3CX v15 retires 3CX Phone System 14 “Multi Tenant”

Migrate Virtual PBX Server v14 to Cloud PBX v153CX Phone System V15 is now cloud ready – out of the box it can easily install On Premise, on an appliance or indeed in the cloud. 3CX now also runs Linux which makes it automatically deployable, Manageable and Lightweight – perfect for the cloud. With 3CX on Linux a whole new landscape of cloud opportunities opens up.

Added to that the UC landscape is changing – customers require more complex voice communications. The demands on their PBX platform are increasing: Companies need to know who’s calling with CRM integration. They require integrated video conferencing and customized call scripts. Staff want to work from anywhere. And added to that there is increased security concern – with the PBX in the cloud, how can i be sure no one touches my data, how can I retain control? All these demands can only be solved in one way, with a “dedicated” virtualized PBX.

It’s not dissimilar to a website in the late nineties. Hundreds of websites hosted on one machine. One website adds a simple PHP application that could bring down the whole server. Soon companies demanded their own dedicated server, even though virtualized for manageability reasons. The same trend will happen to the PBX. And so the end of the road has come for Multi tenant PBXs. They can’t cut it any longer. Multi tenant is dead. And so is 3CX V14 – Multi Tenant.

Advantages of Single Virtualized instances:

  1. Customers are in no way affected by what happens on other PBX instances.
  2. Customer’s data is much more secure, completely separated from other customers.
  3. Advanced features such as CRM integration, Custom scripts can be seamlessly supported.
  4. No complex firewall/port forwarding setup – VoIP providers, provisioning will work out of the box.
  5. Customers requiring hotel features or special provisioning settings can be supported.
  6. Customers running PBX in the cloud no longer need to wait for a “multi-instance” version.
  7. You can give the customer control of their PBX and data.
  8. Leverage the many data center providers that have professional hosting infrastructures for deploying and managing Linux VPS instances. And at a very low cost.
    • OVH – Linux VPS starting at $3.50 monthly (https://www.ovh.com/us/vps/).
    • Google Cloud – Starting at approximately $12 monthly (depends on data usage).
    • Pretty much any data centre running Openstack & KVM
    • Many more to be announced soon
    • Look for Debian 8, 1+ core and 2 gigabyte memory

Most of these data center providers (including Google and OVH) have easy to use portals for easy firewall rule setup, scriptable machine provisioning and machine management – allowing you to focus on PBX configuration as opposed to machine maintenance!

Multi tenant is “Out”

  • New cloud platforms such as Openstack make it easy to manage large numbers of instances.
  • 3CX on Debian’s low memory requirements remove the cost advantage of multi instance.
  • Container technology will further reduce the operating system overhead.
  • No specialised 3CX multi tenant knowledge is required.
  • No need to deploy 25 instances at a time. Deploy instances when needed, one by one.
  • 3CX automated update features (in development) will reduce per instance admin further.
  • Leverage existing data centers for running underlying infrastructure.

The only downside is that each instance requires its own IP. However, this allows for additional security policies to be easily applied. Furthermore it removes the need for an SBC and complex port management.

Centralised Management

To simplify management of 3CX instances we are planning an interface on the partner portal that will allow for centralised monitoring, backups and more of the various instances. This is on our roadmap for first half of 2017.

Deploying 3CX in the cloud – an example

For this example we have chosen to use Google Cloud & OVH. Google Cloud Compute engine is available as a trial to anyone with a Google Account. OVH has low cost Linux VPS available. In theory it is possible to use any Debian VPS which uses KVM/Hyper V/VMware for virtualization and is correctly configured. Follow the guides below to setup 3CX in the cloud on these providers:

Deploying 3CX using a Setup Template

With upcoming SP4 you will be able to “provision” a 3CX instance with Extensions, IP Phones, SIp trunks and more. Effectively you can create an XMl file that will allow you to prepare a configuration for a customer and then apply it in minutes. Because you can specify IP Phones with MAC, you can drop ship the phones – “Zero Touch” and then apply the setup to 3CX running on an appliance or in the cloud – remotely.

This Setup Template can be run automatically using a script and cloudinit (used by many data centers) or you will be able to specify it at install time, much like a restore. Follow this guide to learn how this will work in SP4 onwards:

Migrating a 3CX V14 Multi tenant instance to v15

If you have been using 3CX v14 multi tenant edition, here are some considerations to move to v15:

  • We recommend using 3CX DNS for ease of deployment.
  • If you are using custom templates, these need to be updated to v15. Use v15 templates as a base and re-apply the changes you made. This is part and parcel of customizing templates, which should be avoided as much as possible.
  • All ports are reset to standard. You can edit them back afterwards if you wish to support using a NAT with a single public IP or an existing third party SBC configuration.

For a detailed How to guide, see “How to migrate v14 tenant to v15

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Leave a Reply

  1. Utilizo mis centrales 3CX en Amazon Web Service, inclusive en la instancia gratis por un año que otorga AWS, sin problemas

    November 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm Reply
    • Nelle

      Clear, informative, simple.

      November 12, 2016 at 3:30 am
  2. Steve

    Cause everyone has a /24 spare for this right ?!? No they don’t.
    Worst discision so far gents.

    November 7, 2016 at 12:05 am Reply
    • Well, pretty much all VPS instances come with a public IP already. Whenever you buy a dedicated server within a data centre you definitely get at least a good number of IPs. And there is nothing stopping you creating a small NAT/proxy or using an SBC to share an IP as the article states. Added to that IP v6 is just around the corner. And frankly, you have a handful of instances with us, do you need /24 network of IPs? We have made running 3CX in the cloud extremely easy. I think a little to easy for your liking. But considering the ease of instance management and the advent of containerisation this is the right strategy for the future.

