DataStax Blog

Comcast builds the “Future of Awesome” with Cassandra

By Shiyi Gu -  April 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

Remember your dumb setup TV box? It was not that long ago before you switched to a more interactive and integrated TV experience. People everywhere are unplugging from their static, do-one-thing cable box and as a result, the traditional cable and media industry is facing fierce challenges from disruptive carriers. Time Warner Cable for example, lost 306,000 TV subscribers in just one quarter in 2013.

The innovators in this crowded space, however, have managed to stay ahead. Comcast is a great example of a business understanding their consumers’ needs and delivering on them. With its X1 cloud-based platform, Comcast has redefined the way television is delivered and set a new industry standard for home entertainment, one that transcends traditional TV to deliver an immersive and personalized entertainment experience across all devices.

In his last interview with DataStax, Boris Wolf, Senior Software Engineer at Comcast Innovation Center, talked about his project and how it helps engage. Boris is an expert on an infrastructure project called the CMB – the Comcast Message Bus. In his words, “CMB is a generic message queue, a publish-and-subscribe infrastructure implemented on a Cassandra backend.” Comcast’s X1 setup box allowing customers to run real-time messaging on live sporting events runs on this message bus as the backend. The success of the messaging bus, is no easy feat, though. There were three requirements Boris and his team were looking for:

  1. Linear, or near-linear horizontal scalability
  2. Availability and robustness – cross-data center availability, which means if one data center goes down the application seamlessly fails over to another data center
  3. An Active-Active feature – where the application needs to be able to read and write to two data centers at the same time. Say you have one message queue and you send to that message queue from data center A and then you have clients receiving messages from the message queue in data center B, and also the other way around.

According to Boris, the above requirements are really hard to find in off-the-shelf offerings, so Comcast decided to build their own. Comcast chose Cassandra because it naturally delivers the availability and cross datacenter replication unavailable in other applications.

On May 6th, we are excited to have Boris to share more about his insights on why legacy databases didn’t make the cut and his experience with Cassandra via an online webinar. Attend to learn more. Meanwhile, what will you be watching on Comcast tonight?



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