WRAL-TV Transforms Content Preservation and Search with Perifery Swarm

(Image credit: WRAL)

RALEIGH, N.C.—WRAL-TV, channel 5, is the NBC affiliate serving the Research Triangle area in North Carolina and is locally owned and operated by Capitol Broadcasting Company. Our station produces about 12.5 hours of live news every day, offering viewers a mix of breaking news, weather, sports, entertainment, and educational content. 

The volume of content we manage is growing rapidly, driving us to optimize our news archive. We wanted to upgrade our archive to enable faster access to historical content and simplify search, enabling digital news assets to be reused and monetized more effectively. 

The Key Challenge
Our existing archive consisted of a mix of spinning disk and an optical disk archive system. Given the sheer size of our archive, one of the challenges we faced during the upgrade was deciding whether to store the archive in the public cloud or on-site. Ultimately, we chose to host the new archive on-site to speed up access to content and ensure high reliability with no reliance on internet service.

Our key requirement in an archive solution was support for an S3 connector. Supporting S3 would ensure seamless integration with third-party solutions, like artificial intelligence platforms. We also wanted an archive solution with high scalability, flexibility, and a predictable cost model.

We worked with Bridge Digital, a Nashville, Tenn.-based systems integrator, to ensure a seamless implementation. After evaluating the available archive solutions, we chose Perifery’s Swarm S3 cloud-native in-facility archive for its fast access to media content, S3 compatibility, and reliability.

We installed Swarm software on a 500 TB storage platform that will continue to grow as our station’s needs evolve. Deploying Swarm has transformed our archive operations—the S3 cloud-native solution reduces complexity by offloading content from online workspaces. Once content is offloaded, Swarm keeps it online and easily accessible anywhere, anytime, providing us with a powerful web-based search tool and enhanced metadata awareness. 

At WRAL, we need to be ready to cover breaking news 24/7, and Swarm offers instant access to all of the assets in the archive whether we have an internet connection or not. Beyond speeding up the archive workflow, Swarm software provides us with flexibility, scalability, and a predictable cost model. We aren’t locked into a particular cloud vendor or piece of hardware. 

Integrated Access
Swarm software compatibility with the S3 open standard for object storage ensures that we can integrate third-party applications with the archive. Currently, Swarm is integrated with Eon Media’s Eon Archives AI product and BitCentral’s Oasis media asset management software. Integration with Eon Media’s platform to Swarm allows WRAL’s archives to serve as a highly advanced AI-powered media store, supplying hyper-local and media clients, as well as content creators across the globe with stock and archival footage.

In addition, Swarm software is scalable, allowing us to grow in capacity and throughput. We can rapidly scale up to hundreds of nodes, and dozens of clusters as needed—from a few 100 TBs to hundreds of petabytes and beyond. 

Furthermore, Swarm includes multi-layered security, encryption in-flight and at-rest, immutability, WORM, and automated replication capabilities to ensure that internal or external parties never violate the integrity of WRAL’s content. 

Our data storage requirements will continue to grow. With Perifery’s Swarm software, WRAL is ready for the foreseeable future. Swarm provides us with a flexible, scalable, and reliable S3-compatible archive solution that speeds up access to digital assets and improves content discovery. 

More information is available at www.perifery.com.

Pete Sockett

Pete Sockett is the director of engineering and operations at Capitol Broadcasting Company, a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAZ-TV, WRAL-FM, WRAL-HD2, WNGT-CD, WCMC-FM, WCMC-HD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4 in Raleigh, N.C.; WILM-TV, WILT-LD and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, N.C. and many other assets. Pete is the recipient of the 2022 NAB TV Engineering Achievement Award.