New PBX - on prem or off?



  • It's that time again - to look at a new PBX.

    We currently have
    Building 1 - Inter-Tel Axxess (hardware is EOL) with 61 digital phones (50% are more than 10 years old and constantly failing)
    Building 2 - Mitel 5000 (hardware is EOL) with 42 Mitel IP phones (these phones aren't made anymore, but still available as refurb, current generation phones require a new license making a new phone $500+/ea)
    Building 3 - Mitel 5000 (current hardware) with 19 Mitel current IP phones

    Building 1 connects to Building 2 via three 1 GB fiber stands (I can config them anyway I need/want).
    Building 3 connects to Buildings 1 & 2 via VPN.

    Current phone connections:
    Building 1: 3 POTS lines
    Building 2: 4 POTS lines & SIP trunk (capped at 23 calls simultaneously)
    Building 3: 1 POTS line

    The POTS line currently act as fax lines and 911.
    All voice traffic travels to building 2 before going out the SIP trunks.

    My question for this thread is - should I go with a hosted PBX in something like Vultr, or on-prem VM?
    What issues might arise in having 100+ phones (building 1 & 2) registering remotely? What type of gateway device might make this better?

    I'm at the very start of this process - I'm sure I'm skipping steps - so please, feel free to ask me to backup and provide more information so I'm not jumping into the middle of this, and truly starting at the beginning.

    I plan to have a litany of threads for this project, all tagged "dash pbx project" things not related to this question will likely end up in their own threads.
    Thanks.



  • You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?



  • @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!



  • @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!

    I know I'm being pedantic, but again, it's not really relevant to my question. One could assume that if On-Prem is really the best way - I will make the required purchases to make that happen. Having a VM infrastructure isn't a prereq.

    Are you saying that if this was a greenfield install, that would sway your recommendation? i.e. you have no VM hosts today, and don't plan for any - then we'll just take on-prem off the list of options right now - is that what you're thinking?

    All that said - yes I have a VM infrastructure and available resources.


  • Banned

    Are you looking to replace all of your endpoint devices with new VoIP ones?


  • Banned

    I would likely look at having this hosted off premise. Not that on-premise is bad but it has all of the same challenges we discuss constantly here.

    Backups, recovery, outages, hardware, maintenance.

    Have you considered having someone host this service for you offsite or are you wanting to run it yourself?



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!

    I know I'm being pedantic, but again, it's not really relevant to my question. One could assume that if On-Prem is really the best way - I will make the required purchases to make that happen. Having a VM infrastructure isn't a prereq.

    Are you saying that if this was a greenfield install, that would sway your recommendation? i.e. you have no VM hosts today, and don't plan for any - then we'll just take on-prem off the list of options right now - is that what you're thinking?

    All that said - yes I have a VM infrastructure and available resources.

    You are correct, in that it is not highly relevant, but it is important. Adding VM capacity where none exists is expensive.

    But, the most important factor for determining on or off premises is where you need the survivability.

    Do you need internal calling to work no matter what? Then on premises.

    Or do you need external calls to terminate to your PBX no matter what? Then off premises.

    Now it gets more complicated in the fine details, but that is how you start.



  • To go down the rabbit hole, on each option is where the real decision lies.

    Look at what can fail.

    Your internet

    • On prem: This means external call cannot hit the PBX and inbound calls have to be rerouted at the provider level with few options other than call forwarding generally.
    • Off prem: The means phones cannot reach the PBX, but inbound calls do and can be rerouted to anything by you easily.

    Infrastructure

    • On prem: This is all on you and how well you setup your switches and hypervisor, etc. A failure here is highly varied.
    • Off prem: This has three normal possibilities.
      • The host is down, nothing can be done except to get the phones forwarded at the carrier.
      • Just your node is down and if the provider has other services you can restore, or migrate to them (relatively) quickly.
      • Your account is gone and you have to rebuild from scratch. Forward calls from the carrier level and build on a new, more reliable host.

