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Asterisk/Trixbox as a VM on WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  • Having successfully run Windows Vista as a virtual machine, using Windows Virtual Server 2005 on the CTP of WHS I have embarked on a more ambitious project of installing/testing a version of the opensource Asterisk PBX known as Trixbox on WHS RC.

    Because Trixbox is designed/compiled to run on Linux it will be necessary to run a virtual machine consisting of Linux + Trixbox on WHS. Fortunately, there is an already existing "appliance" from VMware consisting of Trixbox 2.2 installed on CentOS Linux. For those interested, here is the url to the www page at the VMware www site for this VMware Appliance

        http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/directory/939

    I will first install VMware Server, which is designed to run on Windows Server 2003 (and other server OS's such as Linux) and then install the aforementioned VMware Trixbox 2.2 appliance.

    My reason for creating a discussion thread on this list is to see if any other list members are interested in having a personal/home PBX running on their WHS server.

    Although Asterisk is not designed with the average home user in mind, it does, in fact, have a lot of functions that could be useful in the home environment when coupled with suitable VOIP/Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) handsets now available at reasonable (less than $100) prices from Cisco/Linksys and other suppliers. This could be helpful for those running home based businesses. Of course, there are also stand alone appliances available from Cisco/Linksys, and, even Microsoft, that provide PBX functionality for the SOHO user but the idea behind this effort is to reduce box "clutter" in the home wiring closet, such as it is, and to provide a unified management interface. Asterisk itself already has considerable momentum behind it and there are several companies providing hw appliances based on that software.

    If anyone else is working on his kind of capability I would appreciate hearing from you on this list.





       
    Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:47 AM

All replies

  • What about just using the Windows version of Asterisk with a nice config script?
    Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:10 AM
  • I've tried a number of times to get an asterisk server running, admitedly it's only been on spare hardware.. so I would be keen to give it a go on something more serious.   To that end I'm grabbing a copy of VMWare server + Trixbox now. 

     

    Of course this means I'll probably have it installed in about 2 weeks.. but you never know Smile

     

    Let me know how you get on.

    Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:26 AM
  • I'm currently running separate WHS and Trixbox servers.  I've had TB going on a dedicated CentOS box for about a year.  I was seriously considering installing WHS on my current TB hardware and going to a VMWare TB install, but since I work from home I really depend on my phones working so can't really afford to have any downtime should it not go well.  I'd definitely be interested in knowing how it goes for you as it would be nice to eliminate one of the boxes.  More importantly though, I'm wondering if there would be an advantage to this setup in terms of backing up the TB install.  As of yet I have not found an easy way of backing up anything more than my TB config (and not CentOS itself), meaning if I were to suffer a crash of that box I'd have to reinstall from scratch and probably have to reconfigure somet things in CentOS that I've long forgotten about.  Haven't put a lot of thought to this yet, but it's definitely something I might pursue in the near future.

     

    Jay

    Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:15 AM
  • FWIW, rPath has some Asterisk 'Software Appliances' (preconfigured VM's) available here:
    http://www.rpath.org/rbuilder/project/asterisk/release?id=5648

    I also remember seeing some Asterisk@Home images available on the A@H website a while back.

    I run Trixbox on an old PC, but would be interested in getting it on my WHS machine if it were stable.

    Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:18 PM
  •  

    I think this is really good I’ve downloaded the trixbox VM and had a internal intercom system working in about an hour, I have the VM running in the WHS.

    I just need to figure out how to configure trixbox to use my BT sip connect that I get with my BT home hub. But even just for a internal intercom system with video its good.

     

    And I need to convert the vmware VM to either VirtualPC or Virtual Server

     

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 7:31 AM
  • Here's what I did yesterday:

     

    1. Downloaded VMWare image of TrixBox 2.2.
    2. Installed VMWare player on WHS and launched TB.
    3. Backed up my current TB config files from my dedicated TB server.
    4. Restored the config files on the VMWare TB install on WHS.
    5. Changed my phones' config file to use the VMWare TB server IP for the SIP server.
    6. Changed my router's DHCP server to use the VMWare TB server IP for the TFTP server where the phones download the config file.
    7. Rebooted all the phones.

    Entire process took less than an hour and I was up and running with the VMWare version and didn't have to do any reconfig except changing the SIP and TFP server IPs as noted above.  Although I thought all was well and was ready to start doing some testing to see how performance was, I immediately ran into a couple of glitches.

