‘…as a Service’ Part 1: SaaS

My Post (3)What is “…as a Service” and how can it help your business?

If you are a part of the cloud community, you probably have heard many acronyms ending in ‘aaS’, meaning ‘as a Service’. Much more than alphabet soup, these “aaS” technologies can help your business. Bicom Systems is dedicating a series of blog posts that will break down what all these ‘as a Service’ words mean and what they can do for your business.

SaaS
Software as a Service, otherwise known as SaaS, is a good place to start to understand these acronyms. SaaS is one of the of the most popular forms of cloud computing and known as a software distribution model. The SaaS provider hosts applications for customers and makes them available to the end user through the internet. SaaS is provided on a subscription basis, where the provider handles the software from a hosted location and delivers it through the cloud. As a provider, the financial benefits are constant and the end user benefits from convenience.

Benefits for the End User
SaaS eliminates the need for:

  • Expensive Hardware
  • IT Maintenance
  • Installation Fees
  • Support Fees
  • Software Licensing

Instead of having to purchase new software each time the latest version is released through the customer’s provider. This saves the customer time and money when the upgrade can be delivered seamlessly through the cloud service. Since the applications are delivered over the internet, the end users can access them from anywhere with internet access at any time!

Not only is it beneficial for the end user, but the reseller opportunities are endless! By adding MORE to your ‘bundle’ you will be able to:

  • Reach Additional Customers
  • Enter Additional Markets
  • Increase Your Bottom Line   

Benefits for the Reseller
SaaS resellers are constantly recurring commissions from their customers. Traditionally, clients would purchase the software from the provider and it would be a large, one-time payment. Since SaaS is hosted from the cloud, customers pay a monthly subscription to their vendors for this service. Although the payments are smaller than a large upfront cost, they ensure earnings more frequently.

The SaaS resellers do not own the license of the software and therefore can deliver it to their customers on a month to month subscription. The SaaS cloud model decreases the risk of someone using it illegally and without paying.

SaaS resellers have the ability to reach many customers. Since the product is an internet-based application, they can market their products across the globe to any customer who can access the internet. Before SaaS, vendors would have to sell the physical hardware to their clients which can add travel constraints and additional fees. Selling internationally has never been easier!

Today’s organizations are discovering the many benefits “as a service” technologies. Instead of doing everything in-house and spending unneeded resources, companies can benefit greatly by purchasing services through providers. As a Service models have the ability to collaborate like never before by connecting users and devices at any time and anywhere. The customer will only have to pay for the services they need, resulting in easier flexibility, scalability and a reduction in expenses. The innovation and creativity offered by these as a service vendors will give your company the competitive edge it needs!

If you want to learn more about Bicom Systems SaaS, SERVERware and our reseller opportunities, visit our website or send us an email at sales@bicomsystems.com.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this ‘as a Service’ blog post series when we discuss ‘UCaaS’, Unified Communications as a Service.

BLACK FRIDAY

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Black Friday shopping starts now at Bicom Systems. We are giving you early access to our sale this year with a free upgrade!

Buy our product SERVERware, the Standalone Edition and we will upgrade you to the Mirror Edition for FREE!

This sale is giving you:

  • A FREE built-in backup system
  • Expanded features and capabilities
  • Additional data protection
  • Real-time synced data
  • Cost efficiency

And ultimately, peace of mind.

If you were thinking of purchasing SERVERware, why not do it when you will get a FREE upgrade?

We launched our sale early and it is going until November 23, 2018, at 11:59 pm EST. Don’t miss out and act now on this limited time offer.

Shop our exclusive Black Friday sale now by emailing us at sales@bicomsystems.com with the subject line ‘Black Friday’.

Let your fingers do the shopping this year and place your order now!

black-friday-18

How to Choose a Virtualization Platform

My Post (5)How to choose a Virtualization Platform
Understanding what a virtualization platform is can be difficult, then having to choose the best platform for your business can be exhausting. Even though it has been around for a while, the virtualization concept is relatively new for some small-medium sized businesses and the big ones are still considering making the switch.

Below you’ll find 5 basics questions that will help you jump on the virtualization band wagon! Keep reading if you want some tips on How to Choose a Virtualization Platform.

To start,
What is a Virtualization Platform?
It is a virtual (not actual, not real, not tangible) machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. So, instead of owning a physical server, you have a virtual one that can be hosted online. Cool right? It has virtual computer hardware platforms, storage devices and computer network resources. Everything you need in one place minus all the extra hardware.

Why should your business go Virtual?
We all know the old saying, ‘why fix it if it isn’t broke’ right? Although that may be common, the truth is that businesses have to stay innovative for their customers and clients! Going virtual has so many benefits such as:

–        Reducing IT Expenses
–        Boosting Efficiency
–        Better Disaster Recovery
–        Simplified Data Management
–        Reduction of Physical Servers (Goodbye to the days of ‘server rooms’)
–        Cooling and Power Costs are Reduced
–        Increasing Productivity

The list goes on…

Now we know the ‘what’ and ‘why’, but let’s focus on the ‘how’. (The real reason you clicked on this post).

How do you choose and switch to a Virtualization Platform?
Some companies may offer services you may not need and some may offer services you never thought existed.The trick is, to figure out what you need or want to get from your Virtualization Platform and find a company that does just that. When researching ask yourself the following:

–        Is their software user friendly?
–        Do they offer a free trial?
–        Will they be present at a trade show near you? That way you can meet their team!
–        Will they be compatible with the equipment your office already has?
–        How much is this going to cost?

