By the Numbers: Solving the Olympic IT Puzzle

Snowboarders and figure skaters aren't the only ones who have put in their hours at the Sochi Olympics. An army of IT pros bearing titles such as "Head of Major Events" have been working for seven years to tackle one of the most complex IT jobs in the world. So, what does it take to manage and secure Olympic-caliber infrastructure? 

Consider what Atos, the French company responsible for overseeing the entire IT infrastructure in Sochi, has been up against:

  • Nearly 6,000 athletes are competing in 98 medal events in Sochi.
  • 25,000 volunteers are on-hand to support the athletes, spectators and media.
  • The technological infrastructure alone includes 400 servers and 5,600 PCs that provide data journalists and viewers worldwide. 
  • It took seven years and more than 100,0000 testing hours preparing for the Olympics.

Patrick Adiba, the CEO of major events at Atos and the person responsible for overseeing the Sochi operation, tells CNET's Daniel Terdiman that Atos' contract with the International Olympic Committee, which includes several previous Olympics, is "the largest IT sports-related contract in the world, and its requirements and challenges are beyond that of most organizations."

Notes Terdiman: "It's kind of hard to imagine that with some construction still under way even as visitors arrive in Sochi, officials would be able to keep up and running a technology system tasked with recording and measuring the entire Olympics, broadcasting it around the world, and ensuring everything and everyone stays safe, come what may."

Glitches happen, especially in the digital age. The production crew for the technologically advanced opening ceremony found that out when one of five snowflakes that descended into the stadium failed to open into an Olympic ring. But for the IT system thus far, it's been a problem-free Olympics. 

Thought handling Olympic competition data was a big enough task? Consider the immense manpower and computing power necessary to manage, secure and distribute all of that data. From that perspective, a malfunctioning Olympic ring isn't such a big deal.

h/t CNET

[Image via Mashable