Development Platform

100% of DOCS® has been developed utilizing Microsoft C# .NET, Microsoft SQL server and Microsoft Server OS. This platform combination is considered the best of breed and is among the most widely used combinations in modern programming. The selection of this platform provides RedCard with a broad base of talent to choose from and it makes an attractive choice for career minded individuals.

Architectural Highlights

Extremely large scale redundant distributed platforms are still rare in modern system development. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are famously scalable and redundant; however, if you dig into their architecture you quickly find that they had to invent their own proprietary infrastructure subsystems to meet their scalability requirements. RedCard quickly determined that they too must build their own proprietary infrastructure subsystems in order to achieve the DOCS® target scalability and redundancy requirements. The following paragraphs highlight some of the infrastructure subsystems and unique services that were developed in support of that effort.

COD – The Cluster Operations Daemon is a proprietary distributed service utilizing a dynamic role based operational scheme. Servers are organized into groups with specific roles. These groups are then controlled by COD to dynamically adjust roles based on system utilization and for specific highly CPU intensive batch processes. COD provides all core scheduling, centralized virtual resource locking services, singular centralized configuration management, dynamic provisioning and de-provisioning of commodity class servers, automated failover services, automatic throttle for specific operations based on configuration, logging services, task specific timeout service, task level capturing of CPU, memory utilization, and length of execution for trending and automated rebalancing of operations based on history.

DAL – Data Access Layer is a proprietary data management solution developed specifically for the DOCS® platform. The DAL wraps the clustered SQL servers in order to provide high performance native C# data management services. The DAL provides many never before seen data indexing and management techniques that allow DOCS™ programmers to solve highly complex problems in elegant easy to read implementations. The DAL has an extremely efficient serialization engine that outperforms standard .NET serialization by a multiple of 6 in terms of speed and by a multiple of over 100 in terms of resulting data stream size. Serialization is crucial for performance in most distributed systems and probably more so for the DOCS™ data management architecture. Lastly, the tight integration and strongly typed nature of the DAL allow RedCard developers to adjust the DOCS® data model without fear of data model conflicts, which are detected during the build process.

Adaptive Document Scheduling – DOCS® utilizes service level agreements, document type, document destination (both individual address and destination zone), production type, facility eligibility, postal qualifications and facility capacity to make document scheduling decisions. The primary objective of document scheduling is to provide the house holding function that crosses many days based on maximum hold times that result from observing service level agreements. RedCard generally refers to this as “Rolling Hold” because documents are scheduled on a “Rolling” basis to maximize house holding, postal optimization and production capacities.

Web 2.0 – 100% of DOCS® is controlled via a full AJAX “cloud based” web application. Because DOCS® lives in the “cloud”, it allows all functionality to be available from anywhere at any time, yet it maintains a traditional desk top application look, feel and responsiveness.

Report Design/Render Engine – DOCS® provides a fully featured banded report writer optimized for the special needs of enterprise scalability and design flexibility. Infinite imposition and rotation and infinite sub-report layering are among the key features that allow DOCS® to provide unparalleled control and flexibility required by the demanding environments where DDOCS® is utilized.

Rules Engine – The DOCS® rules engine and GUI have been implemented and designed for ease of expansion and speed. The data model is completely generic and only minor programming is required to implement new rules. It is also important to note that rules are “Point In Time” and that active rules are never actually edited. Rule changes are always proposed then committed for strict time periods and thus DOCS® has the ability run production and test documents for any “Point In Time”. The “Point In Time” approach also leaves a complete audit trail for historical purposes and the security surrounding the commit of a rule allows for easy to manage workflow for final rule commitment. The “Engine” is modeled after bitmapped indexes that are used by most modern enterprise database servers in order to provide the speed required for real time rule application during massive batch processing operations. This means that DOCS® can remain very flexible in terms of rule application due to the real time nature of rule application.
File/PDF Archive – The DOCS® file/pdf archive subsystem was designed to scale massively and yet keep archival costs to a minimum by using an elegant decoupled data architecture and commodity NAS devices.
FITS – The File Integration and Translation System is both a translation system for ASCII data files and a data mining tool for fully composed documents. It is responsible for standardizing and normalizing all inbound data and creates DOCS® compatible data for consumption.

Scalability

DOCS® was designed from inception to provide a “cloud based” solution for document management services to any number of production facilities. The hardware architecture used is a combination of the highest end SAN devices to the lowest end commodity servers to provide a robust solution with no single point of failure. All major features of DOCS® that require massive scalability have been designed in such a way that adding more capacity or increasing speed is a simple matter of adding more commodity grade servers into the server farm “Instance”.
Like all large scale “cloud based” services, the initial cost of infrastructure is large, but the incremental cost of adding additional clients is very small. It is anticipated that DOCS® will only need one “Instance” per continental region. For example, the US, Europe, Asia, and South America represent logical continental regions. Each DOCS® “Instance” will behave almost entirely autonomously with only minor coordination with the “Master Instance” and the other “Peer Instances”. Each DOCS® “Instance” may optionally “Ship” documents to the other instances based the Adaptive Document Scheduling rules.