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Got Bare Metal? We have Blueprints. TV, DevOps and Scalable Container Workflows


August 20, 2018 - 0 Comments

The Cisco SP Video Software & Solutions team is energized and ready to go with over eighteen impressive demos for IBC 2018.

One set of demos features our Video Processing Solutions in a containerized format, running on and off-premise. These solutions are built from Virtual DCM (vDCM) applications combined with Dataminer Media Manager control software, powered by DataMiner® from our strategic partner, Skyline Communications.

For more, visit Stand 1.A71 or get in touch with the listed authors below on LinkedIn.

 

Bert Van der Linden, Bart Van Daele, Brian Ring, Elke Hungenaert, Fabio Souza, Gaurav Rishi

FROM SIMPLICITY TO COMPLEXITY; from complexity to agility; and from agility back to simplicity.

Over two decades of video workflows, that’s the road we’ve traveled. Or was it just the past few years?

At first, we racked-and-stacked devices in a media data center. It’s not a simple task, but by and large a known one. When targets, workflows and outcomes are fixed and defined in advance, we know how to get it done.

But computing technologies, viewing behaviors, and industry structures are changing rapidly.

The number of TV channels and streaming video applications have exploded, driving a diverse range of new workflows by various value chain participants. Here’re examples:

  1. Live linear ABR streaming; 
  1. Live linear transport stream delivery with stat mux;
  1. Low-latency push ABR streaming with disaster recovery & ABR sync profiles; 
  1. Just-in-time stream packaging from a scaled-up cloud DVR back-end; and there are many more. 

So, how can service providers achieve greater agility, scalability and visibility in their headend video workflows without the complexity? Here’s an outline for our approach.

First, Micro-services on Virtualized Architectures.

While Virtualized encoding architectures helped us move from fixed hardware and appliances to more flexible video software-based architectures, these VM-centric models haven’t achieved all of the hoped-for benefits that micro-services provides from a video software perspective. 

In particular, they haven’t achieved:

1) Agnostic compute; or

2) Step-change improvements in portability & pool-ability. 

Enter Containerized Video.

What is a container? It’s a way to run application software in an isolated package that comes with everything needed to run it. Containerization is also referred to as operating-system-level virtualization. This architecture helps to achieve truly portable, compute-agnostic software-based video infrastructure.

Compared to Virtual Machines, containers are more granular, portable, and faster to startup. Also, containers can operate on so-called bare metal servers avoiding ‘wasted compute’ from the VM approach.

But now we have complexity again. Containers? How do we spin them up and configure them?

To accomplish that, Container Orchestration Engines play a key role. Our Blueprints are standardized on Kubernetes, sometimes abbreviated to “K8s”. Container orchestration enables multiple micro-services to be chained together to design and execute complex video workflows.

But more is required to make this scalable and operational.

Deployment and Automation Playbooks. 

To make it truly scalable, we need to add Deployment to the mix. For this, our solution has the flexibility to execute two separate scripts, one for a basic application install and another for provisioning more advanced, scalable configurations. We can also combine those two functions into a single script.

These can be written using frameworks like Red Hat® Ansible® Automation or any other framework that our customers need. (For readers interested in more on the topic of scalable container video workflows, please make Stand 1.A71 a priority.) 

Last, Operational Visibility.

This new era of video infrastructure using containers and micro-services still needs to integrate seamlessly into technology operations as they are currently architected by our customers. 

As a result, we have added one additional functional block to our solutions at IBC 2018 to provide headend management functionality, including the ability to achieve the visibility and control needed at higher-level solution layers.

That’s where our pre-integrated solution with DataMiner will shine.

By pairing a modern cloud-centric DevOps discipline with our micro-services-based, containerized video software applications, we are bringing the principles of web-scale compute to pay-TV operators with success.

Want to learn more? Book a Demo at IBC.

Book a demo by reaching out to your Cisco rep, any listed author, or send me an InMail on LinkedIn

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