ITV Employs Spectra Logic Archive for Preservation of Digital Content

UK network, ITV, has deployed a dual-redundant Spectra Logic tape archive system to provide a long-term program archive for programs and regional news reports. To provide a robust solution the archive is located at two geographically separate sites, and uses two different formats of data tape. The company chose Spectra Logic partly because they could offer the bespoke interfaces to the companies sytems, rather that off-the-shelf third-party datat movers.

ITV is an integrated producer-broadcaster that creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. The network produces massive amounts of digital content that needs to be stored for many years. ITV was looking for a solution that was high-capacity, durable and scalable to support their current needs and future growth for the next three decades. They looked for high availabillity, intilligent object management and automated migration to the latest generation of media. 

The broadcaster has an archive growing at around 2PB per year. The system was initially loaded with 4PB, and can expand to 40PB in the current footprint. They also required a system that was non-proprietary, open standard and highly flexible so that several creative departments within the company could easily access and move content to and from the organisation’s archive.

ITV selected two Spectra Logic BlackPearl Converged Storage Systems and two Spectra T950 Tape Libraries to be utilised at two separate data centre locations: Greenwich and Leeds, some 200 miles apart. The Greenwich data centre deployed a BlackPearl and T950 with IBM TS1150 drives, and the Leeds data centre deployed a BlackPearl and T950 with LTO-7 tape drives. The use of two different drive formats give additional resiliance against format-specific issues. Data is moved to and from the organisation’s archive automatically via BlackPearl using a variety of integrated partner applications and a Customer Created Client (CCC) that ITV built through Spectra’s BlackPearl Developer Programme. 

Rather than using a digital asset mangement system with a data mover to interface to the archive, ITV wanted to be able to send files to the archive using their own methods and code. The company stores two main classes of content, regional news, and general programming. The news reports are filed using a java command line interface to the Black Pearl, and the general program files managed by the Broadcast Operations department are transferred using a custom SDK. They can also move data manually via Spectra’s BlackPearl Eon browser using a simple "drag and drop" operation.

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