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April 15, 2016

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Higher Resolution: Bonus Features in VCAS Ultra

This is the first of a two-part blog about some of the continuous improvements we’re making to reduce operational complexity and friction for our customers. These may not be the headline-grabbing marquee features you’ll see in other VCAS Ultra marketing materials, but they will provide tremendous value, greatly improving our customers’ user experience, satisfaction and making it even easier to deploy and support VCAS. 

Making Scalable Content Security Simpler & More Elegant

I’m very excited to share with you some supportability improvements we’re introducing or enhancing in VCAS Ultra. What is “supportability”? It’s the culmination of many hundreds of thousands person-hours of design, development and testing efforts to make the day-to-day usability of our product simpler to operate – and easier to support – across a variety of our customers’ technical skillsets.

Here are a few of the improvements:

  • Easier to Install On-Premise: We have continued to improve our Kickstart installer to make the process of installing VCAS Ultra easier for on-prem deployments. This will reduce your project durations and costs, and make it easier for you to add additional server capacity as your subscriber and content needs grow.
     

  • Easier to Install in the Cloud: We’re introducing the ability to do easy VCAS installations to Amazon Web Services (AWS) using our pre-configured, pre-installed Amazon Machine Image (AMI). This will make it quicker and easier to launch your services in the cloud, and spin up additional VCAS instances as your subscriber and content needs grow.
     

  • Easier to Upgrade: Leading up to VCAS Ultra, we have made incredible improvements to ease the upgrade process. This includes streamlining the database migration from any 3.x version up to Ultra (4.0), including more robust backup scripts, migration scripts, reducing the number of configuration files and simplifying our file system structure. It also means making OMI more backwards compatible, a concept I’ll speak to in more detail below.
     

  • Easier to Keep Up-To-Date*: In VCAS Ultra, we will be introducing our hosted VCAS update server. This will enable your VCAS system to automatically (or manually) and securely check against the latest image, and download all of the latest updates, security patches, bug fixes, etc. to be ready to apply at your next scheduled maintenance window.
     

  • Easier to Monitor*: In VCAS Ultra, we are introducing the first wave of new functionality around enhanced monitoring and proactive alerts. And in future versions of Ultra, we’ll have  built-in support for Icinga, a scalable open-source monitoring system that will easily plug into your existing network management solutions, and provide customized monitoring, reporting and alerts across the VCAS platform and product lines. We’re also introducing the concept of VCAS telemetry to provide proactive forecasting of your VCAS system usage so you can know in advance when you’ll need to expand your licenses, add an additional server/instance and identify what parts of your system are growing faster than others, along with areas that need attention.
     

  • Enhanced Backwards Compatibility of OMI: One of the greatest challenges our customers and partners faced in keeping VCAS up-to-date was the fear/concern that it would require re-integration with OMI, and thus, more synchronized development and testing time across multiple vendors. Verimatrix understands this concern very well, and we address it in VCAS Ultra by introducing the concept of OMI versioning. Let’s say that you need to upgrade to VCAS Ultra ASAP to take advantage of 4K/UHD functionality, however your middleware/subscriber management system or content ingestion system integration cannot upgrade at the same time, or your internal development teams don’t have cycles to commit for several more sprints. Previously, this would have meant that the VCAS upgrade could only occur when all other partners had upgraded their pieces first. Now with OMI Versioning, you can upgrade VCAS 3.8.1 to VCAS 4.0 (Ultra), while locking your VCAS 4.0 OMI in 3.8.1 mode to preserve the previous integration work. This will allow us to isolate your VCAS systems, while continuing to keep them upgraded, up-to-date and more secure without adding further operational complexity or complicating your project management schedules.
     

  • New Cleaner, Easier-To-Use VCAS GUI: We spent a tremendous amount of time redesigning the entire UI/UX experience based on feedback we received from our users, to provide a unified interface across all of our product platforms. Now you can manage all of your networks, domains, devices, users and content from a single cleaner, flatter, simplified and more powerful GUI. See below for an example screenshot of this:

  • Centralized Licensing: In VCAS Ultra, we’re introducing new functionality called the Site Manager. Amongst the many roles it will play is the ability to install a single license file for your multiple server deployments. This means only having to download and install our license file in one place, and then as your servers reboot/restart, they simply get all of their license information from a single source. This will greatly reduce the work it takes for your teams to install licenses (and guarantee that all of the servers in your VCAS system are in sync) and make it easier to add/remove servers and instances from your production network pools.

For these reasons and many more that we’ll cover in Part 2, we strongly believe that VCAS Ultra is a must-have upgrade for customers looking to streamline their operations, increase platform security and accelerate their launch of 4K/UHD services.

Fast Forward: Our Global Services Team Makes It Easier To Upgrade!

Even with all of our improvements, it’s possible you may need consultation in planning or executing your installation, migration or upgrade to VCAS Ultra. Verimatrix Global Services is here to help! We’ve deployed VCAS solutions at over 850 telco, cable, satellite, terrestrial and Internet TV customers in 110+ countries, protecting content on over 110M consumer devices worldwide. We’ve built customized tools to solve some of our customers’ trickiest problems. And, we’ve helped our customers scale their solutions to increase capacity, reliability, security and performance. Leverage our extensive multi-network experience to help you accelerate getting your VCAS Ultra system to market to maintain your competitive advantage. If you’d like to upgrade your system to VCAS Ultra/4.0, please reach out to your local salesperson.

Read the next blog in this series: Higher Resolution Pt. II: Behind The Scenes.
 

*Part of Verspective Monitoring and Support services; Verspective services can be purchased separately from the VCAS Ultra product.

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