Recently, the PGA Tour Entertainment division implemented a new media asset management system based on Red Hat Linux and Viz Ardome that will allow users to find specific video clips in seconds, as opposed to hours, and also allows them to edit and move the clips much cheaper than analog video.
The PGA Tour -- which stages hundreds of tournaments per year, releases player stats and scores and distributes media to news outlets including the Golf Channel, CBS, NBC and others -- has been migrating its proprietary servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux for some time, said Jonas Gredenhag, manger of datacenter operations for the PGA Tour.
It's a big IBM shop that once ran 90 percent of its systems on proprietary platforms and is halfway through the process of migrating to Red hat Enterprise Linux. It has migrated its Lotus Domino system from Windows to Linux.
Its latest project -- which encompasses the digitization of content dating back to the 1920s and tournament play from the 1960s -- is being implemented with a Linux based asset management system from Sweden-based VizRT and technology partner CDW. It's cost neutral and will take between seven to 10 years to digitize the golf media and incorporate it into the new Linux-based system, the IT executive said.
The organization bought 23 servers and CDW is doing much of the heavy lifting involved in the ongoing project, including the digitization of analog content, hardware design and configuration and pre-installation of the software.
Gredenhag said reliability and suppot for XFS were key factors for selecting Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It was implemented on RHEL 5, which does not incorporate XFS per se, but Red Hat offered support for it as an option and CDW did the implementation of the feature. XFS -- which is very fast file system for very large video files, such as 40 gigabyte files -- is now in Red Hat Linux 6 and will eventually be implemented by PGA Tour, said Gredenhag.
"Before, we didn't have a system. It was stored on videotape," said Gredenhag, in a recent interview on the telephone. "For someone to look at a tournament played last year, they'd have to search for content on one system that said Tiger Woods content is on tape X and then they'd have to go to the archive and fetch that tape and put it into the data player. It was very time consuming."
"Before it took days [to access content] and now it's a couple of minutes," said Gredenhag, noting that the media is supplied to the entertainment division and the organization is looking for ways to create new revenue by releasing content to additional viewers. "It's a very significant workflow increase."
The organization now has 40 users on the system. CDW is an official sponsor of the PGA Tour and longtime technology partner. Shea Hart, CDW sales/account manager for PGA Tour, said his company's dedicated team offers field and technical resources to Jonas' group and worked with third party providers to implement the Linux system.
So far, so good, Gredenhag said. "It runs better, uses less resources, is easier to manage and monitor and when we have problems, we feel you can find the root cause of the problem using Linux," he said. "We run a tight shop and don't have excess capacity so we try to do things s efficiently as possible"