In-Memory Database Call Accounting Still Meeting Business Needs for Speed And Security

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Telsoft Solutions looks back on ten years of real-time business intelligence and security systems.

When Oracle announced in 2005 that it was acquiring an in-memory database provider, the term “real time” had become an industry standard. But with the way technology has progressed and broadband driving the demand for speed, the term has now taken on a new relevance. In-memory databases can speed transaction times and give immediate access to real time data, making this a requirement in the gathering of business information. One application that benefits from the speed and accuracy of an in-memory database is call accounting software.

Ten years ago TelSoft Solutions, a privately held company that provides call accounting and telecom billing services to organizations and multi national companies, was faced with requests from customers for immediate access to the wealth of untapped information in their call detail records. At that time processing the call data, and running the reports necessary to effectively acquire and isolate the desired information, could take days or even weeks. In most cases, the task was abandoned before it began. The challenge was to provide an easy to use solution in which data retrieval and reporting are virtually instantaneous.

“To meet our customers’ requirements we set out to meet certain parameters,” says Don Simons, CEO of TelSoft Solutions. “All reports, regardless of size and type, had to run in less than five minutes (start to finish.) Call processing speed had to be sustained, (collecting call records, calculating call price information, and database insertion) it had to exceed a rate of one million calls processed per hour, the speed of processing had to ensure that data processing did not delay reporting in any way, even when the call data arrived in large batches, individuals with no programming background and minimal computer experience could easily run and customize reports, and the system had to run on off-the-shelf industry-standard hardware of the time.”

Experts in the fastest databases (such as Oracle, Informix, and Ingres) were gathered and divided into competing research teams. Over a period of several months, these teams tested existing technologies in an effort to meet the performance specifications. To best optimize potential solutions, the teams called upon additional experts in each respective database technology. Numerous tuning and caching schemes were implemented. And still, the target goals were nowhere in sight.

During this process, additional calculations proved that no existing off-the-shelf solution, even if disk drives were 100 times faster, could attain the required performance goals. All standard solutions proved unsuccessful.

“We were about to throw in the towel,” says Simons. “Then one of the developers came up with an original and exciting idea, an in-memory database manager (IMDB)”

Since call accounting reports by nature access a large majority of the dataset in each query, it wasn’t clear at first that such a solution would be viable or reliable. A team was assigned and a prototype rapidly assembled. The new concept was rigorously tested for performance, reliability, and data integrity. Testing proved that a full-blown IMDB would meet and exceed all specified requirements, even on the standard hardware technology.

The MegaBase IMDB and the MegaCall application were completed and made generally available in 1995. The database runs most reports in just seconds and even large annual reports in under the five-minute limit. It processed real-time calls virtually instantaneously, could be used effectively by a novice, required no routine maintenance or additional support personnel, provided seamless archival access, and had extensive open data exchange capabilities.

"Telsoft Solutions has been a pioneer in the development of call accounting systems and when customers have implemented their Telsoft

MegaCall solution, SCO UNIX has been the reliable, secure and high-performance application platform that business customers have relied on," said Alan Raymond, vice president of Americas sales, The SCO Group, Inc. "With intensive database solutions, the recent release of SCO OpenServer 6 has brought that security, performance and reliability to a new level with some customers experiencing a tenfold increase in the speed of their database applications. We're pleased to help bring customers that run even the largest database call reports a better experience through the combination of Telsoft and SCO solutions."

As other companies realize the value of in-memory databases to reduce risk and add speed and reliability, TelSoft’s call accounting software has been meeting these business requirements for ten years. The ability to access business intelligence immediately and have your data be totally secure is vital in today’s competitive environment.

Under current conditions requiring the highest levels of security, real-time retrieval of critical data is an essential element in maintaining a secure environment. MegaBase was designed and is currently deployed in enterprises with heightened security requirements as well as the standard reporting needs.

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Karen Ritz
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