For anyone who wants to learn about television production, Beach TV at the Long Beach campus of California State University (CSU) is an excellent place to start. For nearly 40 years, Beach TV has been training video journalists, producers, content creators, broadcasters, editors, and technicians in all manner of video production. The non-profit, local educational cable TV channel operates 24/7 and boasts of some 600,000 viewers.
Beach TV is operated by the Advanced Media Production Center, the Professional Digital Video Production Department at CSU Long Beach. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Douglas, and the Dalai Lama are some of the luminaries and Nobel Prize winners who have appeared on the channel. The channel also distributes its content on the web at beachtv.amp.csulb.edu as well as via Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
Using a production studio, a green-screen studio, and other facilities, staff and students at Beach TV do end-to-end video production, from script writing to shooting to editing to distribution. Producing programming generates a large number of files, many of which are huge in size, and all need to be stored. Moreover, content must be archived for future use, sometimes years later.
Originally, Beach TV saved files on individual workstations, but each was an island and sharing content was difficult. Moreover, the station archived its programming on tape, but retrieving files was arduous.
In 2006, school administrators looked for better solutions and turned to storage providers like Hitachi. Their platforms, however, cost as much as $100,000 and were out of the reach of the station’s budgets. Instead, Beach TV looked for rack-mounted RAID arrays that supported Fibre Channel connections. It found that JetStor solutions from AC&NC were the least expensive, and yet offered the functionality and performance the station demanded at a fraction of the cost of big-brand systems.
The station installed a JetStor 416 array with 16x 500Gb drives. Over the years, the enterprise upgraded to two JetStor SATA 516F platforms and then to two JetStor SAS 716F arrays.
“Every time we needed more capacity, we had to get three quotes, and every time, JetStor systems were the most affordable,” said Craig Walker, Digital Systems Analyst for the Advanced Media Production Center at CSU Long Beach. “Every time, our JetStor platforms performed flawlessly. But to support our operations, we eventually needed storage that was even more capacious and robust so we solicited three more quotes.”
• JetStor SAS 816F Arrays from AC&NC
• Three JetStor SAS 816F Arrays, each with 16x 12TB SAS drives
BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED
Beach TV stuck to its winning formula by deploying three JetStor SAS 816F Arrays for a total capacity of some 500TB. The three store all video programming, including elements like scripting, narration, captions, etc. required to create content The devices form a storage area network (SAN) that enables staff and students to access and share files rapidly and easily. They also quickly retrieve material archived on the JetStor systems. Content silos and difficult to access files are relics of the past.
One JetStor 816F platform serves as primary storage for ten workstations and supports online editing. The second system mirrors the first for backup and data protection. The third is used for distribution outside the station’s firewall. It delivers the station’s content on the broadcaster’s website and provides video-on-demand for different pay channels across the state. Additionally, 30 channels across California download various Beach TV programs for airing on their cable systems and pay channels.
“Our JetStor arrays continue to be an excellent investment for the school,” said Walker. “No vendor offers as much value and performance as AC&NC. We even have our JetStor 716S and JetStor 516S still connected to the network and serving as additional backup. They could outlast everyone here at the station.”
HOW WE DID IT
Beach TV built its SAN by linking its three JetStor 816F devices to three Dell R540 servers via Fibre Channel connections at 16Gb speed. The servers connect to Cisco switches and to ten Dell 7900, 7800, and 7600 series workstations at 16Gb speed. Each workstation has the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite to support video production.
The JetStor 816F units also link to four NewTek TriCaster video production systems. These video switches deliver a complete array of media production capabilities. They store content directly to the JetStor 816F devices and enable producers to edit live productions such as switching from one camera to another.
The 3U JetStor 816F units are each provisioned with 16x 12TB drives and are configured for RAID 6. RAID 6 offers exceptionally high fault tolerance and can sustain multiple concurrent drive failures.
“Installing the JetStor platforms is pretty straightforward,” said Walker. “I was able to do it myself, saving us the cost of professional installers. Plus, they don’t require a whole lot of management. We set them up and they just keep working.”
Video production requires working with large multimedia files under tight deadlines. Moreover, an educational non-profit station like Beach TV lacks the budgets of large commercial outlets.
“This is why we keep turning to JetStor storage solutions,” explained Walker. “For going on two decades, JetStor products have given us the storage capacity, performance, and money-saving reliability that allows Beach TV to deliver high-quality programming for so long.”
ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC)
AC&NC™ / JetStor meets the evolving needs for data storage, protection, and management. We leverage leading technologies to offer high-value solutions for NAS, SANs, clouds, and hyper-converged infrastructures (HCIs). Since 1994, our customers have spanned virtually every industry, and range from Fortune 500 enterprises to small and medium-sized firms. We support environments from data centers and clouds to branch offices and remote sites.