How Cox Communications Implemented an Expert System for Service-First Autonomous Operations (2021)

By Dave Norris, Cox Communications

At the beginning of the current video evolution to deliver live IPTV streaming to subscribers, the Cox Video Engineering team recognized they were entering a period of unprecedented change and growth. There would be many challenges coming fast to high-capacity video delivery. We knew we’d need to absorb and incorporate new methods of compressing and delivering video without dropping the preexisting systems. At the same time, we were approaching end-of-life status on our national video compression systems. All these factors drove the need for and timing of deploying a new and more flexible video compression platform.

In 2017, the Cox Video Engineering team evolved our national video encoding systems into a virtual platform. For agility, flexibility, API controllability, and ultimately economy, we selected a software video encoder running on commodity servers in dense blade-center chassis. One of our chief concerns was that deploying a virtualized video encoder might be less reliable than the legacy hardware-based appliances. Any negative impact to video stream reliability would be highly visible, driving subscriber frustration, calls, and expense.

We decided to close any performance gaps by implementing a closed-loop Expert System solution to manage all system day-1 build and day-2 operational functions.

This paper will present some of the reasons that drove the evolution to software video encoding, some unexpected motivation that expanded our scope, a few details about the phases of the implementation, and the results.

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