Sling TV Customer Story

Location: Englewood, Colorado

Industry: telecommunications, streaming video

Company Size: ~17,000

The Highlights

  • Provided Sling TV a solid foundation to build its next generation, cloud-native Kubernetes-based platform.
  • Enabled a hybrid cloud strategy with flexibility to run on any IaaS.
  • Provided a standard, low risk deployment vehicle to keep up with persistent changes and innovations.
  • Powered the launch of a push notification application required to run ~50k transactions per second for ~1MM connected devices at peak load times, resulting in a vastly improved end user experience.

The Customer

Sling TV is America’s #1 live TV streaming service (as of May 1, 2018). Owned by satellite TV company DISH, Sling TV is available on smart televisions, tablets, game consoles, computers, smartphones and other streaming devices. Sling TV offers two domestic streaming services that collectively include more than 150 channels and programming content from Disney/ESPN (Sling Orange/single-stream), Fox (Sling Blue/multi-stream), NBC (Sling Blue/multi-stream), NFL Network (Sling Blue/multi-stream), NBA TV, NHL Network, Pac-12 Networks, HBO®, SHOWTIME, STARZ, AMC, A&E, Turner, Scripps, GSN, Hallmark, Viacom, EPIX and AXS. The company has ~2.3 million customers.

The Challenge

In recent years, the company has experienced phenomenal growth, currently reaching ~2.3 million customers monthly. The primary challenge has been to develop the right architecture that allows the platform to scale elegantly with minimal service interruptions – while building customer loyalty through a personalized experience and service excellence.

The platform needed to provide a layer of consistency to the applications running on them but still be flexible enough to run on any cloud infrastructure. Operationally, the team needed to be able to automate, monitor and secure the platform in any environment. From the application developer standpoint, they needed the ability to define the applications deployment once and run anywhere.

“Using Rancher increases our efficiency and allows our engineering teams to focus on creating the next great product innovations that will help Sling TV provide a better experience for our customers. “

Brad Linder, Director of Cloud Native Engineering

The Results

The team determined that using containers to deliver micro-services consistently across different data centers was an ideal option, running applications across multiple environments and hundreds of servers. After testing different orchestration tools, they decided on Kubernetes as the best fit for their requirements. And with hybrid cloud as a big part of their strategy, they needed their applications to run on any IaaS.

Since rolling out Rancher and Kubernetes, Sling TV has seen significant improvements in how it operates and manages changes to its core metadata & user personalization services. Applications now have a common deployment mechanism and adding new applications takes about 90% less effort and comes with a much lower risk profile. Operations teams leverage a common Rancher / Kubernetes environment so learning curves for new applications are much lower than in the past.

The first application to production leveraging these new technologies and processes was a push notification application that runs about 50,000 transactions per second for ~1MM connected devices at peak load times. This application stack has enabled a much better end user experience and is the key to many new features in the future.

“The Rancher solution will allow us to run on VMWare or AWS in very similar ways using just about the same tooling. Being able to utilize different service providers, prevents vendor lock-in, helps Sling TV control costs and deliver a better end user experience.”

Brad Linder, Director of Cloud Native Engineering

See Also

ViaSat

Viasat Engineers Turn to Rancher to Monitor and Manage Their Kubernetes Clusters

telecommunications