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Case Study:

U.S. Satellite Operator Breaks New Ground in the Cloud with Live and On-Demand OTT Offering

The Challenge

Cord-cutters and cord-nevers, people who have never subscribed to a traditional pay-TV service, have both become a serious issue for the pay-TV industry. In fact, GfK’s 2016 Ownership and Trend Report found that 25 percent of U.S. homes don’t subscribe to a pay-TV service, and the number of homes cutting the cord from cable and satellite continues to increase at a rapid pace.


  • Industry: Fortune 500 Direct Broadcast Satellite Operator

  • Headquarters: United States

  • Size: 10,000+ employees

Recently, one of the largest direct broadcast satellite operators in the United States wanted to capitalize on this situation and address the more than 100 million pay-TV households. By launching a monthly OTT subscription service that includes live and on-demand content, the operator could successfully compete with traditional cable providers, OTT providers like Hulu and Netflix, and with mobile operators such as T-Mobile that offer streaming services.

The operator wanted to be able to offer its OTT service to subscribers at a much lower price point than a full satellite service in the U.S.

The operator had an aggressive timeline for its new service launch. The goal was to get the project off the ground within weeks. Video quality was an important consideration, and there needed to be very low latency. Moreover, the operator wanted to be able to offer its OTT service to subscribers at a much lower price point than a full satellite service in the U.S. Given these parameters, Mirantis and Harmonic partnered to deliver a cloud-native media processing solution on OpenStack that met these requirements, offering quick time to market, high video quality and little to no CAPEX.

The Solution

The satellite operator chose to deploy a complete end-to-end OTT system on the Mirantis Cloud Platform, which provides an agile infrastructure platform based on OpenStack,Kubernetes and other open cloud technologies, offered through managed services. Harmonic’s cloud-native VOSTM Cloud solution handles the media processing and delivery workflow, allowing the operator to deliver over 250 OTT channels, including high-quality live TV, to its customers on any screen. Currently, the OTT service supports delivery to Android and iOS devices, PCs and game consoles.

The operator chose Mirantis Cloud Platform to rapidly deploy new services using a scalable, private cloud based on open source software and commodity servers instead of proprietary, specialized hardware. Mirantis Cloud Platform is available as a managed services offering that provides a public cloud-like experience in your own datacenter, with an option to later transfer operations to your own team, backed by Mirantis training, support and documentation. Mirantis Cloud Platform provided customized infrastructure that was deployed in a 300 node cluster. It provided more than 100 Gbps of egress bandwidth to support hundreds of channels of streaming content.

“With the cloud, we get the speed and agility we need to adapt quickly to customer demands and offer new, more personalized entertainment services,” says the senior cloud architect at the company. Examples of new capabilities they were able to introduce using the new platform include cloud time-shifting and support for multiple video profiles.

Mirantis Cloud Platform features both OpenStack and Kubernetes to support virtual machines, containers and bare metal all from a single platform. It includes DriveTrain, a lifecycle management system that enables the continuous integration and continuous delivery of new features and functions into production, so end users can benefit from new innovations as rapidly as possible. The StackLight Operations Support System (OSS) incorporates best-of-breed logging, monitoring and alerting systems to maximize cloud availability, perform accurate capacity planning, and optimize performance.

The VOS Cloud solution was selected because it allows a faster time to market for new services, provides a flexible infrastructure, and is easy to manage. Configuration, deployment, and management is easy through a VOS Cloud orchestration workflow, which enables the distribution of cloud resources in definitive increments, such as containers or bundles, and automates the execution of routine tasks and the addition of capacity based on scale up/down, in/out policies.

Eliminating CAPEX costs from the equation made it possible to launch the OTT service in less than two months.

Using VOS Cloud, the operator can perform encoding, transcoding, encryption and ABR packaging on the fly, for up to thousands of live channels. Moreover, the VOS Cloud solution integrates seamlessly with customer management systems, client applications, DRMs and other technology partners to support sports blackout and dynamic ad insertion for increased monetization.

With the VOS Cloud solution’s flexible, usage-based pricing, the operator only pays for services actually used. Eliminating CAPEX costs from the equation made it possible to launch the OTT service rapidly.

The Result

In just two months, the satellite operator attracted more than 200,000 subscribers to its OTT service. Mirantis and Harmonic’s expertise in cloud infrastructure and OTT deployments enabled a rapid service launch measured in weeks instead of months – which is unprecedented. One of the largest OpenStack cloud environments delivering live video anywhere, the OTT service was initially deployed in a 300 node cluster and now spans more than 500 nodes in multiple datacenters. 

The VOS Cloud solution was the perfect fit for this project’s aggressive schedule and requirements, providing the operator with the flexibility to manage all aspects of video processing and delivery on OpenStack cloud infrastructure. 

Flexibility to integrate the best cloud components for their business requirements was also crucial in their decision to deploy OpenStack based infrastructure. “OpenStack brings innovation to meet our needs better than private vendors. Cloud architectures in a closed ecosystem just don’t allow for enough freedom of integration and customization,” says the senior cloud architect of the company. 

With Mirantis Cloud Platform and the VOS Cloud offering, the operator can easily adapt to changing business requirements and technology advancements, with unlimited scalability. Advanced features like catch-up TV and rewind TV will allow the operator to quickly monetize on its new service offering, and video quality will never be an issue thanks to the award-winning Harmonic PURE Compression Engine™ technology. 

With Mirantis Cloud Platform and the VOS Cloud solution, the operator was also able to expand to a public cloud infrastructure within a few minutes for disaster recovery and load balancing. What’s more, the new service offers something that many OTT offerings neglect to provide: high-quality, live TV on any screen. Through agile infrastructure and cloud-native solutions, Mirantis and Harmonic are transforming traditional video preparation and delivery architectures and accelerating time to market for OTT services, deployed by the world’s largest pay-TV players.


  • Media ingest

  • Multicast to unicast conversion

  • CMS, DRM and client apps

  • Dynamic ad insertion and blackouts

  • Video encoding, transcoding, encryption and ABR packaging on the fly

  • CDN

  • Run on OpenStack cloud nodes


The Challenge

  • Provide high-quality live and on-demand OTT service with low latency

  • Speed infrastructure provisioning and launch product with minimal time to market

  • Invest little to no CapEx and offer new product at much lower cost than full satellite service

The Result

  • Scalable, private cloud based on Mirantis Cloud Platform deployed on more than 500 physical servers

  • Mirantis cloud management, design and training services

  • Harmonic cloud-native media processing solution supporting the entire production and delivery workflow

The Solution

  • Complete end-to-end OTT system delivered with minimal CapEx in less than 2 months

  • More than 200,000 subscribers enrolled after only 2 months on the market

  • More than 250 channels of high-quality live and on-demand OTT service viewable on any screen

Learn More

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