    Your voice provider

    • There is really no difference between on and off prem when your provider goes down. You are simply screwed until they come back up. You can get outbound calling from another provider until the outage is over.


  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    But, the most important factor for determining on or off premises is where you need the survivability.

    Do you need internal calling to work no matter what? Then on premises.

    Or do you need external calls to terminate to your PBX no matter what? Then off premises.

    Now it gets more complicated in the fine details, but that is how you start.

    Perfect - exactly the starting point this thread was looking for.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    To go down the rabbit hole, on each option is where the real decision lies.

    Look at what can fail.

    Your internet

    • On prem: This means external call cannot hit the PBX and inbound calls have to be rerouted at the provider level with few options other than call forwarding generally.
    • Off prem: The means phones cannot reach the PBX, but inbound calls do and can be rerouted to anything by you easily.

    Infrastructure

    • On prem: This is all on you and how well you setup your switches and hypervisor, etc. A failure here is highly varied.
    • Off prem: This has three normal possibilities.
      • The host is down, nothing can be done except to get the phones forwarded at the carrier.
      • Just your node is down and if the provider has other services you can restore, or migrate to them (relatively) quickly.
      • Your account is gone and you have to rebuild from scratch. Forward calls from the carrier level and build on a new, more reliable host.

    Your voice provider

    • There is really no difference between on and off prem when your provider goes down. You are simply screwed until they come back up. You can get outbound calling from another provider until the outage is over.

    Interesting - All great points - though there was no mention toward my stated concern with the number of phones registering with the PBX locally versus remotely. Perhaps this is just not a real concern?

    I'm guessing we have nearly 1/3 of the phones off hook at a time, either making calls or making ext to ext calls.



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    To go down the rabbit hole, on each option is where the real decision lies.

    Look at what can fail.

    Your internet

    • On prem: This means external call cannot hit the PBX and inbound calls have to be rerouted at the provider level with few options other than call forwarding generally.
    • Off prem: The means phones cannot reach the PBX, but inbound calls do and can be rerouted to anything by you easily.

    Infrastructure

    • On prem: This is all on you and how well you setup your switches and hypervisor, etc. A failure here is highly varied.
    • Off prem: This has three normal possibilities.
      • The host is down, nothing can be done except to get the phones forwarded at the carrier.
      • Just your node is down and if the provider has other services you can restore, or migrate to them (relatively) quickly.
      • Your account is gone and you have to rebuild from scratch. Forward calls from the carrier level and build on a new, more reliable host.

    Your voice provider

    • There is really no difference between on and off prem when your provider goes down. You are simply screwed until they come back up. You can get outbound calling from another provider until the outage is over.

    Interesting - All great points - though there was no mention toward my stated concern with the number of phones registering with the PBX locally versus remotely. Perhaps this is just not a real concern?

    I'm guessing we have nearly 1/3 of the phones off hook at a time, either making calls or making ext to ext calls.

    If I didn't say it, it doesn't matter...

    But seriously, no. it does not matter.

    I did leave off bandwidth concerns. Because you cannot have service on prem or off without good bandwidth.

    Plan/Calculate 100k up and down per concurrent call and you will be fine.

    I am sitting at a client with an Asterisk system and 400+ extensions. The entire business model is to take and make calls for other organizations. The PBX is not on site, it is in colo.

    Note today is a super slow day with fully half the building working from home.
    0b2af571-913f-4adc-b369-af11e195726b-image.png



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    VM capacity and reliability helps us know if there is specific, extra risk to an on premises deployment.



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!

    I know I'm being pedantic, but again, it's not really relevant to my question. One could assume that if On-Prem is really the best way - I will make the required purchases to make that happen. Having a VM infrastructure isn't a prereq.

    Doesn't work that way. That's not a rational assumption and almost never correct. Having an HA VM infrastructure is almost always a pre-req, not just the ability to run VMs, but the ability to run them at HA. PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    So, in reality, this might be the most important factor in deciding this, rather than an "ignore it" factor like you are thinking.

