Digium Asterisk vs. Digium Switchvox: Ongoing Support & Maintenance

This is the sixth blog post of our 7 post series on the subject of Asterisk vs. Switchvox phone systems. Subscribe to our blog by submitting your email into the box on the right to receive an email notification for each blog post in the series.

Now that your phone system installation is completed, is operating properly and everyone is trained, you will now go into administrative mode. Administration of a telephone system includes responsibilities including user support, configuration changes, software upgrades, and hardware maintenance & replacement. 

Help Desk with Asterisk and Switchvox

Asterisk: With an open source PBX, the customer is the Help Desk, providing support to its end users.

Switchvox: Help Desk services are typically provided by the Switchvox reseller to the company’s phone system administrator. Some Switchvox resellers will also provide PBX Help Desk services to the end users, eliminating the need for a system administrator.

Asterisk vs Switchvox Hardware

Asterisk: Hardware repair or replacement is the customer’s responsibility. Asterisk administrators need to seriously consider on-site spare parts for their Asterisk server so that in the event of a failure, a new part doesn’t need to be purchased and shipped. Decreasing downtime in the event of a hardware failure is business critical.

Switchvox:   Since the Switchvox system was likely to have been installed by a local Digium reseller, you would have access to their local stock of critical parts. While there may be a few smaller or new resellers who don’t maintain stock, the vast majority do.  As a side note, a customer should give careful thought about doing business with a very small or new Switchvox reseller, without carefully confirming their resources.

Software Differences of Asterisk & Switchvox

Asterisk: The customer is responsible for vetting the stability of new Asterisk software releases, completing the upgrade process, and implementing any configuration changes made necessary by the upgrade. Also, the administrator would be responsible for any rollback procedures in the event that a software upgrade did not go as planned.

Switchvox: Switchvox upgrades are handled by seasoned telecom pros. The average Switchvox reseller has done hundreds of software upgrades over the course of years and is intimately familiar with the process. Adding to this depth of knowledge and resources, they have a close relationship with Digium management as well as the breadth of experience of their fellow Switchvox resellers. There is a very active reseller’s community that shares Switchvox best practices. 

On-Premise Vendor Support for Asterisk & Switchvox

Asterisk: There are very few Asterisk developers that can provide on-premise support. However, there are developers who can provide wonderful high-level Asterisk support remotely. You need to decide if local on-premise support is important.

Switchvox: Switchvox resellers predominately serve a local geography. On-premise support is typically a part of their DNA. Some customers may consider on-premise visits an expensive luxury that they can do without. You have options with the Switchvox.

Asterisk & Switchvox Support Plans

Asterisk: Software support plans are available directly through Digium and there are a number of Asterisk developers who will provide contracted support. Hardware support is a separate matter and varies according to manufacturers. Some providers such as Dell and HP have extensive Asterisk server support plans. Some hardware support plans provide for advancement replacements but remember to factor in shipping times.

Switchvox: There are various levels of Switchvox software support available directly through Digium. However, Digium prefers to provide this support through a partnership with its local Switchvox service companies. The Switchvox dealer typically bundles the Switchvox software support with their hardware support, Help Desk and local on-premise support. They work behind the scenes with Digium support as needed, keeping the customer out of the messy escalation process.

Summary of Asterisk vs Switchvox Support and Maintenance

As is evident in this review, the approach to ongoing support for the Digium Switchvox and Digium Asterisk is markedly different, even though both business phone systems are provided by the same parent company.  It’s not about good or bad, but rather it’s all about determining how much support is provided by a company’s in-house resources versus outsourcing to a certified Switchvox support company.

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