3CX's New Linux Version
3CX has long been a mainstay in the Microsoft community. Integrators, in many cases also Microsoft partners, as well as MSPs have been installing 3CX on new or existing Windows infrastructure for the last decade. The majority of SMBs run Windows and Microsoft business applications and often times, 3CX is generally installed on a dedicated or virtualized Windows appliance.
More recently, 3CX is starting to become popular as a hosted solution, a trend that seems to be increasing as users get more comfortable with partner-hosted models. The GUI is clean and simple and if you’re a “Windows guy” it is easy to learn and administer. However, there is a segment of the market that does not use Microsoft for business applications for a number of reasons (expense of OS licensing, concerns about Windows stability and or security, etc, etc.) These companies primarily rely on Linux machines and run different flavors of Asterisk for their company PBX. This segment of the market was not receptive to 3CX until very recently. With the release of V15, 3CX is now ported to Linux and supporting (Debian 8) in its first Linux release and offers full feature parity with the Windows version of the PBX.
While it’s safe to assume most Windows-centric companies, the majority of the 3CX base, will continue to install and manage 3CX on Windows, Linux players are starting to take 3CX serious too and recognize they now have an alternative to Asterisk.
We think the new Linux version is important for a number of reasons:
- 3CX is a mature software development company with a world-class support team that offers free technical support. Compare this to the 3rd party user groups and support forums like you get with most Asterisk solutions.
- 3CX (both Windows and Linux) offers a free API for development integration.
- 3CX for Debian is light enough to run on small, inexpensive micro-appliances (example: Shuttle NC02U for under $200) or on many Xen instances in an virtualized Linux environment.
- 3CX provides a free fully integrated 3CX softphone and presence “Switchboard”. No longer do you need to cobble together 3rd party UC solutions (Example: iSymphony for presence, Bria for softphone, OpenFire for chat etc)
- Free version available for smaller companies (supports unlimited extensions and up to 8 concurrent calls with some commercial features disabled)
- Alternative for those who feel Windows is not stable enough to support mission-critical applications
- Linux version has feature parity with Windows version and is a great alternative to Asterisk
- 3CX on Linux is now cheaper to host since a Windows OS license is no longer a requirement. This allows you to be even more competitive with the myriad of hosted solutions on the market. You can provide your customers an enterprise premise-based feature set and continue to benefit from an even lower price point to host 3CX.
- Failover to a spare machine is simple to configure and available at no extra charge (included in Pro & Enterprise editions).
- Hotel functionality will soon be included at no extra charge in the PBX “Pro” edition licenses. Simply sell a “Pro” edition license and the hospitality features will automatically be available to you (PMS integration, wake up calls, mini bar usage etc). For MSPs targeting the hospitality market, the hotel module features will provide a major sales advantage for you when competing against Mitel.
The V15 changelog can be found on the 3CX website here.
For the MSP looking for a low-cost but powerful PBX to run on Linux, 3CX is now a much more polished and professional option for you than “free” flavors of Asterisk. Whether you prefer Windows or Linux for a PBX platform, 3CX has you covered. Our team at ABP is happy to assist our partners with pre-sales questions, best practices and system design. Call us @ 972.831,1600x3 today with questions.