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November 08, 2006

Pactolus Becomes an Open Source for VoIP Developers

By Erik Linask, Group Managing Editor

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), already an accepted means of communications, is quickly becoming a preferred means of voice transport.
 Indeed, with the high rate of VoIP adoption and the continued proliferation of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert)) standards and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert)) infrastructures, the market differentiators will be defined at by new and innovative applications and, perhaps more importantly, how quickly they can be brought to market.
In order to take advantage of the continuing development in IP Communications — and to help accelerate IP migration in general —Pactolus Communications (News - Alert) Software Corporation, which has long provided VoIP applications and service creation and delivery solutions for the service provider market, is making a play into the enterprise space as well and is looking to provide development tools that will enable enterprises and service provider communities alike to take advantage of its resources.
To launch this effort, the company has introduced its online developer community,, which features a SIP-based service creation environment, application server, and software media server—a comprehensive environment including everything developers need to rapidly create innovative, media-rich applications for next generation VoIP and IMS networks.
In addition, the site contains complete working applications and supporting application frameworks, all provided in open source to help developers quickly gain proficiency and create quickly deployable applications for their markets.
“We also see integrators looking for tool sets to develop and add their own value added applications, and now we’ve given them a one-stop shop, which we are able to offer on the back of the interoperability work we’ve done with companies,” said Pactolus’ vice president of marketing and product management Ken Osowski.
Osowski added: “Those people that want a best of breed solution, they now have a place to get all that, along with our development environment. It’s an ecosystem, really.”
Because, as Oskowsi notes, “IMS and SIP migration looms large,” the market for people looking to build their own applications and add-ons is growing, especially with the continued recognition of other open source alternatives like Asterisk (News - Alert). So, given the proven success of its product, Pactolus is throwing its hat into the open source developer ring as well, hoping it will fit the heads of development teams.
The initiative is based on the core underlying Pactolus RapidFLEX Service Delivery Platform (SDP) technology, which is driving a multitude of different IP services at carriers and service providers, but other resources that are available include the RapidFLEX Service Creation Environment (SCE) software, RapidFLEX Application Server software,
RapidFLEX Media Server software, and RapidFLEX Element Manager and Prompt Manager software utilities.
In addition, a fully functioning open source reservationless audio conferencing reference application is available for use with both the RapidFLEX Software Media Server and other popular DSP-based media servers.
To help facilitate the growth of the industry, more than 180 documents relating to SIP and IMS are available on the site, including tutorials, application documentation, and the ability for users to contribute information to the program, as well as links to partner sites. Pactolus’ engineers will also host the online community on a rotational basis, adding a personal—and valuable—component to the program.
Essentially, Pactolus is allowing downloads of what it has productized over the last six years and is running in carrier networks today, allowing developers to create applications and services that can quickly and easily be deployed in service provider and enterprise environments.
Indeed, Pactolus argues its SCE (Service Creation Environment) presents advantages over other options on the market today, which tend to be limited in scope or require advanced programming skills or protocol experience. Pactolus’ SCE uses a graphical, non-procedural IMS-compliant interface that, at the end, creates an XML script, greatly simplifying the process for users.
In addition, scalability and commercial reliability issues that have plagued some open source initiatives have been countered by Pactolus in real-world implementations, including one that handles 40,000 concurrent calls.
“We clearly have the biggest applications out there,” commented Osowski. “What we’re pushing into the hands of the developer is proven scale, great toolkits, and the open source applications on top to give credibility to the fact that we’re bringing our expertise to the market this way.”
For educational institutions, the community will provide unrestricted licenses for the RapidFLEX SCE, with the goal of driving innovation back to the Pactolus platform. Developers at schools are looking to develop new applications anyway, so, from Pactolus’ perspective, they may as well use what is commercially available to build as big a platform as the want.
Pactolus CTO and Founder David Horton concludes: “This initiative is targeted at the part of the market that prefers to build their own solutions, but wants comprehensive technology and needs to know that they are deploying on scalable, battle-tested platforms. By providing a complete development environment—including service creation, media control, and extensible application interfaces—we are providing everything a developer needs to create compelling IP services on a proven platform, at no cost.”
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

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