Main portion of the advantages of the Asterisk server appears from it being an open source downloadable product. Most of the users, especially business people, can find it difficult to understand the idea behind this principle, or free software, but a business models behind open source are different and specific, as in case with Asterisk server.
Asterisk IP PBX benefits
ITs source code availability provides assurance for business continuity
The question you would like to ask as owner of a business, considering on investing in any communication solution to your business issues, apart from costs, is if the organization behind the solution has a solid financial platform. Simply, if it is available in scheduled future to be sure that support is provided and communication solutions continue to be upgraded.
Once the question comes to a server to be utilized, there are 2 points. First of all, Digium, makes its revenues from trading servers compatible hardware and devices. While finding a market for their service or product, the attitude that Digium has used in open source solution, is very alike with the philosophy of many other companies. Simple examples are when something is offered or given away for free by an enterprise:
* Mobile carrier companies issuing discounted mobile phones on contract.
* Companies that issues free Primus cooking stoves, charges for the gas used in theses stoves.
Meaning that the Digium Company has a concrete business model behind Asterisk server, and it is almost unlikely that it will leave the scene in the future. Another aspect of the application is that presence of warranty, if Digium will abandon business, the open source code would still be available for download, or other entities, which are interested, are going to continue with the development and enhancement of Asterisk server concept. In modern world, where brand business tags have a short life cycle, there is absolutely no assurance that a proprietary supplier will stay in business for certain time.
Asterisk's server open source code and use of integral hardware means no proprietary lock-in
Additionally to the fact contract for Asterisk servers are available with no advanced payment, they have been created to operate with basic computer hardware giving you the chance to choose any hardware from any supplier. Even more, you can reuse the old hardware with the Asterisk server! Moreover, specific hardware you might require to obtain just to integrate it into your landline or cell phone systems, is based on common specifications, meaning that there is a plenty of compatible hardware vendors. And all that leads to the fact that the needed costs are low and you have excellent flexibility in your application.
IBM started the revolution of PC by releasing the open specifications for its first ever PCs, providing the entire industry and philosophy developing it around supporting and supplying PCs. If IBM had taken a different proprietary way, the computing world would definitely look totally different.
Asterisk server is freely and easily extensible
Next advantage benefit of using it, is that it is extremely easy to extend. It is extensible in hardware and software elements. From a hardware perspective, it is simple to extend an existing Asterisk server solution, without having to eliminate a hardware you have already installed on. In case you look forward to connect several IP Phones and forward cheap phones calls via VoIP you can get a handy Asterisk GUI elaborated with supportive documentation and quick learning cycle. You can extend a PC with attached devices, or reuse components in a new PC, so too with your Asterisk server. You do not need to throw away the old PBX hardware in order to acquire innovations.
From a software perspective Asterisk server is really easy combinable into 3rd party programs. The core of the open source concept is the desire to freely combine with other programs, and, in our case, to allow other programs to be integrated with it.
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