Liberty Global Selects EPAM for Platform Recovery

Executive Summary

Liberty Global, a converged video, broadband, and communications company, worked with AWS Advanced Consulting Partner EPAM, to build an AWS-powered disaster recovery facility to serve its Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in six countries.

Disaster recovery that won’t break the bank

Liberty Global needed to create a secure disaster recovery (DR) platform for its Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across Europe. To prevent a major disaster—such as a fire, fiber cut, or data center flooding—it was vital that Liberty Global provide complete environment and service restoration to its ISPs within a couple of hours.

Liberty Global needed a system that could be replicated across Europe with minimal expense or design changes for each ISP, and was able to function in standby mode, ready to activate in seconds while incurring minimal costs until deployed.

After considering several cloud providers, Liberty Global chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its disaster recovery solutions because of their high availability, data durability, and security. For help with developing a solution, it turned to EPAM, which had been a key development partner in all of the core components of Liberty Global’s business-critical platforms for the past 10 years. EPAM had worked across its media and data platforms and connectivity systems, developed client-side and back-end systems and customer support features, as well as performed testing, deployment, and business analysis.

EPAM began with a two-month discovery phase to identify potential problem areas, scope the project, and create a strategic plan. This included determining which workloads needed a simple lift-and-shift or re-platforming, and which needed to be re-factored.

Liberty Global works on a six-week release and upgrade schedule, so the system had to be synchronized to ensure upgrades did not cause problems with the existing on-premises platform and the DR platform. Staff also needed to maintain access to all the latest features in the event they had to fall back to the DR platform. Constant development cycles ensured that the DR platform reflected new features that had been integrated into the existing platform.

In order to deliver the project, EPAM and Liberty Global had to migrate most of Liberty Global’s workloads into the AWS cloud. By migrating DR to the cloud, the team automated failover, rapidly restored IT infrastructure, and directed incoming data to the new storage solutions.

The DR platform provided the additional benefit of creating a flexible and scalable foundation for Liberty Global’s future hybrid cloud transformation.

“We have had very strong technical support from both EPAM and AWS.”

- Olivier Phillipe, Vice President of Entertainment Technology, Liberty Global

A repeatable, reliable template across Europe

As Liberty managed several different environments—at least two for each ISP—EPAM needed to create a template to allow for easy data synchronization and enable Liberty Global to quickly scale the platform in each country. Once EPAM had created this basic blueprint of AWS services and account limits, it could build the same back-end operations for any ISP across Europe, with just a small amount of local configuration.

Using AWS Transit Gateway, AWS Direct Connect, AWS Database Migration Service, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and AWS Storage Gateway, EPAM was able to migrate the main databases, while directing incoming data and synchronizing to the cloud in near real time. Systems could be brought back online seamlessly, and the platforms reflected each customers’ personalized experiences. The use of AWS Direct Connect provided substantial cost savings by reducing inter-data center transfer costs. Further cost savings were achieved through automation, including configuration and storage costs, so only the core infrastructure remained persistent.

The previous system took a snapshot of virtual machines that were transferred to a separate data center, leading to slow and incomplete restoration. Now, in the event of a serious outage, Liberty Global can deploy its backup platform within hours. Although there have not been any major issues requiring live use of the system, Liberty Global tests it according to its release schedule, with a full dry run at the end of each development cycle. During these drills, Liberty Global has successfully restored the environment to full functionality within one hour. The system works to a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of 15 minutes and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of one hour.

By the end of the year, several million customers will rely on the system. The initial capacity planning was for over 1,000 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances across seven ISPs and their pre-production and production environments. All are built using the same design and automation, and require minor adjustments to AWS account limits and the number of Amazon EC2 instances available in specific regions.

Olivier Phillippe, Vice President of Entertainment Technology at Liberty Global, says, “We have had very strong technical support from both EPAM and AWS. A state-of-the-art entertainment service delivery platform is very complex, and even more so in a hybrid cloud implementation across an on-premises primary site and the public cloud. A very deep understanding of cloud infrastructure and network technologies, as well as a deep understanding of component applications was required to deliver this project without risking any side effect to the primary site.”

Liberty Global

About Liberty Global

Liberty Global is one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband, and communications companies, with operations in six European countries under the consumer brands Virgin Media, Telenet, and UPC.

About EPAM

As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, EPAM works with its global customers to design, migrate, build, and support sophisticated cloud applications on AWS with increased flexibility, scalability, and reliability. As of 2021, EPAM has more than 2,000 AWS engineers, 90 AWS business and technical accreditations, and has delivered more than 300 projects that leverage AWS.

Published July 2021