In 2016, Rio de Janeiro will become the first South American city to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Capitalizing on its experience hosting the Pan American Games in 2007, and the World Cup in 2014, the ‘Marvelous City’ surpassed Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid. The project is budgeted at Brazilian Real 28.8bn ($7.6bn).

The communications infrastructure for the Games will be provided by Brazilian telecommunications company Embratel, a subsidiary of Mexico’s América Móvil, along with partners Atos, EMC and Cisco. The team’s job is to make sure that video statistics and raw performance data from the events are instantly available around the world.

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track olympics thinkstock tall 2 – T

Networks and storage

Embratel will take charge and handle network connectivity, while Cisco and EMC will provide equipment, and Atos will manage the storage infrastructure and data protection.

For the Games, Atos changed its IT services hosting model to use cloud services provided by other event partners. The new cloud-based model will deliver IT services more efficiently, and can expand or contract based on user demand.

Security is important, but so is ease of access, says Shailesh Chauhan, Atos IT security manager. Working with network hardware and service providers from the start of the project, he intends to deliver the Games’ IT services for multi-platform devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The project will use tried-and-tested hardware and software, including Cisco network switches, Cisco traffic management devices, firewalls from multiple vendors, UCS server hardware and EMC storage – all in a high-availability configuration.

As well as operating the Olympic network, Embratel will collaborate in planning the structure. There will be 10 types of service, including data centers, internet access, high-capacity data, voice, mobility, CATV and wifi. Since 2013, the basic services, including the data center, have been in use at the organizing committee’s headquarters in downtown Rio.

During the event, Rio de Janeiro will host representatives from 206 countries and millions of visitors, and it is estimated that more than 21,000 journalists will cover the event – all of which will require an unprecedented telecoms infrastructure.

The Olympic backbone is nearly complete, with links extending 360km, equivalent to 971 laps of a standard football pitch, or the length of 6,800 Olympic swimming pools.

Robust backbone

Embratel has been working to expand 3G and 4G networks, with improved coverage at airports, sports facilities and tourist attractions. The Olympic backbone network, which links facilities and Olympic sites, will be redundant and robust.

The Olympic backbone is equivalent to 971 laps of a standard football pitch

Today there are five data centers interconnected through the backbone, which runs over fibers 100 percent owned by Embratel. Mario Rachid, executive director of Embratel Claro Enterprises, says this will guarantee reliability and low latency.

The technology partnerships for the Games are strategic, says Rachid, taking advantage of each company’s strengths.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will use more than 60,000 network points connecting all the Olympic arenas, and approximately 18,000 fixed lines, 16,000 SIM cards, three million SMS messages and 15,000 points of CATV.

Embratel CEO José Formoso Martínez says that four data centers are ready and approved by the Olympic Committee, with the right levels of security, reliability, flexibility and robustness. The company is also using Embratel’s Star One satellite to provide better quality data and image transmission.

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track olympics thinkstock tall – Thinkstock

Up and running 

Today, Embratel has two data centers in São Paulo and two in Rio de Janeiro. They cater to the internal IT infrastructure of América Móvil in Brazil and to customers. The facilities are connected by Embratel’s fiber-powered MPLS network.

The data centers have air-conditioning systems with aisle containment (in-row), designed for high thermal loads, which can support 15kVA of power in a single rack. There are independent electrical systems supported by a three-bus UPS system with 1500kVA distributed in modules of 25KVA each, ensuring greater modularity and higher availability.

The sites have diesel backup for 72 hours of redundant backup, current capacity of 144 hours. The buildings also have independent electrical systems for the IT and air-conditioning.

By following ASHRAE 90.1 guidelines, Embratel has achieved a PUE of 1.8, with plans to reduce this to 1.6 by the end of 2015, and to reach 1.5 by Q2 2016, ready before the Olympic Games finally open on 5 August.

It looks as if technology support for the Rio Olympics will arrive at the starting line in good shape.

This article appeared in the November 2015 issue of DatacenterDynamics magazine

It originally appeared in  DatacenterDynamics’s Latin American magazine