And remember, ‘popular’ brands aren’t your only option. There are many fish in the sea of vendors and there will be the perfect one out there for you!

Although there are many options, in our unbiased opinion – we believe Bicom Systems to be one of the better choices. Which brings me to my next topic, the ‘who’.

Who do you choose?
Bicom Systems of course! The Virtualization Platform that Bicom Systems offers is called SERVERware. It is the only Virtualization Platform dedicated to Hosting Telephony & Unified Communications in the Cloud. Bicom Systems offers three different editions, so companies can choose what works best for their operations. If you want to learn more about SERVERware check out our website!

Ok maybe you don’t choose Bicom Systems. We won’t be that sad. But you may need to choose someone, which leaves this blog post to its final ‘w’ the ‘when’.

When do you choose a Virtualization Platform?
NOW! There is no time to waste in the virtual world.

Diagnostic Tools

I was recently asked about how to test a server’s usage:

  • iftop – Network Bandwidth Monitoring
  • IPTraf – Real Time IP LAN Monitoring
  • Iostat – Input/Output Statistics
  • Iotop – Monitor Linux Disk I/O
  • Htop – Linux Process Monitoring
  • Netstat – Network Statistics
  • Tcpdump – Network Packet Analyser
  • VmStat – Virtual Memory Statistics
  • Top – Linux Process Monitoring

Soon though, SERVERware 3 comes out and does this all !

How do ‘all your pieces’ fit together to become a Phone Company ITSP ?

Probably the question that is not asked but always answered when making an introduction of Bicom Systems’ Products is the one in this title.

With so many pieces it is rather understandable why confusion may arise and yet having explained this many times now, recipients reply unanimously with confirmation that it all makes sense. For this reason it seemed only appropriate to write it down and make some other supporting diagrams and videos that really demonstrate the turnkey nature of all these pieces.

Quite simply, Bicom Systems can deliver the most turnkey telephony company with the most features and functions on the market.

We start with our platform, SERVERware. SERVERware comes in two editions, SERVER Edition and NETWORK Edition. See links for supporting diagrams.

SERVERware provides virtualisation and redundancy. In the SERVER Edition the virtualisation means that many application services can be set on the same server, The Primary Controller. These may include : PBXware MultiTenant or Call Center PBX Editions, TELCOware or other items such as Email Server, Web Site a vanilla Asterisk or Trixbox or FreePBX even. Each is contained within its own Virtual Private Server (VPS) and as such

The Server Edition can then in turn be set to mirrored redundancy, using a Secondary Server, so that should the Primary Controller Server fail the Secondary takes over.
Although similar options exist with VMware, Serverware uses Virtual Servers and so the voice quality is best served by keeping the voice traffic on the CPU rather than in a virtualised manner. Serverware also has added security features such as being set in the CHROOT and ………………..

In the Network Edition, the roles of the original two servers change. Firstly all application services are now present on dedicated hosts. The Controller is then freed to perform two functions: duplicating data from the hosts to its own hard disks and monitoring the hosts that in the event of failure of a host that the services on the lost host will be reallocated to the next available host. As the cluster expands the duplication of data may be performed to a SAN.

The Primary Controller is mirrored to a Secondary Controller so that should the Primary fail the above two functions will continue.

Typically in an ITSP scenario one of the application services in its own VPS will be the Multi Tenant Edition of PBXware. It is here that the core telephony takes place from registrations to enhanced services and telephony billing that rates CDRs.

Then on another VPS may be a Call Centre PBX Edition of PBXware if a customer has a dedicate requirement. Often with Call Centers there is a need to access the MySQL database, run detailed reports and thrash CPU with Call Recordings, as such resource needs to be identifiably dedicated. This way a heavy usage call center can latter be moved to its own resource or indeed even for its component part be split to dedicated servers.

If a provisioning platform such as TELCOware be used then it too will have its own VPS on either the server or network edition of SERVERware. The provisioning starts with the CMS (Content Management Systems) creating a web site where visitor can peruse hard and subscirptions products created in the Shopping Cart Products & Services with a view to ordering. To place orders visitors must sign up and create an Account.

TELCOware does not have any real telephony, everything is virtual. After receiving an order it uses API to send instructions to PBXware to provision the service, registrations, DIDs, IVRs or similar. There are wizards in place to assist with this.

According to the subscription bought it will then generate an invoice at the end of the period which will reflect the subscription and any extra call spend made, drawing CDRs from the switch it is associated with. This could be one or many PBXware or even another system, Asterisk based or not.

Upon the invoice being settled by manual payment or automated with a supported gateway such as worldpay, authorize.net, linkpoint, paypal, skrill … funds will be attributed first to the subscription and then if available to the call spend fund on the telephony account on the associated softswitch.

In addition to these products, Bicom Systems also has a wide variety of supporting Desktop Applications which continue the turnkey theme through to the End User and allowing your ITSP effort to simply have what others do not and stand out from the competition.

Please feel free to look through the supporting material, however nothing quite compares to an online demo and please do ask for Account Manager, the linking piece, to contact you in your language of preference (English, Spanish, French or Portuguese). As well as the architecture there is a whole lot of other advice to be provided and Marketing Materials and Support.