The main playout centre recently went on air with 12 fully redundant HD channels.
Saudi Broadcasting Authority (SBA) has chosen Imagine Communications for its five playout disaster recovery (DR) sites to ensure the Saudi broadcaster’s business continuity in the event of any disruption.
Each of the five DR sites uses a condensed version of Imagine Communications’ IP-ready technology that SBA implemented at its main playout centre in Riyadh. The main playout centre recently went on air with 12 fully redundant HD channels.
Geographically dispersed around the Kingdom, these DR sites use highly resilient, software-centric architecture running on COTS hardware from HPE. Each site promises to deliver five premium channels, together with any associated advertising streams, to ensure business continuity.
All five DR sites comprise two Nexio+ AMP video servers, each with six bidirectional channels, backed by Versio IOX NAS with 75TB of storage to enable quick and easy access to content while preserving operational efficiency.
All COTS servers maintain on-air reliability while running under the control of Imagine’s ADC playout automation, one of the most widely used, proven and respected systems in the industry.
Nexio Motion asset management software looks to keep content in perfect synchronisation between the playout centre and each disaster recovery site. This ensures that, should any disruption occur, failover will be immediate and transparent.
In addition, a Platinum router with integrated SX Pro multiviewers handles monitoring and signal delivery, and Selenio 6800+ infrastructure modules provide additional processing power. The whole architecture is duplicated for redundancy at each individual site to ensure SBA avoids any interruption in their operations.
The new DR infrastructure was implemented at SBA by Imagine Communications in partnership with First Gulf Company and was available from April 2020.
The whole playout infrastructure at Saudi Broadcasting Authority, including the five disaster recovery facilities, won the 2020 Digital Studio Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Workflow” for its integrated playout project delivered by Imagine Communications
“Business continuity is an increasingly important consideration for broadcasters, who want to be assured of delivering to their audiences at all times,” said Hatim Abounassf, Vice President of Engineering Affairs for the SBA. “Our plan was demanding, with five disaster recovery sites, so we needed a technology solution that was efficient and scalable and could support synchronisation across our whole network, without adding to our workload. Imagine’s technology had all the hooks for synchronisation already available, so we could implement our sophisticated fallback plans easily, quickly and seamlessly. Commonality with our main playout centre also gives us the advantage of eliminating the need for training for our operators and engineers as they move around.”
Anas Hantash, Head of the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa at Imagine Communications, remarked: “In the past, adding disaster recovery to playout automation was a major undertaking. Now, with the Imagine software-centric architecture, we could quickly and easily implement SBA’s complex requirements of a 12-channel centre with five DR facilities, spread across the country, and each capable of managing five premium channels. Our systems provide completely automated and intelligent synchronisation of content, allowing SBA to rely on the five remote sites to take over any or all channels, at any time, transparently to the viewer.”