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Breaking News: Desktop Cloud Cuts Costs

1/15/2014 2:46:19 PM

Background

China Central Television (CCTV) is the predominant television broadcaster in mainland China. It has 45 TV channels broadcasting programs via satellite to the largest audience in mainland China. In addition to the broadcast channels for mainland China, programs are also broadcast worldwide in many languages through satellite and the Internet.

News reporting is a major business for the media industry. Journalists must collect and compile news at the scene to be the first to deliver the news and attract viewers. Fast news collection, production, and broadcast have become a core competitive factor for television and news agencies worldwide.

As the world’s most influential Chinese media company, CCTV has always attached great importance to its news business. To implement real-time news reporting, CCTV has set up a large number of news bureaus across China. Thousands of journalists work at these news bureaus and are engaged in on-the-scene news collection. To speed up news collection, production, and broadcast, CCTV built a variety of IT systems, including program production and management, news information management, sports information management, and digital television production and broadcasting.

Challenges

Typically, front line journalists independently complete the news collection, compiling, and production, spending most of their time outside the office, only returning during the news compiling and production phases. The result was that CCTV’s existing IT office system faced the following challenges:

  • Low resource utilization: Since front line journalists did not have fixed workplaces, their computers were difficult to manage and maintain when they were on the move. According to CCTV, only about 1/6 journalists worked in fixed offices. If each journalist was equipped with a PC, many PCs would be left idle. To address this issue, CCTV needed a brand new office solution that could centrally manage and maintain their PCs. CCTV wanted to have this new solution before they moved to their new office building    
  • Complicated maintenance and high maintenance costs: At CCTV, traditional PCs were widely used as tools in daily office work. The PC office system was an independent office system, which was hard to manage and maintain in a centralized manner. The IT department was required to spend a lot of time performing routine maintenance, including installing operating system patches, pushing new software, and upgrading hardware devices

Solution

In 2010, during the Shanghai World Expo, Huawei demonstrated its cloud desktop system, a highly secure, green, and efficient system that was supporting daily office work for approximately 10,000 employees working at Huawei’s Shanghai office. This feature-rich cloud desktop system made a big impression on Expo attendees. In 2011, Huawei discussed with Beijing Jetson Technology the possibility of applying desktop cloud technologies at CCTV.

After thoroughly analyzing the mobile work styles of CCTV’s field journalists, Huawei proposed a journalist office system that used the Huawei pool-mode desktop cloud solution. In February 2012, to test the solution feasibility, Huawei deployed a test environment in Shenzhen. In May 2012, Huawei worked with Jetson to review various service application systems, such as media information, news, and script, in the test environment.

Based on testing of the Huawei system, CCTV decided to use the Huawei desktop cloud solution to deploy a journalist office system. At the end of 2012, CCTV finished deploying the desktop cloud. With the Huawei desktop cloud solution, CCTV deployed only 500 virtual desktops that fully meet the office mobility requirements of approximately 3,000 journalists. The resulting benefits for CCTV include flexible and on-demand resource allocation, reduced IT spending, and centralized office system management and maintenance.

  • Business-critical hardware and software systems of CCTV’s desktop cloud system were all provided by Huawei. The hardware included three Huawei E6000 blade server subracks and one Huawei N8300 storage system. The software used Huawei FusionCloud series software, including FusionSphere virtualization software, FusionAccess desktop cloud software, and FusionManager management software
  • Huawei provided an end-to-end security solution that covered everything from terminal access authentication, user rights authentication, user behavior audit, encrypted data transmission, to content encryption and rights management. This solution centrally stored data in the back end data center, but not the front-end office terminals (terminals had no hard disks), to ensure data security
  • In this project, the Huawei solution uses a “1+1 redundancy” network structure and has management nodes in 1+1 hot standby mode to ensure high reliability of the entire journalist office system
  • Huawei desktop cloud solution provides a unified operation and maintenance platform to centrally manage Virtual Machines (VMs). This operation and maintenance platform provides a complete set of functions, including centralized delivery and updates of Windows desktops and application software and centralized management of VMs. Compared with traditional PC office systems, the desktop cloud system improved the operation and maintenance efficiency by more than 10 times

Note: The pool mode specifies a “shared” resource allocation mode. When a user accesses the desktop cloud system, the system automatically allocates an idle VM to the user for the purpose of sharing resources and improving resource usage.

Benefits

By deploying a Huawei desktop cloud system, CCTV only needed 500 VMs to support approximately 3,000 journalists, greatly enhancing resource usage and reducing investment. In addition, the desktop cloud system offers a unified operation and maintenance platform, simplifying IT management.

  • Reduced costs: Compared with a traditional PC office system, the desktop cloud system has reduced device costs by up to 30%. CCTV stated, “With traditional office systems, we had to configure more office seats for the journalists with mobile work styles, increasing fixed costs. If we calculate such costs in these office seats, the desktop cloud system presents more advantages in cost savings”
  • Energy efficiency: The power consumption of a traditional PC was more than 200W, while the average power consumption of a VM is about 35W. By integrating energy-saving technologies, the average power consumption of a VM could be reduced by more than 70%
  • Simplified IT management: Huawei helped CCTV deploy a unified operation and maintenance platform that could centrally update and release applications and enhance operation and maintenance efficiency by more than 10 times

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