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Violin Systems: Making Telco Billing Platforms Fly

by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on April 2, 2015

radio-mastAs an Oracle database guy working at Violin Systems in Europe, I get exposed to some truly big, scary database platforms. Sometimes they are important (like the global PeopleSoft database for a well-known world-wide intergovernmental organization), sometimes they are critical (like the billing platform for 26 million cell phone users in Europe) and sometimes... you just can't talk about them.

At Violin we have customers from every industry vertical you can think of, from banking and financial services to oil and gas, from retail to healthcare, global electronics to performing rights organizations. We even have one of the world's most well known makers of chainsaws.

But if there's one area that truly needs the consistently-low and predictable performance of Violin more than any other, it's telecommunications billing platforms. On Violin they simply fly. So for this post I thought I'd show you three real-world examples of national and international telecoms customers who run their production billing systems on Violin...

Customer number one runs Singleview Convergent Rating and Billing software from CSG International (formerly known as Intec Singl.eView) on an Oracle Database with Real Application Clusters. Prior to using Violin this customer had an expensive set of legacy monolithic disk arrays from the world's dominant vendor of such legacy equipment. Try as they might, they could not get their billing runs to finish in faster than 16 hours, despite heavy investment in DRAM cache and SSDs. Why? Because even with all that investment, the database spent the majority of its time waiting on User I/O instead of working on CPU. Now that's not a very good investment considering how expensive it is to license Oracle by the CPU...

Customer One: Singleview Convergent Rating and Billing from CSG International

Now they are on Violin they finish in 4.5 hours - and that's without application tuning. They think that if they remove some of the horrible hints from their code (hacks that were put in place to try and get round the performance of disk) it will go even faster still...

Customer number two runs Policy Manager and Real-time Offer Manager from Openet. With tens of millions of users generating tens of thousands of transactions per second, this is one of the busiest Oracle databases in Europe. Before they came to Violin they simply could not keep up - or, to be more specific, their archaic disk array couldn't keep up. Yes, it was another one of those World's Most Expensive (TM) disk arrays again, with all the terrible latency problems that come packaged with it for free. Let's have a look at a histogram of the latency before and after Violin:

Customer Two: Policy Manager from Openet

Pretty conclusive, eh?

An interesting point here is that this customer writes over 10TB of data per day. Most SSD-based flash arrays would struggle to ingest that amount of data without hitting serious garbage collection issues - but Violin, with its patented ground-up flash architecture, just keeps on going for this customer night and day.

Customer number three runs Kenan FX Billing from Comverse (previously known as Arbor from Kenan Billing). Customer Three: Arbor Comverse Kenan BillingYet again they had monilithic disk arrays from the big dinosaur of the disk array world (can you see a theme here?) and as a result they were having difficulty meeting the 48-hour window they required for billing runs. By moving their Oracle database to Violin Systems they were able to reduce their processing time by 76%.

I could tell you more about this implementation but you can simply read it all here in the press release.

Conclusion

So there you have it: three telco billing platforms running Oracle on Violin. All in production - and all blown away. And don't forget, I only work in Europe - this article doesn't even consider the telcos in the US or Asia / Pacific. Telcos like this.

If you are a telco customer and you want to unleash the power of flash for your business, why not get in touch? Other vendors may claim they can help but only Violin has the real-world experience and performance to make your applications fly.