+1 855 802 6465    +1 888 483 5723    +61 1300 314 150

Mirror, Mirror on the Server

James Finstrom

One of our little known or promoted solutions since we launched ClearlyIP last year has been our Update/Mirror Management and Branding Solution for FreePBX. Built initially to cover our own needs, but evolved quickly to become a key solution for many of our partners that deploy phone systems based on FreePBX®️. This solution is designed to allow companies selling or installing FreePBX to apply their own brand to the FreePBX Administrative Interface. As well as controlling their own ‘Mirror’ of the FreePBX Code Repository, this control of the FreePBX code base deployed on their managed systems is where all the magic happens! And why dozens of Partners have already signed up for this service!

Putting your brand on the FreePBX Administration Interface is vital to many companies seeking to utilize open-source solutions with their clients. Despite the ‘Free’ in FreePBX standing for Freedom, we all know that having the word ‘Free’ in the interface creates some interesting questions from your paying customers. Deploying systems with your branding makes your customers stickier to you and your solutions and eliminates the “why am I paying for something that is free” question. To round out your system, we can also provide the ability to rebrand ClearlyIP phones with a low minimum order quantity. Allowing our partners to deliver their Brand as the ‘Total Solution’ for their clients.

Beyond Branding, why is controlling updates and the Mirror Platform important? What is a Mirror? In a traditional sense, a mirror in software is like the mirror on your wall. It is a direct reflection of whatever it was copied from. Server “A” has the same data as server “B.” This allows you to distribute the same data geographically and have redundancy if server “B” has a glitch or capacity issue. If you have ever downloaded something on the internet, it likely came to you by way of a “mirror.” You may have even noticed something on a website that says “download from the mirror closest to you.” Being in control of a CUSTOM MIRROR allows system administrators to decide which versions of the software are available and even which components and modules to expose to their clients.

FreePBX consists of over 140 open-source modules plus some commercial modules if you choose to utilize them. Of the open-source modules offered through the official mirror, 60 of those are considered community maintained. When you update any of those modules using either the Module Admin tool inside your PBX or the Command-Line, you expect the module will work as expected in your production environment. If you deploy a module with system impacting bugs or problems, your system may simply break. When managing a system, rarely do administrators update a single module. If you updated a batch of modules or have the system set to update automatically, a faulty module or harmful code could cause hours of troubleshooting to find the rotten apple. Then you have to either roll back updates or remove or disable the module causing errors. This problem is exacerbated if you manage multiple systems.

To prevent this problem, most administrators we work with have historically turned off the automatic updating features in FreePBX. This not only prevents the system from being updated with the latest patches and security updates, but it also means administrators have to log in to each system and execute updates manually. This can be a considerable cost in both time and money. Previously, administrators had to choose between potential downtime for clients to automatically update modules from the upstream or the risk of running unpatched systems and spending hours manually updating systems when new versions appear.

Our Custom Mirror Platform will automatically pull in and “mirror” all current and prior upstream versions of FreePBX Modules. We mirror the open-source modules and also make available upstream commercial modules from the FreePBX maintainers. You can then define if and how you want each module presented and available to your client’s systems. You can auto-update with new versions or even “PIN” to a specific ‘trusted’ version of each module. You can also create testing repositories to enable and modify specific modules for testing before rolling out to your “Production” systems.

Being able to control and manage versioning on your client systems provides real ROI for this solution. The savings come from enabling and trusting automatic upgrades within FreePBX, which can represent a considerable return on investment and probably pay for this service, as you can upgrade multiple systems at once without fear of upstream changes damaging your live systems.

Suppose you are a FreePBX developer and manage your custom modules or code. In this case, this platform also allows you to upload and have your modules signed so that they can be managed within the FreePBX GUI Module Admin as a trusted module on systems that use your mirror. This means you can push out updates to your custom modules like updates to any other PBX Module.

Another significant advantage of utilizing your own Mirror System is you are not dependent on upstream mirrors for updating your system during maintenance windows. Over the past year, the FreePBX Mirrors have had a hard time keeping up with the demand on their infrastructure, often going dark over the weekends. Many companies and administrators schedule updates during this period. With the FreePBX Mirrors down, administrators cannot complete upgrades to the latest software releases or can’t install new systems. Our platform leverages a global content delivery network to automatically distribute and load balance our custom mirrors, making it easier, faster, and more reliable than ever to deploy and update systems worldwide.

Even if you are not interested in managing a Customer Mirror for your Company or rebranding FreePBX, we make our ClearlyIP Mirror for FreePBX available to the public, not just our customers, completely Free of Charge! Using this mirror, you can rest assured you should have access to perform updates and installations. This mirror also allows you to install modules developed by ClearlyIP for FreePBX, including Clearly Anywhere (iOS & Android Softphone), Clearly Trunking (Configuration of SIP, SMS, Fax, and E911 services), Clearly Devices (Provisioning and integration of ClearlyIP based IP Phones.). Instructions for switching to the ClearlyIP Mirror is available here:

If you would like to see a real example of how using ClearlyIP’s Update Control Management service saved a reseller time and money, check out our Success Story.

Want to do some research? View User Guides here:

Interested in getting a quote or learning more on the ClearlyIP Update Control Management Service for FreePBX, please reach out to our sales team.