Atos Origin Wraps Up 2008 Olympics IT

The Paris-based company completes setup of the Beijing Games' IT systems, which will relay results to a global audience in real time

The IT infrastructure for the Beijing 2008 Olympics is in place, with testing the systems the next big step.

The Olympics' system will relay event results and athlete information to spectators and media around the world in real-time during the competition.

The infrastructure, which has been designed, built and will be operated by Atos Origin, will link together more than 60 competition and non-competition venues across China, consisting of more than 900 servers, 7,000 PCs and 1,000 network and security devices.

Jeremy Hore, Beijing 2008 chief technology integrator for Atos Origin, told "IT is vital to managing the complexity of the games and relaying results in a timely, accurate and secure way to millions of viewers around the globe and thousands of media attending locally."

Hore said the biggest challenge the company faced was an "absolutely unmovable deadline" to roll out the Olympic systems which meant there was only one chance to get the IT infrastructure right.

Atos started working on the technology for the Beijing Games in November 2004.

The high-level architecture was completed by mid-2005 and Atos then worked with the Beijing 2008 Organising Committee and other technology partners to define the detailed architecture, equipment, software specs and support services needed.

The architecture must integrate the technologies of multiple technology vendors and Hore said: "This requires significant interaction and testing of the partners' products to ensure that they are capable of meeting the requirements for the Games."

The integration testing started before the end of 2006 in the Integration Testing Lab, located in Beijing.

In this lab, there are more than 100 people testing the key systems and this testing process will take almost two years.

During August of this year, the systems will be tested at the competition venues during real sporting events.

Next on the IT agenda is a system testing phase, where the systems are loaded to ensure the architecture can support the Olympic Games' requirements.

During Beijing 2008, it is estimated a technology team of around 3,500 or more will use the IT infrastructure.

Hore added after the Beijing Olympics closes some of the IT systems - such as the telecoms infrastructure - will remain as a legacy for the cities involved, while other equipment such as PCs and servers may be reallocated to hospitals, schools or other public entities.

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