    Basically it's the first thing we need to know...

    If you HAVE an HA infrastructure, then on premises in an option.

    If you don't have one already, the cost of one makes cloud the only option.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!

    I know I'm being pedantic, but again, it's not really relevant to my question. One could assume that if On-Prem is really the best way - I will make the required purchases to make that happen. Having a VM infrastructure isn't a prereq.

    Are you saying that if this was a greenfield install, that would sway your recommendation? i.e. you have no VM hosts today, and don't plan for any - then we'll just take on-prem off the list of options right now - is that what you're thinking?

    All that said - yes I have a VM infrastructure and available resources.

    You are correct, in that it is not highly relevant, but it is important. Adding VM capacity where none exists is expensive.

    But, the most important factor for determining on or off premises is where you need the survivability.

    Do you need internal calling to work no matter what? Then on premises.

    If they lack the infrastructure, then on premises generally doesn't fix that. Only works with the assumption of an HA or near-HA infrastructure to support that reliability.



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    To go down the rabbit hole, on each option is where the real decision lies.

    Look at what can fail.

    Your internet

    • On prem: This means external call cannot hit the PBX and inbound calls have to be rerouted at the provider level with few options other than call forwarding generally.
    • Off prem: The means phones cannot reach the PBX, but inbound calls do and can be rerouted to anything by you easily.

    Infrastructure

    • On prem: This is all on you and how well you setup your switches and hypervisor, etc. A failure here is highly varied.
    • Off prem: This has three normal possibilities.
      • The host is down, nothing can be done except to get the phones forwarded at the carrier.
      • Just your node is down and if the provider has other services you can restore, or migrate to them (relatively) quickly.
      • Your account is gone and you have to rebuild from scratch. Forward calls from the carrier level and build on a new, more reliable host.

    Your voice provider

    • There is really no difference between on and off prem when your provider goes down. You are simply screwed until they come back up. You can get outbound calling from another provider until the outage is over.

    Interesting - All great points - though there was no mention toward my stated concern with the number of phones registering with the PBX locally versus remotely. Perhaps this is just not a real concern?

    I'm guessing we have nearly 1/3 of the phones off hook at a time, either making calls or making ext to ext calls.

    It's not a concern, at all, whatsoever. That's why no one is mentioning it. Not sure what you are picturing, but the PBX wouldn't know the difference.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    I am sitting at a client with an Asterisk system and 400+ extensions. The entire business model is to take and make calls for other organizations. The PBX is not on site, it is in colo.

    We do the same, no issues at all.



  • @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    I totally disagree with this for most SMB.

    There needs to be a clear path of call flow when the PBX goes offlines to one side or the other (for whatever reason). But HA is rarely needed for that.

    Forwarding calls to mobile, to a nother service, or letting the PBX take message if the site is what is down, etc.



  • @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    I will say a lot of businesses claim that they need HA or near HA PBX funcitonality.

    But once rational thought and actual math is done, it is rarely actually needed.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    I totally disagree with this for most SMB.

    It is their 911 requirement.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    I will say a lot of businesses claim that they need HA or near HA PBX funcitonality.

    But once rational thought and actual math is done, it is rarely actually needed.

    If his 911 went another path, I'd agree. But his 911 from three sites flows through this one PBX. PBX goes down, 911 goes down.



  • @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    I will say a lot of businesses claim that they need HA or near HA PBX funcitonality.

    But once rational thought and actual math is done, it is rarely actually needed.

    If his 911 went another path, I'd agree. But his 911 from three sites flows through this one PBX. PBX goes down, 911 goes down.

    This is no different than any historical on site PBX. If the phones go down, so does 911.
    Policy should be to use cell phone in that case. Much better option today than before cell phones.

    911 is not a special thing. Phones have always gone out. Phone systems have gone out. Providers have gone out.

