Al Jazeera International signs deal with PRO Technology

According to the agreement, PRO TECHnology will equip the TV station with a state-of-the-art XSAN solution from Apple

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  September 18, 2006

PRO TECHnology has signed an agreement with Al Jazeera International to transform the TV station’s video network infrastructure by providing them with a turnkey SAN (Storage Area Network) solution from Apple. PRO TECHnology will equip Al Jazeera International with Apple’s XSAN, an enterprise-class SAN solution that permits multiple computers to concurrently access terabytes or even petabytes of storage on Xserve RAID over high-speed Fiber Channel. The solution will be mainly focused on Apple’s Xserve RAID storage from ingest and capture to final output, whether working in video and film, editing audio or creating effects and motion graphics. “In choosing to implement our SAN solution, Al Jazeera has taken the lead in bringing to the Middle East high-end video storage solutions widely in use in major European TV stations,” says Jamal Maraqa, managing director of PRO TECHnology. “With the implementation of XSAN, Al Jazeera can be assured of high reliability and scalability of their video SAN storage. PRO TECHnology is also providing Al Jazeera with additional services in the form of technical support and spare parts for the equipment and redundancy of all systems,” Maraqa adds. XSAN will allow Al Jazeera International to digitise with zero dropped frames, flexibly edit content offline, use storage effectively, and set up complex situations quickly, besides permitting them to more easily set up and manage SAN. Other features of the solution include file-level locking, bandwidth reservation, and user quotas and authentication. Speaking about the implementation, Morgan Almeida, director of creative design at Al Jazeera International adds: “We had closely examined the merits of solutions from various providers before zeroing on XSAN, as we found it to offer superior performance and efficiency while being competitively priced. It was equally important that we partner with a reputed player to ensure smooth implementation of the solution as well as to make available relevant support services. Senior executives from Apple’s European headquarters had visited Dubai during Cabsat 2006 and recommended PRO TECHnology.” By using fibre channel multi pathing, in which two fibre channel cables connect a computer to the SAN, Al Jazeera can potentially achieve throughput of up to 400Mbps, perfect for multiple editors working on a video project or a complete cluster that needs fast access to data to ensure each node crunches at full capacity. PRO TECHnology’s contract with Al Jazeera International follows similar agreements with the Dubai-based Decision Makers channel and Showtime. PRO TECHnology provided DM Channel with three fully loaded editing stations with FCP studio, where all editors can share the Apple X-RAID storage through fibre channel connectivity, in addition to a turnkey solution for DM’s video editing stations, magazine publishing and normal office automation.

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