Forum Thread

What's a good server for our VoIP server?

br1ckhouse 339 50 September 11, 2015 at 12:47 PM
Our current server for our VoIP is nearing its replacement date. We originally got this from our IT team on requirements:
2 Cores (not sure what is needed exactly but our current VoIP server has a Celeron E3400 2.60GHz)
4 GB of RAM
80 GB HDD

This isn't very powerful so I don't want to buy a new server that is overkill. Any suggestions on what would be a good choice? Most important is the stability of the system and we're willing paying whats fair for business continuity and peace of mind.

Also, we're a nonprofit so we get window server licenses for very cheap.

If the suggested server doesn't come with a hard drive, please recommend a high quality hdd or ssd to be purchased. Thanks in advance!

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#2
What VoIP software are you using?

How many lines?

How many extensions?

Does this server serve any other functions? Do you have other servers on site or off site?
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#3
Quote from jkee View Post :
What VoIP software are you using?

How many lines?

How many extensions?

Does this server serve any other functions? Do you have other servers on site or off site?
Shoretel

about 30 extension. not sure what you mean by lines but i can't see an user using more than 3 lines at once and that would only be for 2-3 users if ever..

this new server has no other function, just voip. We have a hyper-v server on site but it's maxed out. We have another server that is hosting an application but it's about 3 years so we don't want to move things to it just to move it again in 2-3 years later.
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#4
Virtualize. Don't get a physical server. I'm a ShoreTel customer and virtualization is the only way to go. I'm happy to provide specific help if you need to size for your organization. If you have no virtualization infrastructure at all then there are some options to do so.

I use VMWare. I'm pretty sure Hyper-V is supported and would have minimal impact to your organization.
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#5
If you dont want to virtualize look at the front page deals for the lenovo ts140 or ts440..the 440 allows you to add a redundant power supply. They are 285 and 300 respectively.
Drop two mx200 ssd's in raid (1, redundant) and call it a day.
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-MX2...=intel+ssd
You will need to buy the OS.
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#6
Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
Shoretel

about 30 extension. not sure what you mean by lines but i can't see an user using more than 3 lines at once and that would only be for 2-3 users if ever..

this new server has no other function, just voip. We have a hyper-v server on site but it's maxed out. We have another server that is hosting an application but it's about 3 years so we don't want to move things to it just to move it again in 2-3 years later.
I haven't used shoretel. I've mostly used asterisk and even that's been a while.

By "lines" I meant the total number of inbound and outbound calls at a time. VoIP can be setup many different ways, systems can be setup to scale up to some limit or they can have a very rigid setup with a fixed number of simultaneous connections. I was trying to get a sense of the network bandwidth required.

I would see if shoretel publishes any guidelines / hardware requirements.

Computers that are sold as servers generally are designed to a higher reliability standard. Something like a Dell PowerEdge T20 while on the lower end of the spectrum may meet your needs. http://www.dell.com/us/business/p...dge-t20/fs
If your existing server is rack mounted you'd probably want to rack mount again and a different server would be the better choice.
Dell outlet can also have some good deals.

EDIT: lenovo mentioned above is a better deal
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#7
+1 For virtualization.
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#8
thanks all. our current it support firm tries to fleece us each time we ask them to do anything and they manage the hyper v server. they've told us it's a tight squeeze to create the environment needed for the VoIP server and also mention that if we wanted to get a physical server instead, they would recommend one with a bit more juice so there's some buffer.

two questions, just how beneficial is visualization for our shoretel server? if you could provide some concrete benefits, it'll help me decide if it's worth it to put the pressure on our IT company or to wait until we're signed with a better one to get this done.

two, is it really necessary to get higher specs to keep the server "buffered" against any spikes in demand? the older server was ancient and pretty low powered and similar to low budget servers right now. the lenovo deals, quoted above, is likely our ideal price range and if our IT company suggests anything higher than that, is there any merit to it? again, there's no intention to use anything else on the server than hosting our VoIP
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#9
Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
thanks all. our current it support firm tries to fleece us each time we ask them to do anything and they manage the hyper v server. they've told us it's a tight squeeze to create the environment needed for the VoIP server and also mention that if we wanted to get a physical server instead, they would recommend one with a bit more juice so there's some buffer.

two questions, just how beneficial is visualization for our shoretel server? if you could provide some concrete benefits, it'll help me decide if it's worth it to put the pressure on our IT company or to wait until we're signed with a better one to get this done.

two, is it really necessary to get higher specs to keep the server "buffered" against any spikes in demand? the older server was ancient and pretty low powered and similar to low budget servers right now. the lenovo deals, quoted above, is likely our ideal price range and if our IT company suggests anything higher than that, is there any merit to it? again, there's no intention to use anything else on the server than hosting our VoIP
The servers mentioned above will be 5-8 times more powerful than your current system...they are more than adequate...
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#10
Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
thanks all. our current it support firm tries to fleece us each time we ask them to do anything and they manage the hyper v server. they've told us it's a tight squeeze to create the environment needed for the VoIP server and also mention that if we wanted to get a physical server instead, they would recommend one with a bit more juice so there's some buffer.

two questions, just how beneficial is visualization for our shoretel server? if you could provide some concrete benefits, it'll help me decide if it's worth it to put the pressure on our IT company or to wait until we're signed with a better one to get this done.

two, is it really necessary to get higher specs to keep the server "buffered" against any spikes in demand? the older server was ancient and pretty low powered and similar to low budget servers right now. the lenovo deals, quoted above, is likely our ideal price range and if our IT company suggests anything higher than that, is there any merit to it? again, there's no intention to use anything else on the server than hosting our VoIP
My first thought is maybe the hyper-v server's specs are a little lacking.

