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Putting the Beautiful Game Into the Cloud

The final whistle was blown at the UEFA EURO 2012 championships last month, with Spain reasserting their superiority as European football's top side once again. As football fans and critics continue to review the highlights and controversies of the tournament, Spain isn't the only team celebrating success; the ICT team at UEFA has much to celebrate too.
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The final whistle was blown at the UEFA EURO 2012 championships last month, with Spain reasserting their superiority as European football's top side once again. As football fans and critics continue to review the highlights and controversies of the tournament, Spain isn't the only team celebrating success; the ICT team at UEFA has much to celebrate too.

Behind the fouls, free kicks and near-misses of UEFA EURO 2012, the UEFA ICT organisation was supported by a select group of best of breed providers (which included pan European cloud provider, Interoute) to ensure a constant flow of uninterrupted images and data reached audiences worldwide. Online the UEFA.com website served hundreds of millions of fans during the tournament season and UEFA's bespoke Football Administration Management Environment (FAME), the application key to the planning, management and logistics of the competition, coped with constant use from over 40,000 users. So, it's no surprise that UEFA needed some serious technology infrastructure and support in place to ensure that everything remained up and running over the course of the tournament. It also needed a solution that was resilient and guaranteed to always be available.

In order to meet these demands, UEFA became the latest among a growing number of organisations taking to the cloud to meet its unique IT needs. In fact, an impressive 98% of its entire ICT architecture is hosted on Interoute's private cloud computing platform, which sits in two datacentres in Amsterdam and Geneva. When UEFA completed the move to Interoute's private cloud last August, 70% of UEFA's services were virtualised, leading to massive performance improvements and a significant cost reduction.

In the run up to UEFA EURO 2012, the strength of the cloud has truly been put to the test, as UEFA.com and FAME responded to the demands of UEFA's on-going competitions, including the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. However, its resilience really proved itself throughout the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament. UEFA's FAME event management portal gives its 40,000 users access to a huge number of services including accreditation, media services, volunteer information, transportation, ICT infrastructure, as well as stats and information on all teams and players, so it was crucial to the running of the tournament.

Such is the importance of FAME that it is in almost constant use, with users across many time zones logging in around the clock. This presented a particular challenge for Interoute and UEFA when it came to testing the disaster recovery fail-over solution for FAME, seamlessly moving the application between Interoute's Geneva and Amsterdam Data centres. It took six months to find a time when a maintenance window for the test could be scheduled. But the advanced planning paid off when the application ran continuously throughout the championships ensuring the users had all the information they needed whenever they needed it.

Here are just a few of the highlights that went on behind the scenes at UEFA EURO 2012:

Match Night: On an average match night, 200 people in ten countries managed the content on UEFA.com.

UEFA.com: Throughout the tournament, 30-40 people uploaded data to the website, 12 hours a day.

Capturing every moment: From additional programming, to unseen angles of the games, UEFA had to closely manage the digital content it captured, distributing it at 100 megabytes per second, either edited or raw, for broadcasters to pick up and use.

UEFA.com Replay: This platform, hosted by Interoute, enabled fans to watch a recording of every match at midnight after it had aired.

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