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NetApp’s storage solution for 2008's Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by RTS

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NetApp  provided the storage backbone for 2008's Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). The annual international competition is one of the world's popular music events, with an audience of over 250 million people, including the 43 participating countries as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The broadcaster also provided over 3,500 accredited journalists at the event with the capability to report and broadcast in real time using VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). NetApp hardware and software gave RTS the necessary stability and reliability for VMware VDI while maintaining the high performance levels necessary in a broadcasting scenario.

"Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest was a great honour but also a massive logistical challenge," said Srboljub Nikitovic, Executive Director at RTS. "Millions viewed our images, and thousands of journalists relied on our virtual infrastructure for their reporting.

“For the IT infrastructure, this meant 100% reliability, and NetApp was the best choice to meet all our needs in terms of stability, disaster recovery, VDI support, cost-effectiveness, and scalability."

RTS used two FAS2020 storage systems set up as a cluster for reliability and disaster recovery purposes. The Eurovision Song Contest press room used VDI for Internet access, allowing journalists to write their articles, use audio and video content provided by RTS, to produce their reports.

Data, such as text files, Web content, and audio/video files that were generated and used through the VDI, were then stored and backed up on the NetApp systems for fast and reliable access. Primary data was stored on a NetApp system located in the main data centre and, using NetApp SnapMirror software, was then mirrored to the second system for disaster recovery.

In addition to high-performance storage and backup capability, RTS particularly valued the ability of NetApp FlexClone to replicate physical volumes as virtual copies, making them flexibly available and without requiring additional storage space.

Because of the flexible provisioning of the storage resources, journalists using particularly large amounts of data, such as audio and video, received the capacity they needed to complete their projects on time. To streamline resources and use storage more efficiently, RTS also used NetApp deduplication technology to eliminate unnecessary copies and reduce the overall amount of data.

Now that the contest is over, the whole IT server infrastructure is being migrated to a virtualised NetApp and VMware environment with 200 desktops initially and growing to over 1,000 in the next 12 months.

NetApp will help RTS store and manage not only ordinary file data such as television schedules, but also vital radio and television content. Belgrade, who designed the solution and implemented the system, is also in charge of further development, maintenance, and support for the entire project.

"In broadcasting, we need to store many large files in a variety of different formats and make sure they are readily available for production purposes. We saw a great opportunity to use NetApp technology to replace expansive dedicated video production equipment and also provide a complete storage solution," said Nikitovic.

"Having proved itself in the run-up to the Eurovision contest, we are confident that NetApp is the right choice to protect our vital content on a day-to-day basis."

"NetApp is honoured to be a part of this great event that brings together the music community of Europe and shares it with the world," said Patrick Rogers, Vice President of Solutions Marketing at NetApp.

"We are proud to provide the infrastructure that RTS used to store, secure, and share real-time data with journalists from around the world."

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