Thursday, 24 June 2010

Formula 1 Team Uses Cloud Computing for Grand Prix Success

As Nico Hulkenberg, the 22-year-old up-and-coming Formula 1 driving star, approaches the final chicane of the Circuit Gilles Villenueve during the Canadian Grand Prix he will already know from telemetry data hosted in the cloud to slow down 10 metres before the turn or risk smacking into the infamous wall of champions that has taken out racing superstars such as Fernando Alonzo and Michael Schumacher.

Hulkenberg, who races for iconic Williams F1, got off to a great start at the recently concluded Canadian Grand Prix. He started the race 12th on the grid, but suddenly found himself in 8th position.
In the past Williams F1 Racing, which also features veteran driver Rubens Barrichello, based its technology purchasing decisions on speed -- speed to market and speed on the track. "We strive for gaining that tenth of second that it takes to win," said Alex Burns, CEO of Williams F1, based in Oxfordshire, U.K.
But things have changed at Williams F1 and the long-time racing power is embracing the new capabilities of cloud computing.
Burns said that the team is looking to strike a balance between speed and security with its technology solutions.
Williams F1 has partnered with AT&T Global Services for its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering.
"The IT strategy used to be about speed and the speed of decision making on testing and accessing the results. Security is equally important and we are working in a competitive and high profile environment and it's not unheard of that teams spy on each other. We have to be aware that we are a target or Formula 1 is a target and our communication, for no other reason, must not disrupt the event. We have a lot of employees who travel and use laptops, people lodging remotely who need to address the Internet with normal work activity. We have to be certain to make sure nothing goes through the system that can damage the network. And, we want to push all that onto the AT&T cloud," Burns said.
Its Oxfordshire headquarters contains a fully managed enhanced virtual private network which enables the team engineers, mechanics, car designers and drivers to run the business. That business is building the fastest cars in the world. The IaaS network also gives Williams F1 personnel the same network on the road for the 19 Grand Prix races that are part of the Formula 1 season.
Williams, which is essentially a small business, must move its operation every two weeks for nine months of the year. About 20 per cent of the company is constantly on the road and they require connecting to the AT&T VPN. Making it even more challenging on the IT resources is the increase in mobile devices.

No comments: