Automatic Provisioning in the Cloud Age

Christian Stredicke
CEO of Vodia Networks

The availability of the snom 710 was a game changer for the 700-series. Now customers have a range of devices that makes it possible to roll out systems into small and large offices. The snom 710 was added to the supported devices in version 5 from the beginning; however version 5.0.3 brings some more important improvements that make it really easy to roll out these devices.

First of all, snom ONE always had the concept of buttons configuration. The new version makes it a lot easier to deploy phones by using default device button profiles. With these profiles, the PBX automatically picks the right device profile when generating the provisioning data for the devices. In other words, when plugging devices in, the administrator does not have to manually assign profiles to users any more: They are automatically picked by the system depending on the device type. For most of the devices in the domain, this is a reasonable setup and usually only a small part of the devices requires manual modifications. This is not only a big time saver; in many installations the features of the phones are untapped because there is no time to set the buttons up right.

While we were on it, we also looked at the other hard keys on the devices. In the previous versions, all snom phones were treated equally; however they are not equal. The new version provisions the hard keys depending on the device, so that for example the menu button on the 720 and 760 uses the XML content generated from the PBX.

We also looked at the PBX discovery mechanism. In addition to manual configuration, DHCP option 66 and multicast provisioning we added a new mechanism that uses the snom XML RPC server for discovering the PBX. This new method was primarily designed for hosted PBX operators; however in "private cloud" installations it also makes a lot of sense to use this. When the administrator assigns the MAC to an extension, the PBX now publishes that MAC to the central redirection server, so that when the phone boots up, it takes the PBX address from there. This works from any location where the phone has access to the public Internet. It also works when the customer factory-reset the device; this means that the standard support procedure will ask the in-house or external customer to reset the device and reboot. 

This is a big time saver compared to manual setup, where the support staff has to baby sit users through the procedure of setting the device up every time something goes wrong. Time is money these days.