Digital UK chooses hybrid cloud for critical Freeview broadcast services


Digital UK chooses hybrid cloud for critical Freeview broadcast services

Digital UK - Freeview logo

11 September 2017, Veldhoven, The Netherlands, Digital UK has selected Merapar as a technology partner to re-envision their critical Freeview broadcast infrastructure as a cutting-edge cloud based operation using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Merapar seamlessly combine on premise and public cloud infrastructure, dynamically targeting microservice containers to balance availability against cost. Broadcast availability expectations (>=99.99%) and typical cloud provider availability (99.95%) are no longer incompatible, since the truly critical components are deployed over the on premise infrastructure, whilst everything else runs in the public cloud.

Leveraging features only available in the cloud, Merapar have built an on-demand DR (Disaster Recovery) system that is only online when needed and for regular automated testing, resulting in significant operational efficiencies.

Merapar have combined licensed core components, open source tools and bespoke agile software development with modern UX&D (User Experience and Design) principles, working in close collaboration with Digital UK and the BBC Engineering Operations team. The result is a cost-effective solution optimised for existing business processes, built on an advanced architecture ready for future expansion.

Paul Roberts, Head of Systems Development,  Digital UK, commented “Merapar’s specialist knowledge of broadcast and cloud technologies makes them the ideal partner for upgrading the software needed to support Freeview. Their clear understanding of our specific technical and commercial requirements will provide a flexible and resilient system that underpins the operation of the platform as it continues to grow.”

Erwin van Dommelen, CEO of Merapar Technologies, said “We are delighted to be chosen to provide this critical piece of infrastructure and we will provide ongoing around-the-clock support as needed during the lifetime of the contract. We look forward to investing further in our UK operations to serve our increasing number of customers who have put their trust in Merapar”.

Note to Editors:

Digital UK, which provides and operates the broadcast infrastructure for the UK’s Freeview DTT service, has concluded a software services agreement with Merapar for the critical CSI (Central Service Information) system, which will be operated by the BBC Engineering Operations team. The system provides channel management and EPG metadata processing, without which customer devices would not be able discover channels or browse the EPG. The system allows individual channel owners and service providers to upload their schedule information, where it is verified and collated before being output as DVB Service Information for distribution over all multiplexes in the UK DTT network. It also handles real time triggers from the playout systems to enable accurate PVR recording.

The Merapar solution uses leading open source projects including Docker, Kubernetes, Angular 2, Spring Framework, Cassandra, RabbitMQ and Prometheus to deliver advanced functionality quickly and on budget. All open source tools have been carefully vetted for quality, maturity, adoption level and community engagement and Merapar contributes to the open source community whenever possible. Merapar specialises in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform, but by the use abstraction layers can build cloud-agnostic solutions where independence is required. The Google Container Engine uses Kubernetes to provide Docker hosting as a service.

About Merapar Technologies: Merapar Technologies was formed in 2015 to address the unique software needs of operators and organisations in the telco, broadcast, media and communications space.  With many years of proven and successful experience from previous roles in the industry Merapar focuses on bespoke agile software development services and consultancy for public, private or hybrid cloud environments to deliver state-of-the-art tailored solutions in the most cost-effective and timely manner – with flexible commercial models.  Merapar extensively promotes, contributes to and uses proven open-source software and maintains a technology radar to stay ahead of the curve in software development.  Utilisation of continuous integration and continuous delivery platforms for its projects helps to speed development, automate testing allowing regular drops, updates and timely support.  It is headquartered in the Netherlands with regional offices and staff in the UK, France and Poland.

About Digital UK: Digital UK supports Freeview viewers and channels. The company manages strategy, policy and service development for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the UK and provides day-to-day technical management of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Digital UK is owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva and has also led development of Freeview Play, a new hybrid platform bringing together free-to-view DTT and catch-up services in a range of TVs and set-top boxes.

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