Survey: SMBs are Getting Serious about Information Protection

2017-07-27T00:01:10+00:00 June 30th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Symantec Study: SMBs are Getting Serious about Information ProtectionSymantec’s 2010 SMB Information Protection Survey found that small and midsized businesses are now making protecting their information their highest IT priority, as opposed to 15 months ago when a high percentage had failed to enact even the most basic safeguards.

SMBs surveyed rank data loss and cyber attacks as their top business risks, ahead of traditional criminal activity, natural disasters and terrorism. They are now spending an average of $51,000 on information protection, including computer security, backup recovery and archiving and disaster preparedness.

Of the SMBs surveyed, 74 percent are somewhat/extremely concerned about losing electronic information. In fact, 42 percent have lost confidential or proprietary information in the past. As a result, 100 percent have seen direct losses such as lost revenue or direct financial costs.

Lost devices is a big issue for SMBs. Almost two-thirds have lost devices such as laptops, smartphones or iPads in the past 12 months and 100 percent have at least some devices that have no password protection and cannot be remotely wiped of their data to protect their confidential business information if lost.

Cyber Attacks are a crucial threat to SMBs. Seventy-three percent of the respondents were victims of cyber attacks in the past year and 100 percent of those SMBs saw losses such as expensive downtime, loss of important corporate data as well as personally identifiable information of customers or employees.

Source: Symantec                                               For Details:

SpeechBridge for Switchvox:

2010-06-30T10:25:51+00:00 June 30th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Adding SpeechBridge speech recognition and text-to-speech solutions to Switchvox empowers customers and employees to gain access to important information and company resources using simple spoken commands. Learn how SpeechBridge can benefit your customers and help your organization sell more Switchvox!


  • Improve customer service
  • Comply with “hands free” cell phone laws
  • Reduce operating costs

SpeechBridge Solutions:

  • Custom speech-enabled IVRs
  • Speech-enabled Auto-attendants and Directories
  • 100% safe hands free access to email and calendar during “windshield” time

Incendonet’s SpeechBridge is a SIP-based, enterprise-grade, complete speech solution that we believe will be of substantial interest to businesses using Asterisk. It’s fast to deploy, easy to use and gives cost-effective Asterisk deployments the feel of much more expensive systems.” Said Rod Montgomery, Director of Product Management at Digium.

For more information go to

Source: Switchvox

Why You Need User Virtualization

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 30th, 2010|Uncategorized|

User virtualization offers IT shops more control, makes remote management easier and improves the overall experience for end-users.

Think about how you treat your users’ workspaces. When a problem occurs with their desktops or laptops, what do you do? Do you “rebuild” the computer to return it to a base configuration? When you’re forced to do that rebuild, do you save their personal items? Is that preservation a painful process, involving manually locating their personal data and uploading it to a remote file server?

Expand this situation beyond just the simple desktop. Do users’ workspaces automatically transfer to their laptops when they go out on the road? Are they present when users connect to a RemoteApp or a published desktop via Remote Desktop Services? Do the workspaces synchronize themselves into their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)-hosted virtual desktops?

For most of us, the unfortunate answer is no. Today’s technologies with Windows profiles give IT environments a limited set of tools for maintaining a user’s access mechanisms on roaming workspaces. Users find themselves repeatedly wasting productive time simply getting their workspaces arranged to their liking.

Personality and Control
The primary problem here is that the combination of local and roaming profiles no longer serves the needs of today’s business climate.

That’s why third-party companies are creating solutions for managing user states. Different than Windows profiles, these tools take a vastly different approach to delivering the users’ workspaces to whatever access mechanism they need. With buzzwords like “user state management,” “user workspace management” and “user virtualization,” among others, these add-on solution sets make sure users are always presented with their comfortable workspaces no matter how they connect.

User virtualization solutions often leverage an external database for storing workspace characteristics. By eliminating the transfer-the-entire-folder approach of Windows profiles in favor of a database-driven architecture, it’s possible to compose each workspace on-demand. Individual personality settings are delivered to the users’ connections as they’re demanded, as opposed to users waiting on profiles to download. Further, because the user state is virtualized outside the desktop, the solution can manage personality customizations across all simultaneous connections at once. Should a user make a desktop change in one session, that change can be seamlessly synchronized to every other session to maintain the comfortable workspace.

The ubiquity of user virtualization solutions also gives IT an incredible amount of control. When such a solution is always present at every user connection, you can centrally enforce IT and business policies at those connections. Access to applications can be limited, operating system functions can be locked down and network connections can be filtered. A user virtualization solution lets you control the workspace and, at the same time, enable a subset of settings to remain personalized — and, thus, comfortable — for each user.

Finally, user virtualization supports rapid desktop refresh. If you’ve ever been faced with replacing a user’s desktop, you know the pain of manually locating and storing the user’s personal data. With a user virtualization solution in place, refreshing that desktop requires little more than rebuilding it and asking the user to log in again.

