Cloud Based PBX

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Jay69
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Cloud Based PBX

Post by Jay69 »

Calling all you PBX experts.

I work in a small 10-12 person engineering office. I’m the office computer hack, when it’s a slow engineering day I read up and maintain the file servers etc.

In 2008 I built and installed 2 PBX phone (master/backup) servers using nothing but VOIP/SIP trunks running open source software. Works well but it can be a thorn in my a$$ at times just like any other machine. We also have another office on the other side of the country with the same system and a VPN link, this part works like a champ. Can you tell I had lots of down time in 2008 :wink:

When we dumped the copper POTS lines we did give up a tad in quality/reliability but with the amount we saved/month it was crazy at the time.

Now for the question at hand, has anyone here tried a cloud based hosted PBX type of system? If so how did it work out?

It seems to me its becoming more and more common, at the time when I built the system hosted PBX systems were a little new, I think the tide maybe changing.

Thoughts?

Thanks

Jay
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein
BYUvol
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Re: Cloud Based PBX

Post by BYUvol »

I'm certainly no expert, but we ditched an expensive Cisco setup for this:

http://www.asterisk.org/

Our primary goal was to avoid the "maintenance" licenses that Cisco forces you into, with the savings each of our 50+ employees got their own personal external number. We are using all the same hardware, so the only difference is software. Not sure how you are defining cloud, we host the hardware at our data center, so we aren't using a SaaS type approach a la google voice, but there is the option for them to host it for you if you want a turn key solution.

We experienced no technical issues so far, and have been using it for about 10 months. The administration interface is much more intuitive than Cisco's administration, where they had 3 different administrative sites for different functionality. We do get bandwidth constrained at times, but it is infrequent and acceptable to us, this occurred with the Cisco system as well, so its not like asterisk had inferior QoS or anything like that.

We are glad we made the switch.
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Jay69
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Re: Cloud Based PBX

Post by Jay69 »

Asterisk is what we are really using as well, it just happens to be Trixbox. Trixbox I would say was one of the bigger players in the open source PBX. Today I would be looking at PBX in a flash or Asterisk Now etc.

As far as cloud based I guess what I mean is that the server is off site and I don't have to deal with it, I suppose it could be company owned and managed by some one else on site as well. The main point is I don't want to mess with it. I don't mind taking care of file servers/print servers but to many people want to stick their fingers in the PBX it seems. With asterisk you can make the phone do just about anything, guess I should not have showed what the system can do, thats my own fault :wink:
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein
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jasonlitka
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Re: Cloud Based PBX

Post by jasonlitka »

I'm previously a SwitchVox (now owned by Digium) user. It worked great when we were smaller (up to maybe 20 simultaneous calls) but beyond that we had real issues with scalability and support. They didn't sell any larger hardware so we were forced to find what worked ourselves. It didn't help that they stripped many common drivers out of the kernel... Finding working hardware aside (FYI, Dell R610 works like a champ as long as you order with the older PERC6 RAID card), their support also stunk. When we had problems we had no recourse except to wait for one of their techs to fix the problem, almost always having to escalate to a 2nd or 3rd tech with a call back, because it's a completely locked system. If you try and boot from a LiveCD and tinker with the files it comes up with a message claiming it's been tampered with and refuses to do anything until you reinstall and restore from a backup.

You can certainly migrate to an off-site system but be aware that this means that your internal office calls will now need to leave the building and then come back, potentially burning more bandwidth than you're prepared for, and you'll also get a lot less flexibility than you're used to with Trixbox.
Jason Litka
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Jay69
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Re: Cloud Based PBX

Post by Jay69 »

jasonlitka wrote: You can certainly migrate to an off-site system but be aware that this means that your internal office calls will now need to leave the building and then come back, potentially burning more bandwidth than you're prepared for, and you'll also get a lot less flexibility than you're used to with Trixbox.

The flexibility is the part that worries me somewhat with knowing what can be done.
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein
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jasonlitka
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Re: Cloud Based PBX

Post by jasonlitka »

Jay69 wrote:
jasonlitka wrote: You can certainly migrate to an off-site system but be aware that this means that your internal office calls will now need to leave the building and then come back, potentially burning more bandwidth than you're prepared for, and you'll also get a lot less flexibility than you're used to with Trixbox.

The flexibility is the part that worries me somewhat with knowing what can be done.
You can do pretty much anything you want with an Asterisk system. ANY other platform you migrate to, on-site or otherwise, will come up short if you just do a straight feature comparison. The system we bought to replace our SwitchVox platform was a 6-figure project and while it's a huge improvement in reliability and scalability, there are still "simple" features I miss having.
Jason Litka
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