Senior Database Systems Engineer, BBC
The BBC ensures resilience of broadcasting services across TV, radio, and digital platforms using MySQL InnoDB Cluster.
Business Challenges & Goals
The BBC is the world's leading public service news organisation. BBC Wales ensures news and content production in English and Welsh for 3 TV stations, 25 radio stations, and numerous online channels. It is a pivotal site for the BBC.
Following the decision to move to a state-of-the-art 14,000 m2 headquarters in Cardiff - which includes news studios, production suites, office spaces, and a datacentre - BBC Wales wanted to modernize its media production environment to foster creativity and collaboration among its staff and further enhance production quality.
The BBC needed to ensure high availability and on-demand scalability for its critical broadcasting applications. Those applications are dedicated to automating studio production systems, transferring audio and video clips from one system into another, as well as controlling the graphic engine routes between studios and the various linear and on-demand networks.
The BBC also aimed for continuous expert support and reliable threat monitoring mechanisms for addressing critical database incidents. At the same time, direct communication with MySQL engineers enables DBAs to adopt a proactive attitude towards monitoring the databases and troubleshooting issues.
Business Results & Metrics
When BBC Wales moved their headquarters to Cardiff in October 2019, the organisation profoundly modernized its production and broadcasting technology. This translated into moving media content to MySQL Enterprise Edition 8.0 databases, automating studio productions, streamlining audio and video exports, and optimizing graphic engines routes.
The initiative involved deploying multiple MySQL InnoDB Cluster nodes on two fault tolerant VM hosts, located in separate fault zones in the Cardiff datacentre. This provided enhanced efficiency, resiliency, and scalability to BBC Wales' broadcasting services, which are consumed round-the-clock by viewers in the United Kingdom and worldwide on television, radio, and digital platforms.
MySQL's InnoDB Cluster technology gave the BBC a native, perfectly integrated, high availability solution for managing critical broadcasting services without having to rely on any external component or application failover logic. Failovers and data replication to all nodes are automatic. "The MySQL InnoDB Cluster configures itself automatically to determine which MySQL instance will act as the primary database node. Nobody notices, there is no service outage and no need for manual intervention," Kim Cassells said.
The BBC's DBAs have gained full visibility of potential issues in each node and the overall cluster with the help of MySQL Enterprise Monitor. The tool provides in-depth advice and alerts the DBAs on problems before these become critical. It also makes maintenance easier, enabling the DBA team to focus on core tasks such as process documentation instead of managing the clusters.
The BBC now has direct 24x7 access to experienced MySQL engineers and technical support to assist with the deployment, administration, and monitoring of their MySQL databases and applications, enabling the DBA team to adopt a more proactive approach for managing databases and applications.
The BBC now has the flexibility to scale MySQL on-demand, by adding more cluster nodes, thus ensuring sustainable performance of the organisation's broadcasting services, in line with the requirements of increasing data loads. This allows producers to constantly expand on the content they create.
MySQL InnoDB Cluster offered the BBC an easy-to-manage and fully supported solution that provides high availability with automatic failover of database nodes as well as on-demand scalability.
The BBC also has a longstanding relationship with Oracle. MySQL InnoDB Cluster was the organisation's natural choice since their staff already uses numerous MySQL databases for its applications and projects.
Development and testing began in late 2019. Having the full support of the MySQL engineering and support teams, the BBC resolved several challenges around application implementation, virtual machine configuration, and network sensitivity. The organisation went live with MySQL Enterprise Edition 8.0 and MySQL InnoDB Cluster in September 2020.
Future MySQL Products
"Our success in deploying MySQL InnoDB Cluster at the BBC is extremely encouraging. We can offer this high availability solution now to other broadcast-critical operations within the BBC, such as the automation of the program-making galleries and studios in the BBC Broadcasting House in London," Kim Cassells concludes. "It's an exciting time ahead for us."