Asterisk call recording is resource intensive especially when the number of calls in the PBX is high. If you record all the calls directly to the HDD in asterisk  pbx and you got a large call volume (number of calls) then it will damage your PBX’s HDD very soon. On such cases using RAMDISK and seperate HDD may solve the problem.

Install freepbx. If you are not using SAN  use 2 HDDs for better results. One for OS+asterisk and one as a storage for recorded files.  Here I’m using /record as the storage location and  /astrec as the mount point for RAMDISK. Format and mount the 2nd HDD  to /record at the time of OS installation(or create an fstab entry if you are doing it later). After installation give write permission or assign asterisk user as the owner of /record & /astrec.

/bin/chown -R asterisk.asterisk /record
/bin/mkdir  /astrec
/bin/chown -R asterisk.asterisk /astrec

After the freepbx installation edit “/boot/grub/grub.conf” and put the the ramdisk size.

title Elastix (2.6.18-194.3.1.el5)
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-194.3.1.el5 ro root=LABEL=/
initrd /initrd-2.6.18-194.3.1.el5.img

Here I used RAMDISK size as 1GB(1000000) . The size depends on the number of calls,the average time for one call,and the recording format.

Remove the 3 directories from asterisk spool directory because we are going to use ramdisk instead of those.

rm -rf /var/spool/asterisk/monitor
rm -rf /var/spool/asterisk/system
rm -rf /var/spool/asterisk/tmp

Edit the file “/etc/rc.local” and append the  below code.

#Put this in rc.local to create ramdisk during bootup
/sbin/mke2fs -m 0 /dev/ram0
/bin/mount /dev/ram0 /astrec
/bin/mkdir /astrec/monitor
/bin/mkdir /astrec/system
/bin/mkdir /astrec/tmp
/bin/chown -R asterisk.asterisk /astrec
#For more infor on ramdisk:

#Link asterisk's default folders to our ramdisk
/bin/ln -s /astrec/system /var/spool/asterisk
/bin/ln -s /astrec/tmp /var/spool/asterisk
/bin/ln -s /astrec/monitor /var/spool/asterisk

At the time of booting the above lines in rc.local creates RAMDISK and mount it to “/astrec”.

Create the file “/var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/” and put the below contents.

/bin/mv $1/$2.$3 /record 3>&1 1>&2 2>&3 | tee /var/log/asterisk/mvrec.log

The above code will transfer the recorded file from RAMDISK to the location /record., Use the file “/var/log/asterisk/mvrec.log”  for troubleshooting purpose. Make the script executable.

chmod 755 /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/

Log in to freepbx interface and change the General Settings as shown in screen shot.

Extension Recording Override:Enabled
Call recording format:	wav
Recording Location:	/var/spool/asterisk/monitor/
Run after record: /var/lib/asterisk/agi-bin/ ^{MIXMON_DIR} ^{CALLFILENAME} ^{MIXMON_FORMAT}

On FreePBX GUI goto  “Extensions” and select one of the extensions in which you want to enable call recording.

If you are using Elastix change the recording directory in elastix monitoring configuration file.

 $arrConfModule['records_dir']       = '/record/';

Select the appropriate recording option.

Try calling between 2 extension after enabling call recording.  See the asterisk cli output. Use the file “/var/log/asterisk/mvrec.log” for troubleshooting.

If you are using specific context other than from-internnal context, don’t forget to add the Macros. For example

exten => _.,1,NoOp(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)
exten => _.,n,Gotoif($[${DB_EXISTS(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)}=0]?carryon)
exten => _.,n,Set(PINCOUNT=0)
;exten => _.,n,Set(VALIDPIN=1234)
exten => _.,n(readpin),Read(PIN,vm-password,4,,,4)
exten => _.,n,Gotoif($[${PIN}=${VALIDPIN}]?carryon)
exten => _.,n,Gotoif($[${PIN}=${DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)}]?carryon)
exten => _.,n,Set(PINCOUNT=$[${PINCOUNT}+1])
exten => _.,n,Playback(vm-incorrect)
exten => _.,n,GotoIf($[${PINCOUNT}>2]?h)
exten => _.,n,Wait(1)
exten => _.,n,Goto(readpin)
exten => _.,n(carryon),Set(DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/unlocked)=${PIN})
exten => _.,n,NoOp(${DB_DELETE(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)})
;exten => _.,n,Dial(DAHDI/g0/${EXTEN})
exten => _.,n,Macro(user-callerid,SKIPTTL,)
exten => _.,n,Macro(record-enable,${AMPUSER},OUT,)
exten => _.,n,Macro(dialout-trunk,2,${EXTEN},)
exten => h,1,Macro(hangupcall,)
;exten => 911,1,Goto(CallingRule_Out39,${EXTEN},1)
;exten => h,1,Hangup

