South Park Relies on Xserve Products

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When South Park first aired on Comedy Central nine years ago, its creators had no idea it would run so long. As the in-house production needs have grown, the data storage systems havenit been able to keep up, so they turned to Apple. This year, South Park Studios replaced its aging digital linear tape library and direct-attached disk storage systems with three Xserve RAID disk arrays from Apple, and a linear tape open system from Exabyte in Boulder, Colorado.

In an interview with Computerworld, J.J. Franzen, South Park Studiois technology supervisor, said that switching hardware lets them perform four incremental backups a day, versus one a day with the old system. In the event of a catastrophic failure, the studio would lose four hours of work, instead of a whole dayis worth.

With the tight weekly production schedule for South Park, losing a day spells disaster.

Tape-based backups were even slower. "The last backup we did on the DLT7000s took about two weeks straight -- yes, two weeks," commented Mr. Franzen. "Now that weire at a little over 2TB, we needed something faster."

The South Park crew is pleased with the performance it has seen from the Xserve RAIDs. It plans to add an additional two Xserve RAIDs, bringing the total storage up to 15 terabytes.

With the added storage and speed the Xserve RAIDs offer, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman should have plenty of room to keep growing.

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