PRODUCTS - Feature Story

Quantum's CROME product beats ADC's Metrica NPR in head to head competition

06.Sep.02-- Nextel Communications Inc. a major US wireless phone provider, has notified Quantum Systems Integrators, Inc., aka QuantumSI, that Quantum's CROME product was chosen by Nextel as the preferred solution for both performance management (PM) and fixed network element (FNE) analysis for Nextel's national infrastructure.

Doug Smith, vice president of national technical operations for Nextel, informed Quantum that its CROME product achieved a direct and decisive win over ADC's Metrica NPR. As a testimonial to the power of Quantum's CROME solution members of Nextel's core performance management selection committee stated that it would take at least several years of development for ADC's product to meet the current functionality and performance that Quantum's CROME product exhibited during both the competition and a concurrent production demo reporting on 15% of Nextel's infrastructure.

The CROME software suite is a best in its class decision support system that allows both land-line and wireless service providers to quickly analyze capacity, trends and faults for any network. This allows wireless providers to proactively tune, adjust, reassign, or increase capacity to meet exacting quality of service levels at the lowest possible equipment expenditure rate.

Quantum a small high technology company participated in a direct face off with ADC and outperformed ADC's flagship PM product Metrica NPR in every facet of the evaluation. The competition was requested by Nextel with the parameters that each company load one full month of performance data for fifteen (19) top level switches, composed of two (2) Motorola iDEN OMCs, (13) thirteen Nortel MSC/HLRs, (2) DAPs, and (2) MDGs plus associated infrastructure. In addition Nextel provided 64 reports, used by Nextel to currently run there operations, that it wished demonstrated by both companies in the controlled environment of Nextel's Reston, VA conference room.

In less than five business days Quantum loaded all the data sets, over 24 GB of raw data, built up the full suite of requested Nextel reports, added new DSS projections, and evaluated/corrected several Nextel reports and formula's which were improperly constructed. Quantum successfully demonstrated 57 of the 64 reports (90%). The remaining seven (7) reports where not implemented due to questions about issues in their formulas and report descriptions which were not answered by Nextel prior to the competition.

During the demo each vendor had a full day to demonstrate the requested capabilities including but not limited to the requested reports, actual ad-hoc report runs, ability to additional feature not requested in the demo parameters, and technical Q&A.

Not only did Quantum demonstrate the requested data, but Quantum also linked it seamlessly in a multi-server environment with another CROME server that has been running for 35+ months in other areas of Nextel. The combined multi-server system covered fifty three (53) top level switches, composed of nine (9) Motorola iDEN OMCs, twenty nine (29) Nortel MSC/HLRs, six (6) DAPs, and nine (9) MDGs plus associated infrastructure. This staggering amount of data, approximately 15% of Nextel's total US operations, was easily managed by two dual CPU Sun Microsystems servers. The two CROME system platform's used in the DEMO were based on a) a current generation Sun Enterprise[tm] 280R server and a 660 GB Sun StorEdge[tm] T3 disk array. and b) a previous generation (i.e. End of Line) Sun Ultra[tm] 60 workstation with 72 GB of internal SCSI disk.

This ultra-fast data mining system easily covered over 3,150 individual sites (7,700 sectors) across several western states, plus the specific competition areas of Illinois and Florida. A typical full ad-hoc CROME report, for example one used to analyze and manage the minutes of use across all sites in the multi-server, completes in less than 4.5 seconds. When running the same report, but limiting to competition areas of Illinois and Florida, i.e. 790 sites, typical reports, i.e. full ad-hoc reports, completed in just over one second.

Quantum, which books less than 2.4M in annual sales, outperformed a much larger multi-national company ADC, that averages 2.4B in annual sales. However this is not so much a story of "David vs. Goliath", but a testament to the power, ingenuity and flexibility of Quantum's a best in its class performance management (PM) software suite CROME.

Quantum's chief technology officer was asked what the recent win by Quantum's CROME over ADC's Metrica NPR by Nextel Communications, Inc. meant.

"It is really very gratifying that all of our [Quantum] engineering ideas, which were merely white papers in the mid-90's, have been turned into real world products applications that all inter-operate. One key point I would like to highlight, CROME was written in such a generic fashion despite the initial sales we made to Nortel based GSM wireless operators it worked flawlessly for Motorola iDEN based carriers in subsequent domestic and international sales without having to alter one line of code in the core system.

Despite the fact that we have yet to ink a final deal with Nextel for a turn-key national CROME license, we have high expectations for the product with or without Nextel coming on board prior to years end."

During the demo, unlike the Metrica product, the CROME system was constantly capturing statistical data flows in real-time from 34 of the 53 top level switches, plus a multitude of ancillary network elements and the data was immediately presented to end-users via the standard CROME client interface, real-time GIS variance maps, web pages, and WAP capable wireless phones. Quantum would have integrated all 53 switches in CROME's real-time ensemble, however one of the conditions of the head to head competition imposed by Nextel was that both vendors load static data sets and not interface directly with the equipment used in the competition areas of Illinois and Florida.

It should be noted that the CROME system was averaging 1.3 full ad-hoc reports/minute (this number rises to 2.6 full ad-hoc reports/minute including scheduled batch processes) during the eight hours of the formal competition ( 9am-5pm). Historical analysis shows that during the two busiest days across 2002 of the CROME demo at Nextel averaged 2.2 and 2.0 (these numbers rise to 3.2 and 3.1 full ad-hoc reports/minute including scheduled batch processes) full ad-hoc reports per minute averaged across 9am to 5pm, i.e. company business hours. Note, these numbers exclude all: static web reports, WAP phone reports, real-time GIS reports, and Airgen (i.e. CM) worksheet reports. The bottom line, Quantum was able to demonstrate an extremely responsive, i.e. ad-hoc reporting in seconds, real-world PM reporting suite, operating under a true production load, with the reports that the customer specified.

During the competition the use of CROME's integrated GIS features and multidimensional reporting along with built in high speed Erlang-B and Erlang-C functions proved to be a strong addition to Quantum's core CROME system, allowing dynamic "what if" analysis. Unlike all of Quantum's major competitors every report is a true ad-hod report which hold live data for interactive manipulation within the client interface. Although Quantum can easily generate canned reports to static web pages, due to raw speed of the CROME client interface the web reporting gateway feature is rarely used by Quantum's customers.

CROME is a proven solution that has been in operation for over five years in full production settings, ideal for Network Optimization including: Network performance, Frequency and Capacity planning, Handoff parameter and System performance analysis, Capacity / Handoff/ Drop / Block performance review (daily, period, or bouncing busy hour), and Drive Testing on Single Sites, Multi-Site Clusters, Switch Level, and Multi-Switch National Infrastructures.