VoIP carrier builds out iSCSI infrastructure

VoIP carrier builds out iSCSI infrastructure

iSCSI can use existing equipment

Global IP communications service provider Linqk Group has built its application portfolio on commodity Ethernet-based storage in favour of traditional high-end fibre channel systems.

Linqk core platform is a soft switch and telco operations "back room" that provides a global network call termination, call data analysis, billing, plus a Web-based communications management system for channel partners and end users.

This enables the "virtual global PABX" capability of the service, which the company is pitching as a dual wholesale "white label" and branded retail franchise model.

Linqk does this with a "class-5 soft switch" to service key locations worldwide in a fully-redundant configuration that did not require full-time staff.

The company's vice president of global engineering, Ranjeet Rustogi, said it needed to reduce or eliminate complexities in the underlying equipment for the switching point-of-presence (POP).

"Everything needed to interoperate seamlessly, be IP-based, and self-heal or failover when hardware failures occurred without any need for onsite certified engineers to be present whenever failed parts or units were to be replaced," Rustogi said.

Linqk runs its communications platform on a mixture of Windows 2003 Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Sun Solaris 8, and the Oracle 9i database.

Linqk's IT engineering staff decided on iSCSI storage infrastructure because it was seen to integrate more seamlessly into the IP-based switching technology and server infrastructure without the introduction of new physical interfaces.

"Surprisingly iSCSI does not automatically mean ease of use, lower costs and robust features." Rustogi said. "It became apparent to me very quickly that we needed to pay careful attention to the design and architecture of the storage systems themselves."

Rustogi said the IT team "fell in love" with EqualLogic's iSCSI product very quickly because all the functionality was built into the array.

"The ability to seamlessly scale as our business grew [and] the distributed architecture with a non-blocking design was brilliant," he said. "But what really put us over the top for EqualLogic was the commitment that we'd have access to any new software feature added to the code as part of our standard support agreement, again without expensive licence fees."

Linqk standardized on EqualLogic for carrier-grade storage with two PS200E arrays at the Sydney POP and will roll out EqualLogic as part of the standard infrastructure for global exchanges.

EqualLogic Asia Pacific vice president Ray Demeo said the "frameless" architecture of the iSCSI arrays does not constrain capacity to a pre-set limit.

Demeo said the company's strategy is to bring enterprise-grade storage to the mid-market by making it more accessible and affordable than fibre channel systems.

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