~ Chris Sherwood, Owner at Crosstalk Solutions
Crosstalk Solutions is a Network and VoIP consulting company, and a ClearlyIP Partner and Collaborator. Founded in 2014 by Chris Sherwood, they have proven to be top industry experts in the Telecom Sector.
They are also best known for the Crosstalk Solutions YouTube channel that features product reviews, VoIP, network, and wireless tutorials for Industry Experts with a growing 200k in subscribers. Likeminded professionals rely on Chris for his advice, knowledge, and expertise when it comes to all things VoIP.
Crosstalk solutions are based on over 20 years of best practice experience in system architecture, network engineering, and project management in the telecommunications field.
Crosstalk Solutions provides business telecom solutions for many clients using open source platforms like FreePBX®. The challenge with managing and deploying more and more FreePBX® based systems is that there are different versions of the FreePBX® software, and there are even more modules that are made to enhance each of those versions.
If you access the FreeePBX® mirror site, you will get the automatic update to the latest version of FreePBX®. This can break the connection to installed modules that may not be compatible with the new version of FreePBX®.
Additionally, with every FreePBX® version update, there can be cosmetic changes as well. Meaning that users can be confused by seeing changes that they are not expecting. Any of these things can result in excessive tickets being generated, downtime for the customer, and general loss of productivity.
With the growing number of deployed FreePBX® based systems, Crosstalk needed a solution to these ongoing issues and improved management requirements.
THE SOLUTION BY CLEARLYIP
ClearlyIP created the Update Control Management tool so that resellers like Crosstalk Solutions would be able to control system updates on a mirror server and reduce the chance of accidental incompatibility with versioning.
ClearlyIP also realized that many resellers might want to add their own branding and even custom modules that they had created. The customized branding of a mirror site combined with ClearlyIP’s brandable phones ensured that a reseller’s brand recognition is never in question.
Crosstalk worked with the ClearlyIP Technical Support Team to implement the Update Control Management Mirror Platform. They first tested the mirror admin with their own test servers and a few production customers. During the initial testing of the mirror admin, they had several suggestions for product development and enhancements which were implemented by the ClearlyIP development team. Once they had the workflow down and everything was working properly, they rolled it out to all of their hosted PBX customers.
Utilizing UCM and Mirror tool, Crosstalk Solutions is able to properly QA new FreePBX® updates before they are pushed out to production customers, ensuring local control over possible bugs or software changes that can affect the PBX system uptime. This has also allowed Crosstalk to mostly automate customer PBX updates saving countless hours of time and effort.
“Prior to the UCM Mirror Management tool, in order to update customers to FreePBX® modules that had passed our team’s testing process, we would have to first disable automatic updates. Then we would update all customers manually to the latest modules. “This was incredibly time-consuming,” commented Chris Sherwood on the time-saving capabilities. Now, Crosstalk can have all of their customers set to automatically update to THEIR version of modules every night – so when they are ready, they simply roll out the latest modules to their mirror admin ‘version’ and all of their PBX customers will update automatically that evening.
With the additional branding capabilities, Crosstalk Solutions was also able to ensure that their clients always knew they were on the correct site and getting the correct versioning.
The ClearlyIP UCM Mirror Admin provides two main advantages for Crosstalk: first, it allows them to QA new FreePBX® module releases in a test environment. Second, once tested, it allows their team to control the rollout to their customers so that they can ensure they are not pushing out a module that may be buggy or possibly affect clients’ PBX functionality. The solution quickly became a necessary and vital solution for their business and deployed systems.
Top 5 Features That Make ClearlyIP’s Update Control Management tool a Great Solution for FreePBX®
- Allows resellers, or system admins, the ability to control when and how the system is updated.
- Module Version Control – Can prevent downtime when a system updates to a non-compatible version.
- Customized Branding – Apply your brand to the FreePBX® Administrative and End User Control Panel.
- Custom Modules – Create your own custom modules and use them side by side with FreePBX® and ClearlyIP modules.
- Outstanding Partner Support – The ClearlyIP Team is there whenever you need them.