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Data Management System for Telco - VoltDB
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Telecommunications (Telco) Service Providers are among the most demanding customers in the world, managing billions of customers, devices, and dollars everyday.  These Service Providers rely on Telecommunications Software Solution vendors – which provide the tools and solutions to keep the network alive, provide the best customer experience possible, and create the revenue streams for the Service Provider- to keep their businesses alive and relevant.

VoltDB got its start by providing an extremely fast and reliable database to telecommunications (telco) software solution providers. These vendors provide software to the major carriers of the world to support critical services within the operational support systems (OSS) and billing support systems (BSS) stack, including user authorization and authentication, policy management, call routing optimization, real-time billing, and other key functions.

As carriers evolve and compete to create new services and revenue streams, and improve services and reduce costs, they are moving to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN). In NFV and SDN environments, OSS/BSS capabilities run in a virtualized environment on commodity hardware rather than on expensive, proprietary, highly-specialized hardware and software stacks.

The move to NFV and SDN is not a mere architecture decision for CSPs – it is a revolutionary opportunity to create new business models, accelerate speed to market, reduce costs, and compete in an aggressive landscape. 5G will be the on-ramp to the IoT for telcos; NFV will provide the tools to handle and monetize the IoT‘s massive traffic.

VoltDB lies at the heart of enabling Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to successfully modernize their architectures from specialized OSS/BSS stacks to NFV, ensuring their competitiveness for the future.

VoltDB provides Openet with an in-memory database that helps us take advantage of fast data and scale to meet the needs of our customers. — Oisin Loftus, Executive Director of Product Development, Openet

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) represents an industry trend for telcos. Highly specialized hardware and software stacks for OSS/BSS are very expensive to buy, to maintain, and to upgrade and they are not agile — they do not adapt easily or quickly to changing market and business demands, such as the need for user session management, as described above.

Telcos need to lower operating costs by running their operations on commodity hardware, whether on-premises or in the cloud. They also would like to become more agile, to be able to change their network operations by simply changing the software that is running (through moving to Software Defined Networks, or SDNs), and to keep their customers connected — no matter where they are or what device they are using.

Telcos need to change their networks and the services on top of those networks to accommodate the demands of users for faster service, more data, richer analytics, and better coverage. In the 5G economy- consumers will determine the winners and losers for services and applications – telcos need an architecture that can react as fast as consumers.

The Challenge

Telco stacks have been fine-tuned over many years to be very fast and highly reliable, but the need for more agility and lower cost means telcos need to move from being voice and data carriers to being true service providers, rethinking their entire networks and operations while continuing to service their customers.

The Solution

VoltDB can be used as a key component of a proprietary software stack, or it can be used in a virtualized cloud environment to provide the required extremely low latency, highly-reliable functionality.

Bottom Line

Market demands are driving telcos to be more agile to compete with “over the top” (OTT) providers  and to reduce their operational costs while continuing to offer extremely fast, reliable communications services. Fast in-memory transactional databases such as VoltDB are a critical component to helping telcos achieve these goals.

One of the many challenges telco companies face is providing a better customer experience in a highly competitive market. In a recent Gartner survey, 73% of consumers said they would expand their purchases with a vendor by 10% or more if the customer experience was superior. A better customer experience not only provides more upsell and cross-sell opportunities, but also significantly reduces customer churn. Forrester Research estimates that potential revenue benefits top $1.6 billion for wireless service providers that improve customer experience.

The Challenge

Traditional data infrastructures do not support real-time processing of subscriber data streams. Traditional databases are too slow to ingest streams of data, much less analyze the behavior of millions of users on a per-event and per-person basis. Making timely and relevant offers, personalizing the customer experience, and providing current usage data to customers is of the utmost importance.

The Solution

VoltDB provides real-time analysis of subscriber data based on event triggers such as the end of a call, use of the mobile device in a particular location, or a user hitting a data usage threshold. These insights are then used to initiate real-time campaigns and communications, delivered while the customer’s device is still in hand. Timely and relevant offers, improved service response, and proactive updates on billing/usage result in a superior customer experience.