     

    1. For no apparent reason, I started getting MySQL database errors when using FreePBX.  Could not figure out the cause, so I restarted just the VMWare.
    2. Once I restarted, the TB web pages became inaccessible.  I verified that the Apache was running and I could ping the server, but kept getting "could not locate server."  I then shut everything down and rebooted the entire WHS box and then everything appeared to be functioning again.
    3. Made a few test calls, both internal and external, and didn't seem to have any problems.  Then I called the internal number that runs the agi-weather script to read the weather forecast and was inundated with some cryptic error message repeating over and over on the VMWare TB console.  It was scrolling so fast I really couldn't read it.  I think I ended up finally getting a kernel panic and had to restart again.

    After restarting, all seemed well again, but I really didn't feel confident after issues 1 - 3, so I have temporarily abandoned the VMWare install as a possible solution.  In retrospect, I'm wondering if part of the issue could be WHS trying to duplicate the VMWare image while it was running?  I installed the image in d:\shares\VMWare, and didn't even think about it at the time, but left folder duplication turned on.  I suppose this would be ideal in terms of always having a backup of the image, but are the files in this folder changing so frequently that perhaps the duplication was causing corruption?  I have to admit that I am really not familiar with the inner workings of VMWare, so if anyone else has some thoughts I'd like to hear them.  I may just try installing the VMWare image again to a non-duplicated folder and doing some more thorough testing as time permits.

     

    One thing that still has me a little apprehensive though is "putting all of my eggs in one basket" so to speak.  If I had the system drive fail in my Trixbox server today, I'd just have to reinstall from the CD and then run a quick restore from a FreePBX backup and I'd basically be up and running again.  If I had the system drie fail in my WHS, while reinstalling would basically consist of the same thing, I'd probably have to wait much longer for it to take place as WHS would have to rebuild all of the tombstones, a process which I understand can take a significant amount of time.  Any other concerns anyone can see?  Network bandwidth is perhaps another one, but that's probably only going to be during the brief times that backups are taking place when I'm genrally not using the phones anyway.

     

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 7:11 PM
  • Put the image on a dedicated hard drive.  Do not use the shared drives.  The files are continously moved around and that is probably why you don't have errors right away.  I have ran numerous images on a usb drive that is not part of the shared drives.  Let me know your results.
    Thursday, July 12, 2007 10:47 PM
  • Hey guys,

    Just to let you know, I've been using Trixbox for a while on my WHS and everything is working fine (no lag or voice problem).
    What you have to do is:

    1- Upgrade the memory from 512Mo to 2Gig (here how) (with 512 Mo, your Trixbox will work fine for 15 minutes and then it will start getting errors)
    2- Download VMPlayer (http://www.vmware.com/products/player/)
    3- Download Trixbox for VMWare (http://www.trixbox.org/downloads)
    4- Ensure you put your Trixbox on your C Drive (and not in your share folders).
    5- Start your Trixbox
    6- Enjoy

    For your information, the VM Process takes around 500 Mo from your memory and 5 to 10% of your CPU.
    I've been able to watch HD contents on 2 of my computers without any problem with my Trixbox (by the way, I upgrade my CPU, heres how)

    Good luck
    • Proposed as answer by ambiorix Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:59 PM
    Sunday, April 6, 2008 3:29 AM
  • What about just using the Windows version of Asterisk with a nice config script?

    I have installed the windows version of asterisk and i am working on a addin for it please let me know if you need it it will be available in about 2 weeks. it works great as a sip phone and calling family for free all around the world
    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:04 PM
  • Hey Ambiorix,

    I saw this post and would be very interested in your add-in.  If you have a "how-to" tutorial, that would be greatly appreciated as well.  Thanks!

    Dave

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 9:17 PM
  • I am running 3CX v8 for Windows under WHS, works like a charm. Unlike my experiences with AMP this does work with the webbased 'remote' configuration. Have been playing around also with all kinds of Asterisk versions, but the ease of this plus the possibility to run in under Windows did decide me to stay for a while with 3cx. Last night I upgraded from v6 to v8 within 30 minutes. Even the standard dutch prompts that I was able to download sound professional. For at home you can use the free version, or do you need more than 4 simultaneous calls??
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 8:53 PM
  • I am running Trixbox 2.0 with Freepbx 2.6.0 in vmware server 2.0 on my WHS. I have configured Port forwards on non standard ports to forward remote traffic to either WHS, VMware Server or my Trixbox. I do this with a dynDNS domain name as I am on a Dynamic connection.

    Like this:

    http://mydomain:8080  router set to forward to port 80 on WHS
    http://mydomain:8082  router set to forward to port 80 on Trixbox
    http://mydomain:8222  router set to forward to port 8222 on VMware Server (standard setup)

     


    All remote configurable!




    Friday, October 16, 2009 7:31 PM