Converged Infrastructure Enables Gold Medal Broadcasting At the Olympic Games

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The final countdown to the Olympic Games in Rio has begun. And despite popular belief, the Games are about more than just sports! In fact there is an equal amount of pressure on television and broadcasting companies to deliver uninterrupted high definition, now 4K & 8K as well, action to over 3.5 billion people around the world, that are expected to tune in and watch.

NBC has partnered up with EMC to provide live Olympic coverage by deploying a three-petabyte data lake. This massive undertaking will leverage EMC’s Isilon storage to deliver high-resolution images and uncompressed files to its live television and online broadcasts. Additionally the powerful storage capabilities of Isilon will be able to support the social media content from fans around the world.

What is Converged Infrastructure and Why is it Important?

Converged Infrastructure groups multiple IT components together in a single optimized package. And in an essence, it is an approach to data center management that seeks to minimize compatibility issues between servers, storage systems and network devices, while also reducing costs and ensuring high capacity, secure storage.

Olympic 2The need for converged infrastructure at the Olympics is greater now more than ever, with a massive amount of new unstructured data being generated every second. Broadcasters like NBC, need to be able to store, manage, protect and analyze their data quickly and easily, to ensure uninterrupted coverage of the Games. And this is where Isilon steps in and delivers.

Clearly technology has come a long way since 1960, when the first Olympic Games were televised globally (albeit to only 21 countries!). But today with the evolution and growth of the internet, social media and mobile phone technology, the Olympics is more than just a passive spectator sport; it is an immersive interactive experience taking place in real time in over 220 countries!

According to Jeremy Burton, EMC President of Products and Marketing “When it comes to consumer hunger for access to digital content, few sporting events rise to the level of the Olympic Games. NBC Olympics fully embraces the challenge of delivering the widest selection of content to viewers, often in real time.”

To support this growth and demand for data, NBC will have two 560-terabyte Isilon NL 400 clusters located onsite in Rio to store digital content locally, as quick access for broadcasting on-air or posting online. Complete coverage of all Olympic events is essential in securing NBC’s audience numbers and ratings. To ensure this, NBC needs to have an increasing amount of live coverage available, deploying the latest technologies, including HDTV. Furthermore this live coverage needs to be available online and accessible through mobile phones, in as many territories as possible. This could total over 5000 hours of feed, hence the need for a large secure data lake in Rio!

Isilon further enhances NBC’s capabilities as a broadcaster by providing robust data security and protection, and ensuring some of the quickest recovery capabilites on the market. EMC’s Isilon storage arrays will also serve as a backup target for NBC Olympics’ Microsoft SQL Server databases, which support a suite of custom-developed applications for managing everything from equipment inventories to Olympic venues in Rio.

Although the nature of the Olympic Games is highly competitive, EMC is confident in their products and services, and looks forward to achieving the gold standard in Data Lakes with Isilon and NBC. EMC has also previously supported NBC at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014, and looks forward to the continued partnership at the Winter Games in South Korea in 2018.

We’re pleased with the agility of the product range as well as the architecture which allows seamless use across multiple continents.” – Timothy Canary, Vice President of Engineering, NBC Sports Group.

Explore all of Isilon’s storage options here.

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