Calling on DataStax for Apache Cassandra support

Logate develops software solutions for customers in the telecoms and banking sectors. Logate has a team of more than 50 multi-disciplinary IT experts and professionals with hundreds of years of collective experience in developing, maintaining and supporting enterprise-grade software solutions. The company prides itself on using the best open source software projects and products in its software development.


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Deliver geo-distributed database for OpenProvider AAA server deployments

Ensure telecoms customers deliver reliable, available service for their customers

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Founded in 2006 and based in Montenegro, Logate develops software solutions for customers in the telecoms and banking sectors. Logate has a team of more than 50 multi-disciplinary IT experts and professionals with hundreds of years of collective experience in developing, maintaining and supporting enterprise-grade software solutions. The company prides itself on using the best open source software projects and products in its software development.

The company’s flagship product is OpenProvider, which helps telecommunications providers with user authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA). OpenProvider is a Network policy management platform, in the form of a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) compatible AAA server, that enables real time network management on a variety of attributes, helping telecoms operators to manage and monetize their carrier network for all access technologies including WiFi, fixed line services like DSL and Fibre To The Home, and mobile broadband services from 3G and 4G LTE through to 5G. 

Logate supports a wide range of telecoms providers and carriers in Europe, including Magenta Telekom, Telemach Slovenia, Telemach BiH, Hrvatski Telekom, Telekom Serbia, Telemach Montenegro, Serbian BroadBand (SBB) and Crnogorski Telekom. Alongside OpenProvider, Logate also provides Open Banking and Payment Services Directive 2 compatible systems to banks across the region.

“Telecoms companies need the highest possible levels of availability and reliability around their service - their customers won’t tolerate downtime. We were getting more requests to support geo-distributed deployments that could run through any site failure, so we wanted a database that could support that approach easily and still scale. That search led us to Apache Cassandra, and to getting support from DataStax.”

Danilo MišovićTechnical Lead at Logate

The Challenge

More and more companies are undertaking digital transformation initiatives, improving their online services in order to reach more customers. Alongside this, telecom companies are getting more serious with rolling out 5G networks and advanced IoT services. With more online activity and network traffic generated, telecoms carriers have to track user behaviour and ensure that service delivery meets quality and experience expectations.

As part of the 3GPP standards on networking, AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) is essential for telecoms companies as it manages subscriber access and quality of service. Any time a customer connects to use their telecom provider’s services, the AAA server is called into action to authenticate that user, authorize their access to the network or service they are asking for, and then to take into account the amount of traffic that was used by that subscriber.

Logate developed OpenProvider as a Network Function Virtualization (NFV) ready IP Policy Management and Charging Control System, helping telecoms carriers to manage customer access and services. The company built OpenProvider using open source components, able to integrate with any operations support systems and business support systems (OSS/BSS) systems that are implemented.

Predrag Biskupović, CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Logate, commented, “Our approach is based on using open source to provide the best software solutions that will make our customers productive and successful. We choose open source as it fits with our company values - we want to innovate constantly and keep learning, and we want to achieve results in partnership with our customers. We developed OpenProvider for our customers in the telecoms space and we have seen great success. However, our customers wanted to scale up their installations and improve availability, so they could keep up with the digital transformation activities taking place in their operations.”

Logate’s telecoms customers wanted to run their AAA server instances across multiple data center locations to achieve better redundancy and availability levels. Logate had previously used Galera Cluster to support this, but found that this led to performance problems over time when running in multiple locations, and it was hard to update when more capacity was required.

“For single site deployments, our old approach was able to cope, but more of our customers started to request multi-site support with continuous availability and no downtime – even if a whole site went offline. They also were concerned about scaling up across those locations too. With Galera, this would have involved dumping all the tables in an environment, destroying the cluster, creating a whole new cluster with one more node, and then re-importing that database dump. This was not suitable for our customers as it would lead to a long service outage, which is just unacceptable for telecoms companies. It was time to find a new approach,” explained Danilo Mišović, Technical Lead at Logate.

The Solution

Biskupović tasked Mišović and his team with finding a database service that would run fully cloud-native and support deployment across multiple locations. The database would have to scale easily and without downtime, and it would have to be open source.

Mišović and his team looked at multiple options, but decided on Apache Cassandra® as the most suitable solution for their needs. “Our demands were very strict around how to scale and how to run in a geo-distributed environment. According to our benchmarks, Apache Cassandra was the best solution for all our requirements with the best results so we didn't seriously consider any other NoSQL cluster. In addition, it is an open source project, which is another advantage because we use open source solutions in each component of our product,” he explained.

Following a successful evaluation, the Logate team set about adding Cassandra to OpenProvider and rolling out support to the company’s telecoms customers. This enabled Logate to support more complex deployments across multiple data centers, which was becoming a necessary element for many of them over time. “Apache Cassandra allows us to make our applications ready for cloud environments and scale up without any service outage. It automatically balances load across nodes, so you can have a single logical cluster hosted across two or more data centers,” explained Mišović. “For our customers, they get the same experience around OpenProvider but they now get more availability, better redundancy and easier scaling over time.”

As part of the shift to implementing more cloud-native deployments for OpenProvider, the Logate team called on DataStax for support around its Apache Cassandra implementations to get the most detailed advice and best practice guidance around deployments. “We found the educational material around Cassandra from DataStax incredibly helpful to our team as we scaled up our deployments, and we also used DataStax Luna so we could have consulting support available to us. Luna makes it easy for us to get the help we need whenever we need it,” added Mišović.

The Results

Using Apache Cassandra, Logate now supports multiple carrier customers in running their AAA servers on OpenProvider. This is equivalent to supporting around twenty million end-user accounts for telecoms customers in the region.

“From the performance point of view, we can now reach tens of thousands of transactions per second (TPS) with our geo-redundant setup, which was just not possible with our old application technology stack,” said Mišović. “OpenProvider competes with other AAA Server products from some of the biggest names in the telecoms industry, and by using Cassandra, our product is currently the only one that can work in a load-sharing mode across multiple data center locations. This is a huge step forward on the technology side, and it’s a great opportunity for OpenProvider to be implemented by many more telecom customers that face the same problems around running AAA. Using Cassandra, we also don’t have the significant cost for database infrastructure that traditional and proprietary DB vendors would need, so our product leads the market from a cost-efficiency standpoint too.”

Biskupović added, “As an organisation, we are now fully focused on Apache Cassandra as our database of choice. Alongside our work for telecoms carriers with OpenProvider, Logate works across the banking and customer application sectors too, and Cassandra is being deployed in our applications for those markets too.

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