August 2, 2007 9:17 AM PDT

Beijing starts IT testing for Olympics

Beijing starts IT testing for Olympics
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Tests on the IT infrastructure behind the Beijing 2008 Olympics begin this month, a full year before the event opens on August 8, 2008.

The systems architecture for Beijing 2008 was finalized last month by Atos Origin, the main IT supplier for the games. And all the facilities--a PC factory, data center, integration lab and technology operation center--are now operational.

An IT team of around 3,500 people, which includes 2,500 volunteers, will be responsible for 10,000 PCs, 1,000 servers, a games information system and an information diffusion system across seven cities.

"You have one chance to get it right. There is no second chance," said Guillaume Huard, sales and marketing director for the Olympics and major events at Atos Origin. "Testing is a big component. You don't want to affect the competition in any way. The testing is intense and takes more than a year."

The testing will include a run-through of 500 possible worst-case scenarios, rehearsing every situation that could go wrong, including virus infections and cables being cut, but Huard said the biggest threat is still an internal one.

"We have had people trying to print their own accreditation badges," he said, "or trying to find their way around the network when they shouldn't."

To minimize risks, all the Olympic volunteers--IT and non-IT--go through rigorous police background checks. In Beijing there will be a total of 70,000 volunteers, filtered down from around 5 million applications.

The reliability required for the Olympic Games is so high that there is little new or cutting-edge technology used.

"You have to freeze your solution quite a long time before the event," Huard said. "We are not going for cutting-edge and bleeding-edge technology. It has to be mature, proven, tested technology."

There are currently 100 IT staff members in Beijing, three-fourths of whom are Chinese. Testing begins this month for IT supporting 12 Olympics events in 11 different venues. Work on the IT infrastructure for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics is also already under way, and work on the London 2012 IT systems will begin after Beijing, in November 2008.

Andy McCue of reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Olympic Games, Atos, Beijing, information technology, IT infrastructure


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Will they ever learn?
I wonder whether all of the participants and visitors to the Olympics will have FULL 100% access to the internet or whether they'll be limited to the filtered list of sites which they allow their own Chinese peoples?

Likewise, anybody going to the China Olympics, be carefull NOT to use any unencrypted E-mail sites as China will be watching you and all of your unencrypted usernames and passwords which you pass through their network system.

Thus only SSL, VPN and/or other encrypted comms are recommended unless you don't mind divulging your username and password to the Chinese government... they WILL be watching! Regardless of whether they filter/block or not!

Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
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Before you break out the tinfoil hat...
Before you break out the tinfoil hat...

You may want to consider just how much the US government is ALREADY spying on you.

The US Government has more money to throw around than the Chinese would ever think about spending on spying activities. When all your traffic is routed through Carnivore (or its latest incarnation), you have a whole lot more to fear from the US government -- you can be sure.
Posted by milette (13 comments )
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