One of my first tasks this week is to upgrade a client’s 3CX phone system to the latest version. I originally installed this PBX in late 2016 with 3CX PBX software Version 14 on Windows 7 using Cisco phones. It worked great and everything was programmed properly for a couple of years.
Later the client wanted to make some changes and called me to help. I discovered that one of their employees had changed the 3CX PBX password and I could no longer get into the system, and the employee was no longer around and couldn’t be reached. ACK! The only option was to wipe out the 3CX PBX software – without a current backup – and reinstall from scratch.
The client decided to postpone that process until now. So I am back in trying to figure out the upgrade path. I have all the documentation from my original installation, but some of the 3CX requirements have changed – namely, they now require a fully qualified domain name (FDQN) with a security certificate. This proves that the public domain name that points to the PBX server is actually owned and controlled by the client. Great idea from 3CX, but that means additional prep work, since when I first installed the PBX the client didn’t have a FDQN. Instead we just pointed the SIP trunk to the public IP address of the PBX.
So my task now is to get a FDQN for the client, something like PBX.CLIENTNAME.COM and then get a secure certificate for that name, which proves that the client owns that name. Once that is done, I will need to coordinate with the SIP provider to repoint the calls to that domain name. And of course I need to coordinate all this so that the conversion happens at night so the client doesn’t lose their phone system during business hours.
Part of me wants to install the upgraded PBX on a virtual machine so that if we have trouble we have a roll-back plan. But the client wants to use the hardware they already have so I will just have to make do.
Right now I am in the planning and budgeting stage. What seems like a simple task – upgrading a PBX to the latest version – is never as easy as it seems. NEVER. It is kind of like home remodeling – one project begats another, and then another, until soon the budget and time required has exploded well beyond the original scope of work.
That is so often the way it is with IT projects. Things are so interconnected and the technology advances so fast, the projects invariably take longer than expected and cost more than they should.