      November 7, 2016 at 8:16 am
    • Steve Gordon

      Nick, some people run their own infrastructure in local datacentres provided by our Telco’s, for both security and sovereignty reasons. Our IP allocation is tiny compared with the massive hosting companies. sure we don’t have 254 instances with you as yet but more come online we will exhaust our IP4 allotment. IP6 has been just around the corner since 2007, and without a massive restructure to our own network infrastructure we wont be supporting it any time soon either. I don’t disagree that this is the right strategy for the future however with the limited resources the multi tenant system was ideal. We still put larger customers on their own servers anyway – just now have to do that with all customers. Your Windows product is tried and trusted – I am no expert when it comes to Unix and their variants so not only can I not comfortable administer those installations I cant troubleshoot them either. Lets not even talk about running upgrade installs for service packs, so I wont be spinning up non windows instances for your products.

      November 9, 2016 at 5:45 am
    • Steve – You can use one IP – its easily done using a proxy as i have already mentioned in my post. In fact we will release a small how to but i think if you are running a data centre you should already know this. IPv6 will be out in 2017. re Windows – well use Windows if you want, no problem at all. Small instances can run with 2 Gig memory and Windows 10. But you are wrong in assuming that you cant manage Linux easily – our ISO automatically updates, you don’t need to do anything. And soon with our container support you will be able to run many more instances of 3CX – and the entire operating system management will be done automatically. Even Windows Server will ship with a container engine. There is no doubt this is the future and all leading companies are heading this direction.

      November 9, 2016 at 7:25 am
    • Luca

      Nick, The point here is that we invested so much in servers infrastructures etc. trying to create a business model on top of your product, you can imagine how much time and money we spent doing this + marketing etc.. Migrating to a cloud platform would be a massive time consuming job and not financially viale as for now. Also you can argue as much as you want that single instances are far better when it comes with support etc, but what about hardware resources on the servers? before we could load 25 tenants/clients in a single virtual machine, single IP address, now we need to have 25 different virtual machines. and 25 IP addresses which increases drastically the costs. With my deepest respect, dropping the Multi tenant edition was a CRAZY idea!

      November 22, 2016 at 2:15 pm
    • With this approach we ensure and guarantee that with the money you invested in servers and infrastructures, you can quadruple the amount of instances you can run. You just are not seeing the whole picture I’m afraid.
      So before you used to run 25 instances on 1 server. Now you can use the same hardware and run 100 debian instances on the same server.. Wait and see. So here we have an advantage. You can have more customers.
      Keep the hardware the same and follow us.

      No it should not be more expensive. Actually it should be much much cheaper. this is what the move to linux is showing us.
      Now if you are a hoster, (a real hoster) you cannot run this on Windows. Because each windows is a license cost. So you need to tell your existing it staff to start deploying debians.

      Debian is free so you do not need to charge for the license. Plus an instance on 3CX with debian actually consumes LESS than a shared instance of 3CX on V14 multitenant from a resource cost point of view. plus the instance is isolated.

      We buy an OVH machine for 2.99 and this INCLUDES a dedicated IP ADDRESS also. All these providers give you an IP Address. They do it so can you. You can lease all the ipv4 addresses you need. Dont worry. There are blocks of IPv4 addresses you can lease and this will keep on going for years because they need to lease and make as much money as possible before the real exhaustion takes place.

      For the record a lease assignment of IPv4 subnet /24 (256 IPv4) — around €100-125 euros per month. If you want 512 IP’s it’s around 200-250 euros per month. This amounts to a SURCHARGE of 0.39 euros PER CUSTOMER.
      Apart from the fact that for a hoster 100 euro a month should not be a problem for you. But do not come and tell me that you cannot find a way to justify a surcharge of 0.39 cents for each customer you have. This is what the dramatical increase boils down to it boils down too – 40 cents more per client!!!

      How much do you charge for a basic entry instance if I may ask?

      November 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm
  3. Christopher

    So what is the plan for the v14? Will people like me need to invest in getting Linux skills? You guys made so much of the fact that we did not need skills with Linux to manage the product.

    December 9, 2016 at 7:16 pm Reply
    • In any case – If you want to do serious hosting, Linux was always a must.
      If you want to stay on windows, wait until we go for nano containers.
      Current v14 multitenant was a stepping stone. Now for the sake of modern technology, that approach has to be phased out and replaced with what every pro hoster is using.
      We cannot remain stuck on old non scale-able technology.
      All the hardware you invested can be reused.
      All the tenants you have can be migrated.

      December 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm
  4. Nick – I’m about to trial the Cloud version 15 on OVH and I’m using SIP Trunks from Spitfire in the UK so I’ve got QoS through my LAN, between my LAN and Spitfire for calls however no ability to provide QoS between the LAN and OVH. What are your thoughts on losing the ability to prioritise traffic with the 3CX Cloud installation?

    December 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm Reply
    • If you did QOS between your lan and spitfire, then you can do QOS between your LAN and the IP of the OVH instance in the same way I guess. Anything going to the OVH network or PBX destination should be guaranteed in advance. Concept is the same.

      December 21, 2016 at 9:31 am
  5. Nicky – Thanks for the reply however I have no control between the LAN and OVH, only SIP traffic can be guaranteed QoS between the LAN and Spitfire the ISP & this line cannot be used for anything else so I’m using a fibre broadband circuit for all other traffic which does not have QoS. Additionally any traffic over port 5060 on the Spitfire link will only guarantee QoS from the LAN to Spitfire and not between Spitfire and OVH.

    December 21, 2016 at 11:41 am Reply
    • So then you need to speak to ovh.. because for sure 3CX has no control of this part.
      Don’t worry too much.. OVH have a very good link..

      December 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm