Imagine Communications helps ensure business continuity at Sharjah Broadcasting

Imagine Communications has implemented a disaster recovery solution for Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA, formerly known as Sharjah Media Corporation) at its backup centre in Al Thaid, UAE, using software-defined technology in a primarily IP-connected environment. The hybrid disaster recovery site will provide full cover for SBA’s four television channels, which are delivered by a primary playout system also implemented by Imagine.

Ensuring business continuity and protection of the broadcaster’s archive, the new system supports the expansion of operations, including additional channels designed to reach fresh audiences within the Emirate and the region. This expansion will depend upon smart, new functionality, delivered by software-defined networks.

“This project is a really important step on our migration path towards IP networks and virtualisation,” said Aisha Alzareef, broadcast technology & information systems director at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority. “Collaborating with Imagine helps us ensure that our technical and operational teams understand the challenges of these new technologies.

“We have worked in close partnership with Imagine Communications since the foundation of our company 10 years ago, and with IP, we will be in a great position to prepare plans for future developments and the complete migration of our main playout centre.”

The key benefit of the disaster recovery playout system is in maintaining perfect synchronisation with the main site, with full content mirroring to allow seamless switchover in the event of any problems. To achieve this, the system is built on Imagine Communications’ Versio virtualised integrated playout solution, which is designed for geo-dispersed operations.

Versio is a software application running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware from Hewlett Packard Enterprises, providing full automation and playout functionality, along with servers and content management, graphics, storage, master control switching – and management of the synchronization and mirroring.

As this is a major step in SBA’s migration towards IP connectivity, the system also needs to support legacy SDI content. To achieve this, the architecture includes a Platinum VX router and the Selenio MCP processing platform to provide SDI/IP conversion. Also supporting both connectivity systems is the EPIC MV multiviewer, which allows SBA to comprehensively monitor its entire operation. The system at SBA is under the control of Imagine’s Magellan SDN Orchestrator software control system.

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