Asterisk on Barbones setup?


#1

Hello People,

I want to start building servers for Asterisk and wanted to know if many people are using barbone systems to do this.

These systems can be built for as little as £200.00 (without keyboard, monitor and mouse) and have a very small foot print (making them more attractive for SMB market).

My main concern was stability and uptime and i wanted to know if any one has tryed using such setups? One of the components that is very important is the PSU. The kind of demands for my proposed user base would not exceed 15 extensions with maximum 4 fxo (TDM04B).

I was particularly interested in the Asus Terminator A7VT found here (however I have searched high and low and no one has tryed it using asterisk):

uk.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=1& … odelmenu=1

Can any one reccomend a barebones system that could be built cheaply.

Thanks for your time.

Alec


#2

Just buy a DELL 2400, it’s only $298.00 you get everything, throw in a Digium Card and your done… Includes monitor, keyboard, mouse and all the power your need… plus a warranty… :smile:

If that’s to much, then buy a DELL OptiPlex GX100 on ebay for $60.00 and your done…

I actually have instlled about 15 of them so far… they work like a charm on Mandrake 10.0…


#3

Im used to using Fedora 2. Whats the big deal about Mandrage or is it just a preference?

Also how much ram were u choosing in the dell 2400?


#4

[quote=“larsonc”]Just buy a DELL 2400, it’s only $298.00 you get everything, throw in a Digium Card and your done… Includes monitor, keyboard, mouse and all the power your need… plus a warranty… :smile:

If that’s to much, then buy a DELL OptiPlex GX100 on ebay for $60.00 and your done…

I actually have instlled about 15 of them so far… they work like a charm on Mandrake 10.0…[/quote]

IMHO your are crazy to run Asterisk on a Dell Dimension 2400. That is probably about the LAST PC I would consider for a production installation for any real business that NEEDS a reliable phone system of any kind. Why not just put it on an e-machine (cringe!). I’m sure it will work “great” for a few months if your lucky. PC’s are like that. They either work great or they don’t work. Cheap PC’s work just as great as expensive PC’s for “awhile” until something fails and it WILL! Then that Cheap PC won’t seem so “great”.

What happens when the fans or hard drive or power supply fail and they will eventually! Do you think these customers are going to be ok with a little down time at which point there is NO possibility of incoming or outgoing calls? What sorts of customers are these that are going for this solution of yours? Are they technically capable or totally clueless about the PC technology? What sort of network are they running? What happens if they get a broadcast storm from a virus or what not that bogs down the network? What if someone decides they want to backup their 40Gig hard drive over the network at which point the customers can’t phone in their orders and nobody can check their voicemail? Can you respond within an hour to fix this 24/7? How good is that Dell warranty and that 1-800 support at that point? Do you include a maintenance contract sort of like what photocopier companies do so you can provide preventative maintenance knowing that it must be done after hours to avoid ANY phone system down time?

These are the sorts of questions I have been asking myself as I try to avoid the temptation to throw Asterisk on just any cheap PC or even a fault tolerant server. Dell Dimensions and 5 year old used computers though. That is just nuts!!!


#5

Well, think what you want…

My Dells have been up and working for well over a year… That’s 1 year without a REBOOT… :smile:

I have 15 DELL OPTIPLEX GX-100’s with 512 RAM and guess what they also haven’t missed a beat…

Sure I have some really BIG Systems up as well and they all ride on DELL Equipment…


#6

HP FAST Four rx4640 1.6GHz/9M Processor Solution Server

System price $57,865.001

Lease for as low as $1,509.70/month

(48 months).


#7

[quote=“mustardman”][quote=“larsonc”]Just buy a DELL 2400, it’s only $298.00 you get everything, throw in a Digium Card and your done… Includes monitor, keyboard, mouse and all the power your need… plus a warranty… :smile:

If that’s to much, then buy a DELL OptiPlex GX100 on ebay for $60.00 and your done…

I actually have instlled about 15 of them so far… they work like a charm on Mandrake 10.0…[/quote]

IMHO your are crazy to run Asterisk on a Dell Dimension 2400. That is probably about the LAST PC I would consider for a production installation for any real business that NEEDS a reliable phone system of any kind. Why not just put it on an e-machine (cringe!). I’m sure it will work “great” for a few months if your lucky. PC’s are like that. They either work great or they don’t work. Cheap PC’s work just as great as expensive PC’s for “awhile” until something fails and it WILL! Then that Cheap PC won’t seem so “great”.

