CIO Gerry Pennell (right) gave a lot of blah-blah-blah to the Green IT conference in London, but this really has nothing to do with energy efficiency or application compatibility. (Picture from the GreenIT Web site.)
It's all about the Adamses. (Adam Smith is on 50 pound notes issued by Clydesdale Bank, the closest thing I could find to the U.S. $100 bill.)
The Olympics are notorious for using every purchase requirement as an excuse to shake down vendors. They get stuff free, or nearly free, and in exchange the vendor gets marketing rights.
IBM was the main computer vendor during the 1996 Olympics in my hometown of Atlanta, and they hyped their participation to the max. They were still talking long after those games were over.
The lessons of those games -- don't trust new software, pay attention to public systems, have a backup plan, and don't overpromise (as IBM did) -- those lessons remain valid today.
But I find it impossible to believe that London won't have several cloud clusters running in three years with plenty of back-end capacity to handle whatever those games can throw at them, or that virtualization can't deliver whatever compatibility you're after.
This is about the fact that BT won the IT contract last year, plus its marketing rights. BT is a phone company. Phone companies are among the last hold-outs against open source.
Before Mr. Pennell, or any other executive, tries to lay a cover story on anyone about anything, they might want to consider the fact that we have this thing called Google now, and reporters can find this stuff out very easily.