VitalPBX - More serious evaluation

DigitalDaz

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I've installed VitalPBX and am liking the look of it so far. I'm wondering if it is a serious contender to replace a FusionPBX cluster so I have contacted them to see if they will give me an evaluation for the carrier product.

I'm liking the pricing and the feature set. It appears to have an API too :)
 

Adrian Fretwell

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I will be interested to see how you get on, I don't feel comfortable with FusionPBX any more. I would probably want to go Carrier + CC and the price is very good, Enterprise being no more than my current FusionPBX membership. However, VitalPBX looks a little too "closed source" to me. It was the member applications or add-ons that have put me off FusionPBX - Oh, and I almost forgot - no new stable version for so long I've forgotten!

I'm currently building my own, based on Freeswitch. Mariadb and a very simple but robust PHP application framework.

I used Asterisk a lot in the early days and I still use it as a media server on our direct SIP platform, so picking it up again would not be too difficult.
 

DigitalDaz

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The guys at VitalPBX have offered me a couple of licenses to get a cluster going so we'll get something spun up and start putting it through its paces.
 
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MTR

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The guys at VitalPBX have offered me a couple of licenses to get a cluster going so we'll get something spun up and start putting it through its paces.
I kind of like the open source of fusionpbx it gives me great control and flexibility.

It seems like the issue is the lack of progress and the lack of the community around the project is the real issue..

If you can figure out how to get a better community behind this project it will be awesome

I know of a lot of users that build many addons for this project and never shared it
 

DigitalDaz

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@MTR I agree completely with yours and @Adrian Fretwell comments.

The problem is, we HAD that community. I have been involved with this project now for ten years. Up until about 2017 from about 2012, I do not think there was a single day when I did not post in the IRC channel and that included xmas day. It was a vibrant place and many problems were discussed/solved.

We always had a problem where much of the documentation was kept from public view, back in the day, the revenue from training was what kept the project running. Then came continuing education. Supposedly, even with continuing educations most basic package, you got access to the previous training sessions. I do not think there has been ONE training session since continuing education started. It appears to be nothing more than effectively a video changelog/bugfixes.
More importantly, none of this we can share on places like these forums, that is for paying members only. There is, from what I can see, zero community input on the new features added.

There is no release schedule at all, the last stable release was years ago, ask when there will be the next one, you will just be told to use master.

There are not many fusionpbx old timers who use master. Most of them have either moved to a new product of just maintain their own forks.

This is not a pop at FusionPBX, I love FusionPBX and know that Mark is a great guy.

I'm just at the position personally where I think it may now be time to move on. Due to the nature of the work I do I have recently been introduced to another commercial product too and I'm now seeing just how far behind fusionpbx is from those products. We are probably talking in the order of years too in development.

Two features that I see for a PBX in 2021 as near enough a must are Teams integration and CRM.

I guess if you asked FusionPBX users why they are currently losing customers they would be the two main reasons.

If VItalPBX lives up to the spec, then despite it being non-open source, it may well meet my needs. Underneath the hood we have asterisk, my understanding is pjsip is much better than chan_sip too. There should be room to make modifications I would imagine.

Anyway, lets spin up a cluster and we will see :)
 

Adrian Fretwell

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Something I forgot to add in my last post...

Having an truly open source product with a good community is something I really care about. I have mentioned in other treads that we were badly burnt a few years ago (2016 I think) when the organisation decided to pull the plug on the closed source product we had bought into for our hosted PBX platform. I still have one large customer yet to migrate, so I'm still feeling the pain five years later on!

Thre problem with anything closed source is that you are completely at the mercy of the organisation providing the product and what ever politics that are going on within.
 
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Adrian Fretwell

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get all the private forks to come together and work as a team this will be the best route

That would be a great day, if were to happen.

Like DigitalDaz, I'm not knocking FusionPBX, it is very good, and I certainly would not be running the platform I have now without it.

It does need fresh input, I feel the front end php code has become over complex and convoluted. Simplified code is easier to maintain and often has fewer security flaws.

Anyway this thread is about VitalPBX so we better not hijack it! I'm looking forward to see how DD gets on.
 
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rcuadra

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Hi, I am the CEO of VitalPBX and I would be very happy to collaborate with any questions you may have in this regard.

I comment that in VitalPBX we have a completely free advanced course which can be registered at: university.vitalpbx.org.

Regarding the modifications, in VitalPBX we have a completely open dialplan which can be modified, we also have a bridge to integrate these modifications with the GUI interface (Custom Context Add-Ons), completely free.

The project is made in PHP 7.4, MariaDB 10.4, Asterisk 18.5.1, Centos 7.9 (We are migrating to Debian).

We will gladly answer any questions you may have in this regard.
 