You can find user virtualization solutions from a number of vendors today. AppSense, RES Software, Atlantis Computing, Tranxition and RingCube, among others, are all vendors with products in this space. While their services come at a cost, their productivity benefits and enhanced control often greatly outweigh their prices. And who wouldn’t mind a little extra comfort as they sit down to do their jobs?

  • By Greg Shields
    • 06/01/2010



VDI Performance Acceleration – Atlantis Computing’s ILIO

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 21st, 2010|Uncategorized|

VDI platforms use shared storage located centrally for VDI desktop images. However, Windows operating systems were designed to operate with a low latency dedicated local disk for every desktop. The Microsoft Windows family of operating systems is dependent on performing input/output (IO) intensive tasks such as file layout optimization, background defragmentation, antivirus scanning and virtual memory paging. However, in a VDI environment, these tasks result in placing a heavy tax on shared storage infrastructure as each user, application and desktop compete for limited IO capacity (measured in input/output per second-IOPS). Without adequate storage IOPS, applications and virtual machines take longer to boot and applications respond sluggishly, leaving users frustrated.

Atlantis ILIO is a revolutionary approach to deploying VDI that makes the Windows operating system perform well without massive investments in storage infrastructure. Atlantis ILIO boosts VDI desktop performance by transparently offloading IO intensive Windows operations from VDI shared storage. ILIO terminates operating system and application traffic on the same rack as the VDI servers before traffic hits the storage fabric. The result is a 10x performance increase for VDI desktops, which translates into faster VM boot times, logon, and overall application performance. Atlantis ILIO also eliminates VDI IO bottlenecks caused by boot storms, logon storms and antivirus scanning.

Source: Atlantis Computing

VMware Workstation 7 – What’s New

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 21st, 2010|Uncategorized|

Introducing VMware Workstation 7

Winner of more than 50 industry awards, VMware Workstation transforms the way technical professionals develop, test, demo, and deploy software. Innovative features help software developers, QA engineers, sales professionals, and IT administrators to reduce hardware cost, save time, minimize risk, and streamline tasks that save time and improve productivity.

Optimized for Windows 7

Run Windows 7 in a virtual machine with the industry’s first support for Windows Aero 3D graphics. Install 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 in a virtual machine even easier than on your physical PC. VMware Workstation 7 works with Flip 3D and Aero Peek to show live thumbnails of your virtual machines and is optimized for maximum performance when running on Windows 7 PCs.


Best 3D Graphics Just Got Better

 VMware Workstation was the first to support 3D graphics in virtualized environments and is now the first to support Windows Aero in Windows Vista and Windows 7 virtual machines. Run even more 3D applications with support for DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.13D graphics in Windows virtual machines.




Most Advanced Virtualization Platform

Create virtual machines with up to 8 virtual processors or 8 virtual cores and up to 32GB of memory per virtual machine. Driverless printing makes your PC printers automatically accessible to your Windows and Linux virtual machines—no configuration or drivers required. Smart card authentication enables you to dedicate a Smart Card reader to a virtual machines or share access.

Features Professionals Cannot Live Without

  • Better than Windows XP Mode, you can run Windows XP with advanced 3D graphics, faster performance, and tighter integration with Unity, shared folders and drag and drop convenience.
  • Install and run VMware vSphere 4 and VMware ESXi in a virtual machine
  • New IDE integrations for the SpringSource Tools Suite and Eclipse IDE for C/C++
  • Replay debugging is now easier and faster
  • Remote Replay Debugging makes it easier to share virtual machine recordings for analysis

More Refined Than Ever

Protect from Prying Eyes
Protect your virtual machines from prying eyes with 256-bit AES encryption.Printing that Just Works
Driver-less printing makes your PC printers automatically accessible to your Windows and Linux VMs—no configuration or drivers required. Your PC’s default printer even shows up as the default, too.

Go Back in Time
Buggy applications, hardware failures, viruses and other malware do not give you fair warning to take a manual snapshot. AutoProtect luckily automatically takes snapshots at set intervals, protecting you from unexpected bumps in the road, making it easy to go back in time to when things were good.

Free Up System Resources
Pause a virtual machine to free up CPU resources for use by other running virtual machines or demanding applications.

What’s New in VMware Workstation 7.1

  • Support for 8 virtual processors (or 8 virtual cores) and 2 TB virtual disks.
  • Support for OpenGL 2.1 for Windows Vista and Windows 7 guests.
  • Greatly improved DirectX 9.0 graphics performance for Windows Vista and Windows 7 guests. Up to 2x faster than Workstation 7.
  • Launch virtualized applications directly from the Windows 7 taskbar to create a seamless experience between applications in your virtual machines and the desktop.
  • Optimized performance for Intel’s Core i3, i5, i7 processor family for faster virtual machine encryption and decryption.
  • Support for more Host and Guest Operating Systems, including: Hosts: Windows 2008 R2, Ubuntu 10.04, RHEL 5.4, and more Guests: Fedora 12, Ubuntu 10.04, RHEL 5.4, SEL 11 SP1, and more.
  • Now includes built in Automatic Updates feature to check, download, and install VMware Workstation updates.
  • Ability to import and export Open Virtualization Format (OVF 1.0) packaged virtual machines and upload directly to VMware vSphere, the industry’s best platform for building cloud infrastructures.


