FreePBX - Virtual or Physical?

Hi there,

I’m new to these forms so apologies if I do something wrong.

My company has about 100 extensions with a maximum of 40 concurrent calls including a call centre with multiple queues, inbound routes and 1 outbound trunk. We also like to use features such as call screening, voicemail and ring/pickup groups.

I was wondering if anyone could give me an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of using a physical server or a virtual server.

We’ve been looking for a while and we can’t seem to find anything.

For reference:
We already have a vmWare environment set up with about 30 servers already running on it.
We can put up to 1tb or RAM, 2ghz 24 core CPU and plenty of disk space.

As for the physical appliance, we would probably just buy one from the FreePBX website.

Except for the fact that I hate virtualization with the fiery hot passion of a woman scorned, they are pretty equivalent. Historical note: I came up from IBM MVS and their Version 1 Virtual Machines, so my bias runs deep and long.

As you might guess, I always advocate for local boxes. I like the tactile nature of the relationship. I also prefer the simpler security measures required.

Having said that, however, I know plenty of people (even people here) that are just ga-ga for virtualization. I work with people that never had to deal with all of the issues that virtualization, and even now we see problem reports from specific implementations about memory sizing, processor counts, and other features that add an additional level of complexity.

If you are happy with virtual servers and well versed in the foibles of the technology, then by all means, give that a try. If you are iffy about the prospect, then drop a cheap server-class machine on the network are go to town.

Probably the two biggest advantages of Virtualization over Physical are Portability and Disaster Recovery:

Portability - Once the VM is created, it is just a file on a Server - it can easily and painlessly be moved over to new hardware - if you are using the right virtualization platform, it can even be moved LIVE! Can’t do that with physical.

Disaster Recovery - We use Hyper-V but most of the virtualization platforms have a similar facility to live-clone a running machine continuously - so your PBX exists in two places, and if your main VMHost fails, it is a matter of seconds to boot up the (always-current) clone and you are back in business.

There is one area where Hardware is required - interfacing with DADHI Hardware (cards) in the System.

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