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Talking with Gary Johnson, President & CEO, Ring Carrier

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

Gary Johnson, employee #31 at Tandem Computers in the late 1970s, later worked for Convergent Technologies (now Unisys (News - Alert)), and from there he went to direct worldwide OEM sales at SCO for about five years, riding through IPOs along the way. He ran Berkeley Software Design (BSDi) as CEO for about six years, then sold the company to Wind River. Later he ran ClickSoftware (News - Alert), which offers a big scheduling application for the likes of telco field guys, brought them public and “retired” for a few years, during which time he hatched a few companies. He then served as SVP of Marketing and Sales at Procera Networks (News - Alert) until a few months ago when he took up the reins of Ring Carrier.

RG: Tell me how Ring Carrier (www. enables service providers to quickly deploy “white label” virtual Asterisk PBX (News - Alert) services?

GJ: We’re now shipping our Ring Carrier Managed Virtual VoIP (MV2) product line, which is based on the Ring CarrierVoIP Fabric that provides highly scalable virtualization for VoIP services, PBXs and call centers. It allows you to host VoIP services and it combines servers, storage and networking into a single system. Ring Carrier providers can use our Fabric Manager to create on top of the VoIP Fabric what we call Building Blocks. Each Block is configured using our Management GUI and each Block can be used to create an independent virtual system, such as a PBX or a call center. Each business or enterprise can be allocated their own building block. Customers can even work with the Building Blocks themselves, plus there is an end user Management GUI. That is, once the provider or the customer builds a PBX, say, there’s a control panel for it. You can use that control panel to add extensions or users to the PBX. There’s even another interface that allows the users who have extensions to take care of themselves on that PBX.

With our product you can handle more than one physical location — you could have servers in San Diego, New York and Singapore and manage them all from one interface. You just pick a switch, a co-location, and you can create a new Building Block merely by selecting a template, such as a PBX. You just give it a name, tell the system where you want the Building Block stored — we recommend Network Attached Storage [NAS] obviously — and an IP address. The system will then go off and in about 70 seconds create a new running PBX. Each of these created PBXs runs the well-known open source PBX, Asterisk (News - Alert). It used to take about a full day to start with bare iron, install an operating system, install Asterisk and configure it for users. When using our system, you can create a new virtual Asterisk PBX about every 70 seconds. The system takes the template you select and creates the new Building Block, which is the Asterisk PBX. After creating the new PBX you can use our interface to change the root password so you can log onto it, and then start it up in a few seconds. Presto, you have a new running Asterisk PBX.

There’s a vast economy of scale here because, depending on the server, you can run anywhere from 20 to 40 virtual PBXs on a single server, or you can scale up to thousands of Building Blocks using multiple servers. Once you create a PBX Block, you can use the interface to that specific PBX to easily do Adds, Moves and Changes, and to create an auto-attendant.

RG: What about call centers?

GJ: I should mention that a separate dedicated hardware VoIP Gateway (News - Alert) connects with the PSTN and VoIP. The VoIP Gateway offloads trans-coding from the PBX Building Block and queuing from a Call Center Building Block. This enables you to scale your system up and reduces costs. We also offer an optional Enterprise VoIP Appliance, which is a combination router, firewall and gateway. It includes NAT repair, QoS, least cost routing T1 connectivity, and network fault detection and diagnostics. IT

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

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