ABC RADIO NETWORKS

ABC Radio Networks Dalet Stabilization Project
November 2002


ABC Project Management,
Custom Software & System
Design Engineer:

Joe Curcio
ABC Engineering VP
Christine Ianuzzi
Dalet Technicians:
Charles Kanefke
Michael Triana
James Ohana
ABC Engineering Support:
Dave Orenstein
John Weed
Bob Gilmore
Jean Claude Occeand
ABC Directors:
Greg Monti
Bob Mack
Total Cost:
$225K

What's in a name?
For some strange reason the mischievous boy (or girl) in all of us in Broadcast Engineering insist on baptizing our projects with acronyms that are capable of perplexing even the best of the Wheel of Fortune players and government agencies alike.

In my "past life" (before joining the ABC Engineering team in 2001), I chose such system names as "DAWN" (Digital Audio Workstation Network) and "PAMM" (Production And Multi Media system). More recently, there was "NCOL" (pronounced "Nicole"), and a few four-letter captions that I'd rather not mention at all. There is obviously a pattern on the naming convention. However, I can only blame it on the transition from my favorite pastime in the good-ole 70's & 80's to these times of more domestic and professional days

This time, I chose to go with the project concept, rather than a "70's flashback" for the system name: Dalet Stabilization Project . Although an acronym still can be attached to this project name, all of us in the the digital audio game know all to well that this acronym is already well spoken for.

Stabilize, not Upgrade
Rather than approaching this project as "an upgrade", we chose to look at it as a stabilization (or optimization) of what was already in place. The prior system, due to its "early days" of installation, and many add on's was quite fragile, to say the least. On the other hand, it also didn't pay to completely "scrap" the old system, and invest in a "monster" network right now.

Stabilizing the existing system would give us time to ponder and engineer a bigger and better, near future network, without the sacrifice of spending lots of money right now, or dealing with the daily problems of the existing system in the shape that it was in.

Now upon completion of the project we realized that we may have gotten even more than we bargained for - a possible model for our future Digital Audio Platform Replacement/Digital Audio Network (DAPR-DAN - pronounced "Dapper Dan") .

Overview at a glance
The information below is being presented somewhere near the 95% stage of project completion (and you know what they say about that other 5%).

-Joe Curcio-


Click images to enlarge and view additional information


News Room
Newsroom

Racks
Server Racks

Lab
Lab

Lab Workstations
Dalet Lab

Racks
Servers and Patch bays

Studio 4
Studio 4

Time Server
Time Server and IMEX
GENERAL:
  • Over Thirty new workstations with upgraded Dalet 5.1e and Team News Software, Pentium 4, 512 RAM, Intel NICs, Windows 2000 OS Dalet production workstations.
  • Seven new servers (2 audio, 2 database, 2 DDS, 1 PDC)
  • Upgraded hardware, and rebuild of seven servers (1 BDC, 2 DWP, 2 TEAM NEWS, 1 BACKUP, 1 REMOTE ACCESS)
  • Audio production capability at office and cubicle desktops using SoundBlaster type audio card
  • New Digigram PCX924 Audio Cards and breakout cables on all Dalet 5.1 workstations.
DATABASE AND AUDIO:
  • Fibre Channel storage arrays & hubs and fibre channel connectivity from audio and database servers to main storage
  • RAID 5 storage for audio and RAID 5 storage for database with hot plug spare 10K SCSI drives, redundant fibre channel controllers, dual power supplies, dual processors in database, mirrored OS drives with hardware controllers, over 1 gig of RAM
  • Microsoft clustering on audio and database servers
AUDIO FILE STORAGE:
  • Increased audio storage from less than 100 (usually more like less than 20) hours to over 2000 hours

SWITCHES:
  • Five new CISCO 2950 and 3508 (Gig-E) switches (Modular GBICS enable future throughput upgrade).
  • Gig-E bit connectivity from all switches back to audio, database and backup servers

AUTOMATED IMPORT/EXPORT OF DALET AUDIO VIA ALL DESKTOPS:
  • Custom, in house written software and server developed to allow automated import and export of Dalet audio files to and from the "outside world" via simple "drag & drop" on all Dalet 5.1 and Team News desktops.

AUTOMATED FTP SENDER AND CDRW WORKSTATIONS:
  • Custom, in house written software, server scripting and hardware which enables all commercial content to be automatically posted to public accessed FTP site within one hour of production.
  • Custom, in house written software and multiple workstations that enables any Dalet produced commercial content to be produced on CD (as audio or data).
  • Digital import of "raw" commercial content from outside production houses and distribution networks including E-Mail delivery (in development), provides a fully digital path for the life of the audio content from ingestion to delivery..

BACKUP:
  • Data backup via Gig-E bit connectivity
  • DLT cabinet with over 1 Terabytes of tape storage
  • Automated database dumps and transaction log management

UTILITY SERVER MANAGEMENT:
  • Manage all CISCO components via GUI
  • Compaq Insight Manager monitoring and management of all servers
  • Centralized Access to all workstations
  • Daily maintenance routines to monitor drive space usage, memory allocation, applications status, cluster status, connectivity speed, etc.
  • Remote access to network.

OTHER REDUNDANCY:
LOCAL UPS AND POWER MANAGEMENT:
TIME SYNC:

OTHER: