Etere - Sundance Compare

Etere - Sundance Compare

27 February 2009

This document details a brief comparison between Etere and Sundance automation systems, paying special attention to their hardware and interface characteristics

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Sundance: a Short History
Sundance start in 2004 to create the system, it was not released before 1996; it’s only 10 years that they exists. The company use venture capital trying to expand in worldwide market, with marketing results, but with base financial.
In 2006 AVID save them from bankrupt, now they are part of AVID reorganization.

Etere: a Success Story
Etere start in 1984, and from that times the company was always profitable. Etere has never been sold or take over from anyone. The core group of people is still the same after more than 20 years. Etere product is stable and always guarantees to the users a low cost upgrade path. Etere from the beginning use the same ‘software only’ approach, it was and it still is a pioneer in this approach that after more than 16 years is still emulated without success.
Sundance uses a strange approach, the core of the system is the SIDON, and this is a PC with software that bridges the requests from the clients to the devices. SIDON is not only a protocol converter but it has also the device drivers intelligence on it. Each SIDON is able to control up to 16 serial devices, only, and needs to be redundant. In a true installation with 128 serial ports you need 16 pc (8+8 redundancy) plus the 422 switches. According to Sundance SIDON manages devices independently from the on-air application, so the system to survive need 1+1 on-air PC and 1+1 SIDON, 4 Pc for a single channel redundant. Also the use of SIDON does not allow the new TCP/IP based protocol to be used.
Etere uses a pure Windows approach has no device controller and is able to drive directly the devices. A single channel or a 10 channel redundant system requires only 2 pc to say alive and redundant. Etere approach is hardware independent, so a lot of serial devices available worldwide can be used they only need to be Windows compatible. The advanced ingest functions of Pro-bel media management are included in the basic module of Etere. Etere also has an integrated licence free browsing system. Etere workflow based approach let customer free to modify the system according to their existing organization, it’s the most easy to use and productive of the market.
Sundance provide both hardware and software, this made the purchasing cost and the ownership cost higher. You need to have 2 support contracts one for the hardware and one for the software. The hardware, that is standard pc (today June 2006 still P4) when becomes outdated need an expensive spare part stocks. In case of software upgrade that requires a different hardware you need to purchase also the hardware platform from sundance itself. As today, June 2006, the system is still based on Windows NT technology and SQL2000 database. No XP version, Windows 2003, SQL 2005, all those are standard support in Etere.
Sundance use a database, but as old Harris as an XLS file. The range of metadata it can store is very limited; it’s only a list processing application (as the Sundance brochure) more than an integrated automation system as Etere. A lot of functions are optional (expensive) as:
• Satellite recording Intelli-sat
• List recording Media Catcher
• Segment Segment-share

Even acquiring the segment share capability Sundance lacks the use of segmented media. Sundance has no segment version control Sundance is not able to manage multisegment and multispot tapes mixed at the same time. Also you cannot manage events in multiple tape a single caching and broadcast event. With sundance you need third party software to do:
• Tape inventory
• Tape bar-coding and catalog
• Tape check in/check out
• Version scheduling

