Sky - Interactive TV Chat Project

British Sky Broadcasting operates Sky Digital the most popular subscription television service in the UK.

Project Requirements 
To deliver a "no-single-point-of-failure" hosted architecture for an Interactive TV chat application to be deployed using the Sky Interactive Micro browser, using an existing hosting company and making as much use as possible of hardware purchased for a previously cancelled project. The project had to be completed within a very short timescale in order to meet the customer's business needs. 

The Solution 
Layer3 worked closely with Globix to design and deliver a multi-tiered environment: the firewalls and other networking being designed in conjunction with Globix and the server architecture being designed and installed by Layer3 staff.

The server-level solution consisted of 10 Windows 2000 web servers connected to a Windows 2000 Advanced Server database cluster using SQLServer 2000 with a Fiber Channel Storage Area Network, while the infrastructure solution comprised 3 pairs of CheckPoint Firewall1 on RedHat Linux with RainWall clustering 

• £250,000 license savings.
• £150,000 hardware reuse savings.
• Allowed Sky to deploy the first ever Interactive TV chat service successfully to budget and within the specified timescale. 
• Maximum re-use of existing servers
• Architecture designed for a lifespan beyond this one project, allowing additional service deployments without further large infrastructure investments.

Project Requirements

The week before the system was to go live a security audit identified that there may be security issues with the Expert-24 hosting facility and concerns about the robustness of the server configuration. Norwich Union and Expert-24 needed an independent consultancy that could quickly test and analyse the whole configuration, making any urgently needed improvements as part of the process and to produce a detailed report to confirm the state of the system. All of the testing and analysis had to be carried out without impacting on the live system or disturbing the development team and their work. 

The Solution
Layer3 provided a team of 5 specialists, each capable of verifying specific areas of the whole system. The task was then broken into analysing the system architecture, network design and configuration, system configuration and system patching, systems administration and documentation. A separate group carried out penetration tests on the Internet facing aspects of the system. When analysis was completed any missing security features such as latest patches or administration detail such as recovery plan were created and added to the project. 

• Very fast response to problems. System delivered on time and to specification
• Complete analysis within 4 days without impact on delivery of product
• Independent verification of correctness of operational system
• Independent validation of security model
• Minor security or configuration concerns immediately repaired
• Major issues reviewed by clients for priority assessment
• High priority issues repaired or corrected before going live
• Lower priority issues cleared within 5 days of going live