Suns CIS Takes Starring Role at TV4

Case Study: Sweden's second-largest television network taps Sun's Content Infrastructure System to manage its digitized content.

Content is king for every broadcast company, so when it came time for TV4 in Sweden to upgrade from its antiquated Betamax tape library to a digital repository, the television network decided to tune in Sun Microsystems Inc.s Content Infrastructure System to house its precious content.

Stockholm-based TV4, Swedens second-largest television network, broadcasts on five channels and serves 8.9 million people. With the move to digital content, which TV4 initiated last year, came a need for a highly scalable, flexible digital archive.

TV4s CIS implementation houses close to 25TB of digital content in the form of trailers, shows and commercials, and this total is expected to grow significantly in the next few years.

"We digitize a lot of material. Starting in August, we believe that about 100 hours of video will be digitized per month," said Jonas Collsioo, head of operations for TV4.

Although TV4s production environment (which consists of servers used for transmissions and for indexing content) is primarily Windows-based, Suns CIS solution has fit in seamlessly because it is accessible via CIFS (Common Internet File System).

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read Labs review of CIS.

The primary reason for implementing a CIS was to speed workflow, said Collsioo. In the old system, with the digital Betamax tapes, close to 20 percent of TV4s entire staff was tied up with the tedious task of media management, he said. With the CIS in place, he can assign workers to more meaningful projects or reduce the number of employees in some cases.

The CIS storage combination of inexpensive tapes and high-speed disks is a good fit for storing TV4s content. Collsioo has configured the stations CIS to store three to four days worth of content on disks, while older content is kept on tapes and then moved to disks as needed.

The dynamic nature of broadcast television occasionally forces TV4 to bring up content on short notice. With its streamlined storage and cataloging and the use of the CIS, TV4 can migrate new content from tape to digitized format and add it to playlists in less than 30 minutes. Under the Betamax system, the same process could take hours.

TV4 leases its CIS from Sun. Monthly payments are calculated based on the amount of storage that the station consumes. (TV4 officials did not say how much the lease costs per month on average.) With this arrangement, TV4 does not have to acquire storage units that arent being used.

TV4s next project, slated to start in October, will focus on creating a new digital delivery system to allow clients to send commercials directly to the station. After receiving the commercial content, video operators at the station will be able to add it to the workflow and quickly register the new material to the CIS archive.

TV4 does not have HDTV (high-definition television) content at this time, but management is talking about adding it in the near future—perhaps in time for the World Cup soccer action next summer, they said. HDTV would mean much larger files than conventional video, but Collsioo said hes confident that TV4s CIS will be able to handle HDTV content when the time comes by simply scaling up the TV4 CIS configurations nearline storage to accommodate the larger files.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.