XM Satellite Radio set to "rock and roll" with IBM

IBM announced that it will provide the backbone infrastructure - servers and storage - to power a brand new radiobroadcast service from XM Satellite Radio (XM).

Dalet Digital Media Systems and Champion Solutions Group Design Server and Storage Infrastructure Enabling World’s First Satellite Radio Service

IBM today announced that it will provide the backbone infrastructure - servers and storage - to power a brand new radio broadcast service from XM Satellite Radio (XM). This new satellite radio service will give customers nationwide access to more than 100 channels of music, sports, and talk radio programs.

Satellite radio will become widely available as home and portable XM radios produced by Alpine, Sony, Pioneer and Delphi-Delco begin to make an appearance. In addition, selected new GM autos will ship with AM/FM/XM radios beginning in 2001. This was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A new era in broadcasting will begin at 6 PM EST today, as satellite XM-1, known as "Roll" blasts-off from a floating launch platform anchored near the equator. A second satellite, XM-2 "Rock", will soon be placed in orbit.

The radio programs which will be stored on a 22 terabyte (TB) Storage Area Network (SAN), will be sent to a satellite up-link through IBM servers and beamed directly to cars and specially fitted radio receivers. The networked storage infrastructure is one of the largest fibre channel enabled SANs in the broadcast industry and will make it possible for XM to store and deliver more than two million recorded albums, creating the world’s biggest digital broadcast facility.

"The most impressive aspect of XM Satellite Radio is its enormous storage capacity and supporting server infrastructure," said John Webster an analyst with Illuminata. "To make it work, you need a storage architecture capable of processing multiple simultaneous audio streams with near zero latency combined with a highly scalable server platform for handling more than 100 channels of programming."

Building a completely new service required an IT infrastructure capable of pushing the limits of how music is transmitted via computer. XM Satellite Radio chose Dalet Digital Media Systems, a large-scale content management systems provider capable of storing and delivering the vast amounts of data needed for streaming digital audio. Streaming digital audio creates an entirely new set of demands for a server/storage network as the data rich files on which the music is stored creates a network load that is 1,000 times greater than traditional print files.

After evaluating offerings from several vendors, Dalet turned to IBM and business partner Champion Solutions Group to create the infrastructure capable of handling the unique needs of XM Satellite Radio. After more than two years of scalability testing at IBM’s Dallas, Texas, facilities, XM Radio accepted Dalet’s recommendation to go with an end-to-end IBM solution featuring Netfinity FAStT500 RAID storage subsystems powered by Netfinity 8500R servers, which provide the most scalable, reliable and fault tolerant option available.

"Champion’s experience in storage networking was instrumental in developing a solution robust enough to meet the needs that XM and Dalet required," said Chris Pyle, President of Champion Solutions Group. "The complete IBM/Champion solution ensures that XM was able to meet the requirements of the new medium of satellite radio."

The complete IBM/Champion solution includes 66 IBM FAStT500 RAID storage subsystems, three IBM FAStT500 RAID Controllers, four Netfinity 8500R servers and six 8-port Brocade silkworm switches. The next phase of XM's computer configuration will include Tivoli Storage Manager, a FAST 500 RAID/Storage Unit and an IBM Fibre Channel 3584 LTO tape library.

About XM Satellite Radio

XM Satellite Radio will change the way Americans listen to radio by creating and packaging up to 100 national channels of digital-quality sound. It will provide seamless coast-to-coast coverage of music, news, sports, talk, comedy and children’s programming. Through its partnerships with leading auto manufacturers including General Motors Corp., American Honda Motor Corp., Freightliner and Chevy Trucks, XM will transform radio, an industry that hasn’t seen a technological change since FM, almost 40 years ago. XM-Ready radios will be manufactured by such household names as Sony, Alpine and Pioneer Electronics Corporation and sold by automotive and retails outlets such as Best Buy and Circuit City.

About Dalet

Dalet is a global provider of world-class, professional-quality, broadcast-content management software. Dalet's simple-to-use tools allow journalists and producers to gather multimedia content and broadcast it over digital radio, wireless portals, the Internet and interactive TV. Dalet's products are organized into four categories: news management for current events, entertainment, and financial updates; music production and broadcasting; advertising management; and digital distribution and e-commerce. Dalet's world-class solutions are used in more than 50 countries by 1,500 customers including ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, CBC, Deutsche Welle, EMAP, Europe, NRJ and Prisa.

About Champion Solutions Group

Champion Solutions Group, The Technology Infrastructure Company, is a Boca Raton, Florida-based, privately held company that specializes in providing the IT infrastructure for Web-based companies, the Fortune 2000, as well as the midsize business market. Champion, which is also IBM’s largest open system business partner, markets it trademarked solution, known as "Time to Content", to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Application Service Providers (ASPs), and the Fortune 2000, to help them meet their rapidly growing storage and content needs by providing proven expertise in the design and implementation of highly available, reliable, scalable storage area networks.