[VoiceOps] Any subscribers from the UK?

Alex Balashov abalashov at evaristesys.com
Mon Aug 3 16:10:26 EDT 2009

Daryl G. Jurbala wrote:

> On Aug 1, 2009, at 7:12 PM, Alex Balashov wrote:
>> I don't mean to sound derogatory, but what is this enormous fixation 
>> that people have with building AGI scripts in PHP-AGI?
> Familiarity with web programming.  Again, this is an inherited setup, 
> not how I would design it from a clean slate.

Understood.  I didn't mean it personally;  I was sort of rhetorically 
inquiring as to the avenue of thinking taken by the folks preceding you 
who designed the setup that way, not indicting your willingness to 
maintain it in that state.

> The rest of your post just makes you seem like you have a chip on your 
> shoulder, and that there are only certain ways to do thing, and those 
> are what you deem appropriate.

On a qualitative level, it certainly irritates me, but no, it's not 
really a chip on my shoulder as much as a very starkly significant trend 
I've identified in the course of my work.

I'd say about 90% of my business comes from helping ITSPs who started 
off on naive, mostly (but not necessarily) Asterisk-based approaches 
scale upward once they hit the point where that approach - easy and 
low-barrier as it may be - has severely diminishing returns.

Everyone who does that sort of thing - especially on a programmatic 
level - identifies certain "anti-patterns" that they then register as a 
common engineering pitfall and discourage others from doing.  The 
anti-pattern I see here is that using PHP solves the wrong problem by 
answering the wrong question the wrong way.  There are many other such 
patterns I constantly run into;  I think the most common one is using 
the database as an IPC (interprocess communication) mechanism for high 
volumes of delay-sensitive, real-time data--the kind of stuff that 
should be passed around in shared memory, pipes, domain sockets, network 
sockets, semaphores, etc.  ViciDIAL takes that to an absurd, ghastly 

Once again, I wasn't attacking you, and I apologise if that is the 
perception.  I was just wondering aloud why people do this kind of stuff.

> In the end, the technology isn't for its own sake.  Its to make money.  
> I'm in the back (for over 2 years), and growing over 10% per month, even 
> through the downturn.  How about you?

I'm not an ITSP, so I can't answer that on an apples-to-apples basis.

What I can say is that until a certain point, there is a high 
correlation between good engineering and making more money, for reasons 
that are fairly self-evident;  it eliminates various additional external 
costs down the road, it reduces brand destruction through declining 
performance (and the ensuing scramble to bandage it), and better design 
allows you to better and more efficiently develop scalable, reusable 
business processes that can be replicated at decreasing marginal cost 
better and faster.  So, it's not a purely aesthetic issue;  there is an 
objective weight to one methodology over another, and it has everything 
to do with making money.

On a practical level, the way I see this playing out is that I'm the 
bomb technician that has to go in and defuse an ITSP that has grown to 
have lots of call setups per second (whether from dialer traffic or what 
have you) and finds that their large farm of Asterisk boxes - and all 
call flows intermediated by extensive PHP-AGI calls - is falling over 
once or more daily, and that this just isn't tenable from a business 
perspective because the whole architecture is flawed from the very 

That has a huge price tag.

-- Alex

Alex Balashov
Evariste Systems
Web    : http://www.evaristesys.com/
Tel    : (+1) (678) 954-0670
Direct : (+1) (678) 954-0671
Mobile : (+1) (678) 237-1775

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