What happens when the fans or hard drive or power supply fail and they will eventually! Do you think these customers are going to be ok with a little down time at which point there is NO possibility of incoming or outgoing calls? What sorts of customers are these that are going for this solution of yours? Are they technically capable or totally clueless about the PC technology? What sort of network are they running? What happens if they get a broadcast storm from a virus or what not that bogs down the network? What if someone decides they want to backup their 40Gig hard drive over the network at which point the customers can’t phone in their orders and nobody can check their voicemail? Can you respond within an hour to fix this 24/7? How good is that Dell warranty and that 1-800 support at that point? Do you include a maintenance contract sort of like what photocopier companies do so you can provide preventative maintenance knowing that it must be done after hours to avoid ANY phone system down time?

These are the sorts of questions I have been asking myself as I try to avoid the temptation to throw Asterisk on just any cheap PC or even a fault tolerant server. Dell Dimensions and 5 year old used computers though. That is just nuts!!![/quote]

Here is a system I have quoted for you, I’m sure it will run Asterisk for your standards, and when someone is backing up their little 40GIG hard drive over the network, I’m sure the Dual Port 2Gbps Fibre Channel Adapter for Linux and Windows won’t even notice it… :smile:

HP FAST Four rx4640 1.6GHz/9M Processor Solution Server
HP FAST Four rx4640-8 Base System Solution
Smart Array 6402 RAID controller
Four Intel® Itanium® 2 processors 1.60GHz with 9M L3 cache
32DIMM memory carrier board, 4U chassis
2GB DDR SDRAM memory quad (4x512MB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
HP 16GB DDR memory quad (4x2GB)
73GB Ultra320 15,000rpm Hard Drive
300GB Pluggable Ultra320 SCSI 10,000 rpm Hard Drive
DVD-ROM drive
Dual Port 2Gbps Fibre Channel Adapter for Linux and Windows
Dual Port 2Gbps Fibre Channel Adapter for Linux and Windows
Single power supply
Hot swap power supply for 4U chassis
Dual port GigE-TX LAN card
USB Keyboard kit PC-104/105 (includes Windows compliance USB keyboard and USB scroll mouse)
Field rack kit
3-year limited warranty

$382,703.00

Estimated Ship Date
7/6/20052

Subtotal: $382,703.001


#8

I’m confused what your point is now. You seem to be confusing high cost high power servers with reliability. They are not mutually inclusive. Why are you hijacking my thread?

Go ahead and throw Asterisk on cheap hardware or be 10 times more expensive than a traditional PBX. If you can sell those solutions and keep your customers in the long term then more power to you.

Anyways, anyone have any good info on low cost embedded computers for Asterisk.


#9

Well, when you post things you don’t fully are aware of and saying people are crazy… You’ll get these responces…

I suggest you re-read the orginal question in that the person was asking about spending less than $400.00 for some clones…

My post was to inform them that I had many, many systems running on DELLS and they worked just fine…

Now you come along and post your smart ass remarks about being crazy and all of this backing up, customer support CRAP and all…

Next you don’t have a clue about Asterisk, Small Business and such, as most SMB’s have less than 5 employees, and if someone is backing up their 40GIG hard drive over the Network, big deal… At 5 users or 10 users on a 100MEG backbone, it’s kind of a mute point…

My point that I was trying to get say was , it’s not always in the best interest for clones as the support is far and few… I only mentioned DELL as I have had very, that’s right very good support, and not only that they are getting ready to support Novell SUSE… which I’m sure you’ll make some other kind of remark about… Bottom line, selling Asterisk to a small business in not a big deal as you made it out to be with DUAL this and Dual that… Whens the last time you went inside a small business and asked how the CDR info is used… Small business’s need Voice Mail and an extension… How many times have you called your doctor only to find out his extension has changed… NEVER… How many times have you been inside a Car Dealership to find the salesman backing up his 40GIG hard drive over the network… How many time have you been inside the local insuarnce agents office only to find that everyone is backing up their 40GIG hard drive over the Network… Come on give me a break… :smile:

