News Release

VRT Integrates Video And Production Storage Environment Into IP Network With Cisco Technology

Flemish broadcaster extends existing IP network for data storage applications based on Cisco MDS 9000 Series of storage switches
Mar 12, 2003

CeBIT, HANNOVER, Germany, March 12, 2003 - Cisco Systems today announced that Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep (VRT), the Flemish public broadcasting organisation, has selected the Cisco® MDS Family of storage area networking (SAN) switches to integrate its storage environment for video and audio content with its existing IP data network.

As part of its public charter, VRT needs to reach as many viewers and listeners as possible with a varied offering of quality programmes. At the same time, the broadcasting company is tasked with furthering the digitalisation of radio and television. For this reason VRT is deploying an extensive IT and network infrastructure to help it fully automate the programme scheduling process and to make available large amounts of video and audio material to programme makers, external production houses, viewers and listeners.

"We took a decision not to build a second, pure Fiber Channel network to link our storage media to the production network," said Luc Andries, ICT-architect at VRT. "Cisco involved us early on in the development of their iSCSI and Fiber Channel products, and we decided to work with Cisco because of their network know-how. The Cisco solution is helping us bring together our IP network technology and storage area network."

For this project, VRT has deployed Cisco MDS Fibre Channel directors with IP storage services modules, which connect to the IP network using Small Computer Systems Interface over IP (iSCSI) as a transport protocol over IP to the underlying storage environment. The IP Storage Services module also supports the Fiber Channel over IP (FCIP) protocol enabling Fibre Channel tunneling to link SAN "islands" over the IP network.

As a result, VRT will avoid extra costs by not having to build a secondary, redundant Fibre Channel network. Consequently, VRT is able to use Ethernet interfaces to connect the large numbers of servers to the storage environment, rather than having to deploy specific Fibre Channel interfaces, which will help the company realise additional cost savings. Because the IT team has to manage just one network, the long-term management costs are also more controllable.

By deploying Cisco's MDS multilayer storage switches, VRT will access its SAN environment using commands from the IP world, which helps to simplify management. Because the company intends to publish content directly from the SAN environment onto external Web servers via snapshot technology, the iSCSI Fiber Channel barrier provides a secure way to leave the other business functions unaffected.

"By selecting the Cisco MDS 9509 storage switches, VRT is demonstrating how - by bringing the iSCSI and Fiber Channel environments together - companies can build storage architectures that help give users easy access to archive data in a cost-conscious way," concluded Mark de Simone, VP Technology and Solutions Marketing, Cisco Systems EMEA.

VRT is deploying Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Directors and Cisco SN 5428 Storage Routers within this project, and will deploy the Cisco IP Storage Services Module for the MDS 9000 series.