Vancouver 2010: An Exclusive Tour of the Technology Operations Center

More than 100,000 hours of testing has been completed to ensure the technology that makes the Olympics tick will run without a bobble. Here's an inside look at this gold metal setup.

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The Technology Operations Center in Vancouver is a 5,000-square-foot facility that Ward Chapin, CIO of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, compares to a NASA command center, complete with big screens to monitor the events live and seats for about 130 people.

See related story: Olympic Effort: Tech Rehearsals Condition IT Operations for the 2010 Vancouver Games

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The Games-time IT that is operated and managed from the Technology Operations Center is made up of 13 systems that work together to ensure smooth operations, while protecting the information from internal and external threats. This infrastructure includes: 800 servers; 6,000 computers and 4,000 printers. More than 100,000 hours were spent testing these systems prior to the start of the Olympics.

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More than 2,000 people represent the Vancouver technology team, hailing from 30-plus countries. These staff members include locally hired staff, local volunteers and overseas Olympic Games technology experts.

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In the Integration Test (IT) Labs, staffers test critical information systems that support the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Housed here are the facilities, application environments and IT infrastructure that support the testing process. The on-venue results system and other supporting services such as information security and software distribution are all tested here prior to the Games to ensure the IT systems are functional and reliable.

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Each Olympic sport gets one dedicated IT Lab. Here, employees decorate the Ice Hockey cell with past Olympic Ice Hockey jerseys from participating nations.

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Games-time will require 15 different systems all working together to provide a seamless experience for 3,000 athletes, 25,000 volunteers and 10,000 accredited media. During the test event, Atos Origin, the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games, tested all the components of the Core Games Management System, which is designed to manage the day-to-day operations; and the Information Diffusion System, which pushes out games results to users around the world.

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The Women's Ice Hockey event—the last one to be tested before the launch of the 2010 Olympics—let the IT team test the systems in a live environment with real users. Results of the competition were relayed in 0.3 seconds to 72 media outlets—which is what will be expected when the Games commence.