Video: How CNBC tailored its headquarters IT systems

While visiting CNBC at their Englewood Cliffs, N.J. headquarters earlier this month to learn more about their IT infrastructure and how high-definition television may effect their future capacity needs, Steve Fastook, vice president of technical and commercial operations at CNBC, explained how the $137 million facility they moved into in 2003 was tailored from an IT perspective using Six Sigma techniques to service business requirements. Some of those business requirements included the capture and storage of 3,600 hours of daily video that covers both mainstream news and financial market data -- CNBC's differentiator among news networks.

Like CNN, CNBC is constantly posting new video, but unlike CNN, CNBC posts both hard news and financial market news in the form of graphical data contained in several pull-out boxes and a ticker. The real-time, high-resolution video takes up 47TB of capacity on a Thomson Grass Valley media area network (MAN).

In the following short video clip, Fastook talks about how the current facility was designed to meet business requirements.

Even with all that video and data being ingested on a daily basis, anything recorded since moving into the facility in 2003 is still available from any desktop within the organization in a low-resolution format. CNBC is able to perform this trick by manually managing the lifecycle of its data storage by placing high-resolution video and images on an online storage system for a predetermined time -- say two weeks -- and then moving it off to nearline storage for a requisite five days. The nearline storage resides on a 125TB EMC near-line storage array. If the data and video isn't accessed during those five days, it's moved off to a tape library from ADIC, where archivists must be contacted for retrieval.

At the same time high-resolution video is being ingested, a low-resolution MPEG copy is made to remain in perpetuity on an EMC SAN with 25TB capacity that is connected to the Grass Valley MAN. The MAN serves up low-resolution video to more than 150 editing stations. By offering the low-resolution video clips to hundreds of desktops in the organization, productivity is greatly increased, according to Fastook.

Up to 15,000 low-resolution clips are created each month, which can be searched through a proprietary application created by CNBC software engineers, Proximiy Software and Apple Inc.

In the following short video clip, Fastook talks about how his IT organization stores data through an archive team called "The Clip Desk." The team is responsible for determining what moves from online to archive storage.


Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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