Swift - Visualization of Communication Services at Scale

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Swift is a platform for large-scale visualization of network and transaction-oriented services. It provides interactive views using maps, statistical charts, tables, and network diagrams. The user interface was engineered to run on computers ranging from Powerwall displays to iPhones and other smartphones for remote data access.  Views in Swift are linked both to each other, and to external documents and operations support systems.  For example, an operator can study the impact of a fault within Swift, and easily refer to vendor-supplied documents that explain how to interpret and clear errors.

Its capabilities include:

  • ability to show customer impacts of events
  • visual querying and drill-down
  • runs on standard web clients
  • views are generated on the fly from data and metadata
  • integrates realtime information with logs
  • data manager scales to over 400,000,000 events in a single view
  • AT&T vcodex compression can retain years of raw data, e.g. for life cycle analysis

Swift has been applied to a wide range of production services, such as Internet hosting, Internet content distribution, VoIP, WiFi access management, managed security, enterprise call detail analysis. Prototypes were also made using non-communication data: retail point-of-sale transactions, and public health data collected from external news sources.

Swift runs on a proprietary time-series database that can upload and store hundreds of millions of events per day. Typically these are statistics that describe the performance of network and computer system elements. Subject to data retention policies, it is technically feasible to retain detail records of these statistics for a year or longer, using column-oriented compression methods. 

Recent work has been aimed at the visualization of large sets of time series (through a collaboration with Tamara Munzner and Peter McLachlan at the University of British Columbia); inference of faults from network dependency graphs; and a speech-enabled interface. Visitors can see these pilot projects in our lab.

The overall goal of Swift is to integrate and visualize massive data sets, in an innovative, practical software system that provides  transparent data access to AT&T operations and its customers. 

The AT&T Visualizer is the production service offered to enterprise customers that provides visual monitoring and interactive querying of their managed services (Internet hosting, WiFi, managed routers) in Internet Data Centers.  It is provided within the AT&T Business Direct Portal

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Technical Documents

LiveRAC: interactive visual exploration of system management time-series data
Stephen North, Eleftherios Koutsofios, Peter McLachlan, Tamara Munzner
CHI '08: Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems,  ACM,  pp 1483--1492,  2008.  [PDF]  [BIB]

Visualizing Large-Scale Telecommunication Networks and Services
Eleftherios Koutsofios, Stephen North, Russell Truscott, Daniel Keim
VIS '99: Proceedings of the conference on Visualization '99,  IEEE Computer Society Press,  pp 457--461,  1999.  [PDF]  [BIB]

Patents

System and method for large-scale data visualization, November 18, 2008


Project Members

Eleftherios Koutsofios

Russell Truscott

Stephen North

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