Pharos and XenData accelerate archive file distribution

Pharos Communications said it has developed new technology for digital archive management that greatly accelerates the speed of data-intensive video file distribution. Working with Cambridge, UK-based software developer XenData, Pharos will implement the resulting advances in multiple server addressing as part of its Mediator media asset management (MAM) system.

Tape-based data archives have until now been regarded as offline or, at best, near-online devices, according to Spencer Rodd, technical director at Pharos. The new initiative with XenData enables the company to offer very high bandwidth bidirectional data transfer between Mediator's disc servers and third-party data tape archives.

Rodd said Pharos was in the process of implementing a large system using three super-fast disc servers, which addresses 12 archive tape drives, for a major UK broadcaster. XenData's software allows Pharos' Mediator system to view the 12 tape drives as a single virtual drive of extremely high capacity without the traffic bottleneck that would result from serial data flow.

More than 30 broadcasters worldwide are currently using XenData software in single-server digital video archive systems, according to Xendata's CEO Phil Storey. They deploy a standard system interface that makes a tape library look and behave like a standard computer drive for FTP or Windows networking, providing rapid tape access and automatic tape replication.

The Mediator system automatically tracks content flow from initial acquisition to playout and post-transmission storage. Configurable for large or small networks, it includes ingest tools, browsing, quality control processing and management of tape, near online and archive libraries. Operators access content via a Web-based control screen matching their specific roles. As content progresses toward and beyond transmission, it is automatically presented to the appropriate, authorized user.

Both companies will introduce the results of their technical partnership at their respective booths at the NAB2007 convention in April.

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