Starz "Disaster Relief Center"
When completed, every movie asset we own will live at both the primary uplink facility and also in this Disaster Recovery Center
Perhaps it is a sign of our perilous times. Or perhaps it is an indication of Starz Encore Group LLC's dedication to their 20 to 30 million household subscribers. But surely it reflects the robustness of the premium cable movie industry that The Starz Encore Group (owned by Liberty Media Corp.) is in the process of constructing a "Disaster Recovery Center", or what is sometimes referred to as a "backup broadcast facility", in Castle Rock, Colorado to make sure that whatever exigencies Fate my bring, their subscription cable feature films service will stay on the air.

"A lot of people talk about doing something like this, but few have actually accomplished it," says Ray Milius, V.P. of technology for the Starz Encore Group. "Basically, this will be a scaled down version of our main satellite uplink center in Englewood, Colorado. We aren't just concerned about a 9/11 type of incident although that's always a possibility. The Englewood facility is located right next to both an airport and a major freeway, and Colorado is sometimes subject to severe tornadoes. So with an annual revenue flow of almost a billion dollars, we felt the best insurance policy would be to create a mirrored operations center that could continue sending out our product no matter what disasters may occur."

Tom Mikkelsen,
Vice President of Production and Operations for Starz Encore Group
With the new Disaster Recovery Center located in the PanAmSat building about 40 miles south of the Englewood facility, the two broadcast sites will be tied together by fiber optics and OmniBusí Workflow Manager software will automatically synchronize media between the two locales. With consulting help from system integrator Beck Associates, Starz engineers began the budgeting and planning process on the Disaster Recovery Center about this time a year ago, preliminary designs were begun in January, and it should be on line by September, 2003. Tom Mikkelsen, vice president of production and operations for Starz Encore Group, is in charge of the installation. "This is a business continuity solution," Mikkelsen starts off, "representing a significant investment in the reliability of our service platform to our clients. After this new facility is completed we know the Starz Encore service will be there day in and day out despite any emergencies."

The Starz Disaster Recovery Center is designed to be a "hot standby" solution, mirroring the complete capabilities of the core Starz Encore programming. Once finished, the back-up site will stand ready to replace the primary facility's uplink and programming on two Galaxy 1 satellite transponders at any time. There will be three 45 megabit fibre connections between this center and the original uplink facility, and Workflow Manager software from OmniBus Systems and Avalon software from EMC Corporation will automatically synchronize media between the locales.

Source: DMO