International telecommunication markets have been retaining Internet Protocol (IP) and Call Detail Records (CDR) for many years driven by new national and international laws. For example, European Parliament passed EU directive 2006/24/EC late 2005. The directive defines the data retention requirements for all telecommunications companies. The guidelines require communications information, such as CDR/IPDR, to be retained for a specific period. The periods vary from 6 months to 2 years.
Two years worth of call data would include small amounts of data for each call or communication by individuals. Consider the following elements of a call or communication by cell phone or BlackBerry:
- Trace and identify the source and destination of the communication
- Trace and identify the device type and type of communication
- Trace and identify the time, date, duration of communication and location of the communicators
Although the data elements are small, they are numerous. For example, a medium sized company with 3000 users using a Voice over IP (VoIP) system would generate 24000 calls if each person received one call per hour throughout an 8 hour work day. In two years time that would equal at least 18 million call records and requires companies implement automated solutions to capture and manage these call records. Moreover, those automated systems must scale well beyond 18 million records on a daily basis. Working with carrier grade companies, those that serve the general public, Suntech experienced very high data retention requirements early in the development cycle.
Ricardo Moritz, CTO of Suntech says “We attempted to use traditional relational database management system (RDBMS), but it could not handle the record insertion rate we required.” Moritz company has developed carrier class data retention systems for telecommunications. Large telecommunications (“Telco”) companies systems experience in excess of 800 million call records on a daily basis. Suntech was asked to retain and retrieve those 800 million records, a very challenging proposal.
To address this, Suntech developed a lawful interception (“wire tapping”) and data retention solution that complies with EU Directives. The Suntech’s lawful intercept is called VIGIA™ (meaning “Vigilant” in Portuguese) and is comprised of multiple product modules, including a workflow system that issues warrants from the data discovered in the investigation process. The warrant issuing module, designed to support law enforcement during the criminal investigation phase, is important, but so is support billions of call records. The call record retention issues that Moritz and his team discovered early on with RDBMS inspired them to develop a unique and necessary storage system.
Using Linux as the core operating system, Suntech developed a unique way to store and retrieve call data through their XDRFlex™ data retention product. Storing billions of small records is challenging, but retrieving them in seconds becomes monumental. XDRFlex uses a master, indexer and reader component in its processing scenario. The master manages communication between readers and indexers in a multi-node highly available system. Using an n-tier architecture ensures individual record growth can be supported well into the future.
Communication by consumers and enterprises include data transmission such as short-message-service (SMS), Instant Messaging (IM) and IP data transfers. Mauricio Dobes, CEO of Suntech, says “our customers require scalable record storage while minimizing the storage and maximizing retrieval.” Dobes team is faced with the growing requirement to store data with more efficiency, but deliver Google-like speeds when return results. Google search, unlike forensics, only returns the most popular results. Suntech must return all the results from their record retention system in order to assist law enforcement in resolving multiple types of issues, such as catching criminals. Suntech’s customers count on VIGIA to support criminal investigations as well as customer support.
Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI), Oi and Brasil Telecom (NYSE:BTM) have already recognized Suntech’s investment in capture, retention and retrieval technology. America Movil (NYSE:AMX), one of Suntech’s largest customers, has over 150 million customers in the Americas. Suntech’s Telco customers require scalable capture solutions to help US, Latin American and International law enforcement prevent terrorists from affecting our civil liberties and peace. Suntech addresses the needs of carrier grade companies with a cost effective, scalable platform that should easily translate to enterprises VoIP. We will be “vigilant” as it relates to Suntech’s future in the enterprise space.