Digium releases AsteriskNOW

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Digium releases AsteriskNOW

Digium today released AsteriskNOW, a turnkey easy-to-use version of Asterisk with a web-based GUI that they claim can get a working version of Asterisk up-and-running in 30 minutes. AsteriskNOW is Digium's answer to the popular trixbox "plug and play" Asterisk distro. Previously, AsteriskNOW was in beta, so today is the first day that it is available as a general release. The AsteriskNOW GUI lets users add, modify and delete users. Download options include ISO/CD Image, VM Player image, Xen universal guest image and LiveCD (burn and boot).

I had a chance to talk with Bill Miller, the VP of Product Management of Digium earlier today to talk about this news. Bill Miller told me, "The most important feature of the AsteriskNOW is the setup wizard, which simply takes the user through setting up the time and date band calling plans, connect to the service provider and off they go." He added, "One of the things you will see that we're in the process of doing is adding a series of service providers that are partners of ours and add it to the GUI. The user can select their own service provider if they already have a VoIP service provider or they can get one directly from our GUI and it will be preconfigured. You click on it and you have 'One Click VoIP services'.

Bill mentioned they are working closely with Polycom so that their IP phones can be auto-provisioned. In addition, he mentioned they will soon be adding an affiliate link "Buy Now" on the GUI so that users can click a link and easily buy a preconfigured Polycom phone to work with Asterisk. It will come with the firmware download to work with Asterisk. With some ITSPs you'll see a combination firmware load that comes with the ITSP and Polycom pre-configured. I asked if a premium was added to the phones if you buy a preconfigured Polycom phone and Bill said "Of course any Polycom phone will work because they're a certified partner. It's actually going to be up to the channel not us if they want to charge a premium for that provisioned phone." Fonality, a competing Asterisk solution charges $50 for their pre-configured phones.

You can do a single click upgrade from AsteriskNOW to Asterisk Business Edition which comes with support, the latest bug fixes/updates, etc. Bill mentioned, "Today everything in Asterisk is pure GPL, but we will be adding partners. Our intent is to add business class partners, we're not going to put everything but the kitchen sink in there. It is going to be very well selected and all built around productivity and mobility over time."

"Digium appreciates the initial response to AsteriskNOW. We placed the initial beta version on AsteriskNOW.org last month and have experienced over 2,000 downloads per day without any promotion! Our goal of reducing the complexity of installing and using Asterisk will expand the market for Digium into more mainstream use," said Mark Spencer, president of Digium and creator of Asterisk. "Unlike other Linux distributions used to deploy Asterisk, AsteriskNOW does not have unnecessary components that could compromise security or performance."

AsteriskNOW, based on the recently released Asterisk 1.4, is Digium's open source software appliance and is available for download on the official AsteriskNOW website

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