Point was, for only $298.00 you could have a very nice system, and if you are so darn worried about backup… then buy 2… Have you checked out Digium Tech support for $175.00 per hour with ther 5 hour minum… Hmmmmm, let’s see I can but about 3 systems and never worry about…

Well, anyway, I’ve wasted enogh time on this… My message to you directly is before you open your mouth, you should re-consider saying things you know nothing about, that is HOW RELIABLE something is… go and read about MTBF reports and then come back and post your stupid 40 gig backup over the network…

P.S. Have a nice day… I would like to sell you, your next equipment for Asterisk… Just make it out to CASH… :smile:


#10

larsonc,

I understand exactly where you are coming from and appreciate you sharing your experiences.

I guess one has to be realistic as to what spec pc can be bought for under £300.00. I have researched the 2400 and they retail for £279.00. What I dislike is that you have to purchase xp home edition. Please see link here:

www1.euro.dell.com/content/produ … l=en&s=dhs

Whats the longest you have had a 2400 up without reboot? Are the power supplies any good? Would you reccomend 512 ram or 256mb. As I said befor i would need tdm400p and 4 fxo max with max 15 extensions.

Again thanks for your consideration larsonc.

Alec


#11

Ok, fine. I guess the saying “you get what you pay for” is all wrong according to your experience larsonic.

The Soekris is actually cheaper than most cheap PC’s. Not as many features or power but a MUCH greater emphasis on reliability. That is my WHOLE point. The PC world and the phone world are traditionally separate businesses for a reason.


#12

Here is what I use, if you choose to use it, that is a decision you must make…

  1. I choose DELL, the main reason is support, price and compability with what I need… You will need to decide what model as they start at the 2400 for $298.00 and move up to the 8400 on the Basic side, and then on the Server side they have the SC420 for $249.00 and move up to 2800…

Like I said it’s your choice… For me if it is a simple install I use the 2400, 4700 and SC420’s with 512 or 1 GIG RAM, if you can afford the extra RAM, then by all means get as much as you can pay for…

Also it’s not official but DELL is going to support NOVELL SUSE, I say this as I went to do my certification with Novell and Dell was their with 5 techs also getting certified…

  1. As far as the PC coming with WindowsXp Home… who cares, you are going to wipe it out… I use Novell SUSE SLES9 and I also use Mandrake 10… Yes it’s only what I use as I have found that after a clean install I have a system that has Linux, Apache, PHP, CURL, MYSQL and various other componets that I use… Also Festival works well, but I choose to use CEPSTRAL Voices for all of my TTS converstions.

  2. I use the Digium TDM Boards with 1 thru 4 FXO/FXS modules. You can pick and choose what modules you need…

  3. I use the X-ten EYEYBEAM Softphone, yes it’s $60.00 a POP but I just like it… I also use the X-ten X-Lite version as well…

  4. On the SIP VoIP HardPhones, I use the Aria Voice phones… I get then for around $75.00 each… Just a note, Aria Voice is not the phone maker, only a dist…

  5. I use Linksys equipment on my AP/Routers/Switches…

As you can see from my list above, it’s really quite simple… Today I sell and install many systems, so I use the same equipment… This way I actually never install, I use GHOST to image my DELL’s and off they go… In about 30 minutes I have as many clones as I need… They are all identical.

