Mitel 3300 weekly reboot... Is it necessary?

Discussion in 'VOIP' started by Williamson, Adam, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. After lurking for a while I haven't seen this topic come up before...

    During the sales cycle I was lead to believe that the ICP 3300 is a 24/7
    telecom solution. After installation I come to find out that the system
    (according to Mitel) absolutely requires a full system restart at least once
    a week. We do business world wide so there is no good time to do this
    reboot. I'm told that if we don't reboot they (Mitel and our integrator)
    will not support any issues until a reboot is done first.

    - Is this behavior something that others have experienced or heard of?
    - Have any of you come up with creative methods of minimizing the need for
    frequent reboots?
    - Does anyone know of changes being made by Mitel to alleviate this
    requirement completely?

    Can you recomend any other news groups where I might cross post this to
    gather any more (valuable) opinions?
    Williamson, Adam, Feb 19, 2004
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  2. Williamson, Adam

    DPGumby Guest

    I think it gets better each new load. Weekly, I don't know about that. Had a
    3300 ( 3.2 software ) run 2 months no reboot, but then one day was acting
    weird and of course a reboot fixed it. Software now 4.1 and has some other
    options for scheduling reboots. Of course with a 24X7 operation there is no
    good time for a reboot.

    Reminds me of Microsoft, NT needed restarts, W2K less so, Server 2003?
    DPGumby, Feb 20, 2004
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  3. Williamson, Adam

    jneiberger Guest


    Bump. :)

    My company is in discussions with several companies regarding their
    VoIP solutions, including Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, and Mitel. Our first
    face-to-face meeting with Mitel is tomorrow morning and I was doing
    some last-minute reading when I ran across this tidbit of info.

    Do these boxes still need to be rebooted often? If so, how often? And a
    better question...why?? If they're truly enterprise-class boxes then
    they shouldn't need to be rebooted all the time, IMO.

    jneiberger, Jan 21, 2005
  4. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    Posted & mailed

    The Mitel reboots only as needed (programmable, after hours) but will only
    do so when memory fragmentation reaches a specified threshold. You can
    address this either by scheduling a regular programmed reboot, i.e.,
    weekly at a time of your choosing or else let the machine do it only when
    it needs to, but again at a (programmable) time of day that is least
    disruptive to your business needs. The machine is quite intelligent in
    this regard. Ordinarily this is not a problem, but I could see where it
    might be if you had some type of critical 24/7 operation.

    Mitel's latest software for the 3300, release is far more stable
    than and bears little resemblance to release 4.x.x loads of just last
    year. My employer, a major Fortune-100 energy company, presently has 3 of
    the 3300s in service with plans to add 3 more this year. We also have 5 of
    the smaller capacity new Mitel SX200-ICPs (also VOIP) in a few of our
    field offices. We're sold on Mitel VOIP (and we tried Cisco).
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 21, 2005
  5. Williamson, Adam

    Guest Guest

    Posted & mailed

    The Mitel reboots only as needed (programmable, after hours) but will only
    do so when memory fragmentation reaches a specified threshold. You can
    address this either by scheduling a regular programmed reboot, i.e.,
    weekly at a time of your choosing or else let the machine do it only when
    it needs to, but again at a (programmable) time of day that is least
    disruptive to your business needs. The machine is quite intelligent in
    this regard. Ordinarily this is not a problem, but I could see where it
    might be if you had some type of critical 24/7 operation.

    Mitel's latest software for the 3300, release is far more stable
    than and bears little resemblance to release 4.x.x loads of just last
    year. My employer, a major Fortune-100 energy company, presently has 3 of
    the 3300s in service with plans to add 3 more this year. We also have 5 of
    the smaller capacity new Mitel SX200-ICPs (also VOIP) in a few of our
    field offices. We're sold on Mitel VOIP (and we tried Cisco).
    Guest, Jan 21, 2005
  6. Williamson, Adam

    jneiberger@ Guest

    I guess I still don't understand *why* it needs to reboot at all. I
    guess it wouldn't hurt to set the 3300s to reboot at midnight or so,
    but what do we do with our 24x7 call center? Tell them that once a day
    their phones will die for a few minutes while the PBX reboots?

    How long does a reboot take on one of those boxes?

