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The 2014 Australian Open Tennis Championship: Powered by IBM Cloud

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Every January, Tennis Australia welcomes hundreds of thousands of tennis fans to Melbourne Olympic Park for the Australian Open Grand Slam. Millions more around the world arrive by australianopen.com to catch the latest scores, match statistics, player insights and breaking news. All of this is powered by IBM data technologies.

Once again, IBM has partnered with Tennis Australia to deliver innovative IT solutions and a seamless online experience using its cutting edge technologies like cloud computing, mobility, social media sentiment and big data analytics. The partnership between IBM and Tennis Australia has been around for 21 consecutive years.

This year, the event will be held Jan. 13-26. In these two weeks, demand for information from Australian Open fans will be at its highest. During the tournament, Tennis Australia’s IT infrastructure must expand drastically to meet audience demand and deliver a unique and satisfying experience. How does Tennis Australia scale its IT infrastructure to accommodate the flood of data demand that comes from millions of fans at once?

Tennis Australia needed a highly scalable IT solution that would allow them to quickly and easily allocate a huge amount of additional resources. They needed a plan to cater to a short but extreme high-traffic period, in a timely and cost-effective way.

australian open tennis ballThe solution was for IBM to set up a private cloud that could be shared by other like-minded organizations with similar demand spikes at different times of the year. Those organizations include the US Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open Golf tournament, the Masters and the Tony Awards. But such a solution doesn’t just apply to sports and entertainment. Any large companies considering sharing IT resources between internal divisions, departments or projects would benefit from such an arrangement.

Some of the technology solutions that IBM will provide to the tournament are: the official Australian Open tournament website, IBM ReturnServe, IBM SlamTracker, integrated end-to-end scoring system, Speed Serve System, Australian Open intranet, closed-circuit television (CCTV) feeds and the match information display located in Garden Square and Grand Slam oval.

The outcomes have been extremely positive. Tennis Australia:

• Can easily and affordably adjust their IT resources according to fluctuations in traffic and user demand, year-round.
• Is able to now free up operational budget for new investment thanks to leveraging virtualization, energy efficiency, standardization and automation.
• Can rely on an improved disaster recovery solution that locates back-up systems in separate facilities.
• Has grown its users by 45 percent since 2008, while cost per user has decreased by 35 percent.
• Has increased page views by 42 percent, while cost per page view has decreased by 34 percent.
• Has increase accuracy of demand predictions for the hosting infrastructure through additional input, including unstructured data from Twitter commentary.

If you are also a tennis fan, I’m sure you won’t miss the opportunity of playing with the 2014 Australian Open mobile apps available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #AusOpen to talk about the event on social networks.


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