Extracting log files from a Nortel BCM telephone system

Andrew Dancy by Andrew Dancy

NB. This article was originally written back in 2009 when there was no easy way to pull log files from a BCM system. Since then we have developed a free utility to pull log files from a BCM using the built-in CDR Pull technology, and we have updated the article accordingly.

We have recently had a number of enquiries from companies that are trying out our Call Detail Recording software for Nortel/Avaya BCM telecoms systems which we have produced as part of our 'labs' concept - providing simple, innovative, solutions to technical problems encountered by ourselves or our clients.

The BCM Call Logger software allows companies to view details of their incoming and outgoing calls by processing the log files generated from Nortel or Avaya BCM PABX systems. However a number of people have found they cannot find the log files in order to import them into the BCM Call Logger software. With that in mind, the rest of this post is a simple guide to how to extract Call Detail Recording log files from a Nortel BCM system. Our instructions assume that you can either set up an FTP server (for the CDR Push option) or have access to a machine that can run our CdrPuller.exe application on a regular basis (for the CDR Pull option)

The first and most important thing to note is that the instructions differ depending on the firmware version of your BCM. Older BCM models (in particular the BCM200 and BCM400 systems) started life running Windows NT Embedded. However, starting from firmware version 4 and onwards, Nortel changed to a Linux based firmware for their devices. All newer BCM models (such as the BCM50 or BCM450) come with the Linux based firmware version 4 (or greater) by default. Older models may have either the NT based firmware (version 3 or older) or the newer Linux based firmware (version 4 onwards) depending on when the system was last repaired or serviced.

If you are unsure which firmware version you have then the best guide is which tool you use to configure your BCM. If you use the browser-based configuration program called Configuration Manager then you probably have firmware 3 or older. If you use the Element Manager software to configure your BCM then you have firmware version 4 or newer.

If you have firmware prior to version 4 (some older BCM200/400 systems may still be on firmware prior to version 4)

You can use Configuration Manager to set up what is known as CDR Pull or CDR Push. CDR Pull requires a small client program to be run on a regular basis to 'pull' log files from the BCM and save them into a specified folder. CDR Push will tell the BCM to 'push' log files to an FTP server on a specified basis.

For either option go into Configuration Manager, expand the Services option, then expand Call Detail Recording.

In the Report Params section, set the format to Norstar and the type to All (best) or CLID (next best). If it is currently RealTime or Standard then you may only be able to get historical log data for incoming calls. Changing it to All will enable logging of both incoming and outgoing calls from now on.

In the Data File Transfer section set the transfer type to either 'Pull' (to use CDR Pull) or 'Push-Daily' (to use CDR Push). If you are using 'Push-Daily' you will also need to fill in your FTP server details. Once you've done this click the Configuration menu at the top and choose 'Transfer Immediately' to start FTPing all existing log data to the FTP server.

Alternatively, on some older BCMs you can access the individual log files from a hidden web page. Assuming your BCM has an IP address of 1.2.3.4 then you can go to http://1.2.3.4/download.html in your web browser. Log in (if your usual login doesn't work then try username ee_admin and password PlsChgMe! which seems to be a default on many BCM systems) . About half way down the page you will find a section called Call Detail Recording Files. The files you want are called Record.yyyymmddhhmmss and can be opened or downloaded directly from this page. You do not need the files that start Record.ccr.yyyymmdd or Record.mbx.yyyymmdd . You can also access other BCM system log files from here.

If you have firmware 4 or newer (all BCM50 and BCM450 models will have firmware 4 or newer, as will BCM200/400 systems that have been upgraded)

The process is similar to that for older firmware, but you use Element Manager to configure the CDR Push or CDR Pull information. Log on to Element Manager, then expand Configuration, then Telephony, then Call Detail Recording. Make sure the following are set:

Report Format - Norstar Report Type - Norstar All (best option) or Norstar CLID (next best)

Then click the Data File Transfer tab - on this screen you can configure the actual transfer options (choosing either 'Pull' for CDR Pull or 'Push - Daily' for CDR Push). As with above, if you choose 'Push - Daily' you will also need to fill in your FTP server details. I would suggest you leave the Compress Files before Transfer option unticked as that way you won't have to manually unzip any log files.

Once you have set all this up, if you are using 'Push - Daily' you can click the 'Push Now' button to start the transfer of any existing log files to the FTP server. Once you've got log files on the FTP server you can then use BCM Call Logger to process them.

There does not appear to be any equivalent hidden log download webpage for version 4 firmware that I have been able to find - if you know of one then please let us know.

Pulling log files from a BCM

Regardless of the BCM firmware version, if you have chosen to use CDR Pull to access log files you will need to use a small piece of software to handle the process of actually fetching the log files on a regular basis. BCM systems come with a free piece of Nortel software called CdrPull, but it is not particularly easy to use and cannot be automated.

So, we have developed a free utility that will use the CDR Pull technology to fetch BCM log files, but which can easily be automated in a batch file or scheduled task. This can either be used in conjunction with BCM Call Logger (to process the resulting log files) or with your own call analysis software.

The utility comes as part of the BCM Call Logger installation, or you can download a standalone ZIP file containing the application.

For help on how to run the program just enter "CdrPuller.exe /?" at a command prompt or view the readme.txt file in the standalone ZIP file download. In short, the utility is run as follows:

CdrPuller.exe [ip] [username] [password] [folder]

[ip] is the IP address or hostname of the BCM system, [username] and [password] are the logon details for the BCM (if you are not sure try using download for both the username and password), and [folder] is the path to a folder where the resulting log files should be stored.

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