Nothing but NetApp

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We at WNET, the PBS flagship station in New York, face the same challenge that other broadcasters face: the siloing of storage and production systems, which hinders collaboration and makes management of the infrastructure next to impossible. When we looked at our situation, we decided that something had to be done.

Our mission is “Media with Impact.” It’s not just our WNET channels; it’s digital content for iPad applications, our web site, long-form/short-form programming, different codecs and different resolutions. Our ability to create this content rapidly and in a cost-effective manner and customize it for our viewers and our membership is the key to our future success.

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Peter Brickman

We needed an infrastructure that would support all of our production applications, from editing and post to transcoding and distribution. That meant finding a storage solution that works seamlessly with Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dalet asset management, Interra Systems’ Baton automated file-based QC, Telestream Vantage and others. We also needed an infrastructure with the flexibility to handle new applications and workflows as the business evolves.

After evaluating many of the storage solutions available to the media market, the WNET technical team chose NetApp to be the common storage platform for our broadcast production and operations. Starting with the NetApp FAS6250, we began a three-phase project to move all of our content workflow support over to NetApp. Working with NetApp partner UPTIME in New York, WNET is now in phase two of the project. A third phase beginning later in 2014 will complete the changeover to an all-NetApp storage infrastructure.

The growth and management of WNET’s assets and the associated metadata was a chief driver of the requirements for the storage. NetApp provided a solid roadmap showing how we can add to the existing NetApp systems to grow as our needs change. One of WNET’s goals is to increase the capabilities of our asset management solution to manage all of our assets, including documents, photos and more. Having all of WNET’s assets sitting on one platform will make the job of organizing, managing and protecting these assets much easier and less complex.

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Hari Sreenivasan on set

Currently, all of WNET’s signature national programs, like Great Performances, American Masters and Nature, reside on the NetApp infrastructure. Workflow automation tools like Vantage support content transport to the file-based public broadcasting playout systems based in Syracuse, New York, as well as workflows for transcoding, captioning, quality control and content/metadata wrapping to send content out to VOD partners and digital media partners.

The Dalet and NetApp solution currently handles the workflows for our news division. WNET produces the weekend PBS News Hour, several other news programs and a weekly newsmagazine program, MetroFocus. The system handles the ingest of all news agency footage and automates the workflows that allow the producers to see the agency content almost immediately.

When choosing NetApp as WNET’s storage platform, one of the main requirements was high reliability and unfailing support. We have been exceptionally pleased with the support from NetApp and its partner, UPTIME. They have really gone the extra mile. When we have had challenges getting things up and running or integrating our software applications, NetApp and UPTIME were here together on site when needed and got the job done.

NetApp is savvy about video and production workflows. They have a good working relationship with Dalet and others and are making a greater presence in the broadcast world. As WNET continues to lead in its quest for “Media with Impact” across the rapidly evolving world of entertainment, news and media, NetApp will remain a close partner in helping us achieve that vision.

Peter Brickman is Chief Technology Officer at WNET.

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