    Edit to add:
    In fact, I know of no municipality that requires 911 be available even if the phone service is down.

    That doens't mean a business can ignore it. There are codes that require it to be normally available, and as long as it is, and a known plan for a service outage is in place, I know of no other requirements.



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    What issues might arise in having 100+ phones (building 1 & 2) registering remotely? What type of gateway device might make this better?

    One that does not screw with the traffic. Other than that, any solid commercial router should handle it.



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    The POTS line currently act as fax lines and 911.

    There is no need to keep this for 911. You can, but there is no requirement to do so.

    As for faxing...... Well you are medical and have abnormal faxing needs.

    Assuming that you keep this for faxing and don't mix it with the PBX, there is nothing else to do. The line will go straight from the demarc to the fax machines.

    If you want to add it in for 911, then you are adding complexity. You will now need an FXO device to convert it to SIP to connect to the PBX. Obviously if this is a hosted service, you are looping back and forth and it will still fail if the internet is down, PBX is down, etc.



  • I'm picturing one of these located centrally in the office for 911 usage kept out of the PBX 🙂
    alt text

    Edit: Replace "Knit!" with "Emergency"



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @DustinB3403 said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    Are you looking to replace all of your endpoint devices with new VoIP ones?

    Well - this is where things get challenging. and I'd want another thread. So give me 30 mins to fix a user issue and make a new thread for this question.

    @scottalanmiller if you see this before @Dashrender comes back, fork the quoted post to a new thread.



  • @manxam said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    I'm picturing one of these located centrally in the office for 911 usage kept out of the PBX 🙂
    alt text

    Edit: Replace "Knit!" with "Emergency"

    That's an option.



  • @JaredBusch said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @DustinB3403 said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    Are you looking to replace all of your endpoint devices with new VoIP ones?

    Well - this is where things get challenging. and I'd want another thread. So give me 30 mins to fix a user issue and make a new thread for this question.

    @scottalanmiller if you see this before @Dashrender comes back, fork the quoted post to a new thread.

    Done



  • @scottalanmiller said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    @FATeknollogee said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You've said nothing regarding your on-prem vm capacity/capability?
    Also, how is your LAN equipment - good, new, old, POE switches etc?

    What baring does that have on my question though? How would that affect Onsite or Hosted PBX?

    Obviously, if you don't have the ability or capability to "create" vm's...that would kill the on-prem option!

    I know I'm being pedantic, but again, it's not really relevant to my question. One could assume that if On-Prem is really the best way - I will make the required purchases to make that happen. Having a VM infrastructure isn't a prereq.

    Doesn't work that way. That's not a rational assumption and almost never correct. Having an HA VM infrastructure is almost always a pre-req, not just the ability to run VMs, but the ability to run them at HA. PBXs have extremely high uptime requirements.

    So, in reality, this might be the most important factor in deciding this, rather than an "ignore it" factor like you are thinking.

    Basically it's the first thing we need to know...

    If you HAVE an HA infrastructure, then on premises in an option.

    If you don't have one already, the cost of one makes cloud the only option.

    As I already know JB said - I completely disagree with you.

    You might consider your PBX to be super HA requirements - but clearly most SMBs don't because they don't install them that way.. instead, like my current setup, they have a dedicated device that is the PBX that has zero HA.

    Are phones important here? sure, Do they rise to the level of requiring HA - probably not, in fact I'd go so far as to say absolutely not - see recent history for explanation.

    And since you're talking about HA - Are you saying you have your PBXs in your hosted solutions all setup as HA? Are the fault tolerate as well? or just fast to get going on another node?



  • @Dashrender said in New PBX - on prem or off?:

    You might consider your PBX to be super HA requirements - but clearly most SMBs don't because they don't install them that way..

    As you know, what SMBs "consider" is irrelevant. Dogs like to eat chocolate. Doesn't make giving it to them smart.