Al Rayyan deploys cloud playout system

Imagine Communications implements end-to-end integrated cloud playout system
Al Rayyan has invested in a software-based and virtualised business continuity solution.
Al Rayyan has invested in a software-based and virtualised business continuity solution.


Imagine Communications has implemented an end-to-end integrated cloud playout system running on COTS hardware for Middle East broadcaster Al Rayyan.

The deployment, implemented in just 48 hours, provides Al Rayyan with a completely software-based and virtualised business continuity solution that delivers significant improvements in agility and cost efficiencies compared to premises-based backup facilities.

The installation uses Imagine Communications’ Versio software playout system, running in a virtual machine environment on an HP compute and storage platform. Currently a proof-of-concept installation, the system is shadowing the main Al Rayyan Europe channel, providing disaster recovery services to ensure business continuity in the event of a service disruption. It shares all the metadata and media, with HD content stored as DVCPro 100 Mb/s. The Versio software enables comprehensive playout functionality, including animated branding and live switching.

The implementation also includes the Imagine Communications Magellan SDN Orchestrator software control system, deployed with Selenio video processing and compression equipment. This ensures that the playout system is fully self-contained, including the transparent management of hybrid SDI, ASI and IP content with all the necessary on-ramp and off-ramp translations for an all-IP internal architecture.

Al Rayyan, based in Doha, Qatar, and a long-time technology partner of Imagine Communications, installed a comprehensive traffic, planning, scheduling and playout system in 2014. The Versio software integrates transparently with the existing systems, continually sharing data to ensure that the cloud disaster recovery system is synchronised at all times.

Haitham Zaidan, acting director of engineering at Al Rayyan, said: “Our strategy is to move towards an all-IP infrastructure in due course, and this installation of a playout channel in a data centre is an important step along the way. Imagine Communications showed that they could do it today, and our proof-of-concept installation is now part of our architecture.”

Paul Wallis, sales director for Middle East and North Africa, Imagine Communications, said: “Playout in the cloud leads to real economies, not just by using virtualised systems on standard hardware, but in the reduced cost of machine rooms, power and cooling. We congratulate Al Rayyan on recognising the way forward, and we are proud to have worked with them on this huge advance.”

The Versio implementation at Al Rayyan was completed in 48 hours in June 2015, and it went live in early July in parallel to the existing facility. As well as providing business continuity, it also allows Al Rayyan engineers to make direct comparisons with the traditional system, comparing functionality, performance and resilience.

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