Fonality has become the first open-source-based VoIP provider to strike a deal with a Tier 1 computer vendor. Starting this February, customers will be able to purchase fully provisioned Fonality VoIP Phone System servers from computer maker Dell. The Fonality VoIP Phone System will come installed on Optiplex 330 PCs, according to Fonality CEO Chris Lyman. Mr. Lyman thinks this is a big moment for open-source-based technologies:
"This is the second proof point in less than a week of Open Source is being validated by the broader technology marketthe first being MySQL being bought for a billion dollars by Sun last week," he told VoIPplanet.com.
The new system will operate on a hybrid hosting model, just like Fonality's PBXtra and trixbox Pro. The Fonality VoIP Phone System is based on the same core as PBXtra and trixbox Pro, but is customized specifically for Dell. While no iPBX product is 100 percent plug-and-play, Fonality's offerings come close. Because it costs so much to "roll a truck," or send technicians out for onsite service, Dell spent over a year looking for a system that would not require site visits. Fonality's track record in this regard was one of the items that closed the deal; Mr. Lyman says that less than 4 percent of his customers ever request onsite services.
Hybrid hosting puts all the management and system administration functions on Fonality's servers, while the customer's data remains on their own premises. Fonality handles all security patches and upgrades, there are no hassles with getting SIP through firewalls, remote users can connect just as easily as local users, and their extension numbers travel with them. System administrators and end users both get the benefits of Web-based control panels.
Fonality and Dell are targeting businesses with up to 150 users per site, and can easily set up multiple sites in a wide-area network. The Optiplex will handle 50 concurrent queued calls, or a much larger number of un-queued calls. The new systems are available now, and will appear on Dell.com next month, and in Dell's next print catalogue. Dell will support the hardware, and Fonality will provide the software support.