The Pit and the Podium: EMC Puts Converged Infrastructure into High Gear for Lotus F1 Team

A winning Formula 1 car is built with 80,000 parts and components that must perform together at speeds of over 200 mph. To support the success of such a technologically advanced racing car, a wealth of compute, storage and network technologies are required to analyze data, aid design, support manufacturing, monitor on-track performance, and more. Smaller, lighter and faster are the driving forces behind IT as much as they are in Formula 1 racing.

To accomplish all that, it takes an IT infrastructure that’s as streamlined, sleek and powerful as the car itself. Today, with a converged infrastructure from EMC, Lotus F1 Team has achieved that goal. 21-02-50It wasn’t always that way. Before making the transition to a converged infrastructure and the private cloud, Lotus F1 Team used a single data center, with all its infrastructure contained there. It was built on a client-server, multilayer-switched network architecture. The infrastructure was complex and hard to scale, making it impractical to maintain efficient operations.

Performance was acceptable, but not good enough. This architecture also demanded significant attention from IT—especially when it came to managing data. For example, manual storage tiering limited the volume and speed of data that could be analyzed.

Today their IT profile is sleeker, faster and far more powerful with a VCE Vblock System as the foundation of Lotus F1 Team’s converged infrastructure. An EMC VNX platform with Fast Suite, EMC VPLEX and EMC Data Domain provides federated storage across data centers, automated tiering, continuous availability and data deduplication. Together, these systems eliminate most of the manual administration that stretched the team’s IT resources.

On the track, Lotus F1 Team maintains what amounts to a mini mobile data center made possible by their EMC converged infrastructure. Throughout the race, the team’s strategy and performance engineers are collecting, analyzing and responding to billions of points of data about the car’s overall performance and about its component parts. That information is then relayed to the pit crew and modifications are made during the race.

For its trackside data center, Lotus F1 Team provisions 50 virtual servers to support the race. With 250 sensors on the car, that trackside data center can take in 50 TB over the course of the race. Lotus F1 Team uses that data for many purposes such as to make car adjustments during the race, to track tire wear, monitor and adjust fuel consumption, and many other factors that can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Convergence and the cloud brought additional benefits to the trackside team and their mobile data center. Since deploying the converged infrastructure, Lotus F1 Team has shrunk its trackside footprint, and tripled performance. With Vblock, the time to receive analytics of real-time performance data has been reduced to less than one minute per lap. Weight isn’t important only with the car; it’s critical when it comes to the cost of maintaining and moving that trackside data center. The almost 20 percent reduction in weight of the equipment saves Lotus F1 Team upwards of $150,000 per season in raw transportation costs.

It takes a lot of people, working together, to put a competitive car on a Formula 1 track. And it takes special IT partners like EMC, working together, to help keep it there.

About the Author: Dell Technologies

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