Case Study

Channel 4 Scales on AWS with Piksel and CloudHealth

Channel 4 television corporation is one of the UK’s largest broadcasters and has been a pioneering force in British television since its launch in 1982. An early adopter of cloud services, Channel 4 supports network expansion by running its infrastructure on multiple on-premise and Amazon Web Services (AWS) locations and relies on the Piksel Cloud Governance Service, powered by CloudHealth, to successfully optimize its growing network.

Channel 4's cloud challenges

Channel 4 was an early adopter of cloud services, starting to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2009. Since then, Channel 4’s AWS footprint has grown significantly. As a result, its cloud estate became complex, being used across the organisation by multiple business and technical teams. Currently, Channel 4 has multiple AWS accounts, owned by a number of stakeholder groups, including Broadcast and Video Delivery, Data Analytics, Ad Sales, R&D, and Corporate teams.

As an organisation, Channel 4 had a strong understanding of AWS, but the diverse stakeholders and business groups meant fragmented use of cloud services. In addition, the ever-increasing number and evolution of AWS services highlighted the need for more efficiency. Piksel Group, a trusted technology partner of Channel 4 since 2006, needed a way to manage Channel 4’s complex AWS estate. However, existing monitoring services were too simplistic and did not provide the information needed to enable the team at Piksel Group to make decisions. Due to existing corporate policy standards, Piksel and Channel 4 required a solution that would enable them to manage costs and govern through efficiency and compliance.

Finding a solution

To address the need for a comprehensive cloud management solution, Piksel implemented its Cloud Governance Service. Known for enabling organizations to easily manage costs, improve governance, automate actions, and mitigate security risks across cloud environments, Piksel was able to meet Channel 4’s core requirements, which included:

  • Effective policy management
  • Compliance monitoring and security management
  • Cost management
  • Usage reporting, trends, and recommendations

The Piksel service collates multiple data points from CloudHealth and combines them with both cloud native and Piksel Group-developed monitoring and alerting data to give a comprehensive view across the entire Channel 4 AWS estate. CloudHealth powers key components of the Piksel Cloud Governance service, providing the backbone for:

  • Detailed analysis of usage and cost
  • Budget alerting
  • Reserved Instance (RI) reporting and planning
  • Security recommendations and compliance against best practice governance policies

The results

In the past year, Channel 4 has been able to achieve a 26% increase in viewer consumption of its “All 4” service by its 22 million registered viewers.

Through the development of native cloud services, effective management of its cloud estate, and taking advantage of the Piksel Cloud Governance service, Powered by CloudHealth, Channel 4 has been able to achieve these gains without an increase in overall AWS spend.

"Through Piksel and CloudHealth, we have the confidence to onboard more services within our cloud estate, knowing that usage is being monitored and giving us the ability to corporately enforce best practices."

— Declan Toman
New Media Operations Manager, Channel 4

In addition, Channel 4 has benefited from a centralised ability to slice and dice cloud estate cost and usage data via a variety of criteria, while enabling stakeholders across various groups to adopt common procedures for cloud services, increasing overall efficiency.

Channel 4 has been able to:

  • Gain greater visibility into their cloud usage enabling them to manage and plan more effectively 
  • Develop business plans based on metrics and data instead of guesswork 
  • Save costs through CloudHealth AI and analytics for RI sizing 
  • Benefit from real-time cost management through budget alerting 
  • Gain more awareness of new and unused cloud services to reduce cloud waste through a consistent view across the organization 
  • Unearth previously unidentified security risks and mitigate them early in the service lifecycle 
  • Ensure that new deployments to AWS comply with corporate policy and AWS best practice