What it does
Automation Consultants’ CDR Comparator compares two sets of data records to check whether they are the same, and highlights any differences. The tool’ s main use is to compare two sets of call detail records (CDR’s) in telecom billing systems, but it can be adapted to compare a wide range of data sets.
Why it’s useful
In telecoms billing, whenever an element of the billing system (e.g. a switch, rater, or mediator) is upgraded or replaced, there is a requirement to test that the new element functions in the same way as regards billing accuracy as the old one did.
For example, during a given timeframe, the telecom company’s customers will make a certain number of calls. It is necessary to ensure that the company’s billing system will generate the same set of bills for this set of calls with the new or upgraded element as it did with the old element.
To ensure this, telecom companies often run the new and old elements of a billing system in parallel (a parallel run) for a trial period and compare the output of both elements to ensure that the new one is producing the desired output. Billing systems typically produce very large volumes of data, and this is where the CDR Comparator is useful.
The CDR Comparator can compare large volumes of output from a new billing component with equivalent output from an older component. Of course the format of the data put out by each component may be different, so the CDR Comparator extracts from each pair of records only the items which need to be compared, and compares each item (or field) in the first record with the corresponding item in the second record.
The user defines how the comparison is done. The user sprecifies which fields in the first dataset are to be compared to which ones in the second dataset, and specifies any conversions necessary. For example if the date is stored in the formatt ddmmyy in the first set of data, and yyyymmdd in the second, the CDR Comparator can be configured to make the necessary conversion.
How it works
Use of the CDR Comparator is divided into three steps:
1. Specify the comparison. The fields which are to be compared are defined, along with any necessary conversions.
2. Run the comparison
3. Analyse the results.
The results are stored in a database and are displayed via a web browser, which facilitates teamswork – anyone with the right credentials may access the results via their browser.
The results are presented initially at a summary level, then by clicking on certain figures, the user can display more detailed results.
- Various file formats can be read:
- CSV / IPDR
- ASN1 NCDR
The results user interface is defined using hyper links which start from the highest level, which shows a summary of the number of records compared, the number which were the same, the number which were different, the number in set 1 but not in 2 and the number in 2 but not in 1. From this summary screen, the user can drill down through various levels of results to individual records (see screenshot below).
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Founded in 2000, Automation Consultants (AC) is an IT services and software company with a mission to improve the speed and reduce the cost of IT project deployment by implementing automation across the software life cycle. Committed to helping companies optimise their business performance and customer service, AC develops and deploys advanced software automation solutions. Customers include BSkyB, HSBC, Invensys, Orange, EverythingEverywhere and Vodafone.