'OptimaData offers both the expertise and flexibility we need.'
Voiceworks devises and develops innovative communication and collaboration solutions for the business market. A healthy database environment is crucial in this respect. Because database management just is not their core business, Voiceworks has decided to outsource this to OptimaData. Bas Roos, Infrastructure Engineer at Voiceworks, explains why.
Services for SMEs
Voiceworks is the Dutch branch of the European group Enreach. All organizations within the group contribute to intelligent, integrated ICT and communication solutions for the business market. In its fifteen years of existence, Voiceworks has grown from idea to market leader. We are now one of the largest players in the Dutch telecom and ICT market. We support our partners with our team of more than 350 employees, so that they in turn can provide the best services to SMEs.
We supply a large number of solutions. For example, we were one of the first organizations to introduce Managed VoIP, a telephone exchange in the cloud. But of course we also offer mobile subscriptions, internet connections and eSIM. To manage our entire offering, we also developed an all-in-one management platform, Operator, which allows resellers and wholesalers to manage their entire administration, from invoicing to customer management and from service management to a customer service tool. It goes without saying that we are also responding to the need to communicate more and more remotely. Our online meeting platform Coligo MEETINGS Pro allows SMEs to safely start video and chat conversations.
No services without databases
In order to be able to deliver all this, we have a lot of servers running, and with that a lot of databases. Just take Operator, our portal. With all the end users of our nationwide partner channel, you're talking about a huge volume of calls being handled every day. Each call produces a Call Detail Record, in which details about the call are recorded: when did it take place, from which number to which number and so on. But also information about data traffic, for example, is recorded. All this data must be stored in databases. And those databases have to keep running, for without databases we cannot provide our services.
Fulltime service and broad knowledge
Until recently, we have always built and supported our databases ourselves. We employ people who can do that well, but it became more and more a full-time job and is no longer something you do as a side job. You can then choose to set up your own team that is concerned with this full-time. But if you want to make sure that your database continues to run 24/7 and that issues are resolved at night and in the weekend, you're quickly talking about a team of four. Moreover, we are now using MySQL database management system, but we are not familiar with that technique and want to be open to the best solution. Which, in turn, we do not have the knowledge for.
Solution without a large investment
That's why we started looking for a partner who could help us, without having to directly invest heavily in our own team of four or more employees. We invited a number of potential suppliers, including OptimaData. At OptimaData we immediately had the best feeling. They not only have in-depth knowledge of MySQL, but also of other techniques. If we would want to switch to something else, they have the right people. We started with a relatively limited cooperation: one day a week support and 24/7 support in case of emergencies. This has now been extended to two days a week and we are considering outsourcing the complete management of our databases to them.
Before we started, OptimaData did a QuickScan. This means that they do an in-depth analysis of all aspects of our database environment, including related applications. Fortunately, the overall conclusion was that we had done a good job. Nevertheless, a number of points came out that allowed us to implement improvements immediately with relatively little effort. In consultation, we made a number of improvements ourselves and a number of improvements were implemented by the OptimaData team.
Regular checks of agile environment
Since then, regular checks are carried out, checking whether everything is still running smoothly and whether there are things within the environment that need optimization. And that is important to us. We have a large development organization and quite a few developers are working on our products and services, and therefore also on our databases. We work very agile. This means software development in short, orderly periods, which in practice means that something can change more often. If you look at our databases today, and you do so again in a month, it may well be that changes have been made. OptimaData now monitors this on a regular basis.
In addition, they are working on larger projects. For instance, we have a database environment that is set up in such a way that if one database dies, another one starts up. Some time elapses before that failover system becomes operational. We have built a new platform for this, on which three databases are running continuously and are keeping track of each other. This is where we need to migrate to, and OptimaData will help us to realize this migration.
Knowledge of PostgreSQL
At the moment we want to use a new application that requires PostgreSQL as database instead of MySQL. We ourselves have little knowledge of PostgreSQL, and at OptimaData they have that knowledge extensively. If we indicate which characteristics our database must meet in terms of availability, redundancy and data security, for example, they can recommend how the database should be set up. It is then up to us to specify a GO, so that they can build and manage it for us.
No core business
For us, our database environments are absolutely crucial, we want to guarantee the quality. For us it is a means to an end, it is not our core business. We are not going to provide better services by managing our databases ourselves. We can rather spend our time on those things that add value to our wholesale partners and customers. And yes, a good database manager is important in that respect. You only know how important it is when you have a bad one and your applications fall down. We don't want to risk that.
The cooperation with OptimaData is very pleasant. We are a relatively young organization and so are they. When you approach a large corporate organization, you are often limited to the internal processes of that organization and have to deal with a product portfolio with very tight edges. OptimaData can offer the flexibility we need. Because despite the fact that we now have a global team of eight hundred, we are still not bureaucratic. For example, when the corona crisis seemed to take on serious proportions, we wanted to market our online meeting platform Coligo MEETINGS free of charge, so that people could collaborate more easily remotely. We thought of that on a Friday afternoon, we all worked on that over the weekend and on Monday we went live. That characterizes our organization and also requires a certain degree of flexibility from everyone in the organization. That indicates that a database administrator who works with ticket systems, strict procedures and long turnaround times does not suit us. OptimaData is not such an organization, as OptimaData is very flexible in its collaboration.