FOX SPORTS Australia meets multichannel bandwidth demands with expanded SAN

To meet anticipated bandwidth and archive demands for two new 24/7 television channels, Premier Media Group, operators of FOX SPORTS Australia, in Sydney, New South Wales, needed to expand its storage area network (SAN).
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New studio technology
– network

Submitted by SGI Design Team Premier Media Group, Australia: Michael Day, chief eng.; Andrew Bradley, on-air projects mgr.; Tony Scanlan, CTO
SGI: Michael Cocks, account mgr.; David Honey, professional services consultant; Mike Grayson, customer services Technology at work Ardendo ingest and asset management applications
SGI
Altix XE servers
InfiniteStorage TP9700
Sony PetaSite archive

FOX SPORTS Australia meets multichannel bandwidth demands with expanded SAN

To meet anticipated bandwidth and archive demands for two new 24/7 television channels, Premier Media Group, operators of FOX SPORTS Australia, in Sydney, New South Wales, needed to expand its storage area network (SAN). With four popular 24/7 existing channels — FOX SPORTS 1, FOX SPORTS 2, FUEL TV and HOW TO — as well as interactive services, Premier Media Group planned to launch two more — FOX SPORTS 3 and FOX SPORTS NEWS — to add more international sports and international sports news.

Premier Media Group accesses 25 to 30 remote feeds to generate an average of 20 hours daily of live sports on its three main channels while editing and airing a huge variety of sports-related programming. The extra load of two new channels meant lots more FTPs coming and going, lots more storage and lots more library space needed.

Since early 2004, the backbone of Premier Media Group’s complete digital infrastructure for end-to-end D10/MXF operation are SGI InfiniteStorage systems and SGI ingest and transmission servers running Ardendo applications. The original SGI solution was purchased to overcome the workflow restrictions of tape-based ingest. Due to SGI’s highly scalable architecture, Premier Media Group has, in the interim, been consistently adding to its infrastructure to support live ingest and broadcast, SAN, archive and library management needs.

Engineers considered other server clusters but decided on 18 SGI Altix XE servers when their own tests showed that the SGI servers running Dual Core Intel Xeon processors transcoded 2X faster than other systems under consideration with the same Intel Dual Core Xeon processors. Equally important was that the dual-core SGI systems work well with Linux because Ardendo runs on Linux.

In preparation for the new channels’ launch, the company expanded its SGI Infinite­Storage Shared Filesystem CXFS based SAN with 4Gb Fibre Channel fabric and an SGI InfiniteStorage TP9700 system. The SGI SAN, with the Ardendo suite of ingest and asset management software tools for content management, now totals upwards of 33TB. The Sony PetaSite archive, which has now almost doubled in size to more than 530TB, interfaces to 10 nonlinear editing systems, the existing traffic system and TV automation.

Since the new installation and successful launch of the additional two 24/7 channels, Premier Media Group reports that the SGI scalable architecture continues to consistently deliver a robust flow of easily accessible digital information ranging from television broadcast ingest, archive, edit and transmission to any data — all of which can be processed in the wink of an eye in day-to-day production.