Flextech Television - Commercial Operation System

Flextech, the content division of Telewest, is the provider of the largest number of basic thematic channels in the UK. Its core business is to provide entertainment, information and interactive content and services to the multi-channel television and on-line markets.

They rely on a computing infrastructure not only to produce channels and programme content but also to transfer this content to air. In common with almost all of the broadcast industry, much of the day to day operation is computer controlled and highly automated.

Project Requirements
The Commercial Operation System provides management of the sales, handling, transmission and charging for all aspects of the companies spot sales. The system was based on Sun systems running Solaris. The application was written in Java and communicated with workstations running a front end also written in Java. The application was exported via NFS. The system used Weblogic, Javelin Object Store and MQseries messaging. The requirement was to rigorously check and detail the correct procedure for building the system ensuring that no software components clashed or failed to interoperate. Develop the IP design for the system integration into Flextech. Move the system into a full production state. Release a fully tested system into the live network and operating environment.

The Solution
Layer3 provided a small team to develop the correct integration of the system and to solve compatibility issues around the major components. Layer3 created all the major documentation for the operational use of the system developing backup schedules and help desk support as required. Prior to going into a live operational state Layer3 carried out load testing, architecture and design review of the system.

Benefits
• Layer3 could bring a wide range of skills - £125,000 saving on extra staff
• Cost savings in not having to look for a larger team, bring in and train contract staff or redeployment of internal staff
• Layer3's knowledge of Flextech procedures allowed us to provide documentation matching their support requirements
• Layer3's analysis led to improvements in performance and suggestions for further improving performance