Bringing Asterisk to the boss


#1

I work in a corporation which is currently considering options for an enterprise IP telephony solution for a large, new site. After some research and reading I’m convinced that Asterisk would do the job perfectly and much cheaper than the alternatives. My bosses, however, would prefer buying from a big, respectable company (such as Cisco) than to experiment on some ‘hacker pbx’.
In order to convince them, I need hard facts and numbers regarding the market share and installation base of Asterisk, analyses from independent sources or even some success stories with large installations in known companies.

Could anybody direct me to such info?


#2

Unfortunately such information is not well documented. It would be in Digium’s best interest to maintain some type of a reference database around Asterisk, but this has not occurred as of yet.


#3

When you say, “large” companies, exactly how large are we talking about?

For the most part, Asterisk installations tend to be what I consider small. (less than 50 or so lines)

A good illustration of this is the success of Asterisk@Home. (Which is arguably the most used implementation.) All of it’s implementations are SOHO.

Having said that, most every VOIP provider on the internet has some version of Asterisk under the hood, so even “service provider scalability” is possible. However, each had to do major league alterations to the underlying code, none of which they put back into the project.

If you’re looking to put this in a company that has 500 or so employees, you’re in for HUGE project. Yeah, it’s less expensive, but that’s because you’re doing all the work. You design, build, configure, re-write code, and support the whole system from start to finish with little or no documentation, scant support (from digium), and no opportunity for any sort of training. If you don’t watch out, putting an Asterisk system in service, and keeping it online could easily become all that you do.

Present it as an option, but be realistic about it’s capabilities, reliablity, and your ability to keep it running with the same uptime that your management has become used to with other voice systems.

Ultimately, every system you buy involves risk and expense of some sort. Your management has to decide for itself if the cost savings justifies the risk. If mitigating the risk involves buying a system from someone who has promised 24 hour repairs with a 4 hour response time to problems, then so be it.

You’ll probably find that the decision is less about how many other companies have decided to drink the kool-aid (so to speak), and more about your management’s confidence in your own ability to pull it off.


#4

[quote=“dufus”]Having said that, most every VOIP provider on the internet has some version of Asterisk under the hood, so even “service provider scalability” is possible. However, each had to do major league alterations to the underlying code, none of which they put back into the project.
[/quote]

Indeed many of these providers are using a SER/Asterisk combo to make things scalable:

voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk+at+large

Asterisk may scale if architected properly, but it takes intimate knowledge of the core platform and a fair amount of tweaking.


#5

Thanks for all the replies.

I was actually talking about installing Asterisk with about 100 lines. I’m aware that it is somewhat on the high end of its capabilities, but I also believe that with a good IT team, good planning and some determination, it would be quite possible to pull it off.
Having said that, with no real proof that it is indeed possible (that is, showing a case study of organizations which had already done the same and their conclusions), it would be impossible to convince the decision-makers to even consider this option.

Any ideas?


#6

[quote=“skraus”]Thanks for all the replies.

I was actually talking about installing Asterisk with about 100 lines. I’m aware that it is somewhat on the high end of its capabilities, but I also believe that with a good IT team, good planning and some determination, it would be quite possible to pull it off.[/quote]

Absolutely possible. You appear to be on the correct footing, understanding the scale of the endeavour.

[quote=“skraus”]Having said that, with no real proof that it is indeed possible (that is, showing a case study of organizations which had already done the same and their conclusions), it would be impossible to convince the decision-makers to even consider this option.

Any ideas?[/quote]

I would recommend contacting Digium sales (ie - about the Asterisk Business Edition) and seek their assistance in finding a case study:

htttp://www.digium.com


#7

Just curious – and I know I could probably go read about this somewhere, so I guess I’m being a little lazy :smile: – but can you elaborate a little bit on the difference between Asterisk “standard” (for lack of a better term; I mean the downloadable open source version) and “business” editions?

Thanks.
john


#8

[quote=“greyhound”]Just curious – and I know I could probably go read about this somewhere, so I guess I’m being a little lazy :smile: – but can you elaborate a little bit on the difference between Asterisk “standard” (for lack of a better term; I mean the downloadable open source version) and “business” editions?

Thanks.
john[/quote]

Easy:

Source


#9

Thanks. Gosh, now I know I could’ve found it with a tiny bit of effort. Google usually IS my friend :smiley:


#10

whate also can do is get a old machine and install Asterisk@home (downloadable ver) and test it with softphones. Do this with a couple of people you know in the company ad use them as witnesses.


#11

We have over 400 lines across all four of our corporate locations using Asterisk on all of them, corporate and call center. Asterisk scales very well and VOIP has saved us thousands a year on office to office calls.

We have been using Asterisk in production for over 2 years now and have saved well over one million dollars net by doing it ourselves.

You can use me as an Asterisk reference if you like.


#12

[quote=“skraus”]Thanks for all the replies.

I was actually talking about installing Asterisk with about 100 lines. I’m aware that it is somewhat on the high end of its capabilities, but I also believe that with a good IT team, good planning and some determination, it would be quite possible to pull it off.
Having said that, with no real proof that it is indeed possible (that is, showing a case study of organizations which had already done the same and their conclusions), it would be impossible to convince the decision-makers to even consider this option.

Any ideas?[/quote]

100 lines… I think that is definitely less than Asterisks capabilities … it is quite capable to run 120 simultaneous connections out of the box ( Asterisk Business Edition - ABE ) and scalable using multiple servers…

So if you really look what that might mean…

120 Simultaneous connections… should be a 3 to 1 ratio of telephone to lines so … it could reflect 3 x Primary rate OnRamp 30 Lines ( 90 Digital telephone Lines ) and 270 Extensions… that would be around the right ratio … in my opinion… but then again it could be actually higher …

Do you feel that is the size that you are trying to duplicate?

Kevin