Citrix SD-WAN helps Sky’s network handle Olympic loads

According to Citrix, the NetScaler SD-WAN was central to Sky TV’s Rio 2016 Olympics ICT strategy

Citrix has revealed that Sky TV has been using its NetScaler SD-WAN to manage high and unpredictable network demands during the Rio 2016 Olympics, ensuring production teams on the ground had access to critical applications, data and tools needed during the games.

According to Citrix, the NetScaler SD-WAN was central to Sky TV’s Rio 2016 Olympics ICT strategy, providing network resiliency to mitigate potential risks associated with the quality of local infrastructure and circuits by providing seamless failover in the event of disruption on any of the network services.

Sky’s director of technology, Julian Wheeler, said that, after investigating available options the company had found the NetScaler SD-WAN, “easiest to deploy by overlaying our existing architecture without having to change the underlying network or modify our site layout in Rio.” He added: “We’re already looking beyond the games to see how SD-WAN can support big sporting events in the future.”

According to Citrix’s product literature, NetScaler SD-WAN logically binds multiple MPLS, broadband and wireless network links into a single virtual WAN and then continuously measures and monitors each link for loss, latency, jitter and congestion.

“Mission critical applications can always be routed across the links with the fastest transit time,” it says. “Traffic from high bandwidth applications can be balanced across multiple links to provide the highest performance and an optimal user experience. And real-time application traffic can be duplicated to guarantee no loss and the lowest latency.”

When network problems occur, “NetScaler SD-WAN detects a link outage or performance degradation after just two or three packets, seamlessly moving application traffic to an alternate link. In most cases outages are mitigated without users noticing, even with virtual desktops and latency- sensitive applications like VOIP.”

(Note: Citrix’s announcement was clearly intended to be released prior to the Olympics, with statements such as “SD-WAN will enable the International Broadcast Centre team to cover the Olympics without interruption,” and “the Sky TV team will be under enormous pressure during the Olympics,” Presumably its release on 17 August is a sign that the SD-WAN lived up to its promise!)

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