This is a difficult question to answer because it is very open-ended. We basically need more information to give you an informed answer.
Some of the following factors will definitely affect the minimum hardware requirements:
Number of users/extensions
Codecs being used, amount of transcoding
Use of more resource-demanding features like MeetMe conferences
Anecdotally, we ran a small VOIP system of six users/extensions without a problem on an old P4/1.6GHz workstation with 1GB of RAM. We were using g711u primarily, and didn't really do anything fancy with MeetMe and other 'expensive' features.
In general, what will make or break an asterisk machine is LATENCY. Both network as well as execution latency are important. For this reason, an Asterisk server sharing hardware resources with other services, like a web or e-mail server, will be more prone to load-induced call audio quality glitches.
We're presently hosting a PRI with 23 channels and 40 user extensions on our Core2Duo asterisk box. There are also PBX-related WWW and DB services running on the machine, but these don't seem to interfere at all with Asterisk.
The plan is to use POTS to VOIP through digium interface. There will never be more than 3 users making calls at the same time. I plan to use an old dell server ( pentium 3 or 4 with I gb ram)....with cisco Ip phones..
the only fancy feature that we would be using is automatic reminders for customers....
I would expect that to work fine. Some of the turnkey asterisk PBX appliances are based on VIA C3 CPUs, so I'd think a PIII >= 1GHz would be up to the task. That said, I'd definitely leave it dedicated to just Asterisk and related services on older hardware like that and avoid expensive codecs like G729a/b and speex.
I do have IBM eserver with Xeon processor and 2gb ram that I am going to use as a backup of main server. Would it be better to install Asterisk on that server with other stuff running on it or should i just use old dell box
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