Award-winning call

The new semester at Sam Houston State University began in high fashion as the university recently earned accolades from a national technology trade magazine for its innovative move to a new Linux phone system on campus.

The Dec. 26-Jan. 2 issue of “Network World” magazine called the university’s decision to switch from a legacy vendor in favor of an open source competitor “one of the most powerful decisions an enterprise IT buyer can make,” naming it one of the Six Power Moves of 2006.

According to the article, SHSU began moving its 6,000 on-campus students, faculty and staff from Cisco CallManager IP PBXs to Linux Servers running Asterisk, which includes call-processing voicemail and public-network gateway functionality.

Aaron Daniel, senior voice analyst, said this open source move lets SHSU use its IP phones with more flexibility and at one-third the price.

Basically, the fancy new phones now stationed in each dorm room on campus are capable of a lot more than simply making a call at a lower cost to the university.

Daniel also said the capabilities in products such as Asterisk should serve as a warning for vendors such as Cisco.

“From where I am sitting, it looks like closed-source solutions providers are starting to shake in their boots,” Daniel said. “If they don’t change their tune with practices and pricing, they’re going to fall behind. Open source is here, it’s gaining steam and it’s happening in enterprise-grade deployments.”

An article featuring SHSU and the decision by network executives was also previously praised by “Network World” in an earlier edition of the magazine.

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