Can You Spare A Minute?

February, 2012

As delivery of cloud computing services threatens to become a way of life, it is timely to look at where vendors like ourselves should be concentrating their efforts to ensure high availability.

As delivery of cloud computing services threatens to become a way of life, it is timely to look at where vendors like ourselves should be concentrating their efforts to ensure very high uptime, or if you like, to ensure that outage over long periods of time is measured in seconds and minutes only.

The main job of a software vendor is of course to design software that not only can be deployed fully redundant but is also engineered well in the first place, so that it doesn’t fail.

But from a user’s point of view, there are a number of other things that also need to be on place to ensure very high up time. These include:

  • a ‘no single point of failure’ (redundant) hardware architecture
  • connections to multiple bearer networks
  • appropriate levels of system monitoring
  • strict change control

Without these features, even the best call center software in the world may simply fail to deliver. But let’s focus on what software vendors can do.

Outage can cost not only revenue but reputation damage, too. If the outage is caused by a software component within your platform, even a fully redundant architecture will not protect you.

Here are two complementary software approaches to minimising down-time:

  1. Process separation
    i.e. dividing server-side components into discrete services, each delivering a specific function. This minimises complexity of components, ring-fences failure-prone operations and therefore minimises failure rates and failure cost.One application of this might be a database proxy that contains code to manage database transaction failure. It publishes interfaces so that other services can take advantage of its capabilities. This means that there is only one application that has to implement complex code for managing database transaction failure but its capabilities can be used by other applications.
  2. Multiplexing
    i.e. running one activity across several physical processes. This could be across multiple discrete instances (multi-instancing), or multiple connected instances (clustering):
    a) Multi-instancing
    Multi-instancing allows software components to be installed multiple times on the same computer, allowing each component to operate simultaneously but independently; or allowing different types of data to be associated with different instances, e.g. tenant data in a multi-tenant environment.By multi-instancing, the load on each service is reduced, and the likelihood and cost of failure is reduced.

    b) Clustering
    A cluster consists of a set of connected servers (physical or virtual) that work together so that in many respects they can be viewed as a single system.

    Performance, capacity and availability can be scaled up across multiple systems at a fraction of the cost it would take to achieve in a single system.

    Further protection can be provided by making one node of the cluster redundant, and maintained as a ‘hot standby’. This entails deploying N+1 servers to deliver N servers worth of capacity. Deploying a redundant cluster requires the running of a central control process, or script, for making bridging decisions.

High availability is a must-have for cloud deployments, and with the right design and some careful planning, it is certainly achievable (without astronomical expense).

Stay tuned as we look in more depth at the detail of delivering high availability in future blogs.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Softdial Contact Center™ - tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Partners can run a functionally rich and flexible contact center stack in the cloud

Blended Media Desktop

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

Customise, Localise, White Label

Customise, Localise, White Label

Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

Integration Via APIs

Integration Via APIs

'Swap out' components and integrate with 3rd party apps

World Class Development

World Class Development

Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries

Capabilities

Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

All Media Types

All Media Types

Voice, chat, email, social, etc - fully integrated and blended

Agent Multi-Tasking

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

Dynamic Workforce Management

Dynamic Workforce Management

Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to manage agents and balance work load, across all media types

Predictive Dialing

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound Routing

Optimised Inbound Routing

Smart rules and 'best-available' decisions to drive great customer service

Agent Scripts

Agent Scripts

Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

Voice and Screen Recording

Voice and Screen Recording

See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

Analytics and Data Feeds

Analytics and Data Feeds

Measure and evaluate performance at every level

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

Customer Journey Tracking

Customer Journey Tracking

Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations

Modules

A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment.

Softdial One™

Softdial One™

Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

Softdial Scripter™

Softdial Scripter™

Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

Sytel AI Dialer™

Sytel AI Dialer™

Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

Softdial Pathfinder™

Softdial Pathfinder™

Precise routing rules for 'best available' connection

Softdial Media Server™

Softdial Media Server™

Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

Softdial Publisher™

Softdial Publisher™

Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

Softdial Repository™

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

Sytel Global Compliance™

Flexible 'no contact' rules to protect contact center and consumer

Markets

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

Customer Service

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Sales & Telemarketing

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

Healthcare

Healthcare

Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care

Market Research

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Collections

Collections

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app