Here you can find answers about what is necessary to install your PortaSwitch system.

What is the minimum bandwidth required to run PortaSwitch? How much bandwidth should I order from my colocation service provider?

This really depends on the codec being used and your business model. For normal SIP calls, when the voice traffic flows directly between two end-points, bandwidth requirements are minimal, as you only need to allocate bandwidth for calls where media are being proxied by PortaSIP. Usually these are calls between individual subscribers using SIP phones, where NAT traversal is required.

To help calculate your required bandwidth, we recommend using this VoIP bandwidth calculator.


Do I need a PortaOne support engineer on site to perform the installation?

The installation process is controlled via a GUI, which only requires answers to a few basic questions, such as “IP address of the server” or “On which disk should the system be installed”, and takes less than 10 minutes per server. So installation can be performed by anyone with minimum technical knowledge, such as your staff or an employee at the colocation facility. Thus you can install the system immediately after receiving the installation media, and there is no need to have a PortaOne engineer on site.

The installation procedures can be found in our PortaSwitch Installation Guide.

Once installation is complete, our PortaOne support team will access your servers remotely to carry out post-installation verification and a series of performance tests.


Do I need to format the disks and pre-install an operating system or any applications prior to installation?

No pre-installation of any OS or other software is required (the server can be totally empty). The installation program will automatically format the disk in your server and install the OS (Oracle Linux), the required packages and third-party applications (such as Apache), and the PortaSwitch code. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes per server.


My servers are in an external colocation facility. Can I download and install PortaSwitch remotely?

You need to install each server using the installation image we provide. So if your servers are equipped with a remote access tool (such as Dell DRAC Enterprise) which allows remote access to the server’s monitor/keyboard and provides a means of virtually connecting the CD/DVD or USB flash drive on your desktop to a server, then the installation can be fully performed remotely. Otherwise, you will need to insert the physical installation DVD or USB into the server and perform installation using the server’s monitor and keyboard.


What are the hardware requirements for running PortaSwitch?

To use the client application:

  • The PortaSwitch GUI is completely web-based. All you need is a computer with a web browser installed. No additional software is required.

To install PortaSwitch:

  • The exact number of servers will depend on your PortaSwitch configuration type. A general outline of recommended hardware requirements for each type of server can be found here.

Please note that all servers must:

  1. Have two network (Gigabit Ethernet) ports and server-grade network adapter(s).
  2. Be connected to IP KVM (or use a remote access card like Dell DRAC or HP iLO Advanced) and to a remote power switch.
  3. Have sufficient usable disk space and RAID write cache enabled.
  4. Have server-type (Xeon or Opteron) CPUs released in 2010 or later, with 64-bit support and a frequency of 2.2GHz or higher.
  5. During installation, a DVD-ROM optical drive or USB port is required.

PortaOne also provides a Hardware Compatibility Utility to check if your servers meet the necessary requirements. You can download the CD image here, burn it onto a disc, and run the program on any of your server machines. The utility will check all components for compatibility with Oracle Linux.

If you are unsure about what type of hardware to choose, PortaOne’s engineering team will be happy to recommend a shopping list. Contact sales@portaone.com for additional information.


Can I run PortaSwitch in a virtualized environment?

Yes, PortaSwitch can be installed in a virtual container, such as VMWare and Oracle Virtual Box. In fact, the PortaOne development team and QA actively use Oracle Virtual Box environments for development and testing. The question is whether such a set-up makes sense for production deployment.

PortaSwitch already provides a “private cloud” environment where all available "physical" servers are installed with a unified copy of the software – so, essentially, they represent a common pool of resources. Specific application instances are then assigned to run on individual servers in the cloud, and can easily be relocated among the servers.

For the purpose of server consolidation, therefore, this is more efficient than using virtual machines. Let’s say you have a physical server with 2 quad-core CPUs and 16GB of RAM, and you wish to co-allocate the PortaBilling web server and the PortaSIP server on it. If you were to use virtualization, you would end up with two virtual machines. This means that there would be two copies of the operating system (and a full set of all background processes for each) running simultaneously, while each virtual machine would have access only to a portion of the RAM, e.g. 8GB. If you use the PortaBilling configuration management framework, however, PortaSIP and the web server are assigned to the same physical machine, and only one copy of the operating system will be running there, leaving more computing resources available for your applications. Also, the whole 16GB of RAM will be available for applications.

The “Achilles heel” of virtualization is real-time processing: since the hypervisor needs to switch context between multiple virtual machines, there is no guaranteed real-time processing capacity for them. This means that there may be some tiny delays in execution. A delay of 50 milliseconds or so is not even noticeable for a web application; but for an application which does media processing, this would result in a significant degradation in sound quality.

Another popular use of virtualization is for increasing service reliability and protecting against hardware failures. In the case of PortaSwitch, however, clustering and high-availability are already built in. Plus, by using a “native” PortaBilling or PortaSIP cluster, you enable not just disaster recovery, but also load-sharing.

So while it is, of course, possible to run PortaSwitch in a virtualized environment such as VMWare, it should be understood that this will not provide any major reduction in hardware costs or significant improvements in server management. A better option is to utilize physical servers in a PortaSwitch private cloud computing environment.


Can I run PortaSwitch in a public cloud, such as AWS or Oracle Cloud?

For a production system with a fair amount of real-time traffic processing, running PortaSwitch in a public cloud has all the shortcomings of using a virtual environment. At the same time, it is ideal for projects where a “temporary” system is required and one does not expect a lot of calls/messages/sessions to be processed, e.g. a staging system for application development or testing. In this case, using a public cloud is a good option. Currently, we support Rackspace’s public cloud, and are working closely with other providers (AWS, Oracle Cloud, etc.) to make this possible in other public clouds.


Installation, hardware requirements

contact@portaone.com

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