Video On-Demand Customer Portals



MTV is a large Finnish media house with a variety of services. MTV started as the first commercial TV network in Finland back in 1957 and nowadays has one of the biggest audiences in Finland. Services provided includes TV channels, Intenet media sites, Mobile applications and Video on demand services. 

Video on demand offering includes Katsomo and Cmore VOD services which provides users the freedom to watch TV where, when and how they like.

Existing system and the challenges

The frontend systems for VOD services were running in Cybercom hosted server racks on top of a virtualization platform. Websites and the media content was distributed by a custom CDN solution. The server infrastructure was installed manually, without any infrastructure as code. Some of the system configuration was done with Chef and puppet. This kind of a setup was not optimal for fast development, multiple iterations and was not promoting the idea of disposable infrastructure. Access management for multiple teams working on the application development was inconvenient and error prone.

Cybercom, jointly with other companies, was tasked to start leveraging cloud computing, best practices and DevOps to provide recommendations and implementation for a new version of the service.

Key customer requirements 

  • Building a version controlled, highly available, scalable web application infrastructure repeatably using Infrastructure as Code
  • Automating the creation of development, staging and productions environments
  • Automating system deployments
  • Application and infrastructure monitoring to ensure operations
  • Tracking application and infrastructure code changes
  • Possibility for the wide spread teams independently deploy multiple testing and staging environments and versions of the application

Amazon Web Services 

We at Cybercom help companies build Amazon Web Services (AWS) based cloud services. We have several years' experience in cloud technologies and DevOps. We take care of our clients’ AWS accounts, and give assistance with certified AWS experts, who have hands-on knowledge of different cloud environments. Our customers can focus on their core business, and we will take care of the transition projects, new cloud-based architecture designs, data security and 24/7 operations for them.

With all this extensive experience with AWS, it was only natural that we suggested AWS to be the cloud platform to build the new implementation. AWS has all the right services we need to be able to implement state of the art solution. Our established DevOps best practices leverage the variety of AWS technologies and services and let’s our customers to focus on their core business.

Proposed solution and implementation

After deeply analyzing and assessing the current infrastructure and application architecture, we were able to design and implement a new version of the application environment. The new version leverages AWS best practices and relays heavily on our AWS DevOps practices.

AWS OpsWorks

As the old system had used Chef and there was some experience using it within the company, we decided to start building the new system on top of AWS OpsWorks. OpsWorks enables us to easily provision multiple environments, or stacks, for every needed environment. Developers could easily have their dev stacks up and running in no time. 

AWS Codecommit

Chef cookbooks and recipes for AWS OpsWorks are stored in a Git version control utilizing AWS CodeCommit. Changes for code are first tested in development branches and development environments before merging to master/production branches. All branching and merging is done using development best practices and no changes will ever make its way to master without a review.

AWS CloudFront

Websites and other content is distributed using AWS Cloudfront. AWS CloudWatch is used to monitor CloudFront and alerts are being delivered in case of anomalies.

Networking and VPC peering

The network design is following the AWS best practices and is utilizing various subnets and availability zones. The solution is also utilizing AWS Direct Connect to reduce the networking costs and for consistent network performance.

Some parts of the solution and implementation are provided by an external operator. To leverage their offering, we created a VPC peering connection to their VPC to have access to the system.

Monitoring and Metering

When deploying or removing servers, OpsWorks takes care of Icinga and New Relic monitoring system integration. Icinga is deployed on AWS and uses AWS SES to send alert emails. Icinga is monitoring operating system statistics, website availability (through internal network and Internet) and application functionalities. CloudWatch and New Relic are used to monitor system performance and traffic to instances, load balancers and CloudFront. 

Architectural overview

 

 

DevOps overview

Results and benefits

 

After the new system was implemented, the benefits were easily spotted

  • Fast deployments
  • Fast iterations
  • Enhanced testing capabilities
  • Faster development cycles
  • Better performance
  • Ease of development

Jussi Siuro

Sales Executive, Finland

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Magnus Karlsson

Sales Executive, Sweden

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