BBC server outage hits production

The BBC has revealed it had a major server outage that lasted for over two days last month, affecting television programme post-production in its new MediaCity premises in Salford.

The problems occurred on Friday 20 January, and were not solved until the Monday morning, according to Broadcast magazine.

The BBC has not yet responded to enquiries on what caused the issue. The outage affected the Harmonic MediaGrid and Film Partners MXF Server systems, used by the BBC in post production.

MediaGrid is a clustered storage and grid computing platform, and MXF Server is a server package for popular editing systems. Both are technology specifically created for the media industry.

Film Partners declined to comment on whether its product played any part in the issue.

Harmonic told Computerworld UK that its product was affected, adding: "With any technology installation of this scale and complexity, and in spite of intensive testing, there is always a chance that new issues will emerge when the system goes live. The issues were identified and quickly rectified, and post production was not interrupted significantly."

Mark Harrison, BBC North controller of production, said in the Broadcast report that it was a "major crash" but that he had confidence in the suppliers.

"The problem was diagnosed and the system was up and running by the following Monday morning, but it was not running as smoothly as it should have been, so we took everybody off the shared storage to investigate further."

While he insisted any disruption did not hit production to a "significant degree", he said some producers had moved computer-based work and storage to other facilities.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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