High Availability Computing Solutions
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Case Study - A Good Call Through High Performance Peripherals

A dynamic relationship between supplier and OEM developer means the telephony industry is guaranteed the best possible products.

As the capabilities in call management systems become more advanced, then so the requirement for high reliability computer solutions increases.

Sophisticated call processing systems today can deal with demanding telecommunications operations such as centralised service management, voice mail, CTI, call queuing, live feeds and integrated direct database access including online credit transaction.

To drive this need, telephony systems need to be built around reliable components designed for flexibility, performance and efficiency. OEM Developers would be unwise to integrate their hardware and software solutions into cheaper peripheral systems aimed predominantly at more commercial markets.

So, what are the main priorities telephony OEMs need to consider? High reliability for mission critical operations, space saving and flexibility for expansion are just some important requirements. Reliable hardware is vital, since downtime for mission critical operations in telephony and related industries is unacceptable. Fast systems help maximise bandwidth occupation during peak and off peak rates also.

Good communication between the hardware vendor and OEM developer is vital to ensure the customer receives the most flexible value-added hardware systems available. I-Bus has been a vendor supplier to C3 Ltd for a number of years and has developed a good working relationship over that time.

I-Bus is the world's leading provider of high reliability computing solutions for a range of industries including telecommunications, internet service providers, broadcast, and more, with manufacturing facilities in the USA and UK. This means OEMs like C3 Ltd, gain dedicated customer support and priority shipping.

C3 Ltd is a leading supplier of call processing and computer systems for the telephony market. The company's latest 'Consort' voice mail handling system, and 'Apcentia' communications platforms are based around renowned TR4 hardware enclosures from I-Bus.

Why is this important? Well, firstly the basic structure of the TR4 chassis means that it can be transformed rapidly from a development system to production product, then delivered on to C3. This guarantees an economical turnaround time for a single product. Secondly, after deciding the memory requirement and processor speed the next important stage is designing the hardware architecture.

While standard ATX motherboards are an economical option, found on the majority of today's commercial desktop computers; all the processor, memory and peripheral ports are mounted on the same board, which leaves very little room for expansion.

In a Passive Backplane structure, utilised by I-Bus, all the peripheral device ports for the monitor, keyboard, printer, mouse, processor, memory and SCSI are placed on a separate Single Board Computer. This means the passive backplane has all slots available for expansion with cards. Up to 13 slots are available on the TR4 chassis, compared to only 3 slots on a typical motherboard. This gives C3 the room to integrate its own hardware and add more value to the system.

Space saving is also an important issue, particularly for those clients who occupy shared telecommunication houses. Hardware systems can be redesigned to provide a range of sizes.
I-Bus offers this flexible approach, providing C3 with either standard desktop or high-availability rackmount systems, depending on the space requirement.

As well as supplying the hardware, I-Bus also has a dedicated powder coating facility to paint the hardware in any colour and screen print logos according the customer's corporate designs.

I-Bus is successful with OEMs like C3 because it guarantees a continuous and reliable supply of systems whenever demand requires. There is a flexible approach to systems design, so the client is guaranteed the best possible product. I-Bus in particular is taking the lead in rugged CompactPCI technology, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in telephony applications. Hardware features, including hot-swap power supplies for continual operation, fan assisted air cooling for component efficiency, and many more can be integrated according to designs required.

With competition in today's markets driving costs down, OEMs are continually looking to reduce the number of vendor suppliers to those that can provide a one-stop solution from concept to product completion. I-Bus is aiming to become a single vendor by installing peripherals such as the cabling, switches, keyboards, monitors, racks, and additional peripherals for telephony boards. This is a much more cost-effective approach, because OEMs can take advantage of the manufacturing facilities at I-Bus. This removes many system build issues from clients, so they have an entire package on delivery for immediate sale. Such relationships benefit the telephony industry with the most reliable and innovative products placed on the market, and OEMs can focus entirely on developing their core business to the benefit of all users.

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