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IBM Technology Serves Up Tennis in a Whole New Way

wimbledom, u.s. open, Australian open, roland garros, tennis

With Wimbledon wrapped up and another U.S. Open Tennis tournament underway, IBM Power Systems* technology continues to deliver a waitless fan experience to the millions who watch the tennis Grand Slam events. IBM has worked with the professional tennis community for more than 20 years and continues to expand the technology for fans, players, officials and media to gain better insights into the game.

This year, more than 700,000 fans are expected to attend the U.S. Open tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, while millions of tennis enthusiasts will follow the action on their mobile devices, making the U.S. Open the highest attended tennis event in the world. Every one of those fans expects to know what’s happening as it happens in real time.

This gives Power Systems technology the chance to shine. “When you think about these numbers and how many people are relying on IBM to provide an exceptional experience, it’s awe-inspiring,” says Bob Friske, IBM Power Systems portfolio marketing manager. “When you understand how big this is, you can really understand the importance of the infrastructure that’s making it happen.”

Ace Infrastructure

IBM delivers the technology and expertise through its powerful performance and data analytics capabilities. “We’re using Power Systems technology to process millions of content updates, serve hundreds of thousands of transactional requests, and transmit terabytes of data to the Web servers to meet the insatiable demands of tennis fans who want to follow their favorite players,” says Brian O’Connell, IBM master inventor and senior technical staff member. This is no small feat; it requires incredibly fast performance, which Power Systems has continued to provide.

IBM’s success goes far beyond chip performance. IBM Systems middleware, servers, storage and services all combine to deliver a world-class digital infrastructure that’s critical to each event’s success. And every year, the technology grows and evolves.

Currently, IBM is using a hybrid cloud approach to deliver real-time action and scoring to official event websites and mobile apps with IBM SoftLayer’s public cloud and Power Systems servers running the private cloud infrastructure. From stats to video, the usopen.org website and iPad and Android apps keep fans informed and engaged.

“If you look at infrastructure as divided by systems of engagement and systems of record, we’re using Power Systems infrastructure as our systems of record,” O’Connell says. He says every single during a tennis match is recorded in the system of record and then fires off a domino of 50 to 100 data points that change the systems of engagement, which serve up information on the Internet and mobile devices. “That system of record must be very, very stable,” he continues. “And Power Systems technology is great for providing highly reliable cloud services.”

Right now, IBM is using a combination of AIX* and Linux* but O’Connell says they are moving more and more of the private cloud toward Linux.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.



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