I belive you asked how long I have had a system running… I have about 5 DELL GX-100’s that have been running for a little over 14 months without a REBOOT, SHUTDOWN… I belive the next system is a DELL 4700 that has been up about 9 months and the rest are DELL’s 2400 that are running around the clock…

Most of my systems are small… as this is the business model that I work with… This is my part time job…I have a day job in which I manage a 100 million dollar Call Center Company with centers around the US and Canada where I use Nortel 81c, Rockwell and Avaya G3R switches…

My suggestion is for you to get a system, stick with a single brand what ever it is you choose, stick to a single OS Brand, what ever it is, Mandrake, REDHAT, NOVELL, FEDORA, WHITEBOX and on and on… This way you begin to know excatly what it can and can’t do…

Also note that each one of my systems has a CD Burner as it comes with that from DELL. So after I set a box down, all I need to do is make a few changes to extensions, etc., etc., etc… as remember my systems are all already to go… I then do an INIT 5 bring up KB3 and burn a CD with the sub directory /etc/asterisk and save it… If a system were to crash, it’s only a matter of driving out with a new box, power up, do a copy of the directory and re-boot the box… I say reboot because I have everything start on boot… All of my system run at INIT 3 therby not having to X running… If my clients are really concerned about there system… I sell them another BOX at COST… just $298.00 (remember for just 2 hours of support at DIGIUM that’s $350.00), no hassle, no fuss, just unplug one box, swap the DIGIUM CARD, power up and back in business… With the new DELL’S you don’t even need a screwdriver, it’s all a latch system… :smile:

Think about it… almost every business is the same… a RECPT, a few EXTEN, VOICE MAIL, DIAL BY DIRECTORY, maybe a MENU… and that’s pushing it… I’m not selling NORTEL OPTION 81c’s and AVAYA G3R’s for $250,000.00 that’s not my market… I sell to the small business… who don’t want to pay $5,000.00 for a NORSTAR or some KEY System… there are a GILLION of these compaines that need a phone system, just a little nicer than a phone… they are not routing calls, Queuing calls… etc., etc., etc… How many times have you called your Doctor to be put into a QUEUE??? How many times have you called the local AUTO PARTS store and said you’re next in QUEUE are to leave a voice mail press 2…

In ending, just decide on a business model, system and learn it… I make a TON of money… I LOVE ASTERISK!!! Actually I LOVE anything that is OPEN SOURCE… :smile: I do pay for things and I support these by DONATIONS via PAYPAL…

P.S. I don’t work for DELL, NOVELL or anyone listed in this email… I use these products from these companies because my customers know these names… It’s all about marketing… when I walk into a client and say I’m putting down a DELL, they smile more than if I say I’m putting down an ALSYS-6214 Model P4 from Tiger Direct… Know what I mean…


#13

Larsonic,

At least I can agree on this one statement of yours:
“My suggestion is for you to get a system, stick with a single brand what ever it is you choose, stick to a single OS Brand, what ever it is, Mandrake, REDHAT, NOVELL, FEDORA, WHITEBOX and on and on… This way you begin to know excatly what it can and can’t do…”

That is great you can sell that cheap stuff for top dollar. Personally, none of my customers would every go for those cheap phones. They wouldn’t care about the cheap PC stuffed in a corner somewhere as long as it worked but they SURE would care when it broke down AND IT WILL!

I personally use CentOS 3 which is identical to Redhat Enterprise Linux 3 except one is free and the other isn’t. I use generic PC’s because Dell is more or less a generic PC with generic parts + a Dell logo and a 1-800 number to India. Dell warranty means nothing to me. Generic parts have the same warranty. I have never needed to use the warranty anyways because I use good quality parts that just work! I’m sure you will need the warranty at some point if your using Dimensions (cringe!). I’m equally sure the customer will NOT be impressed when you tell them that their phone system will be down for 48hours while you wait for a replacement power supply from Dell. Dell uses proprietary power supply connections last time I checked.


#14

Dear MUSTARDAN,

All I can’t say is you have really got problems…

Best of luck to you…

P.S. If I ever needed a powersupply, which I can’t remember if I ever did in the last 10 years… I’m sure I could use this thing called the Internet and get one…

[color=red]Would you agree on that also, are is this [size=150]Internet[/size] thing just a MYTH??? I hear you can buy stuff on it??? [/color]

To the person that posted the original question, I’m very sorry for all of this &^%$#&*( … I wish you the best of luck on what ever you choose…


#15

And let me revise my previous statement. I agreed with your opinion to keep the exact same configuration. However, the Dimension is NOT always the same configuration which is one of the reasons I don’t recommend it. The Dimension 2400 you buy today does not necessarily have the same parts as a Dimension 2400 you buy tomorrow. Dell throws whatever end of life, el cheapo buggy etc. parts they can get at the time in them. That is why businesses buy the business line (Optiplex). The Optiplex you buy today is the exact same Optiplex you buy tomorrow because that is important for businesses.

