Cover by Francesco Cesarini, Simon Thompson

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A Mobile Subscriber Database Example

Think of the infrastructure your mobile phone provider needs to manage your account. Every time you send an SMS, your provider must perform a database lookup to ensure that you are a subscriber who is up-to-date with your payments. Every time you authenticate your mobile terminal to start a data session, a similar lookup is required to ensure that you have a data package subscription. Every time you want to use your phone’s premium-rated text capability to, for instance, vote for your favorite artist in a televised singing competition, you text the number of the artist you want to vote for and when the mobile operator receives the message, the underlying system needs to perform a subscriber lookup to ensure that your account is enabled to send and receive premium-rated messages. In this example, where the operator will get hundreds of thousands of SMSs in a very short period, the system needs to handle huge bursts without a degradation of service. Similarly, picture a campaign in which the operator sends an SMS to millions of subscribers as quickly as it can; each of these requests requires a lookup before the SMS can be processed to ensure that the recipient is a customer, thus avoiding intranetwork connectivity fees, so not only does this subscriber database need to handle millions of lookups each day, but it also must support massive sustained request bursts. Needless to say, Erlang is the perfect fit for these types of applications. Now that ...

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