How the Lotus F1 Team has turbocharged into the data fast lane

TRP: How much data do you generate in total and why is this key to your performance as a racing team?

MT: We've experienced an 80% data growth in the last two years, and now generate 100 gigabytes of data on computational fluid dynamics per hour at the factory. Each season, we create 15,000 design drawings and at trackside, generate at least 25-50 megabytes of data per lap.

We need 100% availability of our data as it essential to the development of the cars through the concept and testing phases, and especially during race weekends when the team is monitoring how the car is running and changing the technology in real-time to suit its requirements.

TRP: How has EMC helped Lotus F1 Team future-proof its business in terms of data demands?

MT: This infrastructure project enabled us to meet the industry demands and changes ahead of the 2014 F1 season and has allowed us to future-proof the business for the next three years in terms of storage capacity. We now have over 1.5 petabytes of storage ready to use at a moment's notice.

TRP: How does Lotus F1 Team see EMC supporting them for future improvement?

MT: This project will support future change within our organisation by enabling us to understand exactly what is happening from every factor in a race, and develop the ability to run complex queries. This means correlating the various datasets, such as GPS, weather, tyre wear, fuel and so on, with driver behaviour and competitor actions.

The ultimate goal for us is real-time analytics. When the team is generating over 2,000 different statistics per lap for each car, there is a real challenge around delivering fast, useful, accurate information to team members. The aim in the future is to have real-time intelligence so that they can make even faster changes during a race.

TRP: What EMC systems are in use?

MT: Lotus F1 Team deployed a number of different EMC technologies in order to help them meet the challenges and rule changes ahead of the 2014 F1 season, to help them future-proof their business and use their data to gain competitive advantage.

These include:

  • Two VCE Vblock Systems, one at its Enstone data centre and one at the trackside. These underpin the Team's Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program and its Microsoft Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning solution, which enables the Team to design and develop different parts of the car. The trackside system incorporates EMC's VNX storage solution to support the infrastructure and on-track applications
  • EMC Atmos, a cloud-based storage platform, allows the Team to store, archive and access its unstructured content at scale. This allows different Teams working on various development stages to get access to each other's information, 100% of the time in the most efficient way
  • EMC's Syncplicity, an enterprise file sync and sharing solution, and Documentum Information Rights Management technology, which tracks and protects information in transit, at rest and after delivery, helps the Lotus F1 Team protect its intellectual property. Information, being a key differentiator in F1, requires vigorous protection as any data could reveal breakthroughs that others could benefit from
  • The Cloud Tiering Appliance solution allows the Team to reclaim valuable primary storage and use it for critical data, lower operating costs and reducing backup requirements by the efficient tiering of the Team's CAD files
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.