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HGST Active Archive System Selected by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne to Store and Retrieve More Than 17,000 Hours of Live Recordings from the Montreux Jazz Festival

March 2017 by Marc Jacob

Delivering the possibilities of data, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) announced that the HGST Active Archive System, the first in a family of products to include the ActiveScale™ P100 and X100, is enabling the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to archive more than 17,000 hours’ worth of live music, video, and data from the Montreux Jazz Festival to instantly enjoy, study and interact with the content well into the future. Converted from tape to digital format and stored on the HGST Active Archive System, the performances and supporting data are easily accessible in real-time and on-demand, removing physical and technological barriers, and resulting in substantial research and production workflow improvements at EPFL.

As part of the Montreux Jazz Digital Project, the HGST Active Archive System stores and delivers live video and audio recordings from a variety of concerts dating back to 1967. The recordings span 18 different media formats that were used to capture 11,000 hours of video and 6,000 hours of audio from more than 5,000 concerts. The archive is the most comprehensive collection of live music footage ever created and contains classic performances from Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, and more, all of whom have performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In recognition of its 50 years of music and video archiving, the collection was inducted into the UNESCO Memory of the World program in 2013.

“Quincy Jones declared the Montreux Jazz Festival archives to be ‘the most important testimonial to the history of music, covering jazz, blues, and rock.’ As part of EPFL’s preservation and valorization project, the HGST Active Archive System enables the Montreux Jazz Digital Project to save irreplaceable video, audio, and data for generations to come, eliminating many of the issues presented by using tape in frequently accessed data archives. By digitizing festival archives and storing them on the HGST Active Archive System, this project is enabling future generations to relive some of the greatest performances from legendary musicians,” said Alain Dufaux, director of Operations and Development for the Montreux Jazz Digital Project.

The HGST Active Archive System is an easy-to-deploy, Amazon S3®-compliant, scale-out object storage system, upon which EPFL is currently storing three petabytes (PB) of data and planning to accommodate for a growth of 30 percent over the next five years. EPFL deployed three HGST Active Archive Systems over three locations in a geographically spread configuration to archive the entire Montreux Jazz Festival files, allowing continuous data access from any location – even in the event of a data center outage. This configuration allows EPFL to protect its data through erasure coding with higher reliability and at lower cost than a traditional multi-copy approach, while delivering the accessibility to support their services. This architecture ensures that the 15 generations of existing tape copies are maintained as required by the UNESCO Memory of The World register, while simplifying provisioning of select recordings to the public and all recordings for research and study across EPFL.

“The HGST Active Archive System, as well as the new ActiveScale systems, are perfectly suited to capture the entirety of the Montreux Jazz Digital Project archives,” said Dave Tang, general manager and senior vice president, Data Center Systems business unit, Western Digital. “Creating a permanent home for 50 years of live performances by countless legends of jazz, rock, and popular music demands not only unwavering reliability and protection of these priceless treasures, but also instant access so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

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