Can the cloud compete at London 2012?

Summary:2012's Olympic Games in London seem the perfect showcase for the cloud, but with this year's outages it's not clear whether the technology is stable enough, says Lori MacVittie

Vast demands will be put on IT infrastructures by online viewers keen to see every event and every replay at the London 2012 Olympics. The cloud seems to be an obvious choice to help deliver that content, but will it be up to the task, asks Lori MacVittie.

London 2012 — the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. I'm not talking about events on the track, or at the velodrome or pool, but those behind the scenes in the bowels of IT organisations across the globe. Those organisations will be responsible for ensuring millions of online viewers see every glorious moment of their favourite Olympic competitions.

It may seem early to start worrying about the overwhelming volume of internet traffic sure to swamp datacentres and networks next year, but past experience of major events has taught us to begin our preparations early.

London Olympics site

Cloud computing will almost certainly play a major role in delivering content from the 2012 London Olympic Games. Photo credit: ODA

This requirement applies particularly to service providers and media-focused organisations for which an outage during the Olympics could prove embarrassing and damaging.

Will the cloud be picked for the 2012 Games?

It seems obvious that the cloud has a role to play in the coverage of the forthcoming Olympics. If ever a situation were designed to showcase the benefits of a technology, the 2012 Games is it. It is a keenly anticipated, scheduled event, with potentially billions of viewers across the world.

It's an event that occurs infrequently enough to make it unviable to invest in the infrastructure necessary to meet demand, yet failure to do so is potentially devastating financially and reputationally.

However, the significant lead times for the Olympics reduce the challenges often associated with a cloud-bursting strategy required to meet sudden demand. The advanced warning makes it possible to plan to ensure the infrastructure is in place to take advantage of cloud computing before it's needed.

There's no doubt that a cloud computing-deployed Olympic Games delivery system is also possible given the time we have to prepare.

But the big question concerns the stability of cloud computing. It's been plagued by monthly outages through most of 2011, so can it withstand...

Topics: Cloud


Lori MacVittie is responsible for application services education and evangelism at app delivery firm F5 Networks. Her role includes producing technical materials and participating in community-based forums and industry standards organisations. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as in networ... Full Bio

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