Video headends are currently built in separate silos for linear broadcast, video on demand (VOD), and multiscreen video services. These service silos, combined with a mix of deployment infrastructures - dedicated hardware, private cloud data centers, and public clouds - as well as a mix of vendors have created a complex and inflexible platform for the processing and distribution of video content. This environment increases the cost and time to market for delivery and monetization of video services.
A virtualized video headend based upon open and well-defined APIs provides a platform for expansion and greater monetization of video services and simplifies both the management and operation of video processing across a complex mix of infrastructures and vendors. This type of video processing platform improves service agility by decreasing the time to market for new services, leveraging performance benefits of different deployment technologies, and providing both operational and capital cost benefits.
This paper describes the scope and functionality of a virtualized video headend, identifying and detailing the key requirements and the relation to pertinent technologies such as cloud, network functions virtualization (NFV), and software defined networking (SDN). A reference model for a virtualized headend is presented and the associated benefits and challenges are and discussed.