Ferrari and Schneider Electric team up to push limits on data center efficiency and reliability
Fri 19 Aug 2016
Scuderia Ferrari is the racing team division of the world famous Ferrari sports car manufacturer. The most successful team in the history of Formula One, they having recorded 224 (and counting) race victories. The team has competed in every major world championship since 1950.
A Formula One team is driven by a culture of innovation at the highest levels where speed is the literal key to competitive advantage. It’s a place where results are concretely measured at each Grand Prix. Formula One racing represents the pinnacle in high performance automotive racing. Competitive on all levels, from engineering to the race, there’s no room for error, downtime or delays.
“One of the founding elements of the Ferrari experience and success is the ability to make decisions very quickly, “ said Vittoro Boero Chief Information Officer at Ferrari’s automotive division and its Formula One team. “At Ferrari we’re constantly working to push the limits, to break records.”
Such speed and precision requires a technology infrastructure that is up to the task of being both flexible and reliable. The Ferrari data centers support the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One engineers by providing the high performance computing environment necessary to adapt and adjust quickly as data is gathered in real time during races and analyzed. The time given to respond to and accommodate new rules and restrictions from one competition to the next is often very short.
The regulatory changes can range from technical directives during actual championship events to modifications in the car’s architecture. These changes need to be quickly reflected in Scuderia Ferrari’s working methods and IT support systems. As a result, the data center physical infrastructure needs to be high performing, reliable, flexible and highly manageable.
A data center upgrade needed to enhance flexibility
“The data center hosts solutions and systems are used by our engineers during races”, said Antonio Tornatore, Head of Process at Scuderia Ferrari. “This means that systems have to be totally reliable because during a race focus has to be entirely on the car and the race itself and not on the tools.”
“We collect and analyze telemetry (remote monitoring of dozens of sensors in the car during an actual race), weather, and strategic data during races. We continuously process this data in real time in order to refine and constantly improve our performance. At the same time our IT team collects and processes system operation data for continuous performance tuning,” said Tornatore.
“We needed to consolidate operations and introduce new technologies to our research and development data center. Our engineering department wanted better performance and we needed to manage remotely. Our facility needed to be customizable, the rooms needed to be able to change their configuration easily. Because of all of the rules changes of the business, a modular type of data center was required,” said Tornatore.
“Working with Schneider Electric allowed us to create a very flexible data center infrastructure,” said Francesca Duri, Chief Technology Officer of ICT. “Ferrari’s data centers were created primarily to host Formula One computation systems. They have to be flexible, modular, efficient and reliable. The qualities we were looking for in a data center supplier we ended up finding them in Schneider Electric.”
“System server and data center reliability is very important to our Formula One success. For example, the most important systems in our data center are the ones that calculate the car’s external aerodynamics. The results of the aerodynamic simulations must be ready in time for us to create the parts for the next Grand Prix,” said Duri.
Data centers combine both reliability and innovation
Ferrari commissioned its first Schneider Electric / APC data center in 2004. That data center was equipped with a cooling capacity of 20kW per rack. The InfraStruxure modular / scalable system, which still is available as a popular offering today, serves as the physical infrastructure supporting computational fluid dynamics platform and the simulations essential to the aerodynamic modeling of Ferrari’s championship Formula One cars.
The “on-demand” architecture of InfraStruxure provides power, cooling, management and services in a rack-optimized design, which is scalable in accommodating server capacity. Such scalability eliminates much of the planning guesswork, reduces installation downtime risk, and allows for the optimization of today’s high-density computing installations. The integrated cooling system consists of In-Row precision air conditioners, and high-efficiency Hot Aisle Containment Systems (HACS).
Ferrari’s second data centre was built in 2015. A 300 square meter site was created to support Ferrari’s Formula One car design team. Like the earlier data center, it is also equipped with high-efficiency cooling solutions, automatic static transfer switch (ATS) and hot aisle containment.
This latest data centre was built with sustainability at its core, as it needed to comply with the strict sustainability measures now in place at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters.
The two data centers allow the Ferrari Formula One racing teams to easily monitor, store and analyze the performance of each and every part of their cars on the test track, and during the competitions. This data allows the engineers to better understand every single aspect that comes into consideration when building the optimal car. They can also react quickly to the newly imposed rules and regulations.
“The Schneider Electric solutions developed over the years have helped to meet our high precision flexibility and reliability needs,” said CIO Boero. “Those solutions allow us to achieve a high level of manageability. Once we adopted the latest Schneider Electric data center management platform, we were able to work in a more strategic and predictive way. In addition, if we need to intervene ‘on the fly’, to modify certain components, the Schneider Electric solution lets us do that with an extremely high degree of security and flexibility,” he said.