Helping EBOX grow its TV service with high-performance, scalable file storage

EBOX
EBOX is an independent internet service provider offering television, internet and telephony services in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

With over 20 years of experience, the EBOX team provides connectivity for tens of thousands of business and home users around the world, delivering customized services to each of them.

EBOX is a Canadian internet provider serving the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The company was looking to modernize and expand the storage and network architecture for its EBOX TV service in order to grow its customer base and differentiate itself. 

Choosing the right storage infrastructure foundation to support EBOX TV

EBOX’s mission over the next three years is to expand its EBOX TV service, which provides subscribers with more than 150 channels of programming, as well as video on demand (VOD) services and integration with the Google Play store. The company was looking to modernize and expand the supporting storage and network architecture for EBOX TV in order to deliver more programming and services to home users, grow its customer base, and differentiate its TV offerings from other, larger competitors.

“Each feature we can add to our system and application is designed with our customers in mind,” explains Massoud Sharifi Far, a senior network and system administrator for EBOX.

Accomplishing this requires a high-performance, scalable storage infrastructure in order to deliver those TV services to home and business users.

Before choosing Qumulo’s file storage solution, EBOX was using mostly FreeNAS open source software. “We were a new company, for us at the beginning it was trial and error,” said Sharifi Far. “We had some challenges to find good brands and reliable companies. In the end, we found Qumulo.”

As EBOX TV’s customer base grows, so do its storage needs

“At the beginning, we looked at a few other choices besides Qumulo that were much more expensive,” Sharifi Far said. “I’m really happy we’re working with Qumulo because the NFS share is easy and really user friendly.”

“I remember at the time, the features that you had (versus NetApp)… Your product was more reliable and a better value for our use case. Right now, we’re really glad to have made this decision. Honestly, we have friends at other companies that use Netapp and we are in a better situation than they are,” said Sharifi Far.

EBOX currently has two Qumulo clusters installed at its Quebec location – one for live television channels, and one for VOD catch-ups, replies and file catalogs.

“I’m really happy we’re working with Qumulo because the NFS share is easy and really user friendly.”

When it comes to upgrading the storage system and DNS perimeters, Qumulo “makes it easier” for EBOX, because the service provider doesn’t have to sacrifice speed for reliability. “We had some other (vendor) choices,” Sharifi Far says, “but the failure point was too risky. We’re providing customers with live TV and programming services. Reliability is incredibly important for us, and our customers.”

Also, with live and on-demand programming, Sharifi Far explained, sending data is not as simple as sending a packet of data, you have to make core changes to your architecture. Network routers and switches can’t serve a multi-cast product, creating some challenging issues for implementation.

“We made a lot of changes (to the infrastructure) over the past two years because of the TV service,” he said, noting that EBOX also made updates as the service provider grew, needing more storage, more servers, and more IT facilities in order to meet escalating customer demand.

Given the continued growth of it file data, EBOX plans to expand its use of Qumulo storage in the coming years. “Each day of each month, the files and the video resolutions become bigger,” he said. “Just a few years ago, typical video resolution was 720p – it’s really growing fast in order to produce high quality and high definition content, which impacts the storage demands. That’s why we depend on Qumulo.”

Ensuring a delightful customer experience with Qumulo

Qumulo’s sales, installation and customer success teams also earned high marks from EBOX.

“Everything was installed in minutes. This was incredible.”

Back in the days of using FreeNAS solution, it took Safiri Far’s team a couple of days to put the system into production. In contrast, he recalls “For Qumulo, I remember you sent us a guy for installation, I have him VPN access and everything was installed in minutes. This was incredible.”

On installation day, “I saw the smile on my boss’ face who was overseeing the install,” Sharifi Far remembers.

“Qumulo’s team generally – not just customer success – was a great experience for us,” said Sharifi Far. “With other companies, it feels like a “yes man” show. As long as they send us something, they ignore us the rest of the time. I was happy with the experience with Qumulo – the support and the overall customer experience. Everything was really awesome.”

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