Friday, September 26, 2008

Astricon 2008 - The Momentum Accelerates

I was at Astricon in Phoenix Arizona this week. It was a very good conference with approximately 700 attendees. There was certainly no indication that the market share growth of Asterisk is going to slow any time soon. It was clearly evident at this show that Asterisk is still early in its adoption lifecycle, but the product and community are beginning to mature. This is a good thing.

There will always be nostalgia for the good old days of Asterisk and the first Astricon. The first Astriscon was much larger than expected and had all the excitement of a new movement that is catching fire. Those who were there will remember the eager cheering crowd when Mark Spencer announced the release of Asterisk 1.0 and a free IAXy to whomever could post the news on first. Everyone there felt special because they had the luck or foresight to be on the ground floor of something that was going to be big. And they were right, Asterisk is going to big.

This Astricon was also exciting, but in a different way. If you are an open source purist, you probably were disappointed that the zany, geekiness has been diluted by the growing presence of boring folks. Boring folks who either use Asterisk in their business or are part of the Asterisk ecosystem. I have been an Asterisk fan since 2003, but as a boring person I find the new maturity of Asterisk more exciting than ever. Asterisk's feature set, scalability and reliability continue to improve. It is now competing successfully with the blue chip PBX vendors such as Cisco and Nortel for the small business market.

At Atsricon, I presented our latest performance test results for Asterisk as a B2BUA. We found that Asterisk running on a Dell PowerEdge 840 with a single quad core 2.4 GHz CPU, running Redhat v5.1 can handle 1000 simultaneous calls of G.711 traffic and 320 simultaneous calls with transcoding from G.711 to G.729. The economics of this solution work out to be $1 per port with no transcoding and $13.13 per port for transcoding from G.711 to G.729. We are working on the final document which we will publish to the Asterisk mailing list.

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