Quick question. What would be the recommended way of handling multiple FreePBX systems? I have multiple clients that I’m providing a hosted PBX service, should I virtualize all of the deployments or use a separate bare metal machine for every single one?
Yes, you should.
I prefer bare-metal installations, but I do single installations in the customer’s premise (mostly because I use Cisco phones in SCCP mode, so LAN access is required).
Other people will tell you that Virtualization is the way to go. This can be a mixed bag, since some virtualization servers aren’t completely supported and some are really hard to install.
There are virtualized servers available through Sangoma and other providers, so that is a simple enough solution is your experience and proclivities lean in that direction.
If it was me and I wanted to virtualize, I’d go with one of the commercial solutions rather than do it myself.
Either way works, VMs are generally more econimic, If you are doing this ‘on_site’ , do you have a sufficiency of IP address space? If not you will probably need to look into reverse proxying web, sip and rdp traffic.
Indeed, virtualization can work. The important thing that many people don’t take into account or aren’t aware of is that the conditions for a good phone system and the conditions for a good web server are vastly different things. With a web server there’s a built in higher time limit on loading that we as people have, while in the case of a phone system that is considerably lower because there is an actual real time stream involved.
To that end ensuring there are dedicated resources and a level of service for the VM is very important.
The first question I have is, what is your infrastructure like? Do you have your own data center (or place to put the servers)? Are you renting space from a DC? Either way, how much space/capacity do you have available? These are important factors.
See if you only have, let’s say, a rack at a DC and a 20 AMP circuit then you have the potential to host around 40 1U servers (assuming a switch/UPS) and that is if you have pretty much no spacing and jam them all in there. So there you go, you can host 40 users in your solution before you need to expand to a second rack and more power.
On the flip side you take that same rack and 20 AMPs to put in a nice size VM host system that can hold 100’s of guests or more instances in it, then you don’t need to expand after 40 users. You could probably have multiple VM host systems in that rack (again depending on the setup) and increase your capacity and keep your costs low.
Comparatively the VM host is also more forgiving to the ebb and flow of your business. What happens when you grow from 4 or 5 systems to 43 systems and hit a plateau? With the physical solution you now have a second rack and power that cost more than the 3 servers sitting it in bring in. Hopefully you have enough margin on the existing customers to absorb that but at some point you either need to get new customers or always be taking a hit on your bottom line.
VMs have pros/cons and bare metal has pros/cons in which you need to compare and figure out over all (technical and business wise) which one is better suited for you and your business structure.
FreePBX is fine in a VM or container. Bare metal would be a waste of resources unless your clients are large call centers.
Naturally you have to make sure everything is properly provisioned.
It’s only a slight exaggeration to say I haven’t run a server (Windows/Linux/BSD/whatever) on bare metal in over 20 years. I started with original VMWare GSX and ESX in beta and never looked back. More recently I’d add the caveat that containers can provide similar management benefits.
For my use, even a “dedicated” machine is just a single VM or container run under the host hypervisor/os.
Thanks for all the replies. I think I’m going to visualize the system simply because of space and cost constrains. Also seems like less of a headache to manage one bare metal system vs 40, especially from a data management side. Has anyone used Proxmox with FreePBX and if so how did it work out?
A while ago , it worked just fine, for robustness I suggest you build a cluster, I used zfs on the Proxmoi and glusterfs to share disks over two biguns and a littlun for quora.
Watch out for any cronjobs that might all trigger at the same instance, that was mostly sorted out a while back\ in FreePBX
I moved to the cloud for cost and maintenance effort reasons and never looked back.
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