How Three Sports Innovators Use Data Storage and Management

By Jim Lyons, NetApp

In sports, teams and athletes are always looking for a competitive edge on the field. For leading innovators in team sports, that same attitude applies to their IT operations. Many of the IT infrastructure considerations that are important to all businesses are particularly crucial to sports organizations, including intelligent data management, adaptability and the need to exceed customer expectations.

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Here’s how three leading sports innovators—the Denver Broncos , the Sauber Formula 1 racing team  and the NFL—are using NetApp data storage and management technology to gain competitive advantage, and why they are placing particular emphasis on the infrastructure that stores, protects and serves up their mission-critical data.

Protect Your Valuable Assets
For the Denver Broncos , the quarterback is not the only valuable asset that needs protection throughout the season. Each week, the team relies on IT to provide the digital videos and playbook updates required to prepare for the next opponent. All of the data is cataloged and stored on a NetApp® data storage infrastructure for 24/7 access and delivered on demand to every player and coach via Apple® iPads® running the PlayerLync app.

The data is protected through a combination of local Snapshot™ copies, which are stored for 90 days, and remote replicas and backups that are safely stored in a data center 20 miles away in case of a disaster at the primary site. Because the data is stored on disk instead of tape, files that have been deleted in error can be restored in minutes and the team can prepare for the next game without having to wait for critical information.

Monitor and Adapt
In the world of Formula 1 racing , minor adjustments that save fractions of a second every lap can mean the difference between winning a race and finishing in back of the pack. To make real-time adjustments, engineers for Formula 1 cars need immediate access to data for every conceivable combination of equipment and conditions. This requires each F1 team to capture, store and analyze critical telemetry data that is streamed from more than 100 sensors for variables such as car speed, throttle position, torque and steering wheel angle.

The Sauber F1 team has applied a state-of-the-art converged infrastructure solution to this problem, but with a twist: The entire data center can be shipped from track to track as they race in Grand Prix events around the world. To accomplish this, Sauber uses FlexPod® systems based on Cisco UCS® servers, Cisco Nexus® switches and NetApp storage systems, a jointly validated architecture that has been deployed by thousands of companies in traditional (non-mobile) data centers to speed access to their critical data.

Create Lifelong Fans
In the business of sports, it's hard to imagine a more successful operation than the National Football League. The annual Super Bowl championship alone requires an immense amount of IT support to keep an audience of 108 million viewers happy, with the need to collect, share and protect massive amounts of data during the live event.

For the 2013 Super Bowl, the NFL IT team used NetApp SnapMirror®  software to securely replicate data between temporary data centers in New Orleans and the central data center in New York. This was crucial to delivering instant access to critical game-day data, as well as to protecting the data and giving the NFL IT team the ability to recover it quickly if needed.

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NetApp–The Official Data Storage Provider of the NFL
For more information about using NetApp solutions to gain a competitive edge for your company, visit the NetApp Community  pages for best-practice guidelines, technical case studies and in-depth interviews with engineering experts.

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