Asterisk Gets More Friendly

Kevin Fleming, Digium Senior Software Engineer and co-maintainer of Asterisk, opened his talk at last week’s Communications Developer conference by asking how many in the audience knew what Asterisk was. About half raised their hands. Then he asked what Asterisk was. Most answered that it was a PBX.

Which was his point.

“Asterisk isn’t a PBX, it’s a platform,” he said. A PBX is only one of the things it can be used for. Fleming spent the remainder of his time sharing some of the other things that Digium has been doing to make it easier to build applications on Asterisk.

One piece of the effort is this week’s announcement of the partnership with San Mateo, CA- based Vyatta to integrate Asterisk into Vyatta’s open source router. The integrated appliance will eliminate network management issues for Asterisk developers and will automatically request the necessary resources for the traffic.

Another of those efforts is the productizing of Asterisk.

The Asterisk GUI project not only provides an easy-to-use interface for the platform, but also allows developers to easily customize the interface as well, according to Fleming.

Another new offering is the Asterisk software appliance, Asterisk Now. Developers can bundle software applications into the box and deliver the whole thing as a turnkey package. Digium also plans to offer Asterisk as an on-demand software service.

The company has also enhanced Asterisk, adding more redundancy so the system can handleSS more calls and increasing performance. “It should be practical to handle 1,000 SIP calls on a garden variety server,” Fleming said.

Digium is also exposing more complex dialing features to allow the implementation of features like find me-follow me. Call event logging will support more complex applications like call transfer and increase visibility of data like call wait times for call auditing. SS7 support allows Asterisk to be connected to SS7 networks.

Digium is also getting more formal about security advisories and coordinating with other reporting agencies. (http://www.asterisk.org/security).

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