FreePBX on VMWare

We are wondering about the viability of running FreePBX in a virtual environment. Anyone have any experience with this?


I have run a small shop (15 extensions 7 trunks) off from an ESXi box for several months without issues.

FreePBX and Asterisk in VM is really tough and longterm does not work well. I have seen hundreds of people call into support using ESXI and VMWare and other KVM style virtual systems. You will run into hardware timing issues for dahdi and system recordings sounding like garbage. It has gotten better with asterisk 1.8 but for production I would not recommend it.

I’ve been using FreePBX and Asterisk 1.4 (.35 and now .41) on a VMware machine (through VMWare Player 3) on a laptop without issues for several months. There’s a steep learning curve learning how to set-up the VMWare machine properly (it literally took me hours and hours and hours of research), but once you learn it, it appears to work perfectly.

I went as far as looking at putting freepbx in a cloud environment with RackSpace, but they won’t let you do it because of the whole timing issue.
There are some hosts doing it out there, but not sure what their running at the virtual server model.

If you only have a few users and it’s for you personally then you know 90% of the time it should be fine, then your OK. If you are going to be annoyed with the occasional voice breakups then I would say not worth it. By a nice 1 u server for under $200 on ebay and enjoy a well running copy of freepbx.

Thanks to all who posted. Based on what we’ve seen here, we decided NOT to virtualize.

We are looking at 50+ extensions - probably including FAX - and 1 or more SIP trunks with 10 - 12 concurrent sessions. Given the size of our installation, we feel the VM would be a bad idea.

Thanks again everyone.

Tony, can I ask what “virtualization” method you are using to run PBXact? Is that not running on an Asterisk platform? re:

Hi AdHominem
I’ve just installed FreePBX on a VM machine.
I can place outbound calls withiut any issue, but there is no way to receive inbound calls.
I’ve configured only SIP trunks. no PSTN or other type.
Have you encountered the same issue during the virtualization setup and - if yes - how have you fixed it?
Thanks in advance

Much has changed since in the last year so nothing is as definitive.

Asterisk 11 is designed around a new timing architecture that when tuned properly appears to run well on a variety of virtual platforms.

My company provides hosted PBextended, this is the Schmooze hosted product. It runs on a custom OpenVZ platform (shared kernel) that utilizes custom drivers to provide the timing. To go into this any deeper you would have to sign an NDA with Schmooze.

lol…that is pretty funny since I also run on OpenVZ. You don’t need any timing for any standard FreePBX features. Not even conference calling or paging if you use confbridge and only need to run 2 command lines on the node to get Dahdi timing to work with meetme. This info is all over the internet…you don’t need and NDA.

Don’t know what PBXtended is doing. Maybe they added some funky feature but if it’s FreePBX it’s not anything like how you are trying to paint it.

We run a couple of dozen PBXs on a VMWare cluster with hundreds of extensions. No issues for us. Don’t ask me about the nitty gritty details, I’m just the Asterisk guy, but I can tell you it works just fine. This is a mix of Asterisk 1.4 and 1.8 boxes running on CentOS 5 and 5.5.

There are several ways to attack the timing. As I said, many things have changed in 2 years. When the DAHDI timing driver was written it was very unique.

The PBXextended reseller platform is more than just a driver, it’s an entire integrated hosting platform for resellers addressing technical and business process needs and accountability.

I do agree that someone fluent in VZ can “roll their own” with some degree of success. Then again someone fluent in virtualization would not be asking the type of questions that are being asked in this thread, thus I made the assumption that they would benefit from having information on the hosted Schmooze platform that takes care of the technical issues and lets the non “bit banging” folks concentrate on their business.