15 Reasons to Consider Virtualization

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 17th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Virtualization is a computer environment, which allows multiple “virtual machines” to reside and run concurrently on a single computer hardware platform.

A virtual machine is similar to a server, but instead of additional hardware it is software. In essence, it is the ability to separate hardware from a single operating system, thus providing better IT resource utilization, greater application flexibility and hardware independence.

By allowing several virtual machines with multiple operating systems to run in isolation — basically adjacent to each other on the same physical hardware — each individual “virtual machine” has in essence its own set of virtual hardware. The virtual operating system detects a controlled, normal, consistent group of hardware regardless of the tangible hardware components.

In addition, virtualization will control the CPU usage, memory and storage of the “virtual machines” and allow one operating system to migrate from one machine to another. These “virtual machines” are encompassed into files; these files are quickly saved, copied and migrated to another “virtual machine” thus providing zero downtime maintenance and controlled workload consolidation.

Saving Time and Cutting Down Costs Are Just the Beginning

Horizontal scaling or decentralization of data centers over the past several years have been mission intensive because centralized servers were viewed as too expensive to acquire and maintain. Subsequently, applications were moved from a large shared server to their own individual machine.

Although, decentralization aided in the constant maintenance of each application and improved security by isolating one system from another on the network, it also increased the expense of power consumption, large footprint requirements and higher management efforts.

According to “… these areas have been known to account for up to $10,000 in annual maintenance cost per machine and decrease the efficiency of each machine by 85% due to idle time.”

The long and the short of it is: virtualization is a mid-point between centralized and decentralized environments. You no longer need to purchase a separate piece of hardware for one application. If each application is provided its own operating environment on a single piece of hardware you reap the benefits of security and stability, while taking advantage of the hardware resource.

Also, virtual machines are isolated from the host; so if one virtual machine crashes, all the other environments remain unaffected. Data does not leak across virtual machines and applications can communicate, provided there is a configured network connection. The virtual machine is saved as a single entity or file, which provides easy backup, copies and moves.

Why Use Virtualization? Let Me Count The Ways …

Since virtualization detangles the operating system from the hardware, there are several important reasons to take into account as to why you would want to use virtualization:

  1. Data center consolidation and decreased power consumption

  3. Simplified disaster recovery solutions

  5. The ability to run Windows, Solaris, Linux and Netware operating systems and applications concurrently on the same server

  7. Increased CPU utilization from 5-15% to 60-80%

  9. The ability to move a “virtual machine” from one physical server to another without reconfiguring, which is beneficial when migrating to new hardware when the existing hardware is out-of-date or just fails

  11. The isolation of each “virtual machine” provides better security by isolating one system from another on the network; if one “virtual machine” crashes it does not affect the other environments

  13. The ability to capture (take a snapshot) the entire state of a “virtual machine” and rollback to that configuration, this is ideal for testing and training environments

  15. The ability to obtain centralized management of IT infrastructure

  17. A “virtual machine” can run on any x86 server

  19. It can access all physical host hardware

  21. Re-host legacy operating systems, Windows NT server 4.0 and Windows 2000 on new hardware and operating system

  23. The ability to designate multiple “virtual machines” as a team where administrators can power on and off, suspend or resume as a single object

  25. Provides the ability to simulate hardware; it can mount an ISO file as a CD-ROM and .vmdk files as hard disks

  27. It can configure network adaptor drivers to use NAT through the host machine as opposed to bridging which would require an IP address for each machine on the network

  29. Allow the testing of live CD’s without first burning them onto disks or having to reboot the computer

The time for virtualization has come and the possibilities are endless.

From server consolidation and containment, minimized downtime, ease of recovery, elegant solutions to many security problems — in a testing and development environment each developer can have their own virtual machine, isolated from other developers’ codes and production environments.

For the new age data centers virtualization is definitely to be the way to go.


Server Virtualization- Under the Hood

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 9th, 2010|Uncategorized|

In today’s complex IT environments, server virtualization simply makes sense. Redundant server hardware can rapidly fill enterprise datacenters to capacity; each new purchase drives up power and cooling costs even as it saps the bottom line. Dividing physical servers into virtual servers is one way to restore sanity and keep IT expenditures under control.

With virtualization, you can dynamically fire up and take down virtual servers (also known as virtual machines), each of which basically fools an operating system (and any applications that run on top of it) into thinking the virtual machine is actual hardware. Running multiple virtual machines can fully exploit a physical server’s compute potential — and provide a rapid response to shifting datacenter demands.

The concept of virtualization is not new. As far back as the 1970s, mainframe computers have been running multiple instances of an operating system at the same time, each independent of the others. It’s only recently, however, that software and hardware advances have made virtualization possible on industry-standard, commodity servers.