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MTR

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One of by biggest issues in had with asretisk was that each change needs a full reload that
1. Was affecting new calls to execute
2.puts a load o a server when we do changes all day along that is 1 of the reasons that I switched over to freeswitch
 

rcuadra

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Unlike other distributions, VitalPBX only reloads the modules that are affected by the modification in the Graphical Interface, for example if you created a new PJSIP extension, only reload the JSIP module and the dialplan. Calls are never affected.

We have only detected call effects when Firewall settings are changed, which is normal since when applying changes, the flow of information through the network interface is interrupted for a few seconds.

And the good news is that very soon we will incorporate an Add-Ons so that the user has the option to use Asterisk Real Time and thus avoid applying changes to certain supported Asterisk modules.
 

junction1153

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One of by biggest issues in had with asretisk was that each change needs a full reload that
1. Was affecting new calls to execute
2.puts a load o a server when we do changes all day along that is 1 of the reasons that I switched over to freeswitch
To add. We moved away from asterisk to freeswitch simply because asterisk couldn’t handle the load. Once a month it would automatically crash and anytime it was reported to asterisk dev they would always blame it on a new bug. I haven’t had to restart freeswitch in months including under heavy load.
 

DigitalDaz

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To add. We moved away from asterisk to freeswitch simply because asterisk couldn’t handle the load. Once a month it would automatically crash and anytime it was reported to asterisk dev they would always blame it on a new bug. I haven’t had to restart freeswitch in months including under heavy load.
But what was the technology? chan_sip or pjsip?
 

junction1153

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Both

started off with chan_sip in 2009 and migrated to PJSIP in 2017 I believe.

surprisingly the older the asterisk version the more stable. The more I upgraded the more unstable it became

your mileage may vary depending on the load you have. We have 200 tenants and easily 70-80 active calls on a regular day

once you go open source it’s hard to move backwards. Don’t like a feature? Need to add a feature? Want to make the GUI stupid-proof and tamper-proof? With open source you can change it however you want. With closed source you’re now on the developers schedule.

you’re going to end up spending the same on open source development vs closed source licensing fees. It comes down to that and stability. Asterisk is technically not built to handle multi tenant but there are a bunch of developments that work around the issue by prefixing the extension number with a tenant code. Nothing wrong with that, just wasn’t the intention of the project.
 
Off topic a bit but: Asterisk killed their community with politics, many of us who had contributed through the years moved on to freeswitch, but the users who needed a GUI had nowhere solid to go, fusion became a contender but the cost of getting full documentation/info was unrealistic for the hobbyists who used to support it. This forum keeps it going, but we need a bit more to make it progress and get that community again.
 

Scubadave112

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I don't consider this to be hijacking because your whole reason for looking at vital is related to my concerns below and without answers may be a reason I need to explore other options just like vital.

My whole purpose in writing this is not to create conflict, attack or argue. It is to Tag @markjcrane and see if we can get a public statement/comment on my concerns and the concerns above by others. If perhaps you can address any of the common issues here perhaps it can help people like me decide if FusionPBX is the propper platform them right now.

  1. What is fusion doing to stay current with demanding features such as Teams and CRM integration.
  2. Will there be any more advanced or admin training classes posted online (Last video i believe were December 2019)
  3. Will there eventually be a more intuitive and supported HA configuration
  4. Do you have plans to expand your team to allow you to create more thorough and available documentation
@markjcrane if you do find the time or patience to humor this thread, please note once again, this isn't any kind of attack, I love your product and three years ago I was skeptical about even starting a VoIP company and now it is my second highest source of income and my goal is to make it my number 1 by end of first quarter 2022 and getting answers to some of these concerns would really help boost my confidence knowing that I can depend on fusion to stay with the times and continue making best efforts to support providers like me with the tools needed to continually grow their business.
 

markjcrane

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Someone pointed this post out to me today. Otherwise I may have missed it. This isn't an official forum so I don't spend a lot of time here. I look for bugs and try and review peoples comments not always fun as this place can be kind of negative sometimes. FusionPBX is consistently improving and evolving not at the pace I would like or other would prefer but it has improved year after year. Resources have increased thanks to the new sustainability model. Had the model been changed a few years earlier FusionPBX would already have more of what is in your list of concerns.

I do value people's opinions and try to consider what to improve. Sometimes I have been right and sometimes I eventually realized my position was wrong. I do try and change and review my opinions and point of view and adjust them when needed. Not always successful at improving but I'm trying.
  1. What is fusion doing to stay current with demanding features such as Teams and CRM integration.
    1. I'm working on the things people are demanding the most from me and its not Teams or CRM. However I have had some requests for these.
    2. There are many ways to add Teams to FusionPBX. A lot of people have already done it some people on this forum have already done it. There are multiple 3rd party devices or software to make it possible now. So is it a good idea for me to focus on that? Microsoft is a risky partner that would love to gobble up your business. FusionPBX may get an official method for Teams in the future. However I'm more interested in finding ways to add similar functionality in FusionPBX. My heart is definitely more in open source world than in the Microsoft world.
    3. CRM integration in the future? Yes definitely
    4. Can't wait now then hire a developer to help you get it or use a 3rd party that already offers it.
  2. Will there be any more advanced or admin training classes posted online (Last video i believe were December 2019)
    1. Absolutely, I'm waiting until after a major release because that has been a complaint people have. So a new class is not taking priority over a new major release.
  3. Will there eventually be a more intuitive and supported HA configuration
    1. I'm very interested in this topic. The answer is yes this has evolved over the years in FusionPBX and will continue to evolve.
  4. Do you have plans to expand your team to allow you to create more thorough and available documentation
    1. The documentation is improving slower for the public documentation but if you look at the history you can see there are updates. Only a few people are helping with it on github. I've paid many thousands of dollars on the current public documentation as I paid someone hourly to work on it.
    2. Member documentation is improving almost daily. Over time more and more of that documentation will make its way to the public documentation.
    3. FusionPBX is based on FreeSWITCH and I used most of the terminology they use. This prevented alienating their documentation. I realized early on it would be beneficial to stay inline that way so that FusionPBX users could benefit from the FreeSWITCH documenation. There are literally thousands of pages here that are relevant to FusionPBX.
      1. FreeSWITCH Books
      2. FreeSWITCH Documentation
        1. https://freeswitch.org/confluence/
    4. No amount of documentation will satisfy everyone. However we will work on improving it and will strive to get it to a point that it is more on par with FreeBSD and PostgreSQL documentation.

Documentation would happen faster with the help of the Community. Regardless it will be improved with or without help just that it will take longer.

Public documentation
* https://docs.fusionpbx.com/en/latest/

The source for the documentation. To become a contributor send a pull request here and sign up as contributor.
* https://github.com/fusionpbx/fusionpbx-docs

Sign up as a contributor here.
I accept contributors that have put in a worthwhile pull request to contribute something. The contributor agreement is the Apache Contributor Agreement.
* https://github.com/fusionpbx/open-source

Update - a few more responses to correct some of what has been stated in this thread. Its not comprehensive as the post would be to longer.
I do not think there has been ONE training session since continuing education started @DigitalDaz

The first Continuing Education training was October 2017. The last training class started on November 15, 2019. I stopped having classes so I could focus more on progress for a new release and in part because of Covid. There will be new classes after the new release this is getting closer and we are working hard to deliver it. Continuing Education has also been improving to make it shorter, less of a change log and more focused on helping people keep up on important featured changes, reasons for changes, help with upgrades, accurate information for a deeper understanding of FusionPBX. Those attending or watching the recording afterwards will know more about what is going on than people that don't. The new model is working and leading to major improvements in FusionPBX. Most changes are full filling requests from those using FusionPBX. The changes are user driven.

There are not many fusionpbx old timers who use master. @DigitalDaz

Many people including most of the largest installs are keeping up with the latest version.

Note: I will not reply in this thread again unless more things are brought up specifically about FusionPBX. However please consider putting that in a different thread. So this thread could continue on its original topic VitalPBX. I'm a big fan of freedom anyone likes VitalPBX or any other system and want to use it please do. It's better if you are happy with whatever you are using.

FusionPBX has had app/sms for some years thanks to a generous FusionPBX contributor. Then a couple years ago I started a app/messages but this version of SMS only supported a single VoIP provider. The end of September demonstrated a new SMS as a pre-release. This month October 2021 in Continuing Education showing an updated SMS that has support now for mulitple VoIP providers.
 
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DigitalDaz

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I honestly haven't had the time, I have been so busy lately, I have been tied up with other things.

A couple of plus points for FusionPBX though:

The VitalPBX guys are saying not to put more than about 120 domains on a server...

I currently am working with a two node FusionPBX cluster that has 1500+ domains on it fed by a couple of OpenSIPS boxes.

Doing the math that would mean a VitalPBX installation, clustered to handle the same amount of clients could potentially take about 24 boxes to achieve the same. Now calculate the cost too and the VitalPBX system becomes a whole lot more expensive.

Also, I have used FusionPBX now for 10 years. 6 years of which have been using clustering with BDR. My own setups have just been so very, very reliable.

Because FusionPBX is almost completely opensource, if you know it well, you can get it to do almost anything you like.

Finally, I think I have Stockholm Syndrome :)