NBA Expands SGI Ties

By Carolyn Braff

Digitizing every frame of footage ever filmed by the NBA is no small task, but at NAB, data processing giant SGI proved that it is not only up to the task, but it has exceeded expectations. SGI has announced a multiyear extension of its relationship with the NBA to expand the NBA Digital Media Management system (DMM), allowing the League to accelerate its digital archiving process.

“The NBA obviously has an enormous amount of content that goes back 60 years, but it’s an active environment,” explains Floyd Christofferson, senior business development manager for SGI. “They needed a storage environment where they can enhance and grow their workflow while at the same time ingesting the new content that comes in and preserving the old content that’s still sitting there.”

The newly extended relationship will maintain the one-of-a-kind DMM that enables the League to ingest and archive footage from up to 14 NBA games simultaneously, but will accelerate the digital archiving process by quadrupling the amount of storage space available. All 40,000 hours of NBA game footage dating back to 1946 will now be ingested at twice the speed, up to 60,000 hours of video content each year, using the InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility (DMF).

“What SGI as a partner with the NBA has done is figure out how to be the glue that binds cost optimization and maximizing performance with the actual needs of day-to-day workflow,” Christofferson says. “Because the system has worked so well for them, they have rapidly increased the rate at which they’ve done it.”

A hierarchical storage management system that virtualizes multiple tiers of storage, the DMF keeps frequently requested content on faster spinning disk arrays while moving rarely needed material to tape storage. Along with the DMM, which allows NBA personnel to access content from any workstation without having to copy files onto local desktops, SGI has built a highly efficient workflow.

“From a workflow perspective, everything is much more fluid,” explains Keith Horstman, vice president of digital media management systems for NBA Entertainment. “No one has to go to the library and find things anymore. You can waste time finding the perfect clip instead of wasting time finding any tape that has a jump shot on it. It makes the life of a production person that much more simple.”

The NBA built its own asset management system on top of the DMM to integrate statistics into the video through metadata, creating a searchable database that multiple NBA departments – and eventually, broadcast partners and individual teams – can tap into.

“Our research process has become much more efficient and much more effective,” explains Robert Carney, senior manager of digital media operations for NBA Entertainment. “We’re finding better quality elements, so that’s one of the biggest advantages.”