SINGAPORE, 7 JUNE 2010 - Just as the 32 teams prepare for their final rounds of training sessions before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Chetan Joshi, program manager for FIFA, Mahindra Satyam, and his team of 150 engineers are readying themselves for the event as well.
Based in a control room at Johannesburg close to the Soccer City Stadium, the Mahindra Satyam team is on the ground monitoring applications on a minute-by-minute level, and ready to recover entire software in the event of server crashes.
We can anticipate if a certain load is getting heavier or a certain event is happening with the application's behaviour. We have done a lot of operations training for our people over there who can recover the entire software if a certain server crashes and all that happens, said Joshi.
The architecture itself has a built-in redundancy where we have database clustering where if one server fails, the other one will take over automatically, and same at the Web server level, he added.
Road to South Africa
In 2007, Mahindra Satyam caused a stir when it became the first Indian company to join FIFA as the Official IT Services Provider for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was entrusted with the responsibility of developing the core IT event management system for FIFA and the local organising committee of South Africa.
The journey started in March of 2007, and various versions of the system have been deployed in a series of FIFA events since then, including the Confederations Cup in June 2009. The full solution was delivered in March 2010 and an end-to-end integration testing was carried out a month later.
The platform would cover various software modules focusing on specific areas such as accreditation, transportation, volunteer management, and space and material management.
The accreditation system is designed to cover over 200,000 applicants, from the footballers themselves to the volunteers, during the World Cup. It would process every individual by sending information to South Africa's National Intelligence Agency for a background security check. After the clearance, the system would print out ID tags that state the areas, called zones', that the person can gain access to.
All World Cup areas, including the stadiums and hosting cities, are classified into venues and zones. Every person who is accredited will be assigned privileges to specific venues and zones depending on the activity he is expected to perform. The accreditation system is a key element of the security set-up at the World Cup.
There is also an asset management module that handles about US$1 billion worth of items including laptops, printers, servers, webcams and walkie-talkies. The system maintains a catalogue of the items and maps them to the venue and the room where they are deployed. The exact plan and location of the asset is recorded and tracked in the platform. You can tell which venue, room, and cupboard the asset is sitting; it is easy for anyone to locate, said Sharat Kumar, global head delivery for Continental Europe. As soon as a person checks out with the asset, your name, ID number and what you have taken will be tagged into the system, he added.
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