actually, this makes sense too (now that I know about it).

Nothing profound here, just a small lesson shared.

Thanks for reading. If you have time, post a comment!

1 comment:

  1. WOW, I have been trying to figure out WTH I did to make all our IDs fail. This was it...

    Thing to note also, E.164 calls worked even when FindMe didn't, that is what was making crazy.