Telelatino Network revamps storage with Facilis TerraBlock

Neal Romanek
Post Production
July 13th 2017 at 11:22AM : By Neal Romanek

Telelatino broadcasts drama, variety, lifestyle, news and sports with its roots in Italian and Spanish language channel, to appeal to a wider segment of Canadians

Toronto-based Telelatino Network (TLN) has standardised their production and post-production storage infrastructure using Facilis shared storage systems.

TLN has a large studio and control room for creating shows, promos, and some commercials in-house. The post-production department is based around Avid Media Composer editing suites connected to Facilis TerraBlock shared storage.

When TLN switched to HD six years ago, they required more storage capacity and purchased another Facilis TerraBlock at that time. Two years ago, they purchased an additional chassis with 24TB of storage for the editing team.

Over the years, TLN acquired a various storage systems from various brands used for various functions. Having divergent storage systems in the facility was inconvenient, as it required operators to move media between storage chassis. This not only took extra time, but also affected the network bandwidth with substantial traffic flowing in and out of the various systems.

TLN is a general interest service that broadcasts a wide variety of domestic and international programming including drama, variety, lifestyle, news and sports. Over the years, TLN has evolved from its origins as an Italian and Spanish language channel, to appeal to a wider segment of Canadians with an English language stream of culturally connected programming. TLN also develops and produces a wide variety of TV and digital media productions which are distributed in Canada on its own TV channels, and worldwide on online platforms and to third parties.

“We’ve had our Facilis systems for over ten years," said Gherman Trushin, chief engineer at the Telelatino Network. "Before that, our Avid systems were all using standalone storage, so sharing projects and media involved a lot of time consuming copying and physical moving of disks. Our very first TerraBlock system was only 4TB, but that was when we were still SD and working at offline resolutions, so it worked well for us for some time."

With the success of the Facilis systems in post-production, and the need to replace a discontinued MediaGrid storage system, Gherman and his colleagues decided to standardise on Facilis as their main storage platform for both production and post-production. Gherman contacted Don Kinzinger at Dynamix, a Toronto Facilis reseller, and TLN added a new 192TB chassis to their existing TerraBlock servers several months ago. 

Originally, the connection between shared storage and workstations utilised a 4GB/s fibre channel, but with the latest upgrades, the facility has switched to 10gig Ethernet for all systems.

Currently, TLN has five Avid suites connected to the TerraBlock, plus two seats running CAT DV for archiving of material, and another seat for general purpose administration needs. Having worked with other storage systems that require a great deal of knowledge and understanding of Linux, Gherman appreciates the ease of administration when creating, deleting or resizing volumes on a TerraBlock server.

“All of our edit stations were fitted with 10gig cards, and the speed increased 4 times which was really incredible,” said Gherman. “The fact that all of our Facilis systems are happy to work with either Ethernet or Fibre Channel is a great benefit.”

Gherman is happy to manage administration himself. “Our creative people are quite busy, and they prefer not to touch the hardware and concentrate instead on storytelling,” he said. “I’m happy to manage and administrate for the team, since it takes very little effort on my part, and helps me keep a watchful eye on the process to ensure it runs smoothly.”

Additional channels offered by TLN include 6 all-Spanish language TV channels (Univision Canada, TeleNiños, Cinelatino, Centroamerica TV, WAPA America, Television Dominicana), 3 All-Italian language channels (Mediaset Italia Canada, Sky TG24 Canada, TeleBimbi), and an English language sports channel (EuroWorld Sport).