In the older days PBX used to be proprietary hardware with a proprietary firmware that would drive the PBX and all its functions. However, in the last 15 years the market sees a big shift towards software based PBX.
Software PBX application
Software PBX application means that the PBX is running on some kind of generic computing platform (e.g. Intel, ARM) and the PBX features are handled in an application running on top of these generic platforms. In addition to that there may also be telephony interfaces (specialized hardware) in case of using analog or digital lines or extensions, such as Xorcom Astribank, or gateways.
As in many other fields, two approaches were taken: integrated and standardized. The standardized approach offered the PBX as a software application to run on your own operating system (normally Windows or Linux). The integrated approach offered a full solution – hardware that runs on generic computer platforms, but fully tested and integrated with the software. The integrated solution allows the vendor to make sure all the pieces and bits work together and no update or change in one part breaks any functionality or creates a security issue for the entire system.
Xorcom CompletePBX phone system appliance product line is of the second kind – integrated hardware and software to allow us to take full responsibility for the health of the system over time, avoiding the “finger pointing game” due to incompatibility problems, which IT managers know all too well.
By the term virtual PBX we refer to a virtual machine that runs the entire PBX much like the CompletePBX appliances.
A virtual machine is software-only on one hand, providing all the advantages of flexibility and hardware independence IT managers want, but on the other hand it contains all the relevant software parts, from the operating system up to the application, as one single machine. That means that updates are done with a holistic view of the system and that security and compatibility are built into the system by definition. A virtual machine also allows the IT manager to very easily create backups (snapshots) of the PBX at any given time, to reload any snapshot in case of need, to move the PBX from one piece of physical server to another and to scale the resources up or down to support changing requirements.
In short – a virtual PBX provides “the whole widget” including all the required software from the operating system to the application layer, which a software PBX is generally just the application, which leaves the responsibility for compatibility on the IT manager.
CompletePBX virtual machine provides such full virtual PBX solution.