Jazz Montreux plans plans 1.2PB archive

Forty years worth of performances at Europe’s most prestigious jazz festival will soon be stored in a digital archive that will be shared through with students and in cafs around the world.

The EPFL, a Swiss technology institute, has partnered with Jazz Montreux Festival to built a clustered storage array that, when completed, will have 1.2 petabytes of capacity.

The object-based online archive will keep 10,000-plus hours of recordings on disk drives from previous years’ shows. They include performances by Weather Report, The Fourth Way, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald and even Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

Alexandre Delidais, director of operations and development at the EPFL, said his organization is building the video archive on an AmpliStor array from Belgium-based Amplidata. The storage array was chosen because of its high reliability and sufficient streaming throughput for content of all encoding qualities.

Today, the digital archive is only 100TB in size. But as it continues to grow, it will eventually allow people to enjoy 40 years of performances that were filmed or videotaped. The past 20 years of shows were captured in high-definition video.

First, EPFL takes the film and video and transposes it onto a file system with about 40TB of capacity and performs quality control checks to ensure the integrity of the footage. Then content is backed up to LTO magnetic tape cartridges that reside on a Hewlett-Packard tape drive carousel. The tapes will later be used as an archive to ensure the performance footage is never lost. The video is then compressed at a 2:1 ratio and streamed over a 10Gbps LAN to the AmpliStor array, were the accessible footage resides.

The typical size of an HD video is 500GB for each hour of a recording.

The smallest AmpliStor system consists of eight storage nodes, each with 10 hard disk drives, behind three controllers. The controllers, each of which has two 10Gbps Ethernet ports, use Intel Atom processors. That helps keep the cost of the system low, according to Tom Leyden, director of alliances and marketing at Amplidata.

The object-based file server uses an unusual RAID scheme where up to four disks can fail and data will not be lost. Amplidata’s “BitSpread” algorithm splits an object up into many parts and stripes them across multiple disks and storage nodes.

Because it uses low-power Atom processors, the array also only uses 3.5 watts of power per active terabyte of data, Leyden said.

The Jazz Montreux Festival was co-founded by Claude Nobs and first held in 1967 at Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland. Nobs gained unexpected notoriety when on Dec. 4, 1971, the band “Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention” held a concert in the Casino’s theater. During the show, the casino caught fire, and Nobs repeatedly reentered the burning building to help members of the audience get out. Deep Purple later recorded the song, Smoke on the Water, describing the event and referring to Nobs as “Funky Claude.”

The video content will primarily be available for some 8,000 students in 350 labs at the university in Lausanne, Switzerland. But Nobs also made sure the performances would be available for profitable purposes.

The EPFL and the Jazz Montreux Festival plan to show the video footage on screens in cafs throughout the world. Today, a few of the cafs are already open in major cities such as London, Sydney, and Paris; New York is next on the list.

Because the Amplidata storage system is modular, meaning it can grow CPU capacity and storage capacity separately, one large system will be installed at the FTPL and smaller 1U systems can be installed at the cafs, Delidais said. That means servers and drives don’t have to be moved to the various locations and alleviates the need to stream data over a WAN.

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