08.31.2012 10:00 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
EBU backs up for disaster

Eurovision, the broadcast transmission network of the EBU, has acted to protect its operations against disasters such as fire or flood as well as major technical failures by launching a backup network control centre in Leuk, Switzerland, 100km east of its headquarters and primary facility in Geneva.

The new center, described by the EBU as the most advanced within its whole Eurovision network, will ensure transmission continuity in the event of unforeseen broadcasting disruptions.

The NOC B will immediately ensure viewers receive uninterrupted coverage of sporting events delivered by Eurovision, including the UEFA Champions League football games, supported by a staff of three at peak times.

“In an emergency, we can switch between Geneva and Leuk immediately, ensuring the viewing experience is not compromised,” said Eurovision Network Director Graham Warren.

Early in 2013, the center will upgrade to enable automatic switchover in the event of an emergency in the Geneva primary center, in the second phase of NOC B deployment.

"Today, the Eurovision Network manages hundreds of events, amounting to more than 30,000 hours of premium live programming,” Warren added. “This automation will enable the Network management and control to be carried out from either Geneva or NOC B in Leuk in the event of an emergency, adding security."

While ensuring that it can deliver uninterrupted coverage across its network, the EBU has also been encouraging broadcasters to make sure that its own operations are protected against failures. Risks are not confined just to live transmission, but also extend to archives, particularly while converting from tape to file-based methods. The EBU has been urging broadcasters to adopt the rigorous backup procedures, such as hardware mirroring and catastrophe precautions, use of a separate location for housing duplicates and well-tested disaster recovery procedures already common in major enterprise data centers.

One advantage of the migration of broadcasting to IT infrastructures is that many of the tools and methods required for disaster recovery and backup have already been developed, tried and tested.

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