In fact, today’s datacenter managers have a dizzying array of virtualization solutions to choose from. Some are proprietary, others are open source. For the most part, each will be based on one of three fundamental technologies; which one will produce the best results depends on the specific workloads to be virtualized and their operational priorities.

Full virtualization
The most popular method of virtualization uses software called a hypervisor to create a layer of abstraction between virtual servers and the underlying hardware. VMware and Microsoft Virtual PC are two commercial examples of this approach, whereas KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) is an open source offering for Linux.

The hypervisor traps CPU instructions and mediates access to hardware controllers and peripherals. As a result, full virtualization allows practically any OS to be installed on a virtual server without modification, and without being aware that it is running in a virtualized environment. The main drawback is the processor overhead imposed by the hypervisor, which is small but significant.

In a fully virtualized environment, the hypervisor runs on the bare hardware and serves as the host OS. Virtual servers that are managed by the hypervisor are said to be running guest OSes.

Full virtualization is processor-intensive because of the demands placed on the hypervisor to manage the various virtual servers and keep them independent of one another. One way to reduce this burden is to modify each guest OS so that it is aware it is running in a virtualized environment and can cooperate with the hypervisor. This approach is known as para-virtualization.

Xen is one example of an open source para-virtualization technology. Before an OS can run as a virtual server on the Xen hypervisor, it must incorporate specific changes at the kernel level. Because of this, Xen works well for BSD, Linux, Solaris, and other open source operating systems, but is unsuitable for virtualizing proprietary systems, such as Windows, which cannot be modified.

The advantage of para-virtualization is performance. Para-virtualized servers, working in conjunction with the hypervisor, are nearly as responsive as unvirtualized servers. The gains over full virtualization are attractive enough that both Microsoft and VMware are working on para-virtualization technologies to complement their offerings.

OS-level virtualization
Still another way to achieve virtualization is to build in the capability for virtual servers at the OS level. Solaris Containers are an example of this, and Virtuozzo/OpenVZ does something similar for Linux.

With OS-level virtualization, there is no separate hypervisor layer. Instead, the host OS itself is responsible for dividing hardware resources among multiple virtual servers and keeping the servers independent of one another. The obvious distinction is that with OS-level virtualization all the virtual servers must run the same OS (though each instance has its own applications and user accounts).

What OS-level virtualization loses in terms of flexibility, it gains in native-speed performance. In addition, an architecture that uses a single, standard OS across all the virtual servers can be easier to manage than a more heterogeneous environment.

Easier but harder
Unlike mainframes, PC hardware wasn’t designed with virtualization in mind — software alone had to shoulder the burden, until recently. With the latest generation of x86 processors, AMD and Intel have added support for virtualization at the CPU level for the first time.

Unfortunately, the two companies’ technologies were developed independently, which means they are not code-compatible, although they offer similar benefits. By taking responsibility for managing virtual server access to I/O channels and hardware resources, hardware virtualization support relieves the hypervisor of its most demanding babysitting chores. In addition to improving performance, operating systems can run unmodified in para-virtualized environments, including Windows.

CPU-level virtualization doesn’t kick in automatically. Virtualization software has to be written to specifically support it. Because the benefits of these technologies are so compelling, however, virtualization software of all types is expected to support them as a matter of course.

A virtual toolbox
Each method of virtualization has its advantages, depending on the situation. A group of servers all based on the same operating platform would be a good candidate for consolidation via OS-level virtualization, but the other technologies have benefits as well.

Para-virtualization represents the best of both worlds, especially when deployed in conjunction with virtualization-aware processors. It offers good performance coupled with the capability of running a heterogeneous mix of guest operating systems.

Full virtualization takes the greatest performance hit of the three methods, but it offers the advantage of completely isolating the guest OSes from each other and from the host OS. It is a good candidate for software quality assurance and testing, in addition to supporting the widest possible variety of guest OSes.

Full virtualization solutions offer other unique capabilities. For example, they can take “snapshots” of virtual servers to preserve their state and aid disaster recovery. These virtual server images can be used to provision new server instances quickly, and a growing number of software companies have even begun to offer evaluation versions of their products as downloadable, prepackaged virtual server images.

It’s important to remember that virtual servers require ongoing support and maintenance, just like physical ones. The increasing popularity of server virtualization has fostered a burgeoning market of third-party tools ranging from physical-to-virtual migration utilities to virtualization-oriented versions of major systems management consoles, all aimed at easing the transition from a traditional IT environment to an efficient, cost-effective virtualized one.


Differences between Asterisk and Switchvox Phone Systems

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 9th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Asterisk or Switchvox?

Digium is the creator and primary sponsor of the Asterisk project.  Asterisk is an open source communications engine that transforms commodity computers into powerful communications servers.  Asterisk is free.

Digium also makes and sells Switchvox, a turnkey unified communications system (IP PBX) based on Asterisk.  Switchvox is far less expensive than competitive IP PBX and UC systems based on proprietary technologies, but it is not free.

