Tag Archives: sysadminman

Monit: Disk space monitoring

One thing you definitely don’t want to happen to your server is for it to run out of disk space, especially the root partition.

There are lots of pieces of open source monitoring software, a popular one being monit.

Below is a quick guide to installing monit and generating alert e-mails for disk space and cpu/memory usage. The installation was done on a SysAdminMan VPS running CentOS 5.5

Continue reading

FreePBX vs A2Billing

When you start looking at control panels for Asterisk it can be difficult to decide what you should be using – FreePBX or A2Billing.

While they are both web GUIs for setting up Asterisk, they are used for different things and which one to choose depends on your needs.

Here is a brief description of both to help you decide –

FreePBX

  • Used for setting up extensions and trunks for inbound and outbound calls
  • Includes lots of features of a traditional PBX – voicemail, IVRs, ring groups, queues etc.
  • Includes Call Detail Records (CDR) that logs all calls, their destination and duration

A2Billing

  • Used for billing for calls
  • Can be used to charge for calling card, sip user or regular outbound calls
  • The heart of A2Billing are the rate cards that include the per minute cost for all destinations allowed to be called
  • Least cost routing with multiple rate cards with the cheapest route being chosen
  • Admin and customer interfaces

So FreePBX is used to setup Asterisk with the features of a ‘traditional’ PBX and A2Billing focuses on billing for different types of calls.

It is also possible to combine the two and use A2Billing to account for outbound calls for extensions setup within FreePBX.

A2Billing is more complicated to setup than FreePBX. While it’s possible to setup an extension and trunk in FreePBX and start making calls very quickly there is quite a learning curve with A2Billing. Managing rate cards which hold all destinations and their cost can be quite complex.

All VPS templates offered by SysAdminMan include FreePBX – SysAdminMan, Trixbox, Elastix and PBX-in-a-flash

The following two templates include A2Billing – SysAdminMan and Elastix

What can you do with Trixbox in a couple of hours?

EDIT – these test numbers are no longer functional

As a quick demonstration of what you can achieve with Trixbox in a couple of hours I have put together a demonstration phone system.

Trixbox uses Asterisk and FreePBX to provide a richly featured phone system that you can do lots of interesting things with.

For the demonstration I created a phone system with DDI numbers in the London and New York. These phone numbers are provided by future-nine.com.

If you would like do give it a go you can call the system using the following regular telephone numbers –

  • UK  xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • US  xxxxxxxxxxxx

The system comprises an automated voice menu with the following options –

  • Press 1 – for some music.
  • Press 2 – for a speaking clock that reads the time in the UK.
  • Press 3 – for an echo test. This will echo back everything you say to it, giving you an idea of the delay on the line.
  • Press 4 – to leave a voicemail. This will then be e-mailed to me as an e-mail attachment.
  • Press 5 – for some current news. This is produced by downloading the latest rss news feed from Yahoo and then converting it to speech using software from Cepstral. It’s certainly not perfect but gives an idea of what is possible. The audio is updated automatically every hour. The main IVR menu speech was also created using Cepstral.

The whole process from ordering the phone numbers from future-nine, to having a functioning phone system, took only a couple of hours and the only part that is not possible to perform via the web gui was downloading and converting the news feed.

As FreePBX forms the basis of most of the Asterisk distributions is just as easy to do the same with Trixbox, Elastix or PBX in a Flash.

Please give it a go and add a comment below to let me know how you get on.

If you’d like more information about virtual PBXs from Sysadminman then click here