mCarbon Utilizes Red Hat Solutions to Deliver Technology that Drives Telecom Innovation

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August 16, 2010

Customer: mCarbon Tech Innovation Private Limited

Geography: APAC
Country: India


Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, Red Hat Cluster Suite, MySQL database, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform

Hardware:

Intel processor-based servers from IBM, IBM System x 3650 Servers

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Background:

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Business Challenge:

mCarbon’s key business objective is to create a niche in the telecom Value Added Services (VAS) and network applications space by building innovative telecom products. “We operate as a bridge between the end users and telecom operators,” said Rajesh Razdan, co founder & head of sales, mCarbon. “We wanted to bridge this gap between the two entities by designing various utility applications, launching them faster, and building flexible charging models around them.”

To fulfill this need, mCarbon was planning to build a multi-architecture platform that would operate in a completely distributed mode and have the capability to handle multiple vendors. The technical team at mCarbon started building an innovative delivery platform for network applications with intelligent call control, multi-access user controls for applications, such as SMS Center, USSD Gateway, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and Call Back Server among others, and a complete charging framework to handle any protocol and customer charging scenario. “We call this framework ‘Greenroom,’” said Brij Mohan Mahendru, chief technology officer, mCarbon.

Choosing the right technology platform for the Greenroom solution was a major decision for several reasons. The first was the cost-to-performance ratio of the platform. “Greenroom is transaction-heavy as it caters to multiple vendors and their millions of end users,” said Brij. “So, the performance in terms of transactions per second is extremely important.” mCarbon wanted to achieve high performance while keeping the total cost of ownership (TCO) down. To keep the TCO on a lower side, mCarbon wanted to use commodity hardware for running the software platform. “We needed a platform that was flexible so as to be fine tuned to our requirements, and one that could extract maximum throughput from the underlying commodity hardware,” said Rajesh.

The second important criterion was the platform’s scalability potential and its future readiness. “The platform needed to be able to scale to meet the ever-growing subscriber base of mobile users,” said Rajesh. Additionally, the platform’s future readiness was also crucial due to the fact that the product development life cycle in the telecom domain varies between three-to-five years. “In such a large span of time, technology can undergo huge change,” said Brij. “So, we wanted a platform that was future agnostic and had a substantial longevity,” he added.

Finally, mCarbon wanted a platform that supported and further enabled reusability. “Our core offering, Greenroom’s key component, is its ability to handle a variety of vendors,” said Brij. “The business scenario differs for each of our customers, but we wanted to design the IT platform in such a way that a majority of the components could be reused.”

SOLUTION

Solution:

With parameters such as flexibility, scalability, cost, performance, reusability, and future readiness, mCarbon decided to build the underlying platform for its mission-critical Greenroom application on open source technology, and chose Red Hat as its trusted technology partner. Red Hat’s open source solutions were an ideal fit as they not only met these criteria, but also allowed mCarbon to take advantage of the rapid innovation from the open source community and avoid proprietary vendor lock-in.

“Our primary reason for choosing Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the cost-to-performance ratio and the stability it offers,” said Brij. Red Hat Enterprise Linux also provides mCarbon with the choice of a wider ecosystem of certified software and hardware platforms. “The Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform has given us broader acceptability in the market and easy integration with solution partners like IBM and Intel. Our ISV relationship with Red Hat has also helped us in configuring and benchmarking the system for better performance,” said Brij. Red Hat’s subscription model also provides mCarbon with a predictable total cost of ownership (TCO), while also ensuring that mCarbon is able to derive continuous value even after initial rollouts.

mCarbon’s flagship Greenroom framework has various applications deployed on it, including In Call Management, missed call notifications, location-based dynamic discounting, Global SIM provisioning, and RBT and Reverse RBT. All of these applications, and the entire framework, are built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. mCarbon also uses the power of Red Hat Cluster Suite to build a failover cluster for the framework. The applications running over the framework for the content / information aggregation space are running on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform. The Red Hat software infrastructure platform is running on Intel’s dual Xeon processor-based servers from IBM.

The entire Red Hat solution has been fine tuned on IBM hardware to obtain excellent performance. “Red Hat allows you to extract maximum throughput from the underlying hardware platform in terms of peak performance,” said Rajesh. One of the applications deployed on the Greenroom framework is the automated voicemail application, which was handling about 200,000 Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA). In the past two years, its performance has jumped to 500,000 BHCA. “The combination of Red Hat’s software infrastructure with that of IBM’s hardware infrastructure based on the Intel Xeon processor gives best-in-class performance,” said Brij. The application is also running smoothly for the past two years without any unplanned downtime.

In the future, mCarbon wants to evolve the Greenroom framework to add more applications to serve the needs of its customers using state-of-the-art technology. “Red Hat’s robust and scalable open source platform gives us the necessary confidence to deploy our mission-critical applications,” said Brij. “It also acts as a comfort factor for our clients as they know that they are banking on a framework, which, in itself, is based on enterprise-class and reliable Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” he added. mCarbon is also in the process of building a media delivery framework called Channel99. “Channel99 would be the world’s first composite rich media product, which handles all forms of music on the device and lets the user control his choice for wide variety of music in both audio and the video format,” said Rajesh. “This framework would also be completely based on Red Hat’s open source software infrastructure,” he added.

BENEFITS

Benefits:

“With Red Hat, we were able to extract tremendous value from our systems and applications,” said Rajesh. “Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in, and gives tremendous flexibility to choose a cost-effective commodity hardware platform that delivers flexibility and high performance,” he added.

Red Hat solutions also provided mCarbon with lower IT costs, simplified management, reduced systems maintenance, and increased scalability and performance for their Greenroom framework. “Red Hat solutions allow you to extract more from your systems enabling business growth,” said Rajesh.

“With Red Hat, scalability and performance go hand-in-hand,” said Brij. While the subscriber base of the end users have gone up multiple times; the performance in terms of number of transactions per second, has increased multifold in the last two years. “In case of Airtel, which is one of our key clients, the user base has increased from 10 million to 130 million in the last few years, the performance of the system has increased by 250 percent,” said Brij. Such a handsome increase in performance has led to equivalent reduction in the costs.

Red Hat’s open source systems have imparted flexibility in mCarbon’s various IT decisions. “In addition to the flexibility to choose the hardware platform, Red Hat’s platform remains compatible across architectures, virtual platforms, or appliances,” said Rajesh. “Additionally, it also imparts the flexibility to have multiple types of applications running over it interacting with multiple types of vendors without major issues of integration,” he added. This flexibility and openness also make the Red Hat platform easier to manage. The flexibility and no lock-in advantage of Red Hat’s systems have helped mCarbon to achieve substantial longevity for its framework. “Red Hat’s open source platform ensures that it supports our service delivery framework throughout its development cycle,” said Brij.

Red Hat’s platform also has helped mCarbon to reduce the time-to-market for its services and enabled it to do repeat sales using the same framework. “The entire platform is designed with reusability as the key component so as to support multiple vendors,” said Brij. The platform can handle unique scenarios for different customers in different domains as it is designed in such a way as to reuse 90 percent of the components.

Overall, Red Hat provided mCarbon with enterprise-class solutions to deploy its mission-critical framework at an affordable price without any compromise on parameters like performance, scalability, flexibility, and reusability. “Our partnership with Red Hat has enabled us to offer a robust, scalable, high-performance, flexible, and cost-effective technology platform to our customers. It has helped us to deliver futuristic technology solutions that drive telecom innovation,” said Rajesh.

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