Users and customers frequently asked why Digium offers both the free-and-open Asterisk engine and the commercial Switchvox solution.  The answer is simple: while both products fit into the larger universe of telecommunications technologies, they have very different purposes and are geared towards very different audiences.

Asterisk is built by and for communication systems developers.  The open source project began in 1999 when Mark Spencer released the original Asterisk source code and began accepting submissions from a growing community of users.  The resulting product is an engine that handles all of the low-level details of initiating, maintaining and manipulating real-time media streams (calls) between endpoints (phones).  Since the initial release it’s been tested and refined by a community of more than 65,000 developers and integrators in 170 countries around the world.

Asterisk is to telephony what the Apache server is to web applications: essentially the exquisitely complex plumbing on which other applications are built.  Just as a web server does very little without web applications, a telephony server does nothing without telephony applications.  Web applications can be as simple as single static HTML page or as complex as Facebook or Google.  Likewise telephony applications can be very simple scripts or hugely complex suites of application software.

Low-level engines like Asterisk and Apache are extremely powerful precisely because they have no fixed function or specific purpose set by their creators.  The functions to which they are ultimately applied are determined not by the creators (the developers of the Asterisk and Apache development teams) but by application developers.

Application developers take engine-level components like Asterisk and Apache and build on top of them.  These developers craft purpose-built solutions that implement a specific set of functions.  Asterisk application developers write programs that make Asterisk behave as a PBX or as VoIP gateway or as a dialer or virtually an other type of telecom apparatus.

Some Asterisk applications are simple and use little more than the core Asterisk engine, a few configuration files and some scripts written in Asterisk’s Dialplan language.  More advanced Asterisk applications connect Asterisk with databases, web services and other external resources.  Finally, there are application suites that interconnect Asterisk with many other applications in a complex web of interactions.  These complex aggregate solutions do far more than could be done by Asterisk alone.  Digium’s Switchvox phone system is a perfect example of this class of application.

Where Asterisk is an engine, Switchvox is a complete vehicle.  The Switchvox development team has spent the past six years creating a powerful unified communications system that anyone with a minimum of computer experience can manage.  Where Asterisk is built for telecom developers, Switchvox is built for small and mid-sized businesses that need a powerful, cost effective phone system.

The Case For Switchvox


Digium’s line of Switchvox IP PBX systems make unified communications capabilities available to small and medium businesses.  Switchvox is administered through an easy to use graphical user interface (GUI) rather than raw configuration files and custom scripts.  Switchvox includes all of the standard features of phone system plus unified communication capabilities like advanced voice messaging, instant messaging, desktop fax, drag/drop call control, multi-party conferencing and advanced IVR.  Features that would cost thousands to bolt onto a traditional phone system.

With raw Asterisk, the process of configuring phones is entirely manual.  Each phone must be independently set up by the system administrator.  Switchvox automatically detects and configures phones, making it easy to deploy and manage users.  Switchvox also detects and configures Digium interface cards, making it easy to connect to the PSTN.  Setting up SIP trunks and tie-lines to other VoIP systems is even easier.

So who should really pick Switchvox instead of Asterisk?  People who aren’t telecom gurus who need a powerful, easy to install, easy to maintain, reasonably priced phone system for up to 400 users.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s entirely possible to create a powerful PBX system using raw Asterisk.  The major drawbacks to running Asterisk as a PBX are the deployment time and maintainability.  Building an IP PBX out of raw Asterisk requires some fairly advanced technical skills, including a good working knowledge of IP networking, Linux/Unix system administration, traditional telephony and script programming.  Even those who are fully versed in all four of these disciplines will need to overcome something of a learning curve to create a working system.  Once the system is up and running you will need someone on staff (or at least on call) who knows how the system works and how to handle any moves, adds or changes.

Digium’s flagship Switchvox SMB system (with all the bells and whistles you can imagine) starts at only $3600.  Our basic SOHO package is only $1600.  If you’re still tempted to use Asterisk, that’s cool but first do this:  Divide $1600 by what you think an hour of your time is worth.  Let’s use $50/hour as an example.  $1600 / $50 = 32 hours.  If you can learn enough Asterisk to build your own solution in 32 hours or less, go for it.  If not, take a good look at Switchvox.

The Case For Asterisk

Let’s go back to the engine/vehicle metaphor.  Asterisk is an engine.  It’s powerful.  It’s flexible.  It has enormous potential.  What it requires is a skilled engineer (or even a skilled shade-tree mechanic) who can take the engine and build it into a vehicle.  If you are creating a product or a custom solution that requires integrated voice communications, Asterisk is exactly what you need.

