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Spectra tape library preserves history for NBC Olympics

Spectra Logic tape libraries will serve as flag bearers for NBC's video archiving and disaster recovery services during its production of the Rio Olympic Games.

If you see a clip of Usain Bolt or another star from the Rio Summer Olympics years from now, a Spectra Logic tape library will be partly to thank.

NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, chose Spectra tape library products to provide video archiving and disaster recovery services for its production of the games, taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.

NBC will have two Spectra Logic T50e tape libraries at the network's Olympics compound within the International Broadcast Center. NBC will use the tape systems for data restores, and to capture and access data from live broadcasts in Brazil.

The T50e libraries were racked and configured at NBC's data center in Stamford, Conn., and shipped to Rio de Janeiro ready for use, said Stacey Georgiou, manager of post-production and graphics at NBC Sports.

NBC Sports Olympics logo

NBC Olympics also has an eight-frame Spectra TFinity and T950 tape library with LTO-6 drives and media in Connecticut. The TFinity is mainly used for video archiving, taking in more than 25 TB of footage daily from several NBC Sports Group programs, while the T950's primary role is disaster recovery.

In addition, NBC will be using Avid ISIS and Harmonic MediaGrid appliances for storage during the Olympics, Georgiou said.

"As an existing vendor, it made sense to work with Spectra to facilitate ease of integration of data from the two T50e tape libraries in Rio into our primary TFinity archive library in Connecticut," Georgiou wrote in an email.

"There will be a tight turnaround between archived material arriving back from Rio and when it will be needed for use by our production teams in Connecticut. The TFinity allows for very efficient loading of LTO cartridges via the TeraPack system, and we should have the cartridges loaded within an hour."

Brian Grainger, chief sales officer at Spectra LogicBrian Grainger

Spectra will have support engineers in Stamford during peak hours of the Olympics, according to Brian Grainger, Spectra's chief sales officer.

Spectra will also implement a Storage Crisis Lifeline for the event. If a disaster damages or destroys the original product so that it cannot restore data, a loaner Spectra tape library will take its place.

After the Olympics are over, the Spectra tape library will continue as NBC Sports' nearline archive product.

Georgiou called the Spectra tape library products "instrumental in preserving our priceless digital assets. When we need to retrieve archived content in a hurry for breaking news about an athlete, Spectra gets it done reliably."

After the Olympics are over, the Spectra tape library will continue as NBC Sports' nearline archive product, Grainger said. NBC Sports archives include an estimated 1 PB of footage of Olympic Games content.

"We will play a vital role in the digital preservation of historic events and notorious athletes, ensuring their moments are kept and protected forever," Grainger said in an email. "NBC Sports Group will refer back to this footage in the future to create highlight reels and specials about past Olympic events, and/or when TV specials are created on a specific athlete."

Spectra sold its first T950 library to Versus Network in 2007. Versus later became NBC Sports Network after Comcast and NBCUniversal merged.

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