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The 3 GPP IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) is currently expected to provide the basic architecture framework for the next generation network which will bridge the traditional divide between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks and consolidate both sides into one single network for all services. Therefore, the imminent commercial roll-out of IMS will have immense impact on the whole way future mobile business applications are designed, developed and deployed. This paper presents a survey about the application-oriented research project CAMPARI (configuration, architecture, migration, performance analysis and requirements of 3G IMS) which aims at inves-tigating a "minimal-optimal" IMS configuration with respect to architecture and quality-of-service aspects. After a brief survey of the IMS core components, we introduce our OpenSER-based IMS prototype implementation and present the "IMS in a bottle " approach. Based on our practical experiences with this testbed system, we finally discuss important current and future challenges including migration, interworking, charging, identity management, security, and regulatory aspects.