Boiling in an ocean of data

Hossein Eslambolchi, Divvio
25 Apr 2011

Big Data was a much-discussed concept across IT management last year. In fact, the effect of big data and the non-stop massive growth has been a very real challenge for CSP's data infrastructure and technology teams for quite some time.

Global tier 1 providers have been experiencing activity levels of billions of call data records per day to the point where custom database technologies are now being developed and modified each year. Peta-byte scale database systems holding years of CDRs and internet protocol detail records (IPDRs) are now considered the norm at many tier 1 providers.

When you consider the more stringent compliance regulations being imposed, the Big Data effect can become even more complex and challenging. A single global provider now faces a situation where their data centers and database solutions need to proactively configure, manage and retain specific customer records for a designated time period. Each country's regulations impose different timeframes, requiring different data types, in different formats as well as specific response times to access that data.

In the past year alone, we have seen Japan and India enforce government-led initiatives upon providers regardless of size and subscriber level. Fulfilling lawful intercept requires substantial investments by providers in storage, database and search technologies and of course trained resources with the right skill-set to deploy such technology solutions.

Lawful intercept involves both real-time monitoring and access to xDRs. For example, law enforcement will obtain a judicial warrant to tap the landlines, cellphones and email accounts of suspects, as well as to receive copies of their call, SMS/MMS and other communications records. Having this data readily available in the correct format and delivered in a timely manner creates ongoing pressure to make the data center run efficiently and cost effectively, not to mention the pressure of a legal fine.

Gaining scale

Today CSPs must think innovatively not only through the power of interoperability with other global partners, providers and suppliers but use technology, network architecture and standardization to achieve scale and better IT economics.

In a recent Gartner industry report - 'Credicts 2011: CSPs Must Rethink Business Paradigms to Meet Market Challenges?- it cited that in developed markets margins in mobile, fixed combined services are falling, with very few exceptions. This is due to IP substitution, lower ARPU from new customers, increasing competition, regulators getting a better view of noncompetitive price elements, and the need to invest in expensive broadband networks with long pay-back cycles.

Improving the customer experience and service level is absolutely a necessary part of staying ahead, and partnerships formed each day to provide new applications and mobile capabilities to drive new channels of revenue. However, all the front-end customer facing products and services that are rolled out will only be possible and even sustainable if the back-office and data infrastructure are capable of management and scale over time.

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