iserv platform overview
The IDS information delivery concept is based on its iServ platform that extracts and gathers Event Data. iServ then combines this event data with reference data and transforms this data into new categories of relevant information.
A powerful data warehouse and aggregation engine enables rapid, exact extraction of huge data volumes online all in the intuitive user-friendly tool. iServ is a modular, scalable platform that can be tailored and optimised for applications that range from just a few network elements to extensive networks and from general reporting to subject specific applications such as billing or fraud investigations.
From a high level user’s perspective , iServ consists of the following 3 main sections namely Adaptors (ETL), Database and iChart Editor (User Interface).
Due to a totally flexible database driven software architecture, iServ can receive, read and process any event data. iServ uses the concept of Adaptors to parse (read) the event data, both syntactically and semantically into the database. IDS have an extensive library of adaptors that read both binary and ASCII sources. New adaptors can be easily developed to read any event / transactional based data or more static data such as customer data. In addition to event sources, iServ also can use other sources of data, such as customer databases or project specific data in the forms of Excel spreadsheets etc.
The adaptors also enrich the data being loaded by including or excluding data fields from the original event data, and merging these fields with additional sources of data, e.g. customer data, calculated information, etc. In this way, the raw data is transformed into information that can be used for decision support or for further processing.
Enriching the data in the adaptors is significantly faster than enriching it as a separate step later in the process in the database. When the data is parsed, it is distributed and stored in corresponding record types that will contain the normalised and enriched event data per category. In addition to enriching the data, inherent in the standard adaptors from IDS is the inclusion of metadata of the fields being read into the database. I.e. a description of each field in the data being read in will be able to be viewed by the user thereby enhancing the users understanding and ease of use of the data.
On a portable server with 1 Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E6400 of 2.13 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, the adaptors from IDS can parse over 1 billion (1,000,000,000) event transaction records in a 24 hour period.
On a standard HP 380DL server with 2 Intel® Xeon® Processor X5560 CPUs and 8 processor cores of 2.8 GHz, 18 GB of RAM, the adaptors from IDS can parse over 7,5 billion (7,500,000,000) event transaction records in a 24 hour period.
iServ comprises a complete ETL (Enrich, Transform, Load) solution based on an Oracle database. iServ makes use of the grid technology inherent in modern generations of Oracle databases, thus enabling the linking of multiple databases to increase coverage of data etc.
The iServ database fully supports threaded queries so users are able to run multiple queries concurrently whilst simultaneously constructing new queries. The users are also able to copy and paste whole or parts of existing queries into new queries.
Whilst iServ fully supports and makes extensive use of aggregated data, the original “raw” data is also saved in the database and accessible to users. This ensures that users are not restricted to a “drill down” only to the level of aggregated data but can continue their analysis right back down to the originating data.
iServ specially caters for user-defined reference data allowing users to store and use any and all reference data that they require.
The current iServ version 11.2 runs on Oracle Database 11g R2, Linux 5.5 or 6, Solaris 11 and VM 3.0.
The iChart Editor is an extremely easy to use, intuitive graphical interface which allows business users to create queries (extract information from the data) by simply dragging and dropping nodes onto the page. These nodes contain code that creates a SQL query directly against the database without the business user needing to know anything about SQL, or indeed even having to know this is happening.
No IT technical skills or knowledge required
A number of analytical tools and business information solutions are actually not product based but rather rely on a number of IT technical resources to maintain the system and draw reports. These IT technical resources are employed due to their familiarity with the application technology rather than their industry or subject knowledge and the business users with the subject matter expertise are excluded from the system due to lack of technical competence. All of the above impacts on the lack of accuracy and reliability of the reports being produced in this fashion.
The iChart Editor gives business user’s, without IT technical skills (E.g. SQL or database knowledge), direct access to timely, relevant, and reliable information by empowering these business users to query a repository of integrated data (i.e., a data warehouse or data mart) directly and create their own reports.
By eliminating the need for business users to have IT technical skills to extract information and perform reconciliations, the iChart Editor is not restricted to a few “power users”. Rather, the iChart Editor empowers all business users with relevant and timely information to make informed decisions and improve performance.
Original “raw” data as well as aggregated data available for user to analyse
Users’ requirements change based on what role they are assuming at that moment. Sometimes users only require a simple review of summary data on a weekly or monthly basis, whilst at other times, they require unfettered access to explore data and perform reconciliations.
Therefore, iServ provides the user direct access to query both predefined aggregated data (i.e. summarised data to higher levels to provide fast and easy retrieval of data for analysis) as well as all the original raw data in any combination or sequence they require. This is different to traditional “drill downs” which only allow access to the detailed data and fields included in the aggregate whilst iServ allows access to the complete set of data and fields.
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