Datacenter Drives Formula 1 Race team

Formula 1 racing requires the power of an on-site datacenter to stay competitive.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

One of my biggest problems with talking about containerized datacenters is that when I ask about actual customer stories and feedback I either get told by the vendor that they aren't at liberty to discuss their clients and that they will get back to me, or they email me some hackneyed old rewrite of a datacenter container used by a medical center or a military unit. That's all well and good but how about something with a little flash or sizzle; we don't all want a steady diet of boiled mutton.

This week, my (albeit inconsequential) prayers were answered. The Formula 1 racing group, Team Lotus, talked openly about their relationship with Dell and their at track use of a specialized modular container datacenter. The datacenter container, which is shipped to each of the 19 F1 races held worldwide each year, along with Dell mobile and tower workstations that are used by engineers trackside, are just a part of the datacenter infrastructure, powered by Dell, which Team Lotus is using to design, build, and field their race cars.

Trackside, the engineering workstations are the recipients of data transmitted real-time from the race car which is equipped with 150 sensors that monitor everything from tire pressure and temperature to aerodynamic effect issues. This data can be used not only to analyze the performance of the cars, post-race, but to also make adjustments to the vehicle during the race. Data is processed on the workstations and in the mobile datacenter, and the processed data is eventually passed back to the datacenter in the Team Lotus headquarters in the UK.

My F1 fan friends are always telling me how high-tech F1 cars are and how much more interesting they are than traditional American racing (I admit to watching NASCAR now and then, but only on tracks where they have to turn left AND right) but I don't think even my most rabid F1 supporters realizes just how high tech the entire Formula 1 racing system is.

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