Starting point.

The broadcasting business poses a particular challenge for an organisation’s IT, and it’s no different at Radio Télévision Suisse. In its endeavour to maintain a unified landscape, the IT team wanted to continue working with VMware virtualisation solutions in order to reduce the number of physical servers, without compromising cross-site availability of audio files. The new storage system would have to provide block-mode and NAS-mode access at both sites backed by optimal, automated redundancy. The SAN’s fibre interface had to work with the existing FC infrastructure (2 Fabrics (2x2) Borcade 4800 Director 8 Gb). However, RTS only had little intelligence regarding the sizing of the servers and the number of I/O requests to the SQL instance. What’s more, the infrastructure needed to work with vSphere 4.1, support 600 users and some 100 concurrent sessions, and cater to no less than five radio stations each of which has its own application server. At the same time, RTS needed to implement two SAF servers, a CIFS storage service and a shared database server for the five stations. This server needed to hold audio files, which in their compressed state can be anywhere between 1 MB and 200 MB, and audio streams must be based on file sharing rather than a continuous stream. In addition, RTS’s IT department wanted to scale storage capacity up to 50 TB to hold the coming five years’ worth of audio and video files and databases, which would be accessible to users through the possibility of writing and reading metadata.


Project objectives.

RTS wanted a new DigaS production system by DAVID systems to manage its news and other programming and support its organisation and editorial team. Built to deliver on the specific needs of multimedia broadcasters, the system was to go live to coincide with RTS’s new, transversal radio and TV editorial tool, Open Media. At the same time, RTS wanted a redundant setup of all equipment and services mirrored in two rooms 130 metres apart in order to ensure round-the-clock availability of the entire architecture in a variety of scenarios, including system, application and hardware maintenance, unexpected breakdown of an individual component, all the way to a complete site failure. Automatic recovery after both planned and unplanned downtime should add another layer of protection.
To top it all off, the architecture was to be scalable and ready to be upgraded in the medium term; minimise maintenance of deployed equipment; and guarantee an uptime of no less than 99.9%.



Bechtle proposed an end-to-end solution based on Cisco UCS network components in combination with a NetApp Stretch MetroCluster© scaled to about 50 TB at each of the twin sites. Bechtle had experienced and certified experts on hand to deliver, install and configure the whole package including the storage architecture, SAN, servers, hypervisor and SQL cluster.

The solution’s performance and failover mechanism was rigorously tested and validated on all layers to ensure the required high availability.

RTS’s IT staff received the necessary training and documentation from Bechtle to successfully operate the new platform. Bechtle was able to check all of RTS’s boxes both in terms of the solution itself, as well as the efficient implementation, and the expertise injected into the project by its employees.

    What we needed was a redundant, fail-safe infrastructure setup to support our broadcasting service with consistency, availability and performance. What we wanted was a thoroughly planned implementation that takes account of ongoing business needs, technical requirements, as well as training of the RTS teams that would eventually manage the solution. The solution proposed by Bechtle is built on a multi-vendor integration including Cisco UCS, NetApp and Brocade. This had us a bit jittery at first, but Bechtle’s impeccable project management and in-depth expertise made the project an absolute success. The solution has been up and running since 2013 with no dips in performance or availability.Bechtle really delivered on its promise in terms of both cost and time frame, which can be traced back to its exceptional project management.

    Hervé Berthet, CIO RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse)


    Bechtle delivered and configured a storage architecture, a NetApp FAS3220 Stretch MetroCluster©, SAN Brocade, Cisco UCS 5108 blade server, the VMware vSphere hypervisor layer, as well as an SQL cluster. The high-availability cluster’s performance and failover mechanism was rigorously tested and validated on all layers.

    Bechtle also provided comprehensive documentation, shared expert knowledge, and prepared RTS’s IT team with additional training on UCS and NetApp environments.

    Thanks to the new platform’s stability and availability, the team now has more time on its hands to look after its other projects with due care.


    Customer benefits.

    RTS now has a robust, powerful and highly available infrastructure available which also enables smooth updates, monitoring and management.

    The newly implemented platform frees up a significant portion of the broadcaster’s resources that were previously tied up by IT administration and support, which ultimately reduces the cost for operation and maintenance.

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