Let’s take the product scenario first.  If you want to build a conferencing server that connects to both VoIP and PSTN networks, Asterisk is a great starting point.  Asterisk has all kinds of features that make multi-party conferencing really, really easy.  It also includes native support for every major VoIP and PSTN protocol in use today.  To build a conferencing server out of Asterisk you need to pick out your platform hardware (computer), create an administration interface (probably a web application running on Apache) and possibly an end-user interface.  You’ll probably want to integrate with calendaring systems like Exchange, iCal, Google Calendar, etc.  You probably want to tie in email and possibly IM notifications and reminders.  Given a skilled development team you can probably bang this out in a few months.

Compare that with building from scratch and you can see the power of Asterisk.  You didn’t have to write (or license) a SIP stack.  You didn’t have to write your own DTMF detection algorithm or even wrap a DTMF collection function call for use in your application.  In fact, the actual “telephony programming” probably came down to a few dozen lines of Dialplan script and a bit of SQL to set up the database.  You shaved years off your development and testing path, added value through your snappy web interface and built it all on a free engine.  Nice.

Asterisk fits very nicely into the toolboxes of telephony integrators and data VARs.  If you’ve ever done custom integration work you know how difficult it can be to make systems from different vendors (or different generations) play nicely.  In enterprise scenarios where modern data applications share space in the server room with legacy switching gear, Asterisk can be indispensable.  It acts as a kind of “telephony glue” that ties VoIP to TDM and digital to analog.  It also bolts onto legacy systems as a perfect low-cost adjunct.  Your customer has an Octel voice messaging system that’s on its last legs?  No problem.  Replace it with an Asterisk-based system.  Your biggest client needs a dialer that can call an entire city in an hour?  Sure.  Asterisk can do that.

If you’re already familiar with networks, telephony and scripting, the Asterisk learning curve is fairly easy to overcome.  Read Asterisk: The Future of Telephony by Smith, Madsen and Van Meggelen.  Take a look at the samples and recipes on  Take the Asterisk Fast-Start or Asterisk Advanced class for a bit of hands-on training.  You’ll find that building solid solutions with Asterisk is drastically easier than building your own voice engine from scratch using a raw C language API from some proprietary vendor.  (Trust me on this one: I built IVR engines on the Dialogic and Brooktrout APIs before I discovered Asterisk.)

Asterisk is also a terrific way to learn about telephony and communications.  Students, hobbyists and artists have used Asterisk to build some extraordinarily creative applications while at the same time learning about telecommunications.  Some of the most successful developers in the Asterisk ecosystem started out experimenting with the code while in college or even high school.


If you’re technically inclined and want to build a communication product or solution, then Asterisk is for you.  If you’re in need of a great phone system at a great price, check out Switchvox.

Asterisk Administrative Interface                                      Switchvox Administrative Interface




Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program

2017-07-27T00:01:11+00:00 June 9th, 2010|Uncategorized|

Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability ProgramFind out more about the Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program for enterprise telephony infrastructure, including finding qualified SIP-PSTN gateways, IP-PBXs and SIP Trunking Services.OverviewThe qualification program for SIP/PSTN Gateways, IP-PBXs and SIP Trunking Services ensures that customers have seamless experiences with setup, support, and use of qualified telephony infrastructure and services with Microsoft’s unified communications software and Microsoft Office Communications Online (BPOS-Dedicated).

Only products that meet rigorous and extensive testing requirements and conform to the specifications and test plans will receive qualification.

While the specifications are based on industry standards, this program also defines:

  • Specific requirements for interoperability with Office Communications Server & Exchange Server Voice Mail
  • Specific requirements for interoperability with Office Communications Online Services for SIP Trunking Service Providers
  • Testing requirements for qualifying interoperability with Office Communications Server & Exchange Server Voice Mail
  • Installation, set-up and configuration requirements via a Quick Start Guide
  • Release Notes with any known issues
  • Documented support process between Microsoft and the vendor
  • Enterprise-class standards for audio quality, reliability, and scalability

The scope of the qualification is for environments where either Office Communications Server or Exchange Server Voice Mail utilizes a SIP/PSTN Gateway, IP-PBX or SIP Trunking Service for communication with the PSTN. Additionally, qualification is available for Microsoft Office Communications Online Service environments utilizing Office Communications Server with Exchange Online Unified Messaging.

The testing focus of the program is designed to ensure that vendors providing interoperability with Microsoft unified communications solutions do so in a consistent and supportable manner, including SIP and signaling support used with the Mediation Server role of Office Communications Server and the Voice Mail role of Exchange Server.

Direct SIP: Gateways and IP-PBXs Qualified for Office Communications Server

Listed below are gateway and IP-PBX products and necessary firmware combinations that have been independently qualified. It is recommended that you visit the vendor’s Web site for the latest information regarding PSTN/PBX, protocol, capacity, country support and documentation including a Quick Start Guide, release notes and known issues.

