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Easy Asterisk gets a boost

By   |  January 8, 2007

One of the success stories of 2006 was Asterisk, the open source VoIP telephone exchange system that had everyone talking, literally. 2007 promises to be an equally big year for Asterisk as more businesses switch over to the Linux-based system to cut telephony costs. And making it even easier for users to switch to Asterisk are two new releases with ease of use in their sights.

Two companies last week released “easy to use” versions of Asterisk hoping to cater to the rapidly growing market for the product.

Digium, run by Asterisk founder Mark Spencer, last week released AsteriskNOW for the small and medium business sector. In the same week Fonality released a new version of its trixbox Asterisk variation, promising a quicker install than any other Asterisk version.

AsteriskNOW is a software appliance that bundles a Linux distro and Asterisk into a single install. The GNU-licensed distribution also includes a Diguim-designed graphical user interface and a new setup wizard that guides users through the installation process. “The solution can be up and running within 30 minutes,” boasts Digium.

Fonality, however, claims its version, Trixbox, can be installed in just half that time — 15 minutes — and also has an easy-to-use interface.

“The trixbox community said they wanted a super-reliable Asterisk deployment that removed all the headaches and that is what we strived to deliver in this release of trixbox 2.0,” said Andrew Gillis, founder of trixbox and director of community development at Fonality.

“I always envisioned trixbox as a platform that would be both easy enough for people to quickly deploy and stable enough that they could stake their reputation on it. trixbox 2.0 is the realisation of this vision.”

Digium’s president Spencer has a similar vision. “Our goal of reducing the complexity of installing and using Asterisk will expand the market for Digium into more mainstream use.”

AsteriskNOW includes all the Linux components necessary to run, debug and build Asterisk, making the install process easier with the use of a simple setup wizard, said Spencer. The install process includes a selection of default dial plans and easy configurations.

trixbox 2.0 also includes the option to install other applications during the install process. Applications such as MySQL, phpMyAdmin and SugarCRM add functionality to the telephony system.

AsteriskNOW has a different philosophy, prefering to limit the addtional extras to reduce security risks. “Unlike other Linux distributions used to deploy Asterisk, AsteriskNOW does not have unnecessary components that could compromise security or performance,” said Spencer.

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