exten => s,1,NoOp(In Set Lock)
exten => s,n,Gotoif($[${DB_EXISTS(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/unlocked)}=1]?lockit)
exten => s,n,Gotoif($[${DB_EXISTS(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)}=0]?readit)
exten => s,n,Read(LOCKEY,vm-password,4,,,4)
exten => s,n,Gotoif($[${LOCKEY}=${DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)}]?readit)
exten => s,n,Playback(vm-pls-try-again)
exten => s,n,Hangup
exten => s,n(readit),Read(PIN1,vm-newpassword,4,,,4)
exten => s,n,Read(PIN2,vm-reenterpassword,4,,,4)
exten => s,n,Gotoif($[${PIN1}=${PIN2}]?okey)
exten => s,n,Playback(an-error-has-occured)
exten => s,n,Hangup
exten => s,n(okey),Set(DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)=${PIN1})
exten => s,n,Playback(locked)
exten => s,n,Hangup
exten => s,n(lockit),Set(DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)=${DB(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/unlocked)})
exten => s,n,NoOp(${DB_DELETE(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/unlocked)})
exten => s,n,Playback(locked)
exten => h,1,Hangup

include => from-internal
exten => _XXXXXXXXX,1,Goto(custom-checklock,${EXTEN},1)

include => from-internal
exten => _XXXX.,1,NoOp(AMPUSER/${CALLERID(num)}/locked)
exten => _XXXX.,n,Goto(custom-checklock,${EXTEN},1)

include => from-internal
exten => 123,1,Goto(custom-setlock,s,1)
exten => _XXXXXXXXX,1,Goto(custom-checklock,${EXTEN},1)
exten => _XXXXXXXXXX,1,Goto(custom-checklock,${EXTEN},1)

exten => s,1,Read(LOCKEY,vm-password,4,,,4)
exten => s,n,Gotoif($[${LOCKEY}=2008]?okey)
exten => s,n,Hangup
exten => s,n(okey),Read(EXTNO,superlock,3,,,4)
exten => s,n,Set(DB(AMPUSER/${EXTNO}/locked)=1234)
exten => s,n,Playback(locked)
exten => h,1,Hangup

13 thoughts on “FreePBX – Call Recording and RAMDISK

  1. Hi!

    Thanks for this try, but it doesn´t work. Think I don´t use dahadi, because I connect to a patton smartnode with sip.
    Also recording in house calls has not enough gain. These are also sip extensions.

  2. can you please help me with this one. “Here I’m using /record as the storage location and /astrec as the mount point for RAMDISK. Format and mount the 2nd HDD to /record at the time of OS installation(or create an fstab entry if you are doing it later).”
    2nd HDD with folder /record and /astrec or a patition?
    thanks much!

  3. You can create either a partition on 2nd HDD and mount it to /record , or you can create a folder under root(/) to store recorded files. The /astrec is a small partition on RAM which will be used by asterisk at the time of recording.

  4. how will all recorded calls be transferred/copied to the 2nd HDD?
    i have a 250gb HDD where os+asterisk installed and a 1tb HDD use as a storage for recorded calls.

  5. “mount /dev/hdb /var/spool/asterisk/monitor
    chown asterisk:asterisk monitor”

    is that correct? i want all recordings from /dev/hda /var/spool/asterisk/monitor transferred/copied to /dev/hdb..


  6. Which GUI are you using? Is it FreePBX? If yes , then
    First partition and format the second hard drive.
    fdisk /dev/hdb

    Put the commands n,p,1,size,t,1,83,w

    mkfs.ext3 -b 4096 /dev/hdb1

    Edit /etc/fstab
    and add the followig entry

    /dev/hdb1 /record ext3 defaults 1 1

    Then follow the instructions above.

  7. Hi Shyju – great article thanks. Slightly off topic but do you know if there is a way to automatically email the recordings once made? We’d probably keep them for 24hrs on the server as well as a backup (+1 in your cron), but we’d like to transfer them into our support system automatically via email if at all possible. We are using FreePBX.

  8. Hi Shyju,
    I’m new on asterisk, and I use the elastix box.
    Your topic very useful for me as of I had overload of RAM. After making changes described in your topic. The system works fine and I see it is tuned up:) Thanks.
    For now I’m facing the issue, as of directory structure changed, it is unable to listen recorded files true AMPortal call monitor. I have tried to find file or variable which is responsible for the directory. but unsuccess.
    Could you please help me on this?
    Thank you

  9. Hi, nice explanation. It was very useful for me, but I’m facing one problem. I’ve set ramdisk size as you pointed (1000000) but when I check it with df -h it shows the ramdisk size as 16MB instead of 1GB. Could you help me, please?

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