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Canal Extremadura supports large-scale multimedia transformation

Canal Extremadura supports large-scale multimedia transformation

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Canal Extremadura, a Spanish broadcast media company, needed to refresh an outdated infrastructure that lacked the flexibility for supporting an evolving business and the scalability for fast-growing volumes of multimedia content. The new archive environment provides the long-term scalability to support the company’s transformation from traditional TV and radio to more multimedia work. Francisco Reyes, Technical Chief, says that with a scalable archive, the company can stay focused on delivering engaging content instead of worrying about where to store it.

Headquartered in Mérida, Spain, with offices in Badajoz, Cáceres, and Plasencia, Canal Extremadura is a public multimedia company that delivers engaging content for radio, the web and two television channels. Content focuses on the identity, cohesion and culture of the autonomous Extremadura community, which is located in the western-central part of the Iberian Peninsula.

To make the transition from a traditional radio and TV business to a modern multimedia corporation, Canal Extremadura needed to revamp its complex, ageing IT infrastructure. By selecting a Quantum StorNext solution for its content archive, the company accelerated retrieval of completed media projects and gained the scalability for a swiftly evolving business.

Canal Extremadura is in the middle of a large-scale transformation. Beyond providing traditional radio and TV services, the company strives to become a public multimedia corporation that produces rich, compelling audiovisual content for a full array of platforms. Canal Extremadura wants to put the citizen at the centre and deliver digital content with a sense of disruptive innovation.

Achieving this transformation requires technological change. In particular, the IT group needed to refresh an outdated infrastructure that lacked the flexibility for supporting an evolving business and the scalability for fast-growing volumes of multimedia content.

“We ran out of room in the tape library,” said Francisco Reyes, Technical Chief at Canal Extremadura. “We had to migrate some video to an NAS just to free up space.”

“The main problem for us was economics,” said Reyes. “It would have been too expensive to expand the system.”

Any new archive solution would have to integrate well with the group’s preferred media asset management (MAM) system from Dalet, which is essential for the company’s media production and post-production workflow. In addition, the archive would have to enable a smooth transition from the large existing environment, which contained a large volume of old files in legacy media formats.

Selecting a scalable archive from Quantum

The IT group initiated a request for proposals from multiple storage vendors, but Dalet recommended Quantum. Coming from Dalet, the recommendation carried significant weight: the Canal Extremadura team knew that Dalet had validated integration of the MAM with the Quantum platform.

“We tend to keep solutions for a very long time — we had been using [our previous] system for about 12 years. So we needed to be very confident in a new solution before making the selection,” said Reyes. “The advice and technical information we received from the Dalet and Quantum teams was very helpful. They gave a very clear picture of how the solution would work and how it would be implemented.”

“We were impressed that the Quantum CEO reached out to us directly,” said Damaso Castellote, Technical Director at Canal Extremadura. “It was clear that the Quantum team was accessible, engaged and deeply invested in the project.”

Through consultation with Dalet and Quantum, the IT group selected a Quantum StorNext solution that includes Xcellis storage servers, an Xcellis metadata array, a QXS disk storage array and a StorNext AEL6000 tape library. The tape library, which has 400 slots, uses LTO-8 drives — a significant upgrade from the LTO-3 drives the company was using previously. The environment is fully integrated with the Dalet Galaxy MAM system.

The IT group is capitalising on the networking flexibility of the Quantum platform to support a range of client systems. Specifically, the storage environment is configured to offer fibre channel connectivity to 10 SAN clients plus 10-GbE connections to multiple NAS clients. Meanwhile, the metadata network uses 1 GbE.

Getting up to speed fast and streamlining migration

To make sure Canal Extremadura could make the most of the new archive solution, the Quantum team provided multi-day onsite training. “We definitely like to know what we have in our hands,” said Reyes. “The training was very useful.”

Meanwhile, the Dalet implementation team helped Canal Extremadura migrate its existing archive to the Quantum environment — a process that included transcoding some archived content from legacy formats. “The process took some time because we had a lot of data to migrate, but it was quite smooth,” said Reyes.

Gaining rapid access to archived content

The StorNext File System enables Canal Extremadura journalists, producers and other team members to retrieve archived content much faster than before. Integrated online storage is part of the reason: with the StorNext environment, some content can remain immediately accessible on disk.

“We have more than 100 TB of online storage from Quantum. So if someone has completed a project six months ago, it will probably still be online,” said Reyes. “For us, the Quantum StorNext approach works much better.”

Even when content has been archived to tape, the IT group can deliver it to users rapidly. “In the past, users knew they had to wait for content to be retrieved from the archive,” said Reyes. “Now, it’s much faster than before. We have more drives and faster drives with the Quantum archive.”

Moving to the latest LTO technology also helped accelerate retrieval. By upgrading from LTO-3 to LTO-8, Canal Extremadura can now store significantly more data on each tape. As a result, there’s a greater likelihood that each retrieval request can be satisfied without having to load multiple tapes.

How does faster archival retrieval help users? “Journalists might be in a hurry to assemble a new video for that day’s news broadcast,” said Reyes. “With a faster archive, we can help them meet their deadlines.”

Strengthening compatibility and simplifying support

Moving to the StorNext File System has helped consolidate a complicated archive environment that previously used systems from multiple vendors. Working with a single vendor eliminates some of the potential compatibility problems from the multi-vendor environment.

With the new archive, the StorNext platform facilitates smooth data movement from online disk storage to the tape library. That integrated environment works with the Dalet MAM system to support a complete production and post-production workflow, from ingest to archiving.

Ongoing support is also much easier now that there are technologies from fewer vendors. The IT group has a single point of contact for the Quantum environment if the company ever needs to address issues or make changes.

Moving forward with a multimedia transformation

The new archive environment provides the long-term scalability to support the company’s transformation from traditional TV and radio to more multimedia work. “If we ever need to expand the archive in the future, we can simply add tapes — it’s very straightforward,” said Reyes. “With a scalable archive, our company can stay focused on delivering engaging content instead of worrying about where to store it.”

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