[VoiceOps] Evariste Systems drops open source, becomes Acme Packet VAR

Alex Balashov abalashov at evaristesys.com
Mon Apr 1 11:45:46 EDT 2013

For immediate release:

ATLANTA, GA (1 April 2013)--Evariste Systems LLC, an Atlanta-based
consultancy specialising in Kamailio-based VoIP infrastructure solutions
for the ITSP and CLEC market, has announced that beginning in the second
quarter of 2013, it will be abandoning its Kamailio-based technology
portfolio to focus on its new role as a preferred VAR (Value Added
Reseller) for Acme Packet (NASDAQ:APKT).

"It is with a heavy heart that we abandon five years of Kamailio-oriented
work and the Canonical SIP Routing Platform product derived from it,"
said Alex Balashov, the principal of the company.

"However, the reality is that investment in open-source VoIP technology
is a dead end.  From a technological point of view, we have lagged very
badly in meeting the needs of today's sophisticated VoIP market, and it's
time to cut our losses.  Asterisk, Kamailio, FreeSWITCH--all this stuff
just hasn't kept up with the pace of evolution of 3GPP, ETSI, and ITU
standards.  We are tired of saying 'sorry, we don't support IMS or
H.323' to our resultingly dwindling customer base.  Does anyone
actually run an all-SIP network?"

Starting in early April, Evariste will begin providing value-added
consultancy related to the implementation of the Acme Packet Net-Net
Session Director.  In Balashov's view, "the Net-Net SD is the only
product capable of meeting the perimeter security, routing and peering
needs of today's VoIP service delivery environment."

Fred Posner, the director of Team Forrest, a Palner Group integration
and consultancy operation based in the Jacksonville, Florida area,

"SIP is a tiny piece of the telephony puzzle. The big boys of
ClueCon [an interoperator revenue-sharing consortium] want DIAMETER-based
interdomain peering policy control, H.323, MGCP, and IMS.  IMS is pretty
much how VoIP architecture is done now.  We got out of the Asterisk
business just in time, right before Mitel swallowed the PBX world.
I'm glad to see Evariste is finally seeing the light, and I'm sure its
shareholders are too."

Posner also believes Evariste's lack of support for TDM interfaces
accounted for dwindling market share.

"Have you seen CSRP?  It's SIP in, SIP out.  Real inter-LATA haulers
and application service providers use TDM and leave SIP for things
like voicemail.  I can't plug my DS3s into a SIP proxy, so I just
don't think there was any real demand for the sort of thing they
were doing."

Noting Oracle's US$2.5bn acquisition of Acme Packet in early February,
as well as its more recently announced buyout of Tekelec, a Siris
Capital Group portfolio company, Balashov remarked: "The obvious
shift to an Oracle-centric telephony paradigm was a kind of validation,
if you will, of our decision to unload our dead weight and sign on
to the revolution in unified communications."

Sean McCord, of CyCORE Systems, an Atlanta-based software consulting
house and long-time Evariste creditor, agreed that there was a natural
synergy between Evariste's shift to Acme Packet and Oracle's dominance
of telephony infrastructure.

"Oracle is a forward-thinking telecom pioneer," McCord said.
"The telephone is Oracle, and Oracle is the telephone."

Balashov also noted that a tightening regulatory environment and new
consumer protection rules helped hasten the decision to embrace the
more professionalised Acme Packet product portfolio.

John Knight, Senior Engineer at Hendersonville, NC-based Ringfree
Communications, one of Evariste's oldest channel partners, said:
"As one of Evariste's long-time disties, we were jittery about exposure
to CALEA and the QA requirements of large call centers.  We tried to
make do, but at some point we just had to put the relationship on
stop.  I'm all in favour of open, but there's just no open-source
software out there that does call recording, and that's the bottom line
for us.  In the end, we had to restructure some debt just to get
bondholders to let us source a proprietary solution on tick."

In a thematically related move, Evariste will be dropping its heavy
use of the open-source PostgreSQL database manager for its rating and
reporting tools.

"The business case for standardising on Oracle's databases could not be
clearer.  With Oracle Database 11g's support of warehousing and OLTP,
the real mystery is why we didn't go there sooner," said Balashov.

Carlos Alvarez, a director at Televolve, a growing Phoenix-area VoIP
operator, recently spearheaded a move away from Evariste's PostgreSQL-
based call detail record (CDR) storage solution to one running atop
Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Alvarez commented: "Evariste had a nice idea, in a cute, David-and-Goliath
kind of way, but we're processing over five hundred phone calls a day
now.  Are we really going to store those kinds of volumes in an
open-source database?  Might as well just put it all in flat text
files at that point.  Phone service is an uptime game. You can't
compromise on this stuff. What if someone needs to call 911?"

Asked to summarise his expectations, Balashov said: "I hope this turns us
around in a big way.  We were wrong to think that nobody cared about
stuff like P-CSCFs, or that you could deliver even rudimentary VoIP
to the premise without the expansive feature set of a comprehensive
solution like the Net-Net SBC.  I can only hope the market forgives us
for betting on 'SIP Express Router' and its ilk back in the day, and
gives us a chance to do it right in round two."

Fred Posner, of Team Forrest, added: "Besides, if you look at the Git
repository, Kamailio hasn't had any code contributions in at least five
years. It seems everyone's figured out this pure SIP stuff is defunct
and hokey."

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