    On a related note, I'd love to hear about your experience with Cisco
    VoIP and find out why you selected Mitel over them. We're looking at
    Nortel, Avaya, Cisco, and Mitel. I'm leaning toward either Mitel or
    Cisco at this point but I haven't even seen what Avaya has to offer
    yet. Pretty much everyone I talk to warns me to avoid Avaya, though, so
    I'm a bit biased against them from the beginning.

    Many thanks,
    jneiberger@, Jan 22, 2005
  7. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    Memory fragmentation. Unlike what you've been used to with your legacy TDM
    system, these new VOIP boxes do not have redundant processors or redundant
    file systems. Your legacy stuff routinely reboots, just that you don't
    ever realize it because the call processing activity switches processors
    while the outgoing system reboots. However, redundancy like that is "old
    school" not to mention terribly expensive - a reboot isn't needed when all
    you really need to do is defrag the memory. Unfortunately the down side is
    that call processing is momentarily interrupted, but the cost is a
    fraction of what it'd be to duplicate the old way of doing it.
    First of all it won't be once a day and likely not even once a week if you
    let the 3300 manage this for you. It's also not a complete reboot, just a
    flushing of memory to recover from fragmentation. There is an interruption
    to call processing, but it's fairly brief.
    I honestly cannot say, since I've never been awake when it happens :)
    Avaya: Too expensive, period. Please note the period.

    Cisco: Also expensive and doesn't do circular hunting. That means in a
    call center situation you'll have only a few agents taking most of the
    calls and others sitting there idle most of the day except during traffic
    peaks. By contrast, Mitel's ACD-2000 feature package is state-of-the-art.
    For anything up to a max of 350 seats there's nothing better.

    Cisco also has only 1 class of service for your sets. Whatever priviledges
    and features you give to one user are globally assigned to everyone.

    Cisco's Call Manager is Microsoft Windows PC-based, running on
    *Cisco-PROPRIETARY* loads of the O/S and proprietary versions of SQL &
    Exchange Server. Need voice mail? Yup, that's another server. Need E911?
    You guessed it, another server. Do you really want your phone system
    running on a PC? Do you really want to be routinely applying critical
    patches to your phone system as often as you already are to your
    application servers and desktops? Gauwwwwwd-almighty!

    The Cisco Call Manager also cannot do "common ringer", such as you might
    need in a shop or yard area where you had a claxon horn or a set of Dan
    Mac bells or a "Stinger" configured to ring with multiple incoming lines.

    A Cisco phone system required doing a complete forklift upgrade, replacing
    literally everything. With the Mitel we initially replaced nothing and
    after a full year have still replaced very little. Mitel had the best
    (most intelligent) migration strategy for us.

    A Cisco solution also meant only a 90-day warranty followed by having to
    pay for a Smartnet contract on everything. Pffffft! In the final
    analysis, the Cisco quote was only the tip of the iceberg.
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 22, 2005
  8. Williamson, Adam

    jneiberger@ Guest

    Those are very helpful comments!

    We have two small call centers (65 and 30 seats, respectively, give or
    take a few). I think we'll have to discuss those a little more with
    Cisco to make sure that they can even fit into our environment. I don't
    want a solution that forces us to fit to it; while some adjustment is
    certainly reasonable, I want a solution that already fits *us*.

    You mentioned that you initially replaced nothing. Did you leave your
    existing PBXs in place and use the Mitel boxes as gateways? What PBXs
    were you using? We're currently a Nortel shop so we have an Option 81c
    and gobs of Option 11c PBxs. We're thinking of starting out by
    connecting those PBXs to the Mitel using QSIG. I've heard that Nortel's
    QSIG implementation sucks but we're running Succession 3.0 and 4.0 and
    I think it has a more complete implementation.
    Any thoughts on that idea?

    jneiberger@, Jan 22, 2005
  9. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    We were already a Mitel shop to start with, using Mitel's SX2000 "Light"
    platform and close to 3000 lines, so the 3300 was really the only thing
    that ever made any real sense. Because our IT manager/director was sold on
    and had his heart set on Cisco, we did put in one Call Manager w/Unity
    voice mail under some kind of special demo deal. After some initial
    startup problems Cisco came out with a new load that allowed us to do a
    full QSIG setup to our existing Mitels and our existing Octel Overture 250
    voice mail. That made it possible to see and test side by side and
    determine unequivocally that Cisco was probably not what we were looking
    for. By the way, Unity V/M is a kludge.

