Business Link International - BLI
(now BLI Messaging)
Business Link International (BLI), based in Providence, RI, is our oldest client. In fact, the principals of Veeda Software, LLC have been doing work for BLI long before the founding of our company. Some years ago BLI was having problems with its bulk Fax delivery systems. The system was developed to deliver a high volume of Fax messages from an Access database using Brooktrout Fax boards. Management at BLI contracted with a consulting firm to bring the demonstration system up to the design specifications of being able to continuously feed a T1 line (24 regular phone lines). At low volume it worked fine, but as the workload increased to an operational level it failed in a very ungraceful manner… the program just crashed! BLI had a whole room full of these machines, each connected to a T1, and it could not support the load. The company gave up on their former consultant. They called for help to a Veeda engineer who was then working at his former place of employment.
When our people arrived on the scene it quickly became apparent that the product had a basic design flaw. Rather than put a patch on the problem, as it was initially perceived to be the solution, we determined that a software redesign was needed. The crashes were caused by the program that called the Access database. This same routine was also tasked with controlling the Fax boards. Access was too slow, the program had too much work to do. When everything bogged down the system, it died.
In the new design a SQL Server database replaced Access and three new programs were written to manage the database and the Fax transmission: the WebLaunch, Manager, and Worker. The WebLaunch program receives requests from BLI’s customers. It then stores the Fax message to be transmitted and the recipient list in the SQL database. As its final task WebLaunch schedules jobs for the next stage of operations. It should be noted that WebLaunch is not running in the machines that contain the Fax boards.
The Manager issues a transmission job to one or more machines with the Fax boards. The sole chore for Manager is to schedule work, not to perform it. Manager makes sure that these transmission jobs are initiated on the machines that have the Fax boards.
The Worker program is a small piece of code in each of those machines that have the installed Fax boards with 24 outbound lines attached to each one. The job Worker does is to feed the Fax board. That is the only thing it does. By distributing the work load to WebLaunch, Manager, and Worker we assure that BLI’s system has massive throughput with high uptime performance. At the time when the engagement was completed the system supported over 280 (12 T1s) outbound Fax lines. Today that same system can handle over 1,200. The result of the engagement meant that fewer machines were needed to support a dramatically higher workload while maintaining extremely high operational availability.
In addition to the faxing component, Veeda was engaged to perform an upgrade by integrating more powerful boards into the BLI communications complex. We took this time to further streamline their system. We also added the capability to deliver telephone voice messages. The voice platform was built on the existing telephony framework, we had built. This feature was officially released early in 2007 and it has provided a new and exciting source of revenue for BLI. Because we were doing much of the development for them, over time we have became a major support hub for the company.