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19Sep2017

Distributed Systems compared to Hot Standby

In the telecommunications industry it’s very rare to hear people talk about a “distributed system.” This is mainly because for the most part the platforms which are the backbone of the telecom world just aren’t designed to work in a cloud environment, this is even more apparent in the Hosted PBX/Voice Delivery space some call “Class 5.” From a architecture/capabilities stand point, most voice delivery platforms really do require physical hardware, placed in a colocation space, and while they can offer “site level” redundancy, the best you can hope for is a “Hot Standby”.


Carriers begin by selecting a Switch (i,e. Broadsoft, Cisco, MetaSwitch, etc) and then implement the selection of choice into a Data Center. However, when dealing with technology, you always want to ensure you have a backup or Plan B. This is to ensure if an accident or natural disaster occurs (i.e. power outage, network connectivity failure, broken hardware, etc) call traffic would  redirect to the backup system. Therefore a “Hot Standby” is created, which is just an exact replica of the original softswitch.

If the carrier is more forward thinking, they install a “Hot Standby” in a second Data Center, however most do not, creating a single point of failure if that Data Center goes down. Judging by what happened with Vonage and Star2Star recently, their interconnect was connected to only one data center. When it went down, their switch may have been still up but the connection to the data center was disabled, resulting in their customers being offline.

However if their platform would have been a distributed system, in the event of a failure in their primary location, a “ACTIVE” second site would have been able to pickup the load.

 

Avalo Networks has taken a different approach to the distributed system and built our platform so that it can take advantage of the power in the cloud. Meaning, Avalo Networks doesn’t operate any bare metal servers. Instead we use industry leading cloud and network providers like Internap to run and manage a Cloud which is built on OpenStack Virtualization. By using the power of the cloud , we are able to take a four step approach to network management others can’t at the moment.

First, we made sure all of our servers are in use and not sitting idle.

Second, by operating numerous servers in multiple data centers, we removed any single point of failure through geo-redundancy.

Third, because our call activity is distributed to the closest servers to the originating call, this limits latency and maximizes call quality.

Fourth, the distributed cluster is treated as a monolithic switch, minimizing operational costs during scale. Finally, you can add nodes around the world to your cluster to keep calls and media on-net, reducing cost and increasing call quality.

 

Disruptions with your customers service is less than ideal, so why are more carriers not utilizing a distributed systems vs a hot backup? Mostly because distributed systems are harder to build.  However once they are up and running, the long term savings, performance, and resilience to failures outshines any upfront cost. If there is an outage, will your system automatically failover? Will your service continue uninterrupted? Will all your data be saved? When you’re comparing systems, vendors, or carriers, make sure to ask the right questions.

 

 

  • 19 Sep, 2017
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