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KBS Builds New 4K Ultra-HD Production System

01/02/2016 12:00:00 a.m.


The Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) is the oldest and largest public television and radio station in the Republic of Korea. The media powerhouse has been selected as the national television station for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games to be broadcast live, using 4K ultra-HD technology.


Ultra-HD continues to grow in popularity and KBS has started to invest heavily in it. They put a lot of focus on post-production and depend on the amount of rich content they can add to their minute-long news segments. 

Multi-layer 4K editing

The data volume from video footage is exploding with the move from HD to 4K ultra-HD. KBS’s legacy HD production system was unable to handle high-streaming video production, so they needed a new non-linear editing system. The new system significantly enhanced the resolution of their 4K video stream bandwidth from 25 Mbit/s to 50 Mbit/s to 400 Mbit/s to 1,000 Mbit/s. The new digital news production system also features a large number of non-linear editing workstations to process 4K and traditional news footage.

Video editing is much different from broadcasting. It is a creative process that requires non-linear editing software and the addition of special effects over the timeline, trailers, and other layers of video clips. By comparison, video playback for broadcasting is a sequential I/O read that requires less performance from storage assets, but a higher demand on storage performance. 

Each workstation needed to process four layers of 4K, 1 Gbit/s video bit streams, requiring a minimum of 500 MB/s of bandwidth per workstation when accessing the storage system. This required more optimization at the storage system access link to achieve the desired bandwidth. In addition, the bandwidth performance of the storage system had to carry the full-load from all workstations during high-use times. 

KBS already owned a large number of storage devices from other mainstream vendors. However, the equipment was only able to satisfy HD video editing requirements. Stepping into 4K editing and the multiple layers of processing required the latest technology.

The director of the KBS Digital News Center said, “The 4K era is upon us and our storage systems are strained by the new pressures. Storage systems capacity is totally stretched when handling 4K programming. We need to construct a new-generation storage system that is future-oriented in order to make the jump to ultra-HD.”

High reliability

In the broadcast television field, each minute of video is highly valuable. Program teams spend considerable manpower and material resources on finishing the production. Any loss or damage of video assets cost the studio huge amounts of money. KBS places a high premium on protecting its video resources. Considering the storage system is the carrier of the video stock,  KBS required a 24/7 system that tolerated single points of failure, meaning a system with primary and backup storage to ensure complete protection.

Mushrooming data

The rapid development of multimedia platforms, the increasing popularity of 4K ultra-HD video, and the mushrooming amounts of data pose greater storage challenges. Faced with increasing demands for higher quality programming, capacity expansion of traditional storage systems could not fulfill business requirements. KBS engineers sought a way to build a system with flexible expansion capabilities to handle the exploding data increase. 


KBS followed a stringent testing process required by South Korean regulations. Huawei was only responsible for setting up the environment, while specific verification operations were completed by KBS and the media industry.

OceanStor 9000 Big Data Storage System

Huawei provided two OceanStor 9000 Big Data Storage Systems, equipped with Huawei-developed InfoTurbo technology, for mutual backup, copying data from primary storage through the InfoReplicator function to the backup system, and to ensure data availability.

The OceanStor 9000 is the only storage system able to process four layers of 1 Gb/s non-linear editing.

System configuration

The primary system has eight P25 nodes in the initial configuration, providing more than 6 GB/s in throughput and 100 TB in capacity. The backup system has three P36 nodes, providing 3 GB/s bandwidth for data backup. The solution uses 10 GE all-IP networking and can seamlessly integrate the existing services systems at KBS.

The OceanStor 9000 package includes smart cache utilities able to analyze the encoding formats of mainstream media files with a series of read service models and forecasting algorithms, improving the cache hit rate in non-linear editing. InfoTurbo features a zero-copy design for the I/O path, disk read and write optimizations, and many other functions.

OceanStor 9000 also uses distributed RAID algorithms to eliminate risks from single points of failure. Protection against power failures, using memory and hardware redundancies, help ensure around-the-clock operational continuity.

The system uses a distributed cluster architecture capable of:

  • Expanding to 288 nodes
  • Delivering up to 60-PB capacity in a single file system
  • Achieving a total system bandwidth of up to 400 GB/s
  • Linearly increased performance in line with capacity growth


Combining the leading-edge performance of Huawei OceanStor into its latest efforts, KBS was able to move its programming into the ultra-HD era. Huawei storage fulfilled the project parameters and completed the tasks that the previous network equipment was incapable of accomplishing.

Richer visual experience

The OceanStor 9000 has enabled KBS to be the first to transition to 4K ultra-HD production, delivering a richer visual experience for viewers while laying the groundwork for enhanced live broadcast quality for the 2018 PyeongChang games.

Elimination of single points of failure

OceanStor’s primary/backup dual system design and distributed architecture eliminates the risk of single points of failure. The design ensures zero loss of footage and other assets, providing maximum protection for production investments. 

Easy expansion

Thanks to the elastic architecture of the OceanStor 9000, capacity is easily expanded to handle the rapid increases in data from ultra-HD. Simply increasing the storage nodes allows KBS to expand its front-end services with ease.

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