I am sitting here at the US Open at what ESPN calls the best day of tennis at the US Open yet! We are hosting a set of customers here at the IBM suite (yes,this is the way to see tennis!) I got to see 2 unseeded men's double teams, Martina Navratilova with her double partner Petrova and tonight is Federer and Blake. It was a great day, great sun, and perfect games. Funny, I went shopping for my mother in law and saw Lauren and Lacoste and other name brands selling cool US Open logoed wear. Interesting how things have changed!
Now why I am here besides the tennis and weather? Well, of course, SOA is behind the US Open!! How?
Well, IBM has been the US Tennis Association’s official IT partner since 1990 because it can do things like support the 27 million visits that came from all around the world to the US Open’s web site for live scores in 2005.
Thumbnail sketch of how score updates happen: Umpires officiating each of the US Open matches hold a device in their hands that they use to keep score. All these devices feed into a database which holds all the scores from all the matches. From there, the constantly changing score information is fed to servers that can be accessed by people like you and me through the US Open web site.When score updates are sent to the Web servers, they begin their journey in a format that is incompatible for use by the Web servers. IBM uses WebSphere software to transform messages in-flight between one protocol and another so that when the message arrives, it’s usable.
All this takes place without ever altering or touching the source information. This WebSphere software has the ability to transform the messages into dozens of different formats simultaneously so that the same information can be used by many different kinds of consumers at the same time. Score information is less than 7 seconds old by the time it reaches computer screens and it reaches tens of thousands of users simultaneously.
US Open achieves outstanding flexibility by accomplishing the repeatable business tasks that make up its scoreboard processes with modular, interchangeable software services. This is a hallmark of SOA.When a match begins or ends, when a game is won, or when a point is scored, these are examples of “events”. SOA from IBM gives US Open the ability to sense and detect events such as these and trigger an appropriate reaction or response with is based on business rules.
Without the flexibility that comes from SOA, US Open would have had to custom-code the system and then suffer the cost, risk, and expense of re-coding it every time they wanted to make a change. The US Open Web site’s volume of traffic spikes to 50 times its annual average during the tournament and then falls back to a trickle during the off season. The infrastructure to support this massive jolt relies on a concept called “virtualization” which allows US Open to handle huge loads without having to over-invest in a bloated infrastructure that sits idle in the middle of winter.
Check it out!! US Open Site!!
This stuff is so very cool!!!!