Years ago, when individuals first wanted to embed telephony applications (i.e. IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, etc.) on PC’s and operating systems (OS), there was really only one choice – Windows. As time went on, it became clear to enterprises and service providers that the cost of hardware and licenses from Microsoft was too high for small systems and too unreliable for scalable operations. They searched for an alternative.
That’s where open source came into play. Because Windows tried to be all things on any hardware platform, single purpose implementations, open source became an alternative to allow service providers and enterprises a tempting way to go to market without incurring the high costs and complexity of deploying a Windows-based OS. Yet, as businesses seek to scale into the realm of thousands of endpoints and multi-site networking configurations, there comes a point where every executive needs to ask the following question: do open source solutions really give me reliability, sophistication, and scale?
Though we believe open source has a place in the market for telephony solutions, it ultimately is not the best option you could be selecting when looking to achieve carrier-grade reliability for thousands of end-users. Here’s why.
Pros and Cons of Open Source
Open-source is extremely attractive for applications that demand low cost or no-cost operating systems. Open-source software is, of course, characterized by its available code. Developers working on enhancements must, as a requirement, share their discoveries with every other user. Anyone can download open source information and use it to their benefit. The open source market for processing-intensive telephony applications involves a myriad of companies all using an open-source operating system but offering differently named feature sets. And here lies our first issue.
The free-use business model of open source is clearly subsidized through fee-based support. An open source-based platform provider will provide help for the telephony applications they offer. However, if assistance is necessary for an issue with the OS or other software components (i.e. an independently developed 3rd party SIP stack), the situation gets complex, slows down, and becomes costly. For service providers or enterprises just starting out, this may not be much of an issue. But as one’s end-user base grows, customer experience and retention become more critical. As a result, the risk associated with going open source ends up ultimately costing more and outweighs the initial benefits.
Why Geo-Redundant Proprietary Platforms Give You Reliability to Scale
Yes, it’s true that open source platforms can provide a low upfront cost option for enterprises and service providers. Instead of a cost-intensive Windows platform, developers can run telephony applications on less expensive processors. However, as we have noted, this comes without the high degree of reliability service providers and other enterprises need to scale into state-wide or cross-country operations.
Instead of simply adding new, individual open source appliances on an as-needed basis, here is the alternative: leverage a five nine’s Linux-based core architecture that is built for a geo-redundant network. Straight away this is a great option. For a longer time than Open-source has been around, Linux has been the OS of choice for the server marketplace because of its reliability. Now, couple that with a full-featured, multi-tenant, geo-redundant architecture across an unlimited number of geographically diverse locations, and the result is high reliability for high-utilization mission critical applications.
The reason a rock-solid, geo-redundant platform is a better route for companies with ambitions to grow is simple. Open source platforms are designed for single-purpose servers as separate, unlinked entities. Thus, if any issue threatens a server’s uptime, there is no integrated and seamless automatic hand-off to ensure an uninterrupted customer experience. Failover is very different from hand-off. A geo-redundant platform designed from the ground-up to work together as one ensures this safeguard exists. On an open source platform, as you grow, you add a level of risk where disrupting the operations of hundreds if not thousands of customers when troubleshooting issues arise. That’s why platforms with built-in geo-redundancy are the better option.
So, what matters most to you? Is it having a highly reliable platform for high-utilization applications? What about generating the high customer satisfaction you need to secure continued revenue and to drive new growth? If you said yes to both, we can help! netsapiens’ SNAPsolution provides the right balance of reliability, performance and price. Our architecture is fully geo-redundant, which gives your end-users the high reliability and availability they want and the peace-of-mind you seek.