— “Qualified” +S —”Qualified with SRTP & TLS”

Vendor Configuration Tested Product Communications Server Version
2007 R2 2007
Aastra IP-PBX MX-ONE V.4.0 +S  
Aculab Basic Hybrid ApplianX Gateway for Office Communications Server 2007, V1.0.0       
Altigen IP-PBX MAXCS,    
AudioCodes Basic Gateway Mediant 1000, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
AudioCodes Basic Gateway Mediant 1000, 5.20A.043    
AudioCodes Basic Gateway Mediant 2000, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
AudioCodes Basic Gateway Mediant 2000, 5.20A.043    
AudioCodes Basic Hybrid Mediant 1000 Hybrid, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
AudioCodes Basic Hybrid Mediant 1000 Hybrid, 5.20A.043    
AudioCodes Basic Hybrid Mediant 2000 Hybrid, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
AudioCodes Basic Hybrid Mediant 2000 Hybrid, 5.20A.043    
Avaya IP-PBX Avaya Aura Session Manager 5.2 with Avaya Aura Communication Manager 5.2.1 SP1    
Avaya Basic Hybrid Secure Router 4134, 10.2.1    
Avaya Basic Hybrid Secure Router 4134, 10.1.0    
Avaya Basic Gateway Secure Router 2330, 10.2.1    
Cisco Basic Gateway**    2851 Integrated Services Router, IOS 12.4(15)T    
Cisco Basic Gateway** 2851 Integrated Services Router, IOS 12.4(24)T    
Cisco Basic Gateway** 3845 Integrated Services Router, IOS 12.4(15)T    
Cisco Basic Gateway** 3845 Integrated Services Router, IOS 12.4(24)T    
Cisco IP-PBX Unified Communication Manager 7.1.3    
Dialogic Basic Gateway DMG2000, 6.0.128 +S  
Dialogic Basic Gateway DMG2000, 5.1.142    
Dialogic Basic Hybrid DMG4000, 1.5.102    
Dialogic Basic Hybrid DMG4000, Dialogic Diva SIPcontrol +S  
Ferrari electronic AG Basic Gateway OfficeMaster Gate, 3.1    
Ferrari electronic AG Basic Gateway OfficeMaster Gate, 3.2 +S  
Ferrari electronic AG Basic Hybrid OfficeMaster Hybrid Gate, 3.2 +S  
Huawei Technologies IP-PBX SoftCo, V100R002    
Innovaphone IP-PBX IP6000, V7.00 ocs-certified 09-7034301    
Media5 Basic Gateway Mediatrix 3000 Series, DGW 2.0    
Mitel IP-PBX 3300,    
NEC Basic Gateway SV70 OCS-GW-A, MG-16SIPC    
NET Basic Gateway VX1200, 4.7v88 +S  
NET Basic Gateway VX1200, 4.4.2.v31    
Nortel IP-PBX CS 1000, 5.50.12 +S  
Nuera Communications    Basic Gateway GX-1K, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
Nuera Communications Basic Gateway GX-1K, 5.20A.043    
Nuera Communications Basic Gateway GX-2K, 5.60A.013.005 +S  
Nuera Communications Basic Gateway GX-2K, 5.20A.043    
Quintum Basic Gateway Tenor DX, P107-06-00-OCSR2-03    
Quintum Basic Gateway Tenor DX, P105-19-10-MS-01    
Quintum Basic Hybrid Tenor Hybrid Gateway 60, P107-06-00-OCSR2-03    
Seltatel IP-PBX SAMoffice 4, 2.8.0    
Tango Networks Basic Gateway Abrazo (qualified with Audiocodes Mediant 2000 5.20A.043), 3.3    
Teldat Basic Gateway Vyda-2M 10.7.55 +S  
VegaStream Basic Gateway Vega400, 8.282S029    

** See partner’s site for known issues and support notes

Other Supported Products

Other supported products are listed by request of the Vendor as the same qualified firmware may be supported across several different products. While these have not been specifically tested, the Vendor does fully support this configuration for the listed Qualification Level. Please contact the Vendor for more information on these products.

Gateways or IP-PBXs Other Supported Products
AudioCodes Mediant 1000 MediaPack 11x, Mediant
Cisco 2851 Integrated Services Router    2800 Series  
Cisco 3851 Integrated Services Router 3800 Series  
Dialogic DMG2000 DMG1000 and DMG2000 Series  
Dialogic DMG4000 Dialogic 4000 Media Gateway Series and Dialogic Diva SIPcontrol  
Mediatrix 3000 Series Mediatrix 4100 Series, Mediatrix 4400 Series  
NET VX1200 VX Series, VX900, VX1800  
Quintum Tenor DX Tenor AS, AF, AX, BX, DX and CMS Series  
Teldat Vyda-2M Vyda Series and Atlas Series  
VegaStream Vega400 Vega50 Europa Vega 5000  

SIP Trunking Services Qualified for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2

SIP Trunking enables connectivity to the Public Switched Telephony Network (PSTN) directly over SIP. SIP Trunking services are offerings from IP Telephony Service Provider partners that offer PSTN origination, termination and emergency services using the SIP protocol. An enterprise can use SIP Trunking to connect their on-premise voice network implemented by Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 or to provision PSTN termination capability for Office Communications Online (BPOS-Dedicated).

