Case Study

Alcatel-Lucent Strengthens Competitive Advantage With Built-in Analytics

Executive Summary

Alcatel-Lucent offers Internet service providers (ISPs) and media providers one of the most innovative content delivery technologies in the industry: the Velocix Content Delivery Network (CDN).  Alcatel-Lucent's Velocix CDN is optimized for streaming online video and is used by major system operators worldwide. The dramatic increase in content demand strained the legacy reporting system, leading to a search for a more scalable and flexible solution. Since deploying the Splunk Embedded solution, the company has seen benefits, including: 

  • Superior customer experience
  • More efficient and reliable content delivery
  • Flexible operational and analytical reporting
Challenges
    • Dramatic growth in demand for online content strained the legacy reporting system
    • Needed a more scalable and flexible reporting solution with big data analytical tools
    • Required end-to-end visibility, from content source to subscriber devices
    • New reporting solution needed to be integrated with established user interface
    • Must capture and make available important log data from every node on the CDN
Business Impact
    • A competitive advantage for Alcatel-Lucent and its customers by providing end-to-end CDN visibility and insight
    • Diagnostics across public and third- party infrastructures
    • Market leadership and intelligence to determine consumer preferences
    • Cost-effective development of critical functionality
    • Seamlessly integrated solution enhancements
    • More efficient and reliable delivery of content
    • Insights into efficiencies and returns on investment
    • Superior user experience
Data Sources
    • All servers and devices at every node comprising a content delivery network

Why Splunk

Consumers today watch what they want, when and where they want. Built-in reporting capabilities—functionality that competing CDNs lack—have been a key advantage of Velocix CDN. By presenting log data, the reporting services gives media providers visibility into the performance and efficiencies of their networks.

However, the exploding demand for video content overtaxed the Velocix legacy reporting platform. Alcatel-Lucent needed a far more scalable solution, yet one flexible enough to meet its needs and continue to appear in the CDN application interface.

“Though we produce huge amounts of data, Alcatel-Lucent is in the business of video delivery, not big data,” says Liam Crilly, senior product manager for Velocix. “Consequently, we didn't want to invest our internal engineering resources to continually develop and maintain a robust reporting platform. Instead, we looked for an OEM partner to provide a big data solution.”

Alcatel-Lucent found that Splunk Embedded best met its requirements for scalability and flexibility. Its developers worked with Splunk Professional Services to help integrate Splunk Embedded. They used Splunk's Software Developers Kit (SDK) and application programming interfaces (APIs) to build the platform, optimizing it so customers can generate reports in seconds, based on any data.

Alcatel-Lucent then installed its Splunk Embedded-powered reporting system into its physical and virtual appliances—deployed at customer sites. Logs from every node on the CDN are stored, indexed and accessible. 

“Our customers are very positive about our Splunk Embedded analytics... Splunk Embedded enables us to deliver reporting that is richer and more versatile than anything a provider can achieve by bolting a third-party solution onto existing management tools. This value proposition gives Velocix CDN a powerful competitive advantage.” 



Liam Crilly, Senior Product Manager Velocix CDN, Alcatel-Lucent

Value-add analytics for every CDN user

The Splunk Embedded reporting engine and development tools enable Alcatel-Lucent to offer its Velocix CDN customers market-leading analytics. Its fully integrated reporting platform enables the company to quickly and easily capture and analyze the data needed to ensure subscriber satisfaction.

“Our customers are very positive about our Splunk Embedded analytics,” says Crilly. “Whether they want to isolate issues or determine metrics like usage trends, they simply follow the data. Splunk Embedded enables us to deliver reporting that is richer and more versatile than anything a provider can achieve by bolting on a third-party solution. This value proposition gives Alcatel-Lucent a powerful competitive advantage.”

The use cases for Velocix CDN's reporting are many because logs provide multiple views of content delivery. Operations teams rely on diagnostics to troubleshoot alerts and identify potential issues. Because media providers may not own their networks end-to-end, the insights powered by Splunk Embedded empower them to document issues to third-party suppliers so remedial actions can be taken promptly. Network managers have the metrics to perform short- and long-term capacity planning, ensuring their networks always meet demands.

ROI is built in

Content owners can determine what programming subscribers are watching and how they consume the video, enabling them to make informed decisions. They can track which movies are popular and how their streams are performing. Content providers can obtain reports detailing how their programming is being delivered.

Business managers have the intelligence to assess the efficiencies of their networks. They can see how the CDN reduces loads on their central video servers, lowering operational costs and reducing the need for scaling. They also can determine returns on investment by evaluating how well the CDN delivers their video streams to subscribers' devices.

Splunk Embedded is enabling Alcatel-Lucent to provide a carrier-class reporting solution, designed to handle massive volumes of data from a multitude of connected devices. “Our reporting platform scales horizontally so when our customers need more capacity, they simply install additional appliances,” notes Crilly. “Scalability is simple with no bottlenecks limiting expansion, a vital consideration considering the growth of today's video market.”

Embedded benefits

Splunk Embedded is providing Alcatel-Lucent and its customers with a competitive edge by providing the visibility and insight needed to improve content delivery. “We're leveraging our Splunk Embedded functionality even further,” concludes Crilly. “For example, we have a road map to offer quality of experience metrics as part of our reporting platform.”