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October 2008 | Volume 11 / Number 10
Open Source

Talking with Mike Storella, snom

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

Michael Storella is Director of Business Development in North America at snom (, a developer and maker of VoIP phones. He’s responsible for building and expanding the sales and support channels for snom’s family of IP telephone products in North America. Storella has 30+ years of experience in business development, channel operations, customer service, and strategic planning, having held executive posts at RNK Telecom, Whaleback Systems (News - Alert), Pingtel Corporation, Priority Call Management, IBM/Rolm Corp., Lightstream, Cisco Systems, New England Telephone and ITT-CS. He has consistently delivered bold deployments of emerging technology products coupled with customer-support initiatives.

RG: What changes have you seen in the open source marketplace?

MS: Five or so years ago, everyone was just trying to make a successful VoIP call, but today there has been tremendous growth and a maturing of the market. We see a lot more professionalism in terms of taking open source code and creating products with it. The open source community is now populated with companies that offer products in appliance form that you can buy and they’re all supportable. Digium (News - Alert) now has some considerable competition, though at the moment everyone is still targeting the SMB space – I’ve heard recently that a university was going to deploy Asterisk (News - Alert) as their phone system, but I’m not yet willing to say that we’ll see open source software be used to serve an entire, huge enterprise. Still, at some point we’re likely to see some larger institutions tackle it, provided they’re staffed with Linux experts who have some coding ability.

But back at the SMB level, everyone wants to make things easier – automated installations and that kind of thing. We see more and more efforts in terms of developing and deploying plug-and-play environment where devices and systems are capable of auto-discovery, so when customers plug a phone into the network, its MAC address can be inserted into the PBX (News - Alert), and an auto-provisioning routine takes care of everything. And then the advanced features come on line, such as busy lamp fields, shared lines, and so forth. So there’s a lot more sophistication entering the picture and more ease-of-use developments.

For example, at snom we have a full suite of security protocols for our phones, such as Secure SIP and Secure RTP using encryption, but in our top-of-the-line phone we’ve added a VPN client so in those environments where perhaps PBXs don’t use those security protocols, they can use our Model 370 and put every phone on a VPN client to ensure security.

RG: Any other trends?

MS: One nice thing about the growth in open source for snom is that, for the most part, VoIP is based on SIP [Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (News - Alert)], which is becoming the protocol of choice for various implementations, and we’re very strong in SIP – we’ve made SIP phones for seven years now, and we don’t work with any other VoIP signaling protocol like that. And we do a considerable amount of interop testing with many of the open source companies, and we have partnerships with companies such as Digium/Asterisk, which has tested many of our products has incorporated them into their Business Edition. Many open source telephony software developers like our phones for their technical ‘depth’ and ease with which they can do SIP registrations and things like that. Our Series 300 phones have a mature SIP stack, along with many features. People are often relieved that once they download open source telephony software and run it on a PC, they can test it immediately with a snom phone. And every two or three weeks we get calls from developers about to introduce an open source product that they’ve embedded either in an appliance or their server, and they want to validate it with snom phones.

So, we’re naturally a big proponent of the open source community.

Richard Grigonis (News - Alert) is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.


Open Source News
Unison Technologies Brings UC to Linux
Unison Technologies (News - Alert) announced that it has entered into a partnership with Canonical, Inc. to bring unified communications to Linux. Unison is fully unified communications software capable of running on both Ubuntu (News - Alert) Sever and on Ubuntu Desktop Edition. For Ubuntu users this will be a cost-effective and more functional alternative to legacy solutions.

Rurik Bradbury, CMO of Unison Technologies, said, “We believe that Unison on Ubuntu is a ‘killer app’ for Linux and a great option for any small or medium business. It is more powerful and far more affordable than the Microsoft (News - Alert) alternative. With the user-friendliness and wide distribution of Ubuntu, we expect this partnership to further accelerate the growth of both Linux in business IT as well as unified communications.”
Digium Announces Release of Version 1.2.0 for Asterisk Appliance 50
Digium has announced the latest release of its full-featured, cost-effective Asterisk Appliance, the AA50. The latest version is the first to feature the Digium-developed AsteriskGUI framework and is designed to bring small to medium enterprises a feature-rich, cost-effective, reliable telephony solution. A standalone embedded Asterisk-based PBX, the Asterisk Appliance is targeted for small to medium businesses (2–50 users), remote branch offices of larger organizations (2–50 users per site), and managed service providers for on-premise CPE-based solutions with SIP or IAX trunking. The new AA50 offers the commercially licensed Asterisk Business Edition software, in addition to the first Digium-developed AsteriskGUI. The Appliance is available in the following configurations: VoIP Only, Eight FXO, and Four FXS with Four FXO.
Continuent Debuts Tungsten Scale-Out Stack
Continuent, Inc., a provider of commercial open source solutions for database replication and scale-out, has announced an advanced replication for MySQL with its Tungsten Replicator. Continuent Tungsten is an open source stack, a collection of integrated projects, for database scale-out using commodity hardware. The cross-bite clustering feature maintains and replicates databases on multiple sites for disaster recovery and the heterogeneous data integration replicates from MySQL to Oracle (News - Alert) and the other way round. It populates a data warehouse by copying data from production database into a replica for purposes of reporting. Releases Xen 3.3 Engine has announced the release of the Xen 3.3 engine. The latest version of the open source hypervisor is now available for download from the community site and includes enhancements that further advance its position as a fast, scalable, secure virtualization engine for the industry’s broadest range of server and PC chipsets — from super computers to PDAs. The new Xen 3.3 release has the ability to further improve overall performance of the hypervisor engine in mainstream enterprise computing environments. The company cites the example of Intel (News - Alert)’s continued contribution to the Xen project, which is driving parallel advances in hardware and software virtualization capabilities to ensure that Xen-based solutions take full advantage of next-generation microprocessor technologies.
Sun Microsystems (News - Alert) Powers New Release of Open Source TWiki
A provider of open source enterprise collaboration solutions, TWIKI.NET, has announced a new release of open source TWiki. TWiki version 4.2 software includes a new WYSIWYG editor that is easy to use and can dramatically reduce the learning curve for first time users. It also offers support for a SQL-like query language to aide the end-user in building wiki applications. This software release coincides with the open source project migration to a new Sun Fire T5220 server, a Sun Fire X4450 server and a Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS Gateway (News - Alert) System contributed by Sun Microsystems.
Novel Open Source Data Quality Product from Talend
Talend announced its Talend Data Quality product designed to combine data integration, data profiling, and data quality in a single open source suite. Talend says it is the first to deliver such a product to the open source community — after three years of intense research and development, and with solid financial backing from leading investment firms. Talend Data Quality will be available as a standalone product or as an added feature to the Talend Integration Suite. Talend Data Quality includes a special feature where current and historical snapshots can be compared to measure the improvement or degradation of data. It can identify the quality of the data on a record to record basis, and also cleans incorrect, incomplete or inconsistent data by cross checking against other databases and reference data.
Concursive (News - Alert) Offers Free One-Year Trial of ConcourseSuite 5.0 CRM
Concursive Corporation, a developer of open source Customer Relationship Management (CRM), content management and business social networking technologies, has announced that it is providing its on-demand ConcourseSuite 5.0 customer relationship management (CRM) software free of charge to as many as 100 users for a period of one year. ConcourseSuite 5.0 is a Software as a Service on-demand offering and requires no setup. Business users can simply subscribe and then login to begin using the system. It really is that simple.


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