Breakthrough Performance for Global Communications Service Providers

AsiaInfo is the largest business support system (BSS) provider in PRC, and its Telco BSS is a fundamental application for telecom carriers. Performance is critical for this compute-bound application.

Hardware at-a-glance: 4S Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 processor, integrated Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT), Intel® Virtual Raid on CPU, Intel® Optane™ Solid State Drive DC P4800X

AsiaInfo showcases dramatic performance improvements of up to 41 percent1 from its Business Support System (BSS) using the latest-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor. The communications industry reaps the benefits of this combination in the ability to deliver outstanding service quality, even during usage peaks, with competitive advantages in terms of scalability and total cost of ownership.

Communications service providers around the world depend on AsiaInfo as their BSS provider of choice. As the largest BSS provider in China and the second-largest in the world, AsiaInfo is improving the end-user experience through optimized customer-facing operations. Using AsiaInfo BSS for management of product offerings, customers, revenue, and orders gives service providers the benefit of advanced software that is engineered to help take full advantage of the latest features and capabilities of Intel® architecture.

Each successive generation of hardware and software technology increases value to the global communications sector for back-office functionality. To demonstrate how the solution stack from AsiaInfo and Intel exemplifies this trend, this brief describes recent performance improvements and some of the key advances behind them.

Modernizing BSS for a Global Communications Industry
To realize economies of scale, today’s communications service providers continue the trend of recent years to operate across multiple geographies, whether on their own or as part of large communications services groups. In doing so, they typically want to standardize and centralize BSS solutions across multiple regions or countries, to achieve greater efficiencies, consistent service and branding, and faster rollout of new products and services.

In practice, supporting large, diverse service areas with a single BSS presents significant challenges. Performance and scalability are key challenges as providers seek to handle millions of subscribers across large numbers of local operating companies. At the same time, the BSS must offer flexibility as it smoothly brings together the varying needs of different cultures, currencies, and customer expectations.

AsiaInfo has made great strides in modernizing BSS capabilities to meet these requirements. With a solution specifically engineered to operate across large, diverse service areas, AsiaInfo offers capabilities such as true convergence of multiple services (for example, pre-paid and post-paid), real-time charging and actionable business intelligence, and a range of targeted solutions to address specific business challenges.

To maximize the competitive advantage it delivers to its customers, AsiaInfo has engineered the solution for deployment on standards-based Intel architecture. The use of flexible blade servers rather than specialized, proprietary hardware offers communications service providers reduced CAPEX, provides flexibility among vendors, and allows for open-ended upgradeability when needed.

Demonstrated Performance Improvements to Power Growing Service
High performance, scalability, and low latency are vital to customer-facing operational functions such as those supported by AsiaInfo BSS. Seamlessly serving large numbers of charging and recharging operations in real time, for example, is critical to the end-user experience, which has important implications for customer satisfaction and retention. Optimization for large numbers of highly capable processor cores in the new Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor helps deliver a speedup of up to 1.41x1 compared to the previous generation. In addition, configuring the system with SSDs based on Intel® Optane™ technology increases performance further, providing an increase of up to 2.21x over the baseline system.

“AsiaInfo BSS delivers dramatic benefits to our customers using the latest Intel® architecture. The new Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor offers up to a 41 percent performance improvement,1 which helps communications service providers handle peak traffic loads smoothly while providing high reliability and cost savings.”

This performance increase emphasizes the potential benefit to communications service providers from refreshing hardware, even from servers that are just a year or two old. The combination of technologies in current-generation hardware, which is discussed in more detail below, accelerates workloads to ensure headroom for service providers as they add more customers and new services.

Advancing Communications Services Through Intel® Architecture Synergies
AsiaInfo’s BSS solution meets service providers’ current needs while positioning them for the future by taking advantage of the latest hardware features and capabilities from Intel. Innovations from both companies individually are enhanced further by ongoing collaboration that continues to improve outcomes for communications service providers.

The Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 processor provides the foundation for server hardware that drives faster response times for AsiaInfo BSS workloads. A new core microarchitecture on 14nm process technology debuts a lower-latency memory subsystem, up to 28 cores per socket, and increased inter-processor, memory, and I/O bandwidth compared to its predecessors. This microarchitecture also incorporates an array of application-specific instructions and accelerators. Together, these features position communications services providers to modernize their data centers, delivering powerful performance and maximum scalability.

Faster Encryption: Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT)

Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) is a set of scalable hardware accelerators that helps AsiaInfo speed up operations related to encryption to protect sensitive customer data. Testing showed a speedup of approximately 1.29X from enabling Intel QAT.1

By allowing Intel QAT to handle the encryption workloads on the system, the processor cores are available to respond more gracefully to the requirements associated with the ever-increasing data sets from growing end-user populations, helping AsiaInfo BSS achieve the following:

  • Maximize the number of simultaneous secure sessions that the system can support
  • Increase secure server throughput to handle larger transaction rates
  • Optimize the efficiency of the overall system for utilization of storage and processor resources

Intel QuickAssist Technology functionality is exposed through an API provided by Intel and utilized by AsiaInfo to accelerate encryption. In addition to enhancing the security of payment details and other personal data for end users, this capability also provides market differentiation for AsiaInfo BSS by enabling greater efficiency and scalability of these protections with a given amount of server resources.

