Running a Multi-Tenant Hybrid Cloud for Large Scale Cable Applications (2018)

By Neill A. Kipp, Comcast

The cloud—with its automation and virtualization of compute, network, and storage—has fundamentally changed the way software engineers design, develop, and deploy applications. Instead of by-hand configuration, software programs deploy virtual routers, firewalls, databases, and application servers.

Software causes application servers to respond to load changes, change network topology, and scale deployments accordingly. As a result, applications can be effectively tested while they are running in production! Before public cloud, cable companies invested in data centers and managed their own compute, storage, networks, and applications as their own private cloud. The public cloud alternative offers a compelling agility but often comes at an increased price. For the best of both worlds, cable companies can implement a hybrid cloud solution that leverages the existing capital investment in their private cloud infrastructure alongside the increased agility of the public cloud.

Running a hybrid cloud is challenging. The hybrid cloud must manage multiple tenants, each represented by multiple users. Users must be able to request cloud resources for their tenants in any private cloud region and from multiple public cloud vendors. All cloud deployments must secure video media, customer data, and application services.

The Comcast cloud team has built a hybrid cloud for large-scale cable applications. We publish hybrid cloud architectures and tools to help product owners upgrade their applications to be virtualized, containerized, and orchestrated. We provide user permissions, a network security framework, and automated controls that provide guardrails to streamline software development and minimize risks of security breaches. Our hybrid private cloud is running in eight regions and uses three public cloud providers. It hosts hundreds of tenants, thousands of users, and the software it hosts serves tens of millions of customers

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