Bottom Line

Real-time subscriber management and personalization increase subscriber satisfaction, reduce churn and increase loyalty. Providers who manage customer relationships in real time can improve retention and increase ARPU.

Telco Operations Support Systems (OSS) support management functions such as network inventory, service provisioning, and network configuration and fault management. In addition, Business Support Systems (BSS) provide applications that support customer-facing activities such as billing, order management, CRM, and call center automation. BSS systems also may include trouble ticketing and service assurance apps.

The Challenge

The deluge of data from mobile, connected devices must be managed in real-time, enabling providers to act instantly to manage new services and applications; improve quality of service; meet SLAs; and fulfill customer expectations. Traditional databases are too slow to ingest streams of data, analyze the data in real time, and make per-event decisions on the analyzed stream. Competing approaches, including stream processing and complex event processing, rely on batch processing. Thus while faster, they lack the ability to perform real-time analytics with per-event decisions at “telco speed”.

The Solution

Tier 1 Telco software solutions are in a service provider’s call path. Telecom “real time” is as tough as it gets – and means decisions are made in under 50ms (often in under 10ms!), so performance and scalability are major requirements for software providers. VoltDB is the only solution capable of ingesting, analyzing and acting on real-time data from OSS and BSS systems streaming massive volumes of data through the network; using that data to track activity such as network usage for many millions of users simultaneously; and performing real-time actions such as policy management, balance management, and real-time billing —  meeting or beating the same latencies and tolerances that a telecom network requires – under 50ms.

The Bottom Line

Providers of OSS/BSS solutions use VoltDB to perform streaming analytics on vast flows of data and enable the automated, real-time decisions required of OSS/BSS applications. VoltDB’s cloud-deployable, transactional database scales out to handle high-volume data streams, enabling telco software companies and communications service providers (CSPs) to take action on streams of data in real time.

Telcos impose strict guidelines for network efficiency and rely on OSS and BSS software to minimize operational and administrative expenses, reduce the time and cost of bringing new services to market, and handle policy management, billing management, and bill mediation.

The Challenge

When a call is placed in the network, it must meet a strict SLA requirement (in most cases 50ms or less, 99.999% of the time) to authenticate the call and complete the billing cycle. If a call authorization request does not receive a timely response, a call is usually connected to maintain customer satisfaction without actually billing the customer. This significantly impacts revenue. Another undesirable option is to refuse to connect the customer, which results in a de facto network outage.

The Solution

VoltDB provides streaming analytics and real-time, per-event decision making. Unlike traditional RDBMSs, each VoltDB execution engine is single-threaded and contains a queue of transaction requests, which it executes sequentially—and exclusively—against its data. Elimination of stalls and associated locking and latching overhead allows VoltDB SQL operations to complete in milliseconds.

The Bottom Line

VoltDB can help telcos meet latency requirements and SLAs while also simplifying deployments with ACID consistency and built-in high availability. When a call is requested, it does not lock and delay response, nor does it create duplicate queries for billing authentication. This reduces server and memory requirements and delivers real-time responses to call requests while meeting strict SLAs 99.999% of the time.

Competition is forcing higher levels of service and user experience to attract, retain and monetize new subscribers. As mobile devices proliferate, communication service providers are upgrading their offerings to provide a unified, personalized user experience across devices to differentiate and build new revenue streams.

The Challenge

Managing user sessions in real time to ensure a personalized, continuous experience requires fast processing of user data from the network. Service providers need the ability to monitor and analyze user session data of millions of users in real time on a per-event, per-person basis.

The Solution

VoltDB’s real-time analytics on streams of data and per-event processing enable instant, data-driven decisions in milliseconds. Service providers can identify individual users from the device ID and connect that data to in-progress session data, providing a seamless user experience across a customer’s first and second screens. Event data ranges from a request for a media inventory search to a media segment request. With VoltDB, this data leads to identification of the context necessary for each event or data point to provide a continuous experience for the customer across multiple devices.

Bottom Line

Delivering a real-time, personalized user experience to every subscriber on any device increases subscriber satisfaction, reduces churn and increases loyalty. In addition, the ability to perform real-time user targeting allows service providers to build new service offerings and promotions to increase revenue.