VimpelCom is the largest independent facilities-based provider of integrated telecommunications and internet services to businesses and other high-usage customers and telecommunications operators in Russia and CIS.
To develop an operations support system dedicated for detailed traffic collection used for billing clients.
The system backbone consists of routers, collectors, and a central server. Routers send detailed information on traffic to collectors using Netflow protocol and publish it so that it can be retrieved with SNMP protocol. Both protocols use UDP as transport layer protocol. Collectors filter out this information and send it over TCP/IP to a central server, where it is stored in tables that reflect the characteristics of protocols it was retrieved with. To use this information for billing purposes, it needs to be further processed and stored in suitable format in a relational database.
The original OSS, developed within VimpelCom, relied on Netflow version 5 protocol for collecting data from routers. Open-source programs cflowd and cfdcollect (http://www.caida.org), written in C, were used as collector and at the server to store data in ARTS format, respectively. There was a developed in-house Java-processor that parsed ARTS files (ARTS-parsing components were ported from open-source C library arts++) and compiled the information ordered by time (per hour) and IP-address into an Oracle database.
Our team improved this system by modifying cflowd, cfdcollect and Java-processor to allow for retaining information on Type of Service byte in IP protocol, that is used in the Quality of Service concept – differentiating in bandwidth and reliability for different clients with different sort of traffic (IP-TV or streaming media versus static pages), and on original IP-address instead of subnet.
Also within the implemented OSS-module we developed processors for 2 other types of raw traffic information coming to the server – one originating from Netflow version 9 protocol and another – produced by Cisco IP Accounting utility that relies on IOS operating system and SNMP protocol. Actually, there is one more processor called IP VPN that derives from Netflow 5 processor. It takes account of the VPN traffic, finding the router ports that are connected into VPN with the help of special SNMP-based utility.
Modification of collector and processor for Netflow 5 protocol allowed Beeline to implement more flexible billing schemes for clients and to generate more detailed reports for them, based on new detailed traffic statistics. Development of the other processors was urged, on the one hand, by introduction of new hardware supporting Netflow version 9, and on the other hand, by the need for further improvement of accounting and billing.
Our team had to successfully extend the existing spatially dispersed and heterogeneous OSS and Service Provisioning System, that use a large number of physical devices, various protocols and software, and produce huge amount of data (up to several gigabytes a day), without even having access to the real system – working only with models and emulators. When working on the project, we had to cope with such non-trivial tasks, as restoring corrupted during the famous blackout in Moscow in summer 2005 ARTS files with traffic information.
VimpelCom successfully integrated the new Billing Mediation component. This allowed the provider to introduce traffic prioretization and deliver new services to subscribers, such as IP-TV, while ensuring that all traffic is billed in a proper way.