Listed below are SIP Trunking Services that have been independently qualified to meet the UCOIP requirements along with those services who meet the additive requirements for Office Communications Online (BPOS-Dedicated).

Carrier Service Name Office Communications Online (BPOS-D) Ver 10.1
AT&T AT&T IP Flexible Reach Service  
BT Global Services BT Onevoice  
Global Crossing SIP Trunking Services  
IntelePeer IntelePeer SIP Trunking  
Interoute InterouteOne  
IP Directions OCS Telephony Services  
Jajah JAJAH SIP Trunking  
Orange Business Services SIP Trunking  
Sotel SoTel IP Services  
Sprint Sprint Global MPLS, SIP Trunking     
Swisscom Swisscom VoIP Gate  
Telenor Telenor Samordnet kommunikasjon
(Unified Communication)
ThinkTel OCS Connect  
Verizon Business IP Trunking Services  

Supported IP-PBXs for Microsoft Office Communications Server

The following IP-PBXs are supported by Microsoft but have not gone through the formal OIP qualification process nor was the testing requested by the vendor. Sufficient internal testing has been performed by Microsoft such that specific configurations are supported by Microsoft (where applicable with known limitations). These configurations utilize the commercially available production SIP trunk interface of the IP-PBX vendor but may not be supported by the IP-PBX vendor. In addition, IP-PBX vendor-provided complete documentation for installation and set-up, release notes, or documented support processes may not be available. Wherever possible, Microsoft will endeavor to provide documentation for installation and set-up.

IP-PBX Vendor Tested Product Supported Configuration Software Versions Tested 2007 R2 2007
Avaya Communications Manager SIP Enablement Services Direct SIP 4.0    
Known Limitations:

  • Configuration requires setting “Alternate Route Timer(sec)” value from default of 10 sec to 30 sec. The configuration should show “Alternate Route Timer(sec): 30” in the corresponding SIP signaling group.
  • When an call is ringing to the Office Communicator user, the caller (either on an Avaya station or a PSTN line routed through the PBX) will not get ring back tone. This issue has been resolved by Avaya with the 5.x software releases.
  • Quality of Experience reports will not contain information regarding jitter and packet loss.
  • Comfort noise generation is not supported. As a result, comfort noise is not played on Office Communicator.
  • ISDN Failover is not supported from an OCS perspective. If the Avaya PBX is being used for PSTN connectivity and multiple T1’s are being utilized, an OC client will not retry a call based on a T1 being unavailable. It may be possible to configure the Avaya to not assign outbound calls from OCS to an unavailable T1, but this configuration was not tested.
Cisco Cisco Unified Communications Manager Direct SIP 4.2(3)_SR3a    
Known Limitations:

  • The PRACK message sent by CUCM 4.2(3) is malformed by missing the MAXFORWARDS header.  As a result, this configuration requires PRACK to be disabled.  By default, PRACK is disabled in CUCM 4.2(3)
  • For Office Communications Server 2007, this support requires update package for Communications Server 2007 Mediation Server: August 2008.
  • OCS 2007 may not appropriately normalize the PAI in the 200 OK or UPDATE, resulting in OC displaying a non RFC3966 formatted global number and in failed RNL on OC. When calling from OC 2007 to a Cisco phone number, after the caller gets connected, the name of the person on the Cisco phone may not be shown on Communicator, and instead OC may display the E.164 number (without a “+”) for the person on the Cisco phone. This is resolved in OCS 2007 R2
  • When calling from OC 2007 to a Cisco phone number, where the Cisco extension is disconnected or out of service, the Cisco IP-PBX may not notify OC 2007 in a timely manner. This has been remediated in OCS 2007 R2.
OpenScape Direct SIP 3.1R3    
Known Limitations:

  • Inbound early media/PRACK is not supported on the Siemens PBX. As a result, in some situations the initial audio of a call may be clipped as the call signaling is being set up.
  • Certain Siemens IP phones may not render audio for inbound calls. If this occurs, a phone configuration change to support both symmetric and asymmetric RTP will be needed.
  • For Hold/Un-hold to function properly, OpenScape needs the RTP config parameter Srx/Sip/ZeroIpOnHold set to false.
  • For full SDP versioning support, OpenScape needs the RTP config parameter Srx/Sip/CompareSdpBody set to true.
  • Quality of Experience reports will not contain information regarding jitter and packet loss for PSTN calls coming through the Siemens IP PBX.

Dual Forking Qualified for Microsoft Office Communications Server

Listed below are IP-PBX and firmware combinations that have been independently qualified. Please contact the vendor for more information on these products.

IP-PBX Vendor    Tested Product    Qualification Level    Software Version Tested Other Supported Products    2007
Nortel CS 1000 Dual Forking***Dual Forking
with RCC***
Call Server X2105.00WSignaling Server 5.00.31Multimedia Communications Manager    CS 1000 Series  

*** If you are deploying Dual Forking, you must also install the following updates for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007:


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