The entire subject of Virtualization and all things "cloud" has become something that even none technical people talk about. You might say it has gone "viral" and captured the interest of geeks, business people, professional technology managers and entrepreneurs. Personally, I never did get the whole fascination with hardware. In my mind hardware was just something we had to put up with to get to play with the software. When you stop and think about it, aside from the IT folks, nobody wants a Windows 2012 Server! What they want is a Website, a CRM package, a blog or a phone system. Having to deal with hardware was always a chore and it always seemed to me that whatever we had was obsolete within a year or so. The software could be upgraded, but the hardware had to be "refreshed" an expression that generally means, purchase new stuff!
Virtualization made hardware a bit more interesting. Now we could at least run a half dozen servers on one huge hardware platform. Back up and Restore became almost fun! Now you start adding virtualized appliances like phone systems, gateways and firewalls to the mix and software professionals get almost giddy! I think VMware has caused more new business creations than any other single "stimulus" package. Now, even a guy working out of his garage could compete with the big guys! Capital requirements were significantly reduced and new cloud based business could launch at the drop of a hat and the signing of a sales agreement! Internet bandwidth, access, creativity and an Amazon account and you were in the revenue production business!
Unless you are in the business of refreshing hardware, why would you want to bother with any of that hardware stuff? How long does it take your IT team to spin up a new server? Even if you are a one man show and you can control everything without benefit of a working committee, it takes time to setup a server! Some organizations take weeks to provision a new server! Now if you happen to have an Amazon account, even your plain vanilla book buying Amazon account, you could spin up a new Linux or Microsoft Server in about 15 minutes! With your "Amazon machine instance" you get a security group (read firewall) for your public IP address, a DNS name and a local network all in less time than it takes to unbox and rack a new hardware based solution.The Amazon portal lets you change the configuration of your instance on the fly. This means you can increase disk size, RAM, change bandwidth and update your firewall without a screw driver! Think about it, fully operational on net with pubic IP access in less than 15 minutes.
Now that 3CX, ShoreTel, Mitel and so many others offer Gateways that are "virtual" machines, you could actually spin up a "hosted PBX" in just a few hours! We though we would try it just for kicks! Log into AWS spin up a new Windows Sever and deploy ShoreTel or 3CX completely virtualized, including SIP trunks, Border Controllers and Remote phones both Hard and Soft. Should be hilarious! (Thanks to winter storms back east, we just brought up a 169 users system, across three states and had the client fully operational in 12 hours from the emergency phone call to the DrVoIP hot line). This first video clip just deals with provisioning the server. In subsequent versions we will bring up an entire phone system and you can watch over our shoulders!