Case Study: ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion

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THE CHALLENGE

ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. With a digital platform that leads the way in Europe, ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion offers customers comprehensive services for the production and multimedia distribution of TV content. Its spectrum of services ranges from studio and post-production to cross-company content management and broadcast management for more than ten TV channels. Under the responsibility of the CIO, a total of 430 internal staff currently ensures the smooth running of technology across the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG group, including ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion, where classic IT interface issues and broadcast IT and production technology come together. Functioning network management is the technological foundation stone for ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion, and as such it guarantees the operation of all mission-critical areas. Recognizing that IP Address Management (IPAM) is a key network component, the group began looking for modern solutions to replace a rudimentary IPAM system which had been implemented in the past at ProSiebenSat.1. This system was primarily used for documentation and did not enable consistency checks. The system was out of date and no longer met ProSiebenSat.1 standards. The goal was to build a professional IPAM system which would guarantee improved processes and would be both flexible and upgradable. It was also planned that the group’s existing Windows servers would eventually be integrated into the IPAM system and managed centrally.

THE SOLUTION

ProSiebenSat.1 placed great emphasis on the reliability of the new IPAM system even at the planning stage. BlueCat made the shortlist because its system optimally fulfilled Pro7Sat.1’s requirements in terms of clarity and speed. Moreover, BlueCat attaches great importance to rock-solid reliability, as well as to the flexibility and upgradability of the system. As such, it met all the conditions, which ultimately resulted in the group selecting BlueCat.

The IMPLEMENTATION

A challenge in implementing the new IPAM system was the tight planning involved. In November 2011, preparations for implementation began; the basic configuration was built and the first tests run. The objective was for the system to go live at the end of 2011. This aim was met in full thanks to the forward-looking planning and flexibility of n3k Informatik (www.n3k.de), a BlueCat reseller and implementation partner. “Thanks to its experience and good communication with BlueCat, n3k made a major contribution towards enabling the system to be implemented quickly and without problems,” says Pavel Krel, System Administrator at ProSiebenSat.1.
“What is important to us is the high degree of reliability of the BlueCat IPAM system. We consider this to be an extremely future-oriented solution because it is based on the latest technologies like IPv6, DHCPv6 and DNSSEC.” Pavel Krel, System Administrator, ProSiebenSat.1
Shortly before the start of the project, a fire broke out at ProSiebenSat.1’s data centre, which affected a large part of the technology in use. In response to this event, and for reasons of security, it was decided the vital technology would be distributed between two data centres in a high availability configuration. The IPAM solution proposed by n3k after thorough analysis comprised a BlueCat Address Manager (formerly Proteus) virtual server as the central host administrative unit, along with six BlueCat DNS/DHCP servers (formerly Adonis), each of which could be deployed in HA pairs. As a result, one data centre now has four BlueCat DNS/DHCP Servers (2 HA pairs) and the other has two DNS/DHCP Servers (configured as 1 HA pair). Over 4,000 users are managed using these six BlueCat DNS/DHCP Servers. The BlueCat implementation was completed without any noteworthy challenges. Full support from n3k was assured at all times and was extremely valuable. In addition, n3k also provided basic training plus more advanced training for administrators. “Even after the implementation of the IPAM system, n3k is delivering a reliable service to us. What is very practical is that n3k can access our BlueCat system through a dial-in connection, enabling them to carry out remote maintenance as needed. Our questions by e-mail and phone are also answered promptly. Moreover, we have access to n3k’s support ticket system, in which we can enter our problems directly,” emphasizes Krel.

THE RESULTS

“The BlueCat system has been running without problems since its implementation. This is thanks to the reliability of the technology and also to n3k’s high degree of competence and years of experience with IPAM,” says Krel. The utility of the BlueCat system for ProSiebenSat.1 is obvious. Distributing the IPAM, DNS and DHCP technology between two data centres and the use of the BlueCat servers as HA pairs delivers an extremely high degree of reliability. Moreover, a great emphasis was placed on standardization. As such, this is no “DIY solution” – it is based on a conventional DNS server. A further major benefit is the upgradability of the BlueCat system, which enables multiple servers to be connected to the existing components and to be managed with a single GUI.
“The BlueCat system has been running without problems since its implementation. This is thanks to the reliability of the technology and also to n3k’s high degree of competence and years of experience with IPAM.” Pavel Krel, System Administrator, ProSiebenSat.1
Thanks to this clear structure, unnecessary and complicated network processes can be avoided. Moreover, the BlueCat system enables extremely fast response times. “What is important to us is the high degree of reliability of the BlueCat IPAM system,” concludes Krel. “We consider this to be an extremely future-oriented solution because it is based on the latest technologies like IPv6, DHCPv6 and DNSSEC.” The consolidation of different DNS environments and products enabled standardization and a significant simplification and speeding up of processes in newly introduced systems. Based on the successful introduction at ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion, BlueCat’s robust and reliable IPAM solution has since been deployed across the whole of ProSiebenSat.1. Download PDF