    In case no one's told you, the 3300 is a hybrid voip + TDM box so it will
    directly connect to existing Mitel legacy TDM peripheral cabinets and DSU
    trunk nodes. That was nice because it made all the old line cards and
    existing phones reusable. I shouldn't have to tell you how much that
    saved. Also the administrative assistants complained that the Cisco sets
    (7960) lacked essential features they needed for call coverage of their

    And no, a single 3300 doesn't have the capacity/horsepower (yet) to
    support 3000 lines from a single controller. That limit today is 700
    lines, but that was never our goal anyway. It's really great now when we
    get blindsided by someone's last minute, total lack of any planning
    (typical) request to set up a dozen temporary employees on a special
    project in a big conference room. Now we put a Cisco 3524 switch in the
    middle of the table and they can plug in phones to their heart's content
    limited only by the number of ports on the switch. Mitel's 5220-IP sets
    include their own built-in 2-port switch so users can plug their laptops
    directly into the phones, thus requiring only a single cat-5 drop to each

    Mitel came in and did a site survey and network topology study before we
    put in the 3300s and I'm glad they did. We made it clear from the start
    that we wanted to be able to integrate both voice and data on one network.
    Mitel told us what network pieces needed to be upgraded to accomplish that
    and so far everything has worked out great. Mitel got it right.

    Sometime in June (I think) Mitel is putting on a nice Forum (annual) for
    their users. We go almost every year. Two years ago it was in Las
    Vegas!!!!! This year it is being held in New Orleans. The Product Showcase
    (usually on the 2nd and 3rd days) is well worth the trip by itself. Twist
    your dealer's arm, see if they can get you an invite.
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 23, 2005
  10. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    John, give me a good email address for you and I will send you the Mitel
    Tech Bulletin that explains how this works.

    My address in the "from" header of this message is correct.

    If your email client cannot correctly parse dotted decimal email addresses
    then use wdg at hal (hyphen) pc dot org
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 24, 2005
  11. Williamson, Adam

    Me Guest

    We have over 1400 phones in our Cisco installation with no down time outside
    of planned upgrades or patches. Yes, we have multiple servers, but there is
    a good reason for that. I have lost a call manager with no impact to any
    user. I can do patches with no impact to users. I can take down half my call
    managers with no impact to users.

    Having a phone system reboot on a weekly basis would be a concern for me.

    Our Cisco install has been as stable as or Nortel Option 81.
    Me, Jan 24, 2005
  12. <snip>

    If this is a memory fragmentation problem or a simple memory leak it does
    indicate sloppy programing/testing. I would think that they can not or will
    not fix such a problem is a bad sign about future problems. We are so aware
    that a Windows computer needs a reboot or complete OS reinstal to run that
    we forget this is not normal. Unlike Microsoft any company that has complete
    control over what software is installed should have such problems fixed
    before the device goes out the door.
    Stanley Reynolds, Jan 24, 2005
  13. Williamson, Adam

    jneiberger@ Guest

    As much as I'm *really* impressed with Mitel so far, I agree with
    Stanley on this specific issue. They're writing the code. If their code
    makes users reboot the machine periodically then they need to write
    better code.

    Regardless, I'm still very interested in their products. It looks like
    they might be a great fit for our environment.

    jneiberger@, Jan 24, 2005
  14. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    Sorry, this was mis-information.

    The Mitel 3300 does not "reboot". Here is the correct information
    directly from a Mitel Tech Bulletin on the matter, and I quote:

    "The 3300 ICP will run in a stable fashion providing full level of
    functionality without the need for scheduled programmed reboots for
    systems running or greater. Any unexpected reboot should be
    reported to Mitel Technical Support for investigation and resolution."

    Current software release is 5.2.x so as you can see this was resolved some
    time (approx 1 year) ago. Prior to that the 3300 -did- perform a *weekly*
    reboot in software release 4.0 and earlier. Then beginning with software
    release 4.1.x this was reduced to *monthly* and with release and
    later the need for a scheduled reboot was eliminated.

    In current software (5.2) there are now some programming options available
    to allow the system to perform a 'courtesy-down resource recovery' after
    business hours **if needed**. This is a way of allowing the system to be
    able to defragment its memory in a non-service-affecting fashion if it
    should ever need to in order to prevent possible service degradation.
    According to my system logs this has not occurred in at least 90 days.
    Prior logs scrolled off the buffer and fell into the bit bucket somewhere.
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 25, 2005
  15. Williamson, Adam

    jneiberger@ Guest

    Thanks for the update! I asked Mitel about this issue today and
    received the same answer.