While all those functions are embedded in Etere.
Sundance has 2 products the fastbreak single channel and the TITAN for multichannel, this does not give an easy upgrade path for customers that wish to increase the number of channel while Etere is perfectly scalable.
As in old Harris systems the media management is a simple list processing:
• No intelligence is embedded in the media management
• No media Cockpit, as Etere to understand where is the media
• No multilevel cache support
• No disk archive integration
• No tape library integration
• No analog videotape management
• No policy related to program types, or better no program types
• No workflow
Sundance is a simple List processing system; it has not an integrated scheduling system, with different levels and options. No integrated as run logs. The interface with an external scheduling/traffic is done through txt files, no feedback and no last minute changes.
This is the big advantage of a common framework, where the HSM and the MAM and the videotape library share the same resources. Etere also has embedded all the ingest an playout capabilities of Etere Automation. Etere has a single cockpit to control the TV media. Etere database from the beginning contain all the metadata and the procedures to organize alla the TV workflow, not only what is related to onair. A station that starts with Etere will have only modules to add, no third party and interfaces to manage all the activities. Also Etere workflow allows to tailor the system behavior according station organization.
Made in Italy
Company History
Sundance: a Short History Sundance start in 2004 to create the system, it was not released before 1996; it’s only 10 years that they exists. The company use venture capital trying to expand in worldwide market, with marketing results, but with base financial. In 2006 AVID save them from bankrupt, now they are part of AVID reorganization. Etere: a Success Story Etere start in 1984, and from that times the company was always profitable. Etere has never been sold or take over from anyone. The core group of people is still the same after more than 20 years. Etere product is stable and always guarantees to the users a low cost upgrade path. Etere from the beginning use the same ‘software only’ approach, it was and it still is a pioneer in this approach that after more than 16 years is still emulated without success.
Sundance Product Technology
Sundance uses a strange approach, the core of the system is the SIDON, and this is a PC with software that bridges the requests from the clients to the devices. SIDON is not only a protocol converter but it has also the device drivers intelligence on it. Each SIDON is able to control up to 16 serial devices, only, and needs to be redundant. In a true installation with 128 serial ports you need 16 pc (8+8 redundancy) plus the 422 switches. According to Sundance SIDON manages devices independently from the on-air application, so the system to survive need 1+1 on-air PC and 1+1 SIDON, 4 Pc for a single channel redundant. Also the use of SIDON does not allow the new TCP/IP based protocol to be used.
Workflow Monitor
Etere Product Technology
Etere uses a pure Windows approach has no device controller and is able to drive directly the devices. A single channel or a 10 channel redundant system requires only 2 pc to say alive and redundant. Etere approach is hardware independent, so a lot of serial devices available worldwide can be used they only need to be Windows compatible. The advanced ingest functions of Pro-bel media management are included in the basic module of Etere. Etere also has an integrated licence free browsing system. Etere workflow based approach let customer free to modify the system according to their existing organization, it’s the most easy to use and productive of the market.
Microsoft
Hardware or Software
Sundance provide both hardware and software, this made the purchasing cost and the ownership cost higher. You need to have 2 support contracts one for the hardware and one for the software. The hardware, that is standard pc (today June 2006 still P4) when becomes outdated need an expensive spare part stocks. In case of software upgrade that requires a different hardware you need to purchase also the hardware platform from sundance itself. As today, June 2006, the system is still based on Windows NT technology and SQL2000 database. No XP version, Windows 2003, SQL 2005, all those are standard support in Etere.
Sundance Functions
Sundance use a database, but as old Harris as an XLS file. The range of metadata it can store is very limited; it’s only a list processing application (as the Sundance brochure) more than an integrated automation system as Etere. A lot of functions are optional (expensive) as: • Satellite recording Intelli-sat • List recording Media Catcher • Segment Segment-share Even acquiring the segment share capability Sundance lacks the use of segmented media. Sundance has no segment version control Sundance is not able to manage multisegment and multispot tapes mixed at the same time. Also you cannot manage events in multiple tape a single caching and broadcast event. With sundance you need third party software to do: • Tape inventory • Tape bar-coding and catalog • Tape check in/check out • Version scheduling While all those functions are embedded in Etere.
Sundance Products
Sundance has 2 products the fastbreak single channel and the TITAN for multichannel, this does not give an easy upgrade path for customers that wish to increase the number of channel while Etere is perfectly scalable.
Sundance Media Management
As in old Harris systems the media management is a simple list processing: • No intelligence is embedded in the media management • No media Cockpit, as Etere to understand where is the media • No multilevel cache support • No disk archive integration • No tape library integration • No analog videotape management • No policy related to program types, or better no program types • No workflow
Sundance Scheduling
Sundance is a simple List processing system; it has not an integrated scheduling system, with different levels and options. No integrated as run logs. The interface with an external scheduling/traffic is done through txt files, no feedback and no last minute changes.
Etere Interface
This is the big advantage of a common framework, where the HSM and the MAM and the videotape library share the same resources. Etere also has embedded all the ingest an playout capabilities of Etere Automation. Etere has a single cockpit to control the TV media. Etere database from the beginning contain all the metadata and the procedures to organize alla the TV workflow, not only what is related to onair. A station that starts with Etere will have only modules to add, no third party and interfaces to manage all the activities. Also Etere workflow allows to tailor the system behavior according station organization.