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London 2012 targets green-tech to cut costs

The Olympic Games in 2012 will rely on green technology to control costs and waste amid the financial downturn
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

The London 2012 Olympic Games will rely on green tech to control costs and waste amid the worst economic slump since World War II.

For Derek Ward, executive vice president for UK markets and strategic relationships at Atos Origin — the company leading the consortium of IT companies designing and building the 2012 Games' tech infrastructure — the benefits of green tech are obvious.

"At the front of our mind is always sustainability because this way we can minimise the use of hardware and power," he said.

Virtualisation is one option being considered by the organisers in order to cut the number of servers used at the Olympics.

Chief integrator to the 2012 Games at Atos Origin, Michele Hyron, said: "We are looking to reduce the amount of hardware in the primary and secondary datacentres, to reduce the amount of cooling, power consumption and equipment that the London organisers have to buy. We are reviewing the architecture and are looking at virtualisation."

This green approach is already being realised at the Olympic Park, currently being built in East London, where construction crews are using IT applications inside a virtualised environment.

The London Games will also make greater use of remote information systems than any previous Olympics, streaming real-time results and coverage to broadcasters around the world and offering a single feed of all Olympics news. The tech is aimed at reducing unnecessary travel by journalists and using less paper than the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where seven million sheets were printed out.

Recycling will also play a key role, with Atos Origin reusing parts of IT systems developed for previous Olympic Games. Hyron said: "We are looking to provide IT services that, where possible, can reuse existing equipment, rather than having to buy dedicated hardware."

About 9,00 servers, 1,000 network security devices and 8,000 computers will be provided for the 2012 Games, all of which will be subjected to 200,000 hours of testing.

Atos Origin has already spent two years deploying the infrastructure at the Olympic Park in London, providing a shared service desk for construction crews and Games organisers. It has also provided a system that controls access for the 350 to 500 suppliers that enter the park site each day.

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