I have been handed the controls to a FreePBX system, as our previous tech suddenly left the company. My question is, what regular maintenance is recommended to keep the system running clean and error free. I have worked on telephone switches in the past (Nortel, Lucent, Motorola, etc…) but none of them were soft switches. If anyone can point me in the right direction, website help, documentation, I would greatly appreciate it. I honestly do not know much about this system and want to keep any catastrophic events to a minimum, if not completely prevent them. I appreciate any and all suggestions.
Your fist priority is ensuring that you have backups, that the backups are stored off of the system, that you know how to recover from a backup if needed, and that you have tested a backup to ensure it has what you think it has. If you have a tested disaster recovery plan then you can sleep easy.
Other than that, it’s matter of ensuring that updates are applied periodically and that you are not relying on old EOL versions to last forever.
In general, the system is pretty self sufficient.
Sangoma releases sprint output every “so often”. Some of the sprints are specific, some are general and encompass several updates. You can set the system up to install these updates automatically, with the caveat that sometimes we get unexpected outcomes that require a roll-back.
Knowing how to manage the system is most of the battle. In general, everything can be done through the main GUI interface. From time to time, you may need to log into the server through SSH (as root) and perform some maintenance.
Personally, I have one server that runs fully automatically and two that I manage by hand. FreePBX (from the distro) uses “yum” to update most of the system modules.
There are lots of YouTube videos about installing and maintaining the system, and the Samgoma FreePBX Wiki is filled with “better than adequate” articles. The system is largely open source, so things that are deficient are that way because we (the user community) hasn’t put in the time to make them better.
First and foremost - it’s a Linux server! The telecom experience is of course very useful to you in managing the telephony aspects, but get a Linux sysadmin or increase your own skills in this area to be comfortable administering your PBX server.
To expand some more on what Bill is saying - another thing to keep in mind is that, unlike your other telephony experience, SIP phones are a different beast, and Asterisk (which is the part that FreePBX manages) is a back to back user agent. This means that no phone ever calls another phone in this system, everything calls FreePBX/Asterisk and FreePBX makes things happens (like calls to other phones, etc.). I’ve found over the years that keeping that in mind makes it really easy for me to understand how things like call flows and other services actually work.
Yes, that is definitely a big difference. While Lucent uses Unix, it was not a predominant part of the system maintenance and provisioning. I appreciate the suggestion to get a Linux system admin to work on it, unfortunately, as of right now, I am it. So I have purchased some Linux online classes and I do use Linux as an OS on my personal laptop, although I admit, I do not use it to the fullest extent of the OS. Thank you, and I appreciate you answering my question.
That was definitely my first order of business. So that has been done. I have run a backup once a week for now, as we do not have many changes in the system, as far as adds or changes, so at this point once a week should be sufficient, IMO. Thank you for your help. I do appreciate it.
I would also check out the security of the box, i.e. is the firewall running, etc. Especially if this box is exposed to the Internet.
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