Making the Broadpeak virtual CDN a reality with VMware
September 28, 2021
We wanted to look back at what Broadpeak has achieved in the recent collaboration with our partner VMware: through a close collaboration, we have been working on solutions to help scale video delivery, and there are a few pointers we’d like to share with you in this blog.
As with many software companies, the solutions offered by Broadpeak can be hosted on a variety of platforms: bare-metal servers still represent the majority of our deployments today, there is a growing appetite for solutions deployed in private clouds, with the video functions deployed either as virtual machines, or more recently as containers.
It is fair to say that VMware is initially recognised in the industry for being THE enabler of virtual environments. But today VMware is also becoming the foundation of many new containerised environments. VMware enables the transition inside the telco networks to the dynamic approach where the Network Functions can be decoupled from the hardware and provided as software images (VNF or CNF).
Looking ahead, we believe the video delivery functions (CDN, multicastABR) will ultimately become dynamic network functions. So, Broadpeak and VMware have worked closely to demonstrate that virtual video delivery is not virtual anymore, but instead it is quickly becoming a reality.
The vision and the path to get there – chatting to Stephen Spellicy (Q1 2021)
To introduce the benefits of VMware when it comes to deploying more virtualised/containerised CDN, we spoke with Stephen Spellicy, Vice President, Service Provider Marketing, in VMware’s Service Provider and Edge business.
With Stephen we acknowledged that the clear benefit of bringing the technologies closer together was to enable scaling the video delivery, and this will likely be done in two dimensions:
- First, over time, by providing elastic capacity: the ability to deploy incremental CDN capacity only when it is needed. Think about the football (soccer) game that for 2 hours generates millions of streams ; it would be great to only mobilise the CDN capacity during these two hours.
- Second, going into more locations. Today CDNs are regionally distributed inside a limited number of locations (or PoPs) in each country. Going forward, CDNs will be more distributed, and we believe up to ten times more locations than today.
The highlights of the interview are here.
“Video delivery is a network function that has traditionally been deployed by service providers on appliances bundling hardware and software. We are now at the point where the video consumption puts a lot of pressure on the service provider network. They require more flexibility and agility as they deliver this next-generation service to their customers. VMware enables virtualization and containerization where video delivery can be deployed, orchestrated and optimised dynamically to meet the consumer demands,” said Stephen Spellicy.
VMware certifications (Q2 2021)
Driven by the momentum of 5G and seeing how mobile networks are currently implementing more modern open architectures, we identified the opportunity to deploy CDN functions in new network locations closer to the end users.
Now these locations aren’t typically welcoming large numbers of servers dedicated to specific workloads. Instead, when we talk to the most advanced network operators like Rakuten or Dish Network, we hear that they are deploying multi-purpose local datacentres capable to host various network functions and applications changing over time.
Knowing this, we initiated a certification effort with VMware. We started by certifying some of the CDN functions on the VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure, where the CDN Cache (BkS400) or the Manifest Manipulator (BkYou) can be hosted as virtual machines in a traditional platform powered by VMware Telco Cloud. This is available on the VMware Marketplace.
Now with the continuous customer interest for containerising functions, we decided to also undertake the certifications of the CDN Cache (BkS400) in the containerized VMware environment called VMware Ready for Telco Cloud.
This is using Telco Cloud Platform and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, and it is also available in the VMware marketplace.
This is the foundation to validate that our products can easily be deployed on the VMware platforms that our customers are deploying.
VMware+Broadpeak whitepaper (Q3 2021)
This is the following step, where we look at the challenges of scaling the delivery of ABR video, we decided to write a paper called “Transform Video Delivery at the Edge for Superior QoE” to explain the problem and the solution we are proposing.
The challenge is clear ; video streaming is overtaking broadcast TV viewing, and video consumption changing, including for live TV services where large audiences are drawn in by live sports and breaking news. The traffic generated by these events is characterized by high peaks of bandwidth, that are becoming challenging, with a growth of 80% y/y.
So in this paper co-developed with VMware, we address the challenge with a solution capable of dynamically scaling the CDN capacity when needed. The elastic delivery solution is based on the Broadpeak’s Advanced CDN running on VMware Telco Cloud, and it is available here.
Finally, Broadpeak and Intel are part of the world of VMware at ‘VMworld’ (Q4 2021)
Broadpeak is excited to participate to VMworld for the first time as a speaker! VMworld is a global conference hosted virtually by VMware from October 5-7, 2021.
The problem we set to solve is around the Quality of Experience during very busy events, and generally how CDN and networks can cope with the unpredictable peaks of streaming traffic. To meet user expectations when it comes to streaming quality, video content must be delivered as close as possible to where it is consumed: in the video world, quality comes with proximity.
Working with Intel and VMware, we identify the ability to deploy the CDN capacity at the edge of the networks (fixed-line or mobile) as a great way to ensure a consistent QoE, even at the busiest hours.
At VMworld, Intel, VMware and Broadpeak will present a solution showcasing the value of running CDN applications on a consistent and unified compute enabled by VMware Telco Cloud for Service Provider and Edge networks: How telcos can automate deployment and/or re-assignment of CDN capacity to meet fluctuating demand. This approach maximizes network resource utilization while guaranteeing the quality of experience.
With Intel and VMware, Broadpeak will also introduce a demonstration of recent tests realised in the Intel labs. We’ll demonstrate that the flexibility and dynamicity gains we get by virtualizing the CDN should not be done at the expense of performance. We will show that running Broadpeak CDN over VMware Telco Cloud Platform does not impair the cache server efficiency – we will aim to deliver near line-rate (200Gbps) performance from a single server running the virtualised software CDN load.
You can register to the VMworld event where VMware, Broadpeak and Intel will be presenting “A Case for Deploying an Elastic CDN Solution on VMware Telco Cloud Platform”: Here
To wrap up, we wanted to thank the team at VMware for their continued interest and support. It is great to work together. Let’s conclude by giving the ball to VMware and their blog article on CDN technology and video QoE, here.