Atos Origin has officially opened the technology lab where it will run 200,000 hours of tests for the IT infrastructure that will power the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The facility in Canary Wharf at the offices of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games contains 11,000 PCs and 800 servers supplied by Acer, and networking equipment from BT and Cisco.
The lab covers 20,000 square feet and contains 36 dedicated virtual hubs that replicate the venues for events such as cycling, swimming and track and field, as well as hubs for the delivery of results, travel information and other data.
The equipment will be tested in the lab before being taken for further trials at the actual sites, then returned to the lab for more tests before returning once again to the venues.
Patrick Adiba, chief executive for Atos Origin's Olympic and Major events division, explained why testing to such high levels of accuracy is so important.
"The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting IT contract on the planet, and is 10 times bigger than the World Cup. It has a start date that can't be changed, it's an enormous task and that's why we undertake such intense testing," he said.
"This will include running the infrastructure as it should run and subjecting it to all kinds of events, such as virus attacks, lack of staff or a fire in a major datacentre, so we can be prepared for numerous things that could occur."
Gerry Pennell, chief information officer for London 2012, said that the official opening of the testing lab marks a significant step towards the opening of the games next year.
"The 200,000 hours of testing is the single biggest task we will carry out in the next year, and will involve testing each virtual hub as a standalone portal and then running them together when things are going well and when they are going wrong," he said.
Sebastian Coe, head of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, added that the IT infrastructure must be fit for purpose to ensure that athletes can focus on their events.
"By testing the systems to the point that no stone has been left unturned will ensure that we can begin on 28 July in a seamless way," he said.
"Carrying out this level of testing at the labs will make the difference between a good games and a great games."
Other technology providers involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games include Omega, Samsung, Panasonic and Airwave.
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