Advanced Reliability: Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU
AsiaInfo BSS also benefits from Intel® hardware platform features that reduce latency and power requirements associated with reliable storage access. The Intel Xeon Scalable processor incorporates the Intel® Volume Management Device (Intel® VMD), which functions as an integrated RAID controller for solid-state drives (SSDs) that use the non-volatile memory express* (NVMe*) connectivity standard for PCI Express*.

The Intel Xeon Scalable processor incorporates Intel® Volume Management Device, a new addition that functions as an integrated RAID controller by means of Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU, an optional upgrade. Because this RAID solution does not require host bus adapters or auxiliary power solutions, it is a cost-effective approach to deploying a highly reliable system for the business-critical services handled by AsiaInfo BSS.

The combination of Intel VMD and Intel VROC provides the AsiaInfo BSS environment with outstanding performance and the superior data reliability of hardware RAID, together with the upgradeability and simplicity of software RAID.

Accelerated Storage: Intel® Optane™ Technology
Testing of the AsiaInfo BSS also highlights the performance benefits of Intel® Optane™ technology, which is designed to bridge the gap between the cost limitations of deploying DRAM at massive scale and the performance limitations of conventional NAND. Intel® Optane™ SSDs provide fast storage with performance characteristics similar to system memory, opening up the ability of AsiaInfo BSS to handle customer data at greater scale than would otherwise be possible, without creating a system bottleneck.

Intel Optane technology accelerates AsiaInfo BSS workloads with storage-tier innovation that helps eliminate storage bottlenecks and ensure lightning-fast response times. As a result, service providers can increase end-user density per server, reducing the effective cost per transaction. This capability can contribute significantly to the overall cost efficiency of operations among AsiaInfo customers.

The AsiaInfo Database* (ADB*) that underlies the AsiaInfo BSS solution delivers significant performance benefits from the higher IOPS rates in both read and write functionality of Intel Optane SSDs. That high-speed, low-latency access to data complements the advances in inter-processor, memory, and I/O bandwidth that are achieved by the Intel Xeon Scalable processor. Together, these advances help ensure that communications service providers can depend on AsiaInfo BSS running on Intel architecture-based systems to keep their businesses running smoothly, even in the face of growing subscriber bases and transient usage peaks.

View the infographic ›

Conclusion
The synergies between AsiaInfo BSS, the Intel Xeon Scalable processor, and Intel Optane SSDs provide high performance and scalability that enable communications service providers to maintain high service levels during usage peaks while optimizing results from their infrastructure investments. The flexible solution architecture of AsiaInfo BSS deployed on standards-based Intel architecture also allows for on-demand expandability of solution capacity, positioning communications service providers for continuing advantages in CAPEX and OPEX as their business needs grow.

Ongoing work between AsiaInfo and Intel is optimizing the code further to fully take advantage of the higher-density cores of the latest Intel® Xeon® processors, high-performance Intel Optane SSDs, and other emerging hardware technologies. As these optimizations are incorporated into future versions of AsiaInfo BSS, communications service providers will continue to reap the rewards of this collaboration.

Product and Performance Information

1

AsiaInfo Telco BSS: AsiaInfo Telco BSS workload. OS: Red Hat Enterprise Linux* 7.3. Testing by Intel and AsiaInfo, May 2017.

Baseline: 4x Intel® Xeon® processor E7-8890 v4 @ 2.2GHz (24 cores), Intel® Turbo Boost Technology and Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology enabled, 256 GB total memory (16 slots, 16GB, 1600 MT/s, DDR4), 2x Intel® SSD Data Center Family P3700 Series (2 TB).

New 1 (for general workload benchmarking and Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) benchmarking): Intel® Xeon® Platinum processor 8180 @ 2.5GHz (28 cores), Intel Turbo Boost Technology and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology enabled, Intel® C627 Chipset, 384 GB total memory (24 slots, 16GB, 2666 MT/s, DDR4), 2x Intel SSD Data Center Family P3700 Series (2 TB).

New 2 (for Intel® Optane™ technology benchmarking): Intel Xeon Platinum processor 8180 @ 2.5 GHz (28 cores), Intel Turbo Boost Technology and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology enabled, Intel C627 Chipset, 384 GB total memory (24 slots, 16 GB, 2666 MT/s, DDR4), 2x Intel SSD Data Center Family P3700 Series (2 TB), 2x Intel® Optane™ SSD Data Center P4800X Series (375 GB).

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel® microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/performance/datacenter.

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