As you have probably noticed, in December last year we updated our website. Together with this update a new Solutions menu appeared. While there is still much room for improvements, we really hoped that VoipNow’s range of solutions will be easier to understand for customers.
After these updates it looks like customers still find some things confusing. While we plan to fix them ASAP, I think that I can answer to most confusing questions in a short post:
Question: Should I replace VoipNow Professional with VoipNow Core?
Most likely you cannot do this, because they are complementary solutions. VoipNow Core is not a PBX, so you cannot offer PBX services to your customers like you do with VoipNow Professional. Instead you can offer SIP trunking, wholesale VoIP services and you can build the core of your VoIP network by interconnecting it with ISDN PRI (SS7 will also be added).
So, VoipNow Core and VoipNow Professional are different solutions, but they are integrated in the VoipNow Platform (the generic name for the VoipNow ecosystem), which means that you can connect your VoipNow Professional servers to VoipNow Core and keep call rating and all billing components at the VoipNow Core level. Of course, you might be fine (based on the type of services you offer) with only one:
– If you offer only PBX services and you work with a decent VoIP wholesaler ‘you don’t need VoipNow Core at this stage. But our experience shows that you will definitely need it later.
– If you offer only SIP trunking and wholesale services using a custom Cisco, Open Source, etc. solution, the migration to VoipNow Core is the best thing you can do in order to easily grow and manage the infrastructure.
Question: Is VoipNow Automation the right solution for me?
It depends on what you expect. VoipNow Automation is a business and operations automation software. It allows you to build an online store for the products and services you also define in Automation. In the online store customers can order your services. The output orders enter into a queue and they are deployed by VoipNow Automation. At this level VoipNow Automation works with VoipNow Professional (VoipNow Core support to be added later), i.e. it uses one of your VoipNow Professional servers to deploy the order. Automation handles recurring billing (based on the utilization gathered from VoipNow Professional), processes payments, it monitors these payments and can even suspend or terminate services. Of course, this is an oversimplified overview, but I guess that you have already realized that it cannot be used as a replacement for VoipNow Professional.
There are companies that have implemented some of the VoipNow Automation functionality into their proprietary system using the API, otherwise it would have been impossible for them to grow. So that VoipNow Automation is not absolutely required in order to build the business, but it’s an easier choice that makes more sense economically.
Question: How can I get 4Grid?
First, 4Grid is not a product itself, it is just a framework. VoipNow Core has native support for 4Grid, which means that you can add as many nodes as you wish, to support the entire infrastructure. VoipNow Professional also supports 4Grid, but it cannot be managed in the interface, meaning that implementations are harder to manage. We will add 4Grid management in the VoipNow Professional web interface later this year.
Question: How far can I go with VoipNow Core?
There are no practical limits, as the infrastructure is self arranging/multi-server. VoipNow Core can be installed on a single server (no redundancy, not recommended), on two servers (simple 4Grid Lite setup) or on four servers or more (full 4Grid setup).
Question: How far can I go with VoipNow Professional?
We have customers that put on a single server more than 3,000 extensions. You can grow to more extensions in two ways: by using multiple VoipNow Professional autonomous systems (multiple non-connected servers) or by setting-up a 4Grid cluster. Each approach is correct, for example we have customers that use more than 20 VoipNow Professional servers to deliver services to over 20,000 extensions. As hardware is quite cheap, they prefer to put only a limited number of extensions on the server.
Question: When should I use the 4Grid framework?
Don’t think about 4Grid if you have less than 20 calls per second, 300 concurrent calls or less than 3,000 extensions registered to your system. You simply don’t need it at this stage. You might want to deploy it if you know that you will grow as hell in the next 3 months (and usually no one can guarantee this) .
Don’t worry about the 4Grid migration at a later date. It is very simple and it involves only a very low downtime.