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Olympic cloud computing use yet to hit the heights

17 Oct 2012
London Olympics Stadium

From its onset the Olmpics and Paralympic Games was always going to showcase cloud technology benefits.

This was because the cloud was said to be making its Olympics debut in delivering services to support the Games, and because of the technology's greater use by businesses during the period, with many of them adopting remote working strategies to restrict the impact of travel chaos on their operations.

Cloud applications support remote working by allowing staff to work from anywhere, accessing emails, content management systems and stored files from their home computers or mobile phones.

Cloud applications also appeared an ideal fit for Olympic organisers because of their ability to quickly scale to support large numbers of users.

However, while the Olympics can be used as a positive case study by cloud providers to showcase their technology, any greater impact the event had in benefitting cloud firms is likely to have been limited.

Gerry Pennell, chief information officer for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog), told V3 that cloud technology had been used on two occasions to support operations.

Firstly, as a test loading service to simulate predicated traffic that would hit Locog websites and mobile applications during the Games, and secondly to store and manage data during the torch relay nomination process.

Pennell said this limited use was because while on paper Olympics IT appears to be the ideal fit for a cloud computing model, the reality was very different.

"In many ways the Olympics could be text book approach to cloud computing, because the cloud offers a variable cost structure and can scale," said Pennell.

"It's ultimately the right model but there were problems in the maturity of the cloud technology and in what's available, especially bearing in mind we made the decisions regarding the Olympics IT operations four years ago.

"For the results applications, it would have been extremely high risk to commit to cloud technology."

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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