    I must say that I'm extremely impressed with Mitel's products and
    company so far. Their products look very solid and they seem like a
    great company to do business with. My manager and I are beginning to
    drool heavily when we discuss the possibilities. We're planning on
    taking up Mitel on their offer and bringing in a couple of 3300s for
    testing. If everything works the way it looks like it will,
    Cisco/Avaya/Nortel are going to have to work pretty hard to convince us
    not to go with Mitel.
    jneiberger@, Jan 25, 2005
  16. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    Well, IMO the Avaya/Nortel decision is a no-brainer. The Cisco decision
    could be based (biased?)in large part on how much Cisco network
    infrastructure you have in place and how influential your internal data
    network Gods are. In our shop we were really scared because Cisco made
    some kind of a special (inside?) deal with our IT management to sneak a
    Call Manager in the door and get it set up & running almost unnoticed.
    Admittedly, we had dropped our guard and allowed ourselves to get
    blindsided. We had no idea until one of the network guys came to us one
    afternoon and said, "uhhhh... can we get a QSIG T1 from your PBX to do
    some testing with?" (!!!)

    The gauntlet had been thrown down. The fight to get a Mitel 3300 in here
    was looking like it was going to be a struggle until we had a major
    emergency at a remote/rural field location one night and lost that office
    to a fire. On the basis of a single phone call Mitel overnight'd two 3300s
    to us and Verizon reterminated the "data" T1 onto a pole next to a
    temporary trailer that had been brought in. Both data -AND- voice were up
    and running the next afternoon using IP trunking back to the corporate
    office. Our management noticed, *THEIR* management noticed and a couple of
    us got nice "attaboys" in writing. The rest of the story is history.
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 26, 2005
  17. Williamson, Adam

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Mitel Lurker wrote:
    good story. How do you guarantee that voice takes priority over data?
    To put it another way, how do you assure that a huge file
    transfer/backup does not impede voice messages?
    Rick Merrill, Jan 26, 2005
  18. Williamson, Adam

    hal Guest

    That is done with VLANs in your backbone switch. The downside to VOIP
    is that is doesn't scale well with existing low to midrange LANs. You
    need a core switch that can to virtual LANs and you give priority to
    your voice devices.

    I too have been following this discussion of Mitel with great
    interest. We are building a new building and have been looking
    closely at the 3300 vs Cisco CM, and Avaya. From what I've seen, the
    3300 wins hands down, and I am a Cisco guy. I will be putting in a
    4507 core switch at the same time so have the luxury of designing the
    network to fit the VOIP. We are putting in the order for the 3300
    now. I can't wait. We are looking at configuration support time with
    the vendor. What are the recommendations for number of days to plan
    on getting the switch set up, configured, and key personnel trained in

    Thanks for all the great info.

    hal, Jan 26, 2005
  19. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    VLAN tagging and 802.1p/q QOS. Voice is on a separate VLAN
    Bear in mind too that this is all on our own internal WAN and does not
    ever traverse the public Internet.
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 27, 2005
  20. Williamson, Adam

    Mitel Lurker Guest

    Mitel offers an ADMIN course at several of their training centers, i.e.,
    Ft. Lauderdale, Kanata, ON, Irvine, CA, etc. I was surprised to learn they
    even teach the customer some ARS fundamentals. I think it's a 1-week
    course. I'd recommending sending at least two people to it.

    Getting the machine "up" can actually happen in a matter of a few hours
    (certainly same day) at least insofar as to have it running with a few
    extensions and some PRI trunks and basic ARS entries. Beyond that most
    will depend on how extensive your database will be (total no. of lines and
    trunks, admin key appearances, call rerouting, voicemail setups, ACD
    requirements, etc). Programming takes some time and will be directly
    proportional to how complex you need things to be, but many forms offer
    "range-programming" allowing you to do multiple instances at once. Also,
    unlike prior Mitel products, the 3300 programs via a web GUI interface
    using your web browser.

    Also unlike prior Mitel legacy TDM products, most features in the 3300 are
    already enabled. You thus buy licenses for the number of users you need,
    (user licenses) number of instruments (set licenses) and number of voice
    mail licenses you need allowing you to buy just what you need. IP trunking
    is licensed separately, as is Record-A-Call and Advanced VM (integration
    to your email client).
    Mitel Lurker, Jan 27, 2005
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