Building a Virtualized Session Border Controller

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing

Over my career, I’ve been through plenty of software installation processes – some were of my own doing, others from open source or commercial products. Almost all of them are like watching a Rube Goldberg machine where an intricate sequence of interdependent steps occurs before your eyes. This week, I saw something very different.

Rube Goldberg Machine

A few weeks ago, I sat with Luc Morissette, Director of Customer Support and one of the founders of TelcoBridges and I asked him to work with me on a webinar showing the installation process for their FreeSBC software on a VMware virtual machine. Based on past experiences elsewhere, my expectations were set for a 12-or-more step process that started with installing an operating system, installing database software, various middleware packages, the actual SBC software and a collection of license keys for each of the components. Not rocket science, but for the first-timer, it would be easy to make a mistake that resulted in hard-to-diagnose problems requiring a system wipe and start from scratch.

Honestly, I was worried that we’d not have enough time in our 30-minute webinar window to complete the installation. I envisioned we’d have a process like a cooking show where the cake pan gets popped in an oven and miraculously a fully baked cake comes out of the neighboring oven.

Was I wrong.

During the webinar, Luc showed the installation process, starting with a running VMware ESXi virtualized server – an environment very common for those that work with virtualized infrastructure.

Next Luc showed how someone interested in a trial of FreeSBC would register on and download the software. No credit card needed, just valid contact information and an email address used to deliver the license keys.

Once the .OVA image downloads, it’s a simple process of a click or two to create a new VM, then drag-and-drop the .OVA file into the new virtual machine. Activating the software in a virtual machine environment has a few extra steps, mostly configuring the virtual machine with the proper processor, network and storage resources for the software you plan to operate on the VM.  Other more advanced configuration settings relate to being a “good neighbor” to other software running in neighboring VMs on the same silicon. Due to the real-time processing nature of session border controllers, you can imagine most of the settings relate to reducing latency.

Soon after the new VM is started, a web browser is used to connect the new FreeSBC to the configuration wizard, enter the product activation key we received via email, a host name and assign passwords for the SBC. Select whether using stand-alone and indicate whether you’ll be using the optional transcoding accelerator hardware. A few LAN/WAN assignments later and the SBC is ready to start!

Interested in seeing the process yourself?  Luc shared the step-by-step process in a webinar recording published on the FreeSBC Video Library – take a look!

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