Amazon, Asterisk And Reliability Beyond A Hobby System?

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Took me a while but I have finally embraced cloud computing and all the benefits. The only thing I have yet to feel comfortable about putting in the cloud is real live Asterisk boxes to be used in production. I know it’s being done because as far as I know Twilio is using Amazon for their Asterisk boxes. I have read all the fun articles on building hobby type systems and that’s all great. What I really need to hear is from those that have deployed Asterisk in Amazon or Digital Ocean and how many simultaneous calls they are pushing through it and what the call quality and reliability has been. Right now I am still using dedicated hardware but I could become much more redundant and scale much faster using Amazon or Digital Ocean. Thanks in advance for any information from those that have already been down this road…

9 thoughts on - Amazon, Asterisk And Reliability Beyond A Hobby System?

  • Just checking one more time to see if anyone has an opinion on this. I am primarily interested in using a cloud type setup such as Amazon AWS for the redundancy, easy backup and recovery options. It’s not about price but the idea that it will be very hard for a single piece of hardware to ruin my day.

    From: tjrlist@live.com To: asterisk-users@lists.digium.com Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:33:38 -0600
    Subject: [asterisk-users] Amazon, Asterisk and reliability beyond a hobby system?

    Took me a while but I have finally embraced cloud computing and all the benefits. The only thing I have yet to feel comfortable about putting in the cloud is real live Asterisk boxes to be used in production. I know it’s being done because as far as I know Twilio is using Amazon for their Asterisk boxes. I have read all the fun articles on building hobby type systems and that’s all great. What I really need to hear is from those that have deployed Asterisk in Amazon or Digital Ocean and how many simultaneous calls they are pushing through it and what the call quality and reliability has been. Right now I am still using dedicated hardware but I could become much more redundant and scale much faster using Amazon or Digital Ocean. Thanks in advance for any information from those that have already been down this road…

  • I would thinktwice about Amazon — and virtual in general is not a good idea for this sort of thing. I have seen messages about bad results with amazon specifically.

    Todd R. wrote:

  • I would have said the same thing a while back but, I can’t ignore the fact that there have been what seems to be many “Virtualization” success stories. The idea that Asterisk just likes to be on it’s own dedicated hardware has always caused me to prefer dedicated hardware. But, is the possibility of a single piece of hardware failing “better” than something that will likely never just flat out die?
    I know there are high availability solutions out there and it’s not that I don’t have backups and disaster recovery plans in place. I just want to make things far better regarding redundancy, recovery and scalability and virtualization is hard to beat when you start talking about these things. There are definitely people/companies using virtualized Asterisk solutions successfully, so I feel like it can be done. Asterisk has come a long way since I first starting messing with Asterisk and so has Asterisk itself. So, I am trying to determine what is bad, what to look out for in terms of virtualizing. If it’s still as bad of an idea as it was say 5 years ago, then I need to understand why and if there is a work around. At this point, the benefits of virtualizing my Asterisk boxes are too many to count. So, if I can’t find any concrete reasons to NOT do this beyond “That’s a bad idea” then I am going to give it a go. If I do, I am looking for any advice good or bad from those that have gone down this road successfully or with miserable failure. My opinion all along has been Asterisk + Virtualization + Real Live Production Use = BAD IDEA!
    Now, I am trying to figure out if that’s just the opinion of an old man (sort of old) who just doesn’t want to accept that virtualization if a better way (in terms of Asterisk). So, I am hoping for people to tell me why Amazon AWS specifically is a good or bad idea with as much detail as possible. Thanks!

  • Oh and, I could be wrong but.. I suspect Twilio is one of the companies doing big things with Asterisk on AWS specifically. I am 90% sure at this point that Twilio uses Asterisk as the base for their product. When I emailed them and asked them where their voice gateways were they mentioned something about Amazon’s servers which I assumed to mean they were using Amazon’s cloud services. The possibility of Twilio pushing tons of calls through virtualized Asterisk boxes is part of what has made me so curious about going down this road again.

    From: tjrlist@live.com To: asterisk-users@lists.digium.com Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 12:18:35 -0600
    Subject: Re: [asterisk-users] Amazon, Asterisk and reliability beyond a hobby system?

    I would have said the same thing a while back but, I can’t ignore the fact that there have been what seems to be many “Virtualization” success stories. The idea that Asterisk just likes to be on it’s own dedicated hardware has always caused me to prefer dedicated hardware. But, is the possibility of a single piece of hardware failing “better” than something that will likely never just flat out die?
    I know there are high availability solutions out there and it’s not that I don’t have backups and disaster recovery plans in place. I just want to make things far better regarding redundancy, recovery and scalability and virtualization is hard to beat when you start talking about these things. There are definitely people/companies using virtualized Asterisk solutions successfully, so I feel like it can be done. Asterisk has come a long way since I first starting messing with Asterisk and so has Asterisk itself. So, I am trying to determine what is bad, what to look out for in terms of virtualizing. If it’s still as bad of an idea as it was say 5 years ago, then I need to understand why and if there is a work around. At this point, the benefits of virtualizing my Asterisk boxes are too many to count. So, if I can’t find any concrete reasons to NOT do this beyond “That’s a bad idea” then I am going to give it a go. If I do, I am looking for any advice good or bad from those that have gone down this road successfully or with miserable failure. My opinion all along has been Asterisk + Virtualization + Real Live Production Use = BAD IDEA!
    Now, I am trying to figure out if that’s just the opinion of an old man (sort of old) who just doesn’t want to accept that virtualization if a better way (in terms of Asterisk). So, I am hoping for people to tell me why Amazon AWS specifically is a good or bad idea with as much detail as possible. Thanks!

  • If you have no analog lines, Amazon/Rackspace/… will probably beat your local ISP on bandwidth to your SIP/IAX carrier.

    If your users are not in the same building as your in-house hosted Asterisk, Amazon might have a lot better connectivity with your users.

    You certainly have a lot more flexibility in adding power to your setup at an Amazon.

    I guess that one can decide what are the critical points that need to be tested (call volume, call quality, user connectivity) and devise a test setup.

    Ron

  • I’ve setup Asterisk in the past on VMs (Linode, VMware, Xen, etc.) and IIRC the biggest issue we had was with RTC. As in Real Time Clock since Asterisk requires an accurate timing source. It’s been a very long time since I’ve dealt with Asterisk on a VM so perhaps it’s not uncommon to have the zaptel kernel modules (ztdummy among others?)
    available on most VMs these days.

    It’s certainly an option for some use cases but not all. I’d recommend running MTR or a similar tool to determine any latency issues along the way. In any case good luck with your project. If anyone else has more recent experience regarding RTC please feel free to correct me. I’m inclined to fiddle around with a VM based Asterisk install again if it’s gotten simpler to implement.

    Brian

  • I have only one small datapoint. I ran an EC2 microinstance with Asterisk and a dozen offboard users. The only problem I had was SIP
    wasn’t dealing well with the Elastic IP one-to-one NAT that Amazon uses.
    I had the usual Asterisk/NAT issues of one-way audio. I eventually moved from Amazon to Linode to get away from the NAT issues. Once I did that, everything worked fine, but again it was only a dozen users.

  • I believe I did. But I didn’t really get a chance to plow into it too much, I had a client holding me at gunpoint.