This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
2010 was a banner year for Digium (News - Alert), the Asterisk project and the vibrant community that supports its development. Asterisk 1.8 long term support was released with four years of support in October of 2010 and brought with it a substantial number of new features including secure real-time transport protocol support, IPv6 support, calendaring integration, enhanced call logging, and much more.
In addition to the successful completion of Asterisk (News - Alert) 1.8, Digium, with the help of the community, continued to enhance the 1.4 and 1.6 branches of the Asterisk project, making these versions more stable, secure and functional for its more than one million implementations around the world. Digium is proud of the progress made over the course of 2010 and is charting a course for significant enhancements in 2011.
The work completed in 2010 allows Asterisk to maintain its position as the most stable, capable and widely adopted open source communications solution in the market. Looking forward to 2011, the Asterisk development team, inside of Digium in partnership with community contributors, is charting a course toward new and exciting functionality for inclusion in Asterisk 1.10. Following this year’s Astricon conference in Washington, D.C., the core Asterisk development team met for a day’s discussion dubbed AstriDevCon to develop the Asterisk 1.10 road map and established priorities for new features such as T.38 gateway support, additional codec support, RTP control protocol support and significant security enhancements, just to name a few. Work already is under way in earnest on the items taken away from this development conference, and this new version will further improve upon an already great open source software.
As Asterisk continues to mature and grows in adoption globally, Digium has reconciled that for the platform to reach its true potential it must address its fundamental shortcomings. While Asterisk is a broadly capable communications solution for a wide variety of uses, it has inherent limitations that are not easily addressed with modifications to the existing base of code. In early 2010, Digium convened a council of core Asterisk developers and users at its headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., to discuss how Asterisk could be enhanced to improve its capabilities in a number of critical areas, specifically: performance, scalability, fault tolerance and extensibility via developer APIs. From this collaboration came the specification for a new open source companion project called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.
Development of Asterisk SCF began shortly after the council left Huntsville and continued through to the fall of 2010. During the keynote at Astricon 2010, Digium’s Director of Software Technologies Kevin Fleming (News - Alert) did a demonstration of Asterisk SCF’s capabilities by performing a live, real-time call failover without loss of media or call control. This functional demonstration showed capabilities beyond those of most any communications solution available in the market today. Even at this early phase in its evolution, Asterisk SCF demonstrated its ability to deliver upon one of its four essential missions: fault tolerance.
As 2010 comes to a close, Digium is working hard with the developer community to define a detailed road map for the development of Asterisk SCF 1.0. Asterisk SCF will provide a framework upon which large enterprises, telecommunications service providers and cloud application providers can offer highly resilient, massively scalable and uniquely extensible communications services that integrate with the mature and well-rounded capabilities of the existing Asterisk project. Used in parallel with one another, these companion projects will expand dramatically the sphere of what is possible within the realm of open source communications. The possibilities are endless, and Digium is excited to be pioneering the future of communications in 2011.
Digium encourages developers to come learn more about the evolution of the Asterisk projects at the Asterisk website (http://www.asterisk.org) and our new development and documentation wiki (http://wiki.asterisk.org) and to join us in defining the ways that we can make the best solution in the open source communications market even better. We at Digium look forward with great excitement to delivering, in partnership with our substantial community, the next generation of communications software in the forms of Asterisk 1.10 and Asterisk SCF 1.0.
Bryan Johns is Asterisk community director for Digium.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi