Do Not Call List Puts More Pressure On Gryphon - InformationWeek

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Do Not Call List Puts More Pressure On Gryphon

It's using a new server network to handle nearly a half-billion calls daily.

The launch of the national Do Not Call registry in October brought with it a tremendous increase in demand for compliance systems from Gryphon Networks Corp., which instituted a new server network to handle the nearly half-billion calls it now handles daily.

Gryphon routes outbound telemarketing calls for about 350 companies, including Allied Mortgage, Banker's Life, Citigroup, Harris Bank, and Star Gas & Propane, and must provide speedy analysis of the outbound calls to ensure that the numbers don't violate the registry.

The company handles thousands of concurrent transaction requests and must be able to determine whether a submitted telephone number can be called or not within 400 milliseconds, so the outbound telemarketer can know the result before the first ring is initiated.

With Gryphon realizing the demands on its network would exponentially increase as the registry went live, it decided to upgrade an older Compaq ProLiant line using Windows NT Server 4.0, and looked at all the major server vendors before deciding to install two Unisys ES7000 servers running Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition and SQL Server 2000 database.

A key to the decision was the scalability of the ES7000 servers, says Rick Boudrieau, Gryphon's chief technology officer. Each server was installed with 16 Xeon processors and can be upgraded as needed, four processors at a time, up to 32 per server. "If our load increases, it's a simple thing of putting another blade in the box," Boudrieau says.

Gryphon was also able to partition the workload so that one server at its Norwood, Mass., headquarters, operates as the primary server, and the second, in Atlanta, constantly replicates the data so the company can instantly switch systems if needed.

Gryphon began evaluating platforms in June, implemented a test system at Microsoft's lab in Waltham, Mass., in July, qualified the full system in December, and went live the first week of January, Boudrieau says.

The impact of the national registry was tremendous because of the level of fines a company can receive for any illegal call and for the volume of information that must be analyzed.

"When we were working with individual states, there were hundreds of thousands of numbers or many even 2 million, but that's still a manageable process even for the smaller guys in this industry," he says. "But when we switched to the federal list, you have to check a number on 56 million possible scenarios--and it's a daunting task."

With Gryphon's system, a telemarketer for a customer calls the network using a toll-free number and providing a PIN for tracking purposes. The telemarketer is then prompted to make a call, and Gryphon must check the number to see if it's on the registry or if the time of the call could violate a curfew for a specific time zone.

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