Abu Dhabi Media moves to full cloud playout solution

Abu Dhabi Media
Neal Romanek
Post Production
March 23rd 2017 at 1:35PM : By Neal Romanek

The upgrade began with the installation of a cloud-based disaster recovery solution

Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) has installed a cloud-native workflow and disaster recovery solution powered by Imagine Communications.

The transition began with the installation of a disaster recovery solution using Imagine Communications’ playout, automation and other software products running on the Media Cloud platform by du, one of the leading ICT service providers in the United Arab Emirates. The solution is a fully functional disaster recovery facility. The cloud-based deployment has also prompted ADM to revitalise its premises-based playout operations to match the performance and flexibility of the new cloud-based facilities. 

The business continuity service launched in October 2016. During an extended proof of concept phase, ADM tasked Imagine Communications and du to expand the functionality of the project. The result was a cloud-native, secure facility that provides all of the functionality of ADM’s primary and premises-based operations.  

The new workflow is distributed across two facilities. Schedules and schedule updates issued by Imagine Communications’ Broadcast Master traffic system are communicated to the existing ADC automation platform in Abu Dhabi and to the Versio playout software operating in the du datacentre in Dubai. Scheduled content that is not cached in the cloud is then called for by Versio, which prioritises its uploads to ensure it meets immediate needs and to provide complete security.

ADM requested further functionality to mirror the complete capabilities of its premises-based operations. The company wanted the remote site to be capable of showing live programmes, including news. The addition of the SelenioFlex Live encoder on the live feeds allows the content to be streamed into the Versio engine, ensuring easy playout of all content.

ADM also worked with Imagine and du to upgrade the remote facilities with graphics capabilities compatible with ADM’s traditional facilities with the installation of Imagine Communications’ ChannelBrand software. All graphics templates generated over the past nine years can be called and populated by the schedule seamlessly.

ADM and Imagine Communications have entered into a service level agreement to upgrade the existing facility to the new virtualised platform, running on HPE severs and systems, a preliminary step toward all-IP operations. ADM will work with Imagine to migrate the entire operation – currently supporting 14 channels – over the coming years.

“Our strategy is to move towards an all-IP infrastructure in due course, and this proof of concept of full IP playout channels running on a datacentre miles away is an important step for our broadcast industry in the region,” said Hamad Abdelrazaq, director of technology, Live Media Production Services at ADM. “Imagine Communications showed that they could do it today, and our proof-of-concept installation is now part of our long-term vision.” 

“More than giving us the perfect business continuity solution, we now have a template going forward," added Peter Van-Dam, technical advisor, Live Media Production Services at ADM. "What we have implemented on du’s media cloud we will implement on-premises as our next-generation playout facility, giving us the flexibility and agility to respond to growing demands of our channels, our clients and our audiences.”