That goes double, even 10x more important for a business phone system using Linux.

And thank you for wishing me the best of luck with my “problems”. If I may use an analogy, my asterisk solution is a cisco approach (top dollar, top quality) which you seem to feel is a “problem”, yours is a Dlink solution (absolutely lowest cost, quality is secondary) which you seem to think is somehow brilliant. Good luck to you. I feel sorry for your customers.

Having said that, I love having guys like you around. I get new customers all the time thanking their lucky stars they finally found me. The horror stories they have from the el cheapo techs out there make them appreciate my expensive services that much more!


#16

Hi larsonc,

First let me thank you for your in dept posts. No need to be concerned about mustardman, hes an idiot, i ignored his posts and so should you :laughing: No one likes negative energy.

I am also familiar with the GX100. They are indeed a workhorse. I nicked one off my mum who needed an upgrade. Have been running asterisk on there for 2 months without a reboot with no problems so far and they are quiet too. This one happens to be over 4 years old!

Just to remind anyone reading this post…it was concerning the SME market with no more than 15 extensions who did not want to pay more than say £3000 for a IP PBX solution. One has to be realistic and practical. Its early days but i certainly may take your advice and try the 2400 and see how I get on. The mirroring of Hard drives is a great very practical idea and one that I will also use.

Once again than you larsonc for your detailed post.

Cheers,

Alec


#17

I’m sorry you feel that way Alex. If you look at the other thread I started that you replied to, I am looking at a very particular solution and perhaps it does not fit with what you and larsonic want to do. I obviously have a strong opinion about IT people coming from a 95% uptime world trying to apply it to business phone systems which is a 99.99% uptime world. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you are doing. I know there are MANY knowledgeable people who feel the same way I do but they are obviously not on this forum.


#18

Dear Mustardman,

This is my final and last post about the SUBJECT of reliablity DELL or what ever it is that bothers you about using DELL. Please review the link below… It is a link to the the ORACLE 10G Grid Computing Center in Austion, Texas… and it all runs on DELL. Here are just a few of the HIGHLIGHTS of this setup… The POINT to all of this 99.9999999999% UPTIME is, I feel it it is good enough for this… i’m sure it’s good enough for a Asterisk Install…

Example - 9500 servers, largest DELL/Linux installation on EARTH… 355 servers installed every month…

oracle.com/ondemand/collater … e-grid.pdf

The POINT IS: If it can run this, I’m sure it can run a FIVE USERS ASTERISK Install


#19

“99.9999999999% UPTIME”!!!

That’s impressive. Of course you have to read the article to find out that it is really 99.995%.

Of course you have to read the article to find out that it’s done with a highly redundant setup, that would even make Windows reliable.

Thanks for making me read a useless four page pdf article, just to find out the truth. I wonder how many people actually go to the source and find the facts, and how many people just read your post and go away actually believing what you insinuated.

You may feel strongly about the subject, but that is no excuse for distorting the facts.

The article does not support your claims about the reliability of certain computers. The only thing it shows is, that redundancy can make a very reliable system from less reliable components.

Implied in this is, that reliability comes at a cost. You have to buy many computers. What follows is: Reliability can be bought!

Or simply: you get what you pay for. This is obviously the opposite of the point you were trying to make.


#20

Hi, Larsonc,

I like your posts. Those guys have no clue what SMB needs. I have similar needs now and would like to do what you have done many times. Can you give me some helps ?

I need to build a Asterisk box. The landing will be broadvoice (VOIP provider. This box will performan as soft switch to route the voip traffic to broadvoice from my partners in another side of the world. They have way to point to my box. The initial volumn is very low, just few peoples.

Can you help me ?

Eugene Liu

eliu@netstarsolution.com