Windows-Based Communication Server Appliances Just Got Cheaper
It looks like all the talk of Windows 7 running on ARM processors is true. And so now those low cost ARM appliances may also become available to Windows-based PBX servers. While a Windows PC will likely cost $300-$400USD a small SheevaPlug appliance can be as little as $129. (1GHz, 512MB RAM, 512MB Storage). (I have no idea if Windows for ARM will run on sheevaplug, just a comparison). I am understanding that app's that run on this new version of Windows will need to be compiled for the ARM processor so this will likely hold up some vendors.
The snom ONE IP phone system is ideally suited for these small appliances because it has low memory requirements, small hard drive footprint (50MB!) and the code is extremely efficient and there are very few dependencies on O/S components. (like databases, web server etc.) Because of this snom ONE IP has been ported to various operating systems and hardware. (Linux, Windows, Mac, Sheevaplug Linux)
The 3CX Phone System for Windows may have a harder time taking advantage of this new development because of dependencies on .Net Framework, web server, and database engine. Also the 3CX application size and memory requirements may tax lower cost ARM devices. 3CX has been more focused on developing the 3CX softphone for various clients such as Android, iPhone, and Windows than porting the server component.
Freeswitch is an OpenSource, cross-platform (linux/mac/windows) "soft switch" which could also take advantage of this move although it appears to be more focused on Linux and does have a considerably larger installation footprint. (200-300MB installation?)
Because of Lync Server's high CPU requirements due to the RTAudio codec I don't expect ARM to come up as an option. (But costs to implement Lync Server 2010 have dropped for other reasons-- it now can run on 1 server) (DC +1 that is).
While in reality the server cost in a large PBX solution is certainly a small percentage, for smaller systems this can be a chunk of the cost. Take the fan less, no moving parts, lower power consumption, small, quiet and low cost it does make an interesting appliance for the low end of the SMB market. Especially if software based PBX vendors want to provide a pre-packaged appliance for small sites.
Read more about ARM and Windows 7/8 Below: