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All eyes are on Sochi, Russia, where athletes from around the world will compete in the XXII Olympic Winter Games—90 events in 15 different sports. The world will be watching.

Think about that for a second. The entire world will be watching.

International television broadcasts, live online streaming, and streaming to handheld tablets and other mobile devices will literally put the Games in front of and in the hands of billions. To say the infrastructure required to realize this is colossal might just be scratching the surface.

We blogged in 2012 about the technology and some of the hardware that delivered the Summer Games, but even in the short span of two years, advancements in the IT space have pushed the boundaries of data collection and dissemination, content delivery, and social sharing. This year’s Games will be the most technologically astonishing yet. Let’s learn a little bit about the technology behind the 2014 Winter Games.

The infrastructure at the Games is typically divided into two primary systems: Games Management and Information Diffusion. This was the setup for London 2012.

The Games Management Systems handle the coordination of Olympic volunteer applications, information related to sports entries and qualification, information related to access privileges and participation accreditation, applications and functions needed to support all workforce management, and statistics and details related to medical incidents that happen during the Games.

The Information Diffusion Systems deliver real-time information and event results to the media for worldwide broadcast and dissemination. The information includes athlete information, competition schedules, competition results, weather, and Olympic medal rankings. This information is available through a number of digital channels, including: an on-venue results application, a “Commentator Information System,” a centralized database and feed of real-time event data and results delivered to world press agencies, and an internal Olympic intranet.

To give the size of this project some perspective, the Vancouver 2010 games required an IT team of about 2,000. The physical infrastructure was comprised of 800 servers, 6,000 computers, and 4,000 printers. The team spent over 100,000 hours testing.

The 2012 London team was 3,500 people and required 220,000 hours of testing. The infrastructure for those games consisted of 900 servers, 1,000 network and security devices, and 9,500 computers. It processed and delivered 30% more results data than were required at the 2008 Beijing Games.

So while you take in the spectacle of passion, pride, patriotism, talent, and athleticism that is the XXII Olympic Winter Games, take a moment to think about the path that information took to get to you—and the rest of the world.

If you’re looking to build or add to your existing infrastructure, you can save 40-70% on hardware from every major manufacturer by purchasing from CentricsIT. With millions of dollars in inventory, we’re confident we have the hardware you need and can ship same-day when needed. We offer a warranty on all equipment.

Want more? Check out “Olympic Solutions: IT Security Challenges at the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

ATOS, the official worldwide IT partner of the Olympic Games