Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share
23/01/2014

Rebuilding The Modern Media Facility

News Image
Putting Planning Into Action: Building Or Rebuilding The Modern Media Facility - by Richard Welsh, SMPTE Governor for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America, and CEO at Sundog Media Toolkit.

The construction or rebuild of a media facility demands thorough attention not only to the hardware being integrated and installed, but also to factors such as maintenance, support, and future extensibility. Using the example of a mastering facility working with both real-time uncompressed audio/video content and file-based material, the primary considerations are audio/video infrastructure, network infrastructure, storage, processing, and control.
Business growth and format changes place high demands on storage architecture. Within the facility, the storage area network (SAN) architecture selected for high-end and very specific performance parameters may not scale cost-effectively. Compounding this, the relatively rapid obsolescence of information technology (IT) parts makes maintenance increasingly expensive over time. A possible solution is to select a fully modular system without an underlying hardware layer that will reach end-of-life (EOL) in five years.
If a unit fails beyond EOL, then replacing just that unit, rather than whole storage array, avoids a growth curve on support costs to keep the whole system alive. On paper, this approach may compromise on absolute bandwidth, particularly for specific processes. However, by modifying the whole system architecture to allow better distribution of tasks, it could actually improve total throughput significantly. Task fragmentation is far more viable now than ever before.
A facility often will outgrow its existing network architecture, with the emergence of new service areas often being the trigger points for upgrade. To prevent these upgrade costs from occurring more frequently than necessary, it pays to overbuild here. It is sensible to double or more predicted future cabling requirements.
The required network hardware need not be purchased until it is needed, and thus cost is incremental and proportional to increased business. This approach may hurt the initial budget, but it is always more cost-effective than having installers return later to fit more cabling. Although expensive, a high-speed managed firewall for a production network is critical.
Customers' security requirements must be at the front of mind as network requirements are defined, as loss of revenue associated with a failed audit is usually much more than the equipment cost.
In a mastering facility, audio/video architecture is not as up-time critical as in a live 'broadcast-style' facility, but it does need to enable complete flexibility.
A proliferation of economical routing systems offers cost-effective choices that more than adequately provide the performance needed. Notwithstanding this, video/audio systems decisions are increasingly difficult because the industry is moving away from dedicated hardware. At the same time, formats are evolving rapidly. No practical facility-wide architectures account for all of the formats now in the media production and delivery pipeline. SMPTE's latest report on the Ultra HD television ecosystem -
www.smpte.org/uhdtv-report - highlights a key example of a new format creating huge infrastructure challenges. As a result, it is easy to over-specify a video/audio core, but modular I/O hardware at source and destination can help to minimise the cost impact by only having the physical I/O required and scaling as needed.
For processing hardware, it is commonplace to have a hybrid of real-time audio/video equipment and simple central processing unit (CPU)/graphic processing unit (GPU) horsepower. It is important to understand how scaling this hardware might impact other areas — particularly network and storage for the file-based elements. Upgrades are inevitable, so it is critical to determine upfront what a total system module will cost, including hardware, software, licenses, storage, and maintenance.
How much maintenance can or should be done in-house? In-house support can be a burden when a limited engineering team is stretched not only in bandwidth, but also in knowledge. Systems integrators charge to provide umbrella engineering cover, but they have expertise with their supplied equipment or overall installation that will usually give them significant advantage over internal engineering for support.
External support such as telecoms ought to be rolled into the overall service contracts. An internal engineering team is a must to handle main equipment on a day-to-day basis. A good IT department is also essential for support in the modern media environment. This usually means some staff cross training, but many companies find that a split of bandwidth and costs between departments works well.
Now, with a rapidly maturing market for file-based or real-time video/audio over IP architecture, and with external storage and infrastructure options via cloud services, there are further choices available. Every element of infrastructure is affected by these decisions, and calculations of potential cost benefits must recognise this. As with many things in life, the best course is to understand the situation and find a happy compromise.
SMPTE is bringing its highly acclaimed regional seminar on this topic to London on 11 February and Manchester on 12 February. These seminars will address the use of media on IT networks, including both streaming and file-based workflows, and cover many aspects of the media lifecycle, including acquisition, production, broadcast, contribution and distribution and are valuable for anyone working in systems integration.
Read the article in the online edition of RFV here.
(IT/JP)
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

08/09/2017
Picture Canning Expands With A New Dedicated London Facility
Picture Canning, a facilities house providing crew, broadcast equipment and technical support, has expanded its offering with a new dedicated London o
14/03/2017
Marquis Broadcast Solution Installed At ENVY Facility
UK post-production house ENVY has installed Marquis Broadcast's Project Parking and Workspace Parking at its facility to guarantee business continuity
17/05/2017
dock10 Expands Post Production Facility
dock10 has announced an expansion of its post production facility, The Quay. Following on from a development of the facility in 2016, the latest addit
08/05/2017
Canford Relocate To New Facility
From the beginning it was clear that Canford wouldn't become an "us as well" re-seller of pro-audio and broadcast equipment. Instead, the company woul
27/04/2017
Lawo Adds SOUL To Broadcast IP Network
Lawo has announced the debut of its new Seamless Orchestration and Unification Layer (SOUL), an overarching orchestration service for IP-based product
13/04/2017
Providing More Visibility Into IP Network Performance
As radio broadcasters transition to IP networks and add more services, new software and hardware solutions simplify matters from start to finish. As
22/06/2017
Dubai Channels Network Places Order For Lawo VSM
Dubai Channels Network has chosen Lawo VSM for two new OB vans, it has been announced. The media organisation is already utilising Lawo V__pro8s for O
31/05/2017
SIS LIVE Further Extends Anylive® Connectivity Network
SIS LIVE has further extended its Anylive® connectivity network to 25 horse racecourses throughout Ireland for television and data services to bookmak
16/11/2017
Avid Supports Al Jazeera Media Network On Its Journey To The Cloud
With content distribution and consumption, and audience engagement expanding exponentially, media organizations have been forced to adapt to the rapid
26/10/2017
Cineo Lighting Expands European Reseller Network
Cineo Lighting has announced a new initiative to grow its list of European resellers in response to an ever-growing catalog of lighting technology sol
25/10/2017
Dejero To Showcase Solutions For IP Network Blending And Video Compression Technology
Dejero is to showcase solutions for IP network blending and video compression technology in support of remote and mobile broadcasting at the FOR-A® bo
29/09/2017
Barnfind Builds Fiber Transmission Network For BRICS Summit
Barnfind Technologies has provided the infrastructure for a fiber optic transmission system used by Xiamen TV to produce the 9th annual BRICS Summit.
28/09/2017
Commedia To Demonstrate Advanced Network Optimisation Solutions at Broadcast India
Commedia – who were recently named a Bridge Technologies business partner for the country - will present Bridge Technologies' extensive range of solut
25/09/2017
IPE Timing System Installed In Production Facility
Norway's TV 2 has installed IPE's IDS production timing system as part of its new broadcast and production facilities in Bergen. The IDS system is cu
19/09/2017
Your Cables, Our Retrieval System
The party's over, it's time to call it day... So the song goes. However, in the case of a large Outside Broadcast event it is only over for some. The