It has been a few days since we released the next version of our flagship product – ZOOM CallREC, version 4.4.1.
It’s a minor release; however there are some important new features and improvements.
Let me briefly describe what has been achieved and how it helps to improve usability, and make CallREC a more robust product.
Multi-Server deployment was already supported by CallREC; however we have improved the setup process itself. Version 4.4.0 already introduced a new installer, but it didn’t specifically support multi-server deployments and you had to do a lot of changes manually. Now during installation you can easily choose what the server role will be, where the other servers are and prepare almost all the required configuration steps. The only step missing now is NFS file sharing; this must still be done manually.
Full Implementation of IPP Libraries
This one is really technical, so what does it mean for “ordinary people”? IPP stands for “Integrated Performance Primitives” and is an Intel software product. Intel defines it as “an extensive library of multicore-ready, highly optimized software functions for digital media and data-processing applications”. Wow!
Basically, Intel provides optimized software libraries for media processing, which we’ve decided to use instead of our existing media processing tools (these libraries were already present in the recently released 4.3 version).
We have replaced the decoding libraries that handle all the G.whatever codecs (G.711, G.722 and G.729). This first step brought us a significant performance boost and now we have made another step—we have replaced the encoding part (the libraries that are responsible for mp3 encoding). We were previously using open source libraries that had occasional issues, which had already caused us long-term pain. Now with IPP we have a much more stable and reliable media encoding part.
The side effect is that we can no longer support the Speex codec for recorded calls. Speex was officially discontinued in version 4.3 (although it was still available) and has now finally been removed. We believe this will not be an issue, since only a few CallREC users ever tried to use it and no one has been using Speex in a production environment.
Genesys Integration Module Improvements
The Genesys Integration Module went through a substantial redesign last year. The vast majority of changes were implemented in the latest 4.3.2 release. Now all of them (and a couple of new ones) have been ported to the 4.4.1 release as well.
Among the changes, such as improved reliability and efficiency in attaching the related call data, there is a really interesting feature—you can choose what external data will be attached and saved in the database (regardless of T-Server properties, attached data or configuration information). Some customers use tens of different attached data, so in some cases we were saving 70-80 different key-value pairs for every call, even if they used just a few.
The database performance impact is obvious. Now we can precisely set up what information will be stored and what will not.
Improved GUI Search Performance for Large Databases
The database and its associated parts are now one of the most closely monitored components and is the focus of a lot of development work. Changes in database structure and related components are planned for the next major releases, but we wanted to improve performance sooner—and on top of the current structure.
Fortunately we were able to implement some tweaks that have a big impact, boosting the database and GUI search performance significantly for external data. The tradeoff is that you need to stick to the recommendations and there are a few small limitations, but it flies!
No software is perfect and CallREC is no exception. There are several bug fixes in the Multimedia Management Tools (MLM), the Migration Tool (a Swiss army knife for upgrading data from one version to another) and in the setup scripts.
Last (but not least), CallREC version 4.4.1 includes Apache Tomcat application server version 6, which itself solves some issues encountered when running GWT based applications—such as ZOOM ScoreCARD.
There’s still a lot of work to do to make CallREC the “best solution in the world”. It’s a challenge for us and we’re working hard to deliver the best we can. Stay tuned—there are loads of exciting new features to come. And of course, we’ll be only too happy to share them with you…