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Redefining TV Infrastructure: Shifting Media Processing into the Cloud Q&A

Ryan Day - May 19, 2017
While demand for TV services is being disrupted and subscribers are expecting more personalized experiences, operators need to satisfy customer video demands to stay competitive. However, many workflows still operate in functional silos within organizations, and offering non-linear/OTT services often remains costly and inefficient. To innovate and keep pace with new over-the-top (OTT) entrants, operators need to experiment with cloud-orchestrated functionality. 
On March 15, Przemek Bozek, Principal Analyst, Consumer Electronics, Broadband & Video Technology at IHS Markit, Ryan Day, Principal Solutions Architect at Mirantis, and Yaniv Ben-Soussan, VP Product Management Cloud and SaaS at Harmonic presented a webinar exploring the role of the cloud in the pay-TV ecosystem and its importance to agility of service, innovation and competitive differentiation while reducing cost of operations and increasing quality of services. Here are some of the questions that came up.

Will Mirantis and Harmonic prepare a reference architecture for this joint solution?

We have several collateral projects nearing completion right now, including deployment guidelines and a detailed case study.

When you used the term "EMS," did you mean Element Management System?

Yes - "EMS" means Element Management System.

Is load balancing, i.e., video quality vs bandwidth, achieved through Mirantis cloud or Harmonic VOS?

These trade-offs are managed by VOS. In general, the amount of CPE and bandwidth your application requires will be dictated by the number of different profiles you need to support and the traffic under each profile.

Did it become necessary to transport raw video within your cloud for distributed processing? If so, did this require the need for specialized routers/NICs?

On the contrary -- a design requirement for this cloud-based solution is that all traffic is managed under IP with standard network hardware. That said, there are IP-based protocols for encapsulating video which are used as needed to transport data among microservice-based components and ingress and egress systems, as required.

Are we doing the video transcoding in VOS in the software, or there is any requirement for any specialized HW or CPU instructions?

All the encoding and transcoding is managed purely in software running on x86 vCPUs, with no additional special requirements for virtual or physical hardware support.

What are the performance numbers of the video transcoding sessions?

What we find is that -- even though, naturally, we have generalized benchmarks -- every customer in this industry actually has its own, unique requirements for transcoding, influenced by many factors, including where they are in the world, such as the US, Europe, or Asia. It actually depends on the density you want to achieve, per node. What we usually do, and what we always recommend, is for the customer to benchmark this themselves -- and we can help with this; we have a benchmark system. With these benchmarks and target transcoding requirements, we can come back to the customer with recommendations for achieving those numbers and maximizing node density.

How does cloud meet cabling? Ingress/egress over coax?

By definition, the cloud environment is based on IP infrastructure. And over the IP infrastructure you can move compressed or uncompressed video. We have different standards and technology to move video over IP networks, and we know how to do so efficiently. There are separate systems at ingress and egress that can convert raw video to IP, and back into QAM for your customers.

Is Harmonic VOS running on Docker Containers and/or as a VM? Or is it hybrid?

Core services of Harmonic VOS run as microservices in Docker containers. Other parts of VOS include middleware that does container scheduling and orchestration, provides a persistent data store and performs other functions. We install all of this on KVM virtual machines provided by OpenStack.Virtual machines are, of course, only one way to provide compute resources to an application; bare metal is another.
Sound interesting?  You can view the entire webinar on demand.

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