The Olympics give us a chance to marvel at and enjoy the performances of athletes who demonstrate their intense dedication to the pursuit of excellence and their determination in the face of fierce competition. The games are a worldwide event and with audiences in the home countries anxious to see their athletes’ performances national television stations also have a challenge that they must meet. Fuji TV of Japan is no exception. With a long history of Japanese participation in the winter Olympics and a large home audience to serve, they have set up shop in Vancouver. Making this trip can be a costly undertaking and given the distance back to Japan they needed help in keeping communications smooth and keeping costs down.
To communicate with the home office Fuji TV set up a dedicated line between the company’s data center in Odaiba, Japan and the Olympic Media Village in Vancouver, a distance of over 7500 km. This connection provides Intranet access enabling the on-site staff, including production and news employees, to access the head office file servers and use its systems. This long distance WAN access allows Fuji TV to avoid having to transport and install data and application servers at Vancouver and thus avoid the cost of additional on site staff to maintain these servers. By reducing staff the costs savings is considerable, including air travel, housing, transportation and food.
As they planned the operation Fuji TV realized there was more one issue that had to be dealt with when using a connection over this long distance and that was the reduced responsiveness of applications caused by latency and packet loss while communicating with the remote site, as well as achieving acceptable throughput without having to pay exorbitant costs for a higher bandwidth connection. In order to resolve these issues Fuji TV decided to deploy Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) on each end of the trans-Pacific link.
Cisco WAAS is a comprehensive solution for accelerating applications over the WAN and is considered a necessary part of the solution when using servers that are consolidated in data centers and when accessing centralized applications over long distances. WAAS has a track record of deployment in over 50,000 locations worldwide by over 4,500 customers and was used by NBC during the summer Olympics in Beijing to deliver video back to New York.
By using Cisco WAAS, Fuji TV is able to significantly speed up application performance and data transmission and to meet their goals for covering the Olympics, while keeping costs in check. Since data and applications are stored at the Odaiba data center, instead of on servers in Vancouver, the WAAS solution also reduces the burden on IT management for tasks such as backups and security. So by deploying Cisco WAS Fuji TV increased the productivity of staff on site and improved their working environment.
Thanks to technologies such as Cisco WAAS people can sit back and enjoy the Olympic Games wherever they are. I’ll be watching my favorite events, such as the the downhill skiing. I imagine that many Japanese people are enjoying the recent victory of their speed skaters and looking forward to viewing more Olympic success. Here’s a link to Fuji TV’s online video coverage if you’d like to see how they are doing.