It’s one of the most common questions we’re asked, “How much does Zetta cost?” To answer that question, we first must identify your station requirements and apply those needs to your budget. For this week’s RCS Live, Jeff Zigler joined us to outline a basic Zetta environment to a sophisticated, multi-market Zetta configuration. Starting with vocabulary and terminology, once we understand how to identify Zetta’s pieces of the puzzle, we can properly construct your topology.
What’s the difference between a Zetta file server and a sequencer machine? Do I even need a sequencer machine? Let’s first discuss some Zetta vocabulary and terminology to help you better understand how to build a Zetta system. Zetta utilizes Microsoft SQL and currently, we’re shipping out SQL 2019 Standard Edition with the current Windows OS builds, including Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro and Windows Server 2022. Next, Zetta uniquely features a detached playout, which we’ve discussed in previous RCS Lives that can be viewed anytime via https://www.rcsworks.com/rcs-live. We essentially identify a machine that is in charge of the sequencer service so that whenever any Zetta machine causes an audio trigger, like play or stop, it’s actually being executed by the defined sequencer. Typically, we like to isolate a sequencer on their own machine, but pending on your budget, like a college or university, we can combine your control room computer into an “On Air Machine” that houses both the sequencer and the main Zetta. Or if you have multiple HDs that don’t require a lot of system resources, some clients prefer to piggyback HD sequencers so that a single sequencer machine includes two or three Zetta sequencers. If you’re GSelector integrated, we prefer to install GSelector’s server on the Zetta file server so that we had the proper network connections for live integration. Again, this is all based on your station workflows, hardware requirements and budget.
But what about redundancy? Since Zetta is equipped with a Multi-Track Editor, we can include a production room machine into your Zetta environment, but that production room machine can also operate as a redundant sequencer. Remember, Zetta is an enterprise solution. All machines and stations are included in the environment. So we don’t “move machines,” rather, we identify computers and play streams (analog or digital/Audio over IP) so that if we need to take the main sequencer offline, we simply identify the backup play streams, which are pre-assigned to a computer in the Zetta environment, like a production room machine, and we use a Zetta macro to enable the backup audio steam, or Hot Spare, to operate from the backup studio. And since Zetta features the detached playout, we can also incorporate Zetta2GO to replace some physical machines. Just remember that Zetta2GO is made to enhance, not replace, your Zetta experience. It’s important to identify what daily workflows you’ll be looking to achieve in Zetta2GO. We also feature special licenses for Program Directors, Traffic Managers or Production Directors to accommodate workflows and budgets. And speaking of redundancy, RCS Cloud Disaster Recovery is also equipped to include all of your audio, metadata, schedules and backups so that after a single “Bring Online” click, your station is back online when a physical disaster or cryptoware attack takes your station off the air.
Once we establish a basic station setup, then we can start to discuss how to connect multiple markets and connect teams or workflows. Zetta is equipped with various options, pending on your station needs. Site Replication is the “we activity,” with multiple Zetta systems completely in sync. Whereas Z-Cast is more of a “You/I need this” type of workflow. But it’s important that both are built-in RCS services. For a better understanding of when to use Site Replication versus Z-Cast, check out this past video.
Now that we can identify the different Zetta pieces, Jeff and Nate introduced a couple of client examples: a basic single station configuration, to a two-station enterprise solution, and finally a sophisticated centralized cluster with a redundancy system. From customizing the Zetta experience to outlining the engineering topology requirements, the beauty of Zetta is that it’s flexible and completely customizable to cater each user’s needs.
Time for some housekeeping! As we inch closer to Zetta 5.22.1 and GSelector 5.1’s releases, we’re always looking for Beta users. Check out the latest job opportunities here. Send us your studio photos to be featured in our #StudioSpotlight by emailing email@example.com and we’ll see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live!