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Connect Asterisk to a MySQL back-end through ODBC

This is a short tutorial on how to quickly setup Asterisk to use MySQL, the ODBC MySQL connector and ODBC. We'll use CentOS 6 as the OS in this tutorial. However, the same essential steps apply for any popular Linux distro.

Installing and Configuring MySQL

There are three basic steps to install and configure MySQL for Asterisk.
  • Install MySQL server package and start the DB service.
  • Secure the installation if appropriate.
  • Configure a user and database for Asterisk in MySQL

Install MySQL server package and start the DB service


# sudo yum install mysql-server
# sudo service mysqld start

Secure the installation if appropriate

If you intend to push this install into production or practice as if you were then you will want to use the mysql_secure_installation script to apply some basic security.


# sudo /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation

Configure a user and database for Asterisk in MySQL

If you want to use a GUI to manage your database then now is the time to set that GUI up and use it to create your asterisk user. Otherwise we will provide basic instructions for user setup below.

We'll have you login into the mysql command console, create a user, create a database and then assign appropriate permissions for the asterisk user.

First, login using the root password you set earlier.

# mysql -u root -p

Now verify you are at the MySQL command prompt. It should look like "mysql>". Then enter the following commands:

# CREATE USER 'asterisk'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'replace_with_strong_password';
# GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON asterisk.* TO 'asterisk'@'%';
# exit
After each of the CREATE and GRANT commands you should see output indicating that the Query was OK including many rows were affected.
If you want, you can test out the new permissions by logging in as your user to the asterisk database and then logout again.


# mysql -u asterisk -p asterisk
# exit


Install ODBC and the MySQL ODBC connector

Be sure you have followed the previous sections as we presume you already have MySQL installed on your CentOS server along with a database and user for Asterisk configured. The database name should be 'asterisk' and the username should be 'asterisk'.

Install the latest unixODBC and GNU Libtool Dynamic Module Loader packages

The development packages are necessary as well, since later Asterisk will need to use them when building ODBC related modules.

# sudo yum install unixODBC unixODBC-devel libtool-ltdl libtool-ltdl-devel

Install the latest MySQL ODBC connector

# sudo yum install mysql-connector-odbc


Configure ODBC and the MySQL ODBC connector

Configure odbcinst.ini for ODBC

With recent UnixODBC versions the configuration should already be done for you in the /etc/odbcinst.ini file.

Verify that you have the following configuration:

# Driver from the mysql-connector-odbc package
# Setup from the unixODBC package
Description     = ODBC for MySQL
Driver          = /usr/lib/
Setup           = /usr/lib/
Driver64        = /usr/lib64/
Setup64         = /usr/lib64/
FileUsage       = 1
Pooling         = Yes
CPTimeout       = 120

We configure pooling for the connection as that is probably desired by most users. Consult the unixODBC documentation to learn more about the function of ODBC connection pooling.


There may also be configuration for PostgreSQL which you can comment out if you are not planning to setup PostgreSQL as well. Comments begin the line with a hash (#) symbol.

You can also call odbcinst to query the driver, verifying that the configuration is found.

# odbcinst -q -d

The output should read simply "[MySQL]"

Configure the MySQL ODBC connector

Now we'll configure the /etc/odbc.ini file to create a DSN (Data Source Name) for Asterisk. The file may be empty, so you'll have to copy-paste from this example or write this from scratch.

Add the following to /etc/odbc.ini

Description = MySQL connection to 'asterisk' database
Driver = MySQL
Database = asterisk
Server = localhost
Port = 3306
Socket = /var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock

You may want to verify that mysql.sock is actually in the location specific here. It will differ on some systems depending on your configuration.


Test the ODBC Data Source Name connection

Now is a good time to test your database by connecting to it and performing a query. The unixODBC package provides isql; a command line utility that allows you to connect to the Data Source, send SQL commands to it and receive results back. The syntax used is:

isql -v dsn_name db_username db_password

So, for our purposes you would enter:

# isql -v asterisk-connector asterisk replace_with_strong_password

It is important to use the -v flag so that if isql runs into a problem you will be alerted of any diagnostics or errors available.


At this point you should get an SQL prompt. Run the following command:

SQL> select 1

You should see some simple results if the query is successful. Then you can exit.

SQL> select 1
| 1                   |
| 1                   |
SQLRowCount returns 1
1 rows fetched
SQL> quit


Configuring Asterisk to Use the New ODBC and MySQL Install

Now you have a MySQL database, ODBC and an ODBC MySQL connector installed and basically configured. The next step is to recompile Asterisk so that the ODBC modules which required the previously mentioned items can now be built. Once those modules exist, then you can configure the proper configuration files in Asterisk depending on what information you want to write to or read from MySQL.

Getting the right Asterisk modules

If you already had Asterisk installed from source and the modules you need are already selected by default in menuselect - then the recompilation process could be as simple as navigating to the Asterisk source and running a few commands.

# cd ~/asterisk-source/
# ./configure
# make && make install

Otherwise you should follow the typical Asterisk installation process to make sure modules such as res_odbc, res_config_odbc, cdr_odbc, cdr_adaptive_odbc and func_odbc have their dependencies fulfilled and that they will be built.

See Building and Installing Asterisk and Using Menuselect to Select Asterisk Options.

Configuring Asterisk's ODBC connection

The basic configuration for an Asterisk ODBC connection is handled in res_odbc.conf. You should check out the Configuring res_odbc page and follow it using the DSN and database username and password you setup earlier.

After you have the connection set up in Asterisk you are ready to then configure your database tables with the proper schema depending on what exactly you want to do with them. Asterisk comes with some helpful tools to do this, such as Alembic. See the Managing Realtime Databases with Alembic section to get started with Alembic if you are working towards an Asterisk Realtime setup.



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