Grenoble is the location for an IPTV test centre. Julian Clover reports
France has collectively the greatest concentration of IPTV connections in Europe, and so it seems fitting that the country should be the base for a benchmark server test, designed to simulate what is needed to provide a service to one million subscribers.
The test centre has been established at HP’s CME Solution Center, located in Grenoble. HP and partner Intel, which between them supply an optimized processor and server platform, have been joined by Kasenna, the developer of middleware and streaming products. The premise is of course to identify any problems before they occur in conditions that are as close as you can get to the real thing.
“It was set up so that HP could scale the performance of their servers, so when they started the benchmark test they were looking at a number of the ecosystem partners to participate. We were selected as best practices as best practices and best of breed for our Portal TV product suite, explained Kasenna’s senior director, market communications Allan Linden.
Kasenna was a spin off from SGI, which was established in 1999, since then the company’s products have been deployed in over 250 operators. Kasenna’s VP Europe Robert Hopkins says the company’s products have been particularly popular with second tier operators such as Fastweb (Italy), Jazztel (Spain) and Neuf-Cegetel (France). “The French market is the IPTV market. If you’re in IPTV and not in France you’re not really in the game.”
Kasenna’s experience in the France and other markets was invaluable in establishing ‘real world input’ that could be entered into the benchmark test. Typically, a Friday or Saturday evening would see a usage pattern of around 60%. This means that on an installed base of a million, around 60% of the set-top boxes on the system would be in use, while 40% would be idle.
The benchmark was able to validate that Kasenna’s PortalTV product was able to deliver 120,000 active subscribers from a single ‘off the shelf’ server. HP and Intel can now go onto establish a lab capable of accurate modeling of IPTV development strategies.
If the analysts are right then the test centre will be booked out from time to come. The technology after all needs to establish itself in areas where the pay-TV market is a brown rather than a green field.