SHENZHEN, China, Oct. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
"With the internet increasingly becoming a way of delivering television services, Italian media company Mediaset needed to overhaul its IT network to stay ahead of the market."
-- Stefano BossiNew Video Management System,Coordinator, Mediaset Group
Founded in the 1970s by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset is the main Italian private television broadcaster. It specialises primarily in the production and distribution of free-to-air television (FTA) and pay TV (subscription and pay-per-view) on multiple platforms. It's also involved with film production and distribution.
In common with other traditional broadcasters it has, over the past few years, had to rethink the way it delivers content to its audience. The advent of internet-only providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with the growing usage of catchup services, have shaken up the industry and have created a growing demand to watch broadcast television in the same way.
There are current IT infrastructures that are unable to support Internet TV services.
This changing market presented Mediaset with a major technical challenge. Stefano Bossi, responsible for the new Video Content Management Systems area at Mediaset explains: "Although we continue to transmit television over the air, there's no doubt that delivery through the internet is going to be an increasing part of our business in the future. We are determined to lead the Italian market in this, but we realised a couple of years ago that our existing IT infrastructure was not up to the job."
The main issue for the company was that its network had developed in an unstructured way. Much of it was outsourced and expensive to run and it lacked the flexibility and capacity to support its new strategy. The only way forward was to bring everything back 'in house' and build a new replacement network from scratch. With this in mind, Mediaset issued an RFI to find the solution it needed.
Stefano Bossi continues: "Our requirement was for a comprehensive solution that would provide the server infrastructure, internet connectivity and storage for video content. We invited a number of vendors to make proposals and following an initial commercial review of each of them, we selected three to take to a more in-depth, proof-of-concept technical evaluation."
Huawei IP vertical solution constructs an all-new network infrastructure
After a period of exhaustive testing it was clear that the Huawei solution, proposed by Systems Integrator Mediapower for IT components and BT for IP components and network management, offered the best mix in terms of performance, scalability and reliability.
"We received a great deal of support from Huawei during the evaluation phase. It even built a mock installation in China which we were able to use for a week to carry out all of our testing. Although there was little from a cost perspective to separate the contenders, the future-proofing offered by the Huawei solution couldn't be matched by the others," adds Stefano Bossi.
Huawei's IP vertical solution is based on its CloudEngine 6800 series datacenter switches, which offer high speed performance over 10 and 40 Gbits ports, while internet routing is provided by its NetEngine 40E Series Universal Service Router, a high-end backbone router offering full redundancy across all of its components.
On the IT side, the video delivery infrastructure is made up of a farm of 14 RH2288 servers and two OceanStor 9000 NAS scale-out storages split across two sites. These provide a high performance, advanced NAS platform, built on a scale-out, highly available system, employing general-purpose x86 hardware architecture.
Although this was the first time that Mediaset had worked with Huawei, the installation of this relatively complex solution was basically trouble free.
"We only experienced one performance problem that we had not come across in the proof-of-concept testing and I was really impressed with the way Huawei reacted. They immediately assigned an engineer and managed to solve a complicated problem with our existing network within a couple of days," comments Stefano Bossi.
Excellent performance management, the best choice for pursuing the Internet service dream
There's no doubt that Mediaset's new network infrastructure is already more than delivering the improvement in performance and reliability it needs to support its future IPTV strategy. Its last financial year showed some significant cost savings in terms of management and running costs and from a technical perspective everything has continued to function without any problems.
For the marketing team, the capabilities that it offers have already got it thinking about a host of additional business opportunities.
"As an engineer, what's really impressed me about Huawei's products is how simple they are to use. They are easy to control and quick to fix if they go wrong, which is something that is obviously crucially important in our business. They're also not overloaded with features that we don't need - something that can't be said about some of the other systems we looked at. I would be happy to recommend them to anyone who asks," concludes Stefano Bossi.