04 November 2022
One of the most successful teams in Formula One™ history is the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ Team, which holds the record for the most consecutive constructors’ championship titles and for the most consecutive wins in a season.
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes, an IT engine collects, stores and analyses many terabytes of data generated by the car, and more than 1 billion data points, in addition to other business interests, including lean manufacturing and social media. In order to accelerate decision making, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team opted to undertake a modernisation programme.
In an industry where speed is everything, the IT team outlined gaining faster access to its data as the ultimate differentiator.
“For us, it’s about investing to develop a new capability, something that we can’t do today but that we could tomorrow,” said Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ Team IT director Michael Taylor. “And if there’s a technology that makes this possible, the business case is much easier to justify.”
There were several challenges to be addressed in the search for a new solution. The piecemeal addition of new services, applications and simulators fuelled an exponential growth in data volumes, generating significant operational overhead in the organisation’s data centre. Moreover, managing different systems and infrastructure from multiple vendors was extremely complex, not to mention expensive. The setup also meant that applications resided in disparate systems, yielding inconsistent results across the business.
“We knew we needed to provide data services to the organisation at a cost point that is effective, but we also needed basic controls to secure the data and provide a certain level of performance,” said Taylor.
A fast-track solution
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ Team selected Pure Storage. The team standardised on Pure Storage FlashArray and FlashBlade, migrating more than 3PB of data, and utilised ActiveCluster for data safeguarding, which provides uninterrupted insights both on and off track, delivering a competitive advantage for Mercedes.
“The performance of Pure Storage was an immediate standout for us, but the simplicity of the offer made them absolutely different from the competition,” said Taylor. “They were taking the F1 approach to storage.”
Since moving to the modernised system, the team has experienced a 90% improvement in query times for database applications and 66% faster access to track-side files. Just one storage administrator is required to manage the entire environment, even with the exponentially growing data volumes. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ currently generates thousands of channels of data, augmenting and supplementing them with virtual channels. Going forwards, smart sensors will do some of the processing automatically, filtering out noise from insightful data, potentially during a race.
“We want to be knowledge-driven, so we must reduce operational friction and seamlessly use data as an enabler to make effective decisions,” said Taylor. “Pure’s architecture makes it very easy to provision storage and provide storage-based services in the data centre with the least amount of input but the most amount of control.”
Pure Storage’s solution has delivered fast-tracked decision-making for improved performance, built agility and resiliency into operations both on and off track, and reduced operational friction to support a knowledge-driven business environment.