Case Study: BBC Archives’ chooses GB Labs

BBC Archives’ new centralized multi-drive LTO and network storage system will help the BBC preserve years of content from soon to be obsolete D3 tapes.

Image From: BBC UK Online

Image From: BBC UK Online

The requirements

BBC Archives has integrated its first central LTO pool and an ethernet-attached storage system into its network to manage and accelerate its quality control process. Using new LTO Space 4-drive devices from GB Labs that work in tandem with GB Labs Space storage arrays, the archiving team can now manage the whole quality control project centrally and co-ordinate processes via a web portal.

BBC R&D wanted a solution that would centralise transfer and copying procedures, rather than leave the process to individual operators’ workstations on a programme by programme basis.

The solution

The result is a more efficient workflow that has speeded up the process, reduced the strain on client PCs, minimized the time the tapes spend outside the vault and given management greater control over the exercise. Working with the archives team and GB Labs, BBC R&D have been able to configure a system that integrates elegantly with the existing fault tracking, QC and database systems. The reason for the project being given priority was the impending obsolescence of the D3 format tapes that the content was originally recorded on. Facing the prospect of holding years of programmes on unusable tapes, the archives team needed to transfer the content to modern media, quickly, safely and accurately.

Ben Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director of GB Labs, comments: “BBC’s archive tapes need to stand the test of time so the broadcaster stipulated that the LTO drives should be able to sustain the maximum writing speed in order to avoid any wear from tape shuttling. And to ensure that as many as 20 quality control operators can concurrently access any of the uncompressed files over its network, they had to be sure that our shared storage solution could handle this high level of data traffic. With the Space and LTO Space integration, the transfer and quality checking process has been significantly speeded up while data security has been improved.” With tape handling reduced, copying times lowered and the speed of fault tracking increased, BBC Archives are now working their way through the backlog of material awaiting quality control.

The result: Years of D3 archive have been preserved for posterity
BBC R&D gained knowledge about resilience and redundancy along the way and are confident that they have now mastered a much-improved method of fast and safe content archiving. News archives, comedy shows, dramas and documentaries are now secured for future audiences. Whether it is released on disk, broadcast as TV repeats, made available via an online platform or simply pored over by social historians, years of D3 archive have been preserved for posterity.

Broadcasters, film and historical archives are welcome to contact GB Labs Australasia, a division of Eureka Pacific, for a comprehensive solution. Call 02 9450 1128 or email us 

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