Digium, promoter of Asterisk -- the open source IP PBX --  has introduced new VoIP gateways to help integrators and partners deliver end-to-end communications solutions. The new Digium VoIP gateways -- called the G100 and G200 -- surface several weeks after Digium unveiled its first IP phones. The key twist: Channel partners say the new gateways are ideal for customers that run Asterisk on VMware (symbol: VMW) or in the cloud.

The VAR Guy has tracked Digium pretty closely ever since this blog site launched in 2008. At some points, it looked like Asterisk would topple traditional IP PBXes the way Linux leapfrogged Unix and other expensive, proprietary platforms. No doubt, Digium and Asterisk have been in growth mode. But Asterisk hasn't exactly taken over the world. At least not yet...

Enter Digium's expanded strategy, which involves pushing beyond software and promoting specialized hardware -- such as the Switchvox unified communications systems and the fairly new IP phones.

And what about those new gateways? Mark Amick, Digium's director of product management, noted that Digium has sold more than five million telephony ports in the form of interface cards, which are frequently used to build gateways from standard PC hardware. Going forward, it sounds like the G100 and G200 will fill that big niche.

Digium says the gateways are built to support both TDM-to-SIP and SIP-to-TDM applications.
  • In a TDM-to-SIP deployment, the gateway significantly reduces operating costs by connecting a legacy business phone system with dynamic SIP trunking services, Digium claims.
  • SIP-to-TDM deployments use the gateway to connect a modern SIP communications system with T1/E1/PRI service from legacy carriers, Digium adds.
In a refreshing move, Digium specifically put the spotlight on channel partners when announcing the gateways. Project Resource Solutions, a Digium Select parter in Illinois, said the gateways make it very easy to connect TDM phone systems to SIP services.

There are also cloud computing and virtualization capabilities. The new gateways "represent a solution to one of the challenges associated with running Asterisk applications in virtualized environments," Digium noted. Indeed, TDM interface cards require a card slot – something distinctly missing from virtual servers. The gateways solve that problem and allow Asterisk users to migrate to virtualized, hosted or cloud environments, Digium claimed.

The VAR Guy is intrigued. Separately, virtualization and unified communications are hot opportunities. Now, it sounds like Digium has found a way to bring those opportunities together far more easily.