Virtualization is a good option, if I'd been paying attention earlier I would have advocated it too. Virtualization won't make your VoIP function better, but it will make it easier to manage and easier to scale if the load changes.

If the existing server is meeting your needs, an upgrade doesn't seem urgent. You may want to consider cloning/swapping the hard drive, as it's likely going to be the first part to fail. The other thing I'd suggest is to clean dust out of the server and make sure all the fans spin freely without any wobble or noise replace any problematic fans. This might make the most sense and you can put the $300-500 you might spend replacing the VoIP server towards a future replacement of one of your other servers, you could virtualize at that time.

How robust is your current backup setup for all servers? If backups are lacking the VoIP server could be converted into a VoIP/backup server.
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Last edited by jkee September 12, 2015 at 02:34 PM
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#11
I would look at the Dell outlet they do have sales that include servers
this one will do a lot

rtified Refurbished
2.5 Inch Chassis
Bezel
Broadcom 5719 QP 1Gb Network Interface Card [QTY : 2]
Chassis with up to 8, 2.5 Inch HD
DIMM Blanks for System with 2 Processors
Dual, Hot-plug, Redundant Power Supply (1+1), 495W
PERC Cable
PERC H330 Integrated RAID Controller
Performance BIOS Setting
Power Cord, NEMA 5-15P to C13, 15 amp, wall plug, 10 feet / 3 meter [QTY : 2]
PowerEdge R730/R730xd Motherboard
R730 PCIe Riser 1 Filler Blank, Right
R730 PCIe Riser 3, Left
R730/xd PCIe Riser 2, Center
ReadyRails Sliding Rails - Cable Management Sold Separately
Standard Heatsink for PowerEdge R730/R730xd [QTY : 2]
iDRAC8 Express, integrated Dell Remote Access Controller, Express
Price........ $3,070.00

I would think that a VOIP server would be better as live, I would think the network would be the most intensive?
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#12
Quote from komondor View Post :
I would think that a VOIP server would be better as live, I would think the network would be the most intensive?
Most of the codecs used for VoIP use 8-96kbps of bandwidth with the most common falling between 48kbps and 72kbps. IIRC, an actual call between 2 people is twice this number as the same bandwidth is used both upstream and downstream. If you've got a few hundred extensions, the bandwidth can be significant, but for the OP it's not that big of a deal. Voicemail, IVR, call recording, music on hold, etc do consume other server resources. For the OP, we're only talking about a few mbps of voip bandwidth at most.

Another option is a "cloud" service provided by ShoreTel or another company, although long term this may cost more.
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Last edited by jkee September 12, 2015 at 03:49 PM
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#13
Quote from komondor View Post :
I would think that a VOIP server would be better as live, I would think the network would be the most intensive?
Can't say I know about Shoretel but if it's transcoding codecs and acting as a session border controller (VoIP firewall) it can add a lot of CPU overhead
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#14
Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
thanks all. our current it support firm tries to fleece us each time we ask them to do anything and they manage the hyper v server. they've told us it's a tight squeeze to create the environment needed for the VoIP server and also mention that if we wanted to get a physical server instead, they would recommend one with a bit more juice so there's some buffer.

two questions, just how beneficial is visualization for our shoretel server? if you could provide some concrete benefits, it'll help me decide if it's worth it to put the pressure on our IT company or to wait until we're signed with a better one to get this done.

two, is it really necessary to get higher specs to keep the server "buffered" against any spikes in demand? the older server was ancient and pretty low powered and similar to low budget servers right now. the lenovo deals, quoted above, is likely our ideal price range and if our IT company suggests anything higher than that, is there any merit to it? again, there's no intention to use anything else on the server than hosting our VoIP
The ShoreTel HQ server doesn't really do much in terms of horsepower so you need bare minimum room. Of course they want you to buy a physical device because there isn't any money to be made by adding a hyper-v instance.

The benefit is that you can snapshot, backup, and restore in minutes and without any future setup cost and you aren't reliant upon hardware (virtualization is hardware agnostic).

My helpful advice would be to evaluate your entire server setup and virtualization capacity. Are you getting more physical servers because they say you need them? It sounds like you are a small shop so if you have more than a couple physical servers you could certainly save money by going physical. There are tons of reasons for virtualization in today's age for backup/restore and convenience. Hardware contracts for support/maintenance alone almost always justifies the cost of virtualization if you have multiple server machines.

There's nothing exceptionally wrong with going with a physical server except it will certainly cost you more and be less agile in management. If you aren't virtualizating your environment appropriately then you are absolutely and definitely missing an opportunity to be more efficient with time, money, and server space (which includes power).
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#15
you could look at a possible cloud solution like MS Azure maybe?
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