13 Comments

Summary:

If there’s a cloud for compute, for storage and any other variation under the sun why shouldn’t there be a VoIP cloud to deliver telephony over the Internet? With the launch of Whistle, the 2600 Hertz Project will make building a VoIP cloud cheaper and easier.

VoIP

If there’s a cloud for compute, for storage, for Java programmers, for those who love Ruby and any other variation under the sun why shouldn’t there be a VoIP cloud to deliver telephony over the Internet? Sure, there are services out there from Bandwidth.com, Twilio, Asterisk and many other companies, but with the launch of Whistle, the 2600 Hertz Project wants to make building a VoIP cloud cheaper and easier than ever.

The company, which has thus far supported itself through consulting revenue and has also launched an open source PBX that we covered called blue.box, is now taking things up a notch with Whistle. The software is designed to handle up to a billion calls per month on about six virtualized (or not) servers and can connect seamlessly to run on or with Rackspace clouds, Amazon’s clouds or on a private cluster of machines. Instead of paying a penny or so per minute to a VoIP company, businesses that want to add voice calling over the web to their social network, their app or their role-playing game just deploy this software and take care of it themselves.

Darren Schreiber, co-founder and CEO of 2600 Hertz, says the plan is to offer folks the source code for Whistle, but to support and sell services on top of it, in much the same that every other open source software company plans to make money. Schreiber says the services include a voice mail platform, a minute reseller platform, a conference call serve and will include many more. Asterisk, Twilio and Bandwidth.com, all also offer similar services, but 2600 Hertz wants to make it easier to create your own VoIP company in the cloud. The software can handle the onerous duties of switching and tracking calls using Couch DB and a Rabbit MQ messaging layer. However, calls out to normal landlines on the old copper network will still require some kind of deal with an old-school phone company. It’s not a an all-IP world just yet.

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  1. Darren Schreiber Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Thanks so much for the write-up, Stacey.

    A few additional comments. The code for the Whistle platform is available now and the software has been in production for many months across a large distributed cluster. It works reliably and, as of today, is now out there in the wild.

    It’s important to note that this is a switching fabric, and we’ve not only made it scale, we’ve made it easy to automatically deploy up (or down) to increase or decrease your cloud’s size, on-demand. One of the big problems with building a VoIP platform is being able to resize it, and we’ve solved that problem through a nifty deployment tool that does it for you.

    The software also works on any type of CentOS Linux server, and if you throw in TDM cards you can setup the ability to send and receive calls from the PSTN yourself without a SIP service provider.

    This software and the associated hardware previously cost a half million dollars or more and was available only to large carriers – now you can set these items up for about $100 and achieve redundancy and scalability. It’s a new world out there.

    We’re excited to see what people do with our API-driven VoIP platform. Welcome to the future of Open-Source Cloud Telecom!

  2. This article doesn’t mention that Whistle is completely API driven. So it works with any programming language and can be easily integrated with any other software platform. This type of software is unheard of in the open-source world in general – it is truly a step-up for open-source VoIP.

  3. There is a FLOSS weekly video that covers this project in-depth, including Whistle. A good listen.

    http://twit.tv/floss158

  4. Lots of cool things going on in the VoIP world.

  5. Here is another quick 1 minute video that explains the impact of how a project like Whistle can help change the current Telecom world:

    http://vimeo.com/22870023

  6. Stacey Higginbotham Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Thanks for providing all the background info to flesh this out, guys!

  7. Darren Schreiber Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Thank you, Stacey.

    I do have two more notes for you.
    1) The article does not mention our extensive use of FreeSWITCH. FreeSWITCH is an amazingly robust platform and, frankly, we’d be nowhere without it. It’s the core media switching platform we support and we are extremely thankful for the wonderful work that’s been done on it.

    2) The article seems to imply this is some sort of replacement for bandwidth.com. I don’t think that’s accurate. Bandwidth.com is actually a carrier we utilize extensively for routing and terminating our phone calls. Their products aren’t really anything like ours. We love their service and are extremely pleased with their network. We hope to continue sending clients their way.

    Think of our service more as a “managed services” platform for VoIP carriers. Managed services is an extensive part of our background and we see this as an extension of that concept.

  8. I think SIPWise.com is doing something similar . I dont think APIs of 2600HZ are available yet in their wiki pages …

    1. Darren Schreiber Suman Wednesday, April 27, 2011

      The APIs are available go to the http://www.2600hz.org side and click Whistle, then Documentation.

      SIPWise.com CE’s addition doesn’t include any clustering, you have to pay to get clustering. That’s sort of the point of this project – let’s not make having a highly available SIP stack a paid feature anymore. It should be the standard and freely available.

      I do like that SIPWise ships on a box, though, if you just want to throw it on a rack. Interesting idea.

  9. This is a brilliant architecture! This was much needed in the VoIP world to take it to the next level.

  10. At first I was disappointed – I tried to use the deployment tool they offered but couldn’t get it to work.

    but I joined their irc channel and there was an unbelievably helpful guy named steph021 who stepped me through the whole thing. Once it was up and running it was super easy to setup voicemail and devices via HTTP requests.

    so far I’m pretty impressed, I will try to spin up more clusters tomorrow, but nice project so far.

    1. Patrick Sullivan Josh Sunday, May 1, 2011

      Thanks Josh for working through the “hiccups”. The deployment tool is already being worked on to have it a little more polished for installs. We appreciate all the support.

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