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Primestream Adds Efficiency to Cisco TV

Jack YuSAN JOSE, CALIF.—Cisco TV is a nonprofit entity that provides video production services to Cisco’s internal customers worldwide. During the past 10 years, we’ve added more than 36,000 hours of hosted video content to our system and until recently, stored all of that video in an OS-level file system with no useful metadata or search mechanism. This made it difficult to locate and reuse the assets.

With demand for video growing at Cisco, we needed a more efficient way to capture and manage our video assets. We also wanted to deliver new, and sometimes time-sensitive video content to producers quickly, which was difficult to accomplish in our existing workflow, as the editing process couldn’t be started until the entire recording was completed. Moreover, due to lack of automation, engineers often had to work very late to record events coming in from various time zones.

After investigating various systems and talking with other high-volume studios, we implemented Primestream Fork, an integrated media asset management and production automation workflow system. Primestream stood out, as it’s easy to use and designed to handle large, high-resolution video files. It also integrates well with nonlinear editors and video archiving platforms.

We also implemented Fork Xchange Suite to provide web access and control over video content and workflows. With Fork Xchange Suite, producers can now share and edit media from any Internet-connected computer, and trigger actions and workflow-automation scripts such as “send to archive” and “restore from archive.”

We deployed Primestream on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, not only for performance and scalability, but also because both Fork Production Suite and Fork Xchange Suite are validated to run on Cisco UCS. The power of this platform allows Fork to process multiple incoming streams of HD video simultaneously without running into CPU bottlenecks.

In our San Jose facility, Cisco TV can now simultaneously ingest up to eight live feeds and play out four video streams. This doubled our previous capability. And Fork creates proxy video files on the fly, so editors can begin working while content is still being captured.

Having an automated system for transcoding, archiving, restoring and publishing has made life much easier for our operators, as they no longer have to stay late just to hit a record button. We’ve also automated many previously manual tasks to save time and improve workflow. We can do partial file restorations and grab just the snippet of video we need instead of restoring the whole file—things not possible before Fork.

The results have been dramatic. Being able to reuse content without spending a lot of time finding it allows us to be more responsive to users. Engineers can work more reasonable hours and video teams can focus on producing new content instead of searching for old footage.

We’re also saving money. With Fork and SGL archiving software, we’ll going to be able to knock six figures off of our annual off-site tape archiving costs.

Primestream’s Fork Production Suite running on Cisco UCS has given us a huge boost in our ability to handle corporate video.

Jack Yu is visual networking manager at Cisco TV. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Primestream at 305-625-4415 or