European football’s governing body has now completed the transition of its IT infrastructure to a cloud-based service, ahead of its showpiece European championship next summer.
UEFA signed a three-year hosting deal with cloud services provider Interoute Communications towards the end of 2010. It finished moving its IT infrastructure to Interoute in the summer.
“Obviously, there’s a slight risk for us, moving to a new provider only a year before Euro 2012,” said Daniel Marion, head of information and communications technology at UEFA.
But those risks are massively outweighed by the business benefits of moving the event-driven organisation to a cloud service provider, when it comes to dealing with intense peaks in demand for IT.
“UEFA is here to deliver football [competitions] not build datacentres,” Marion told Computing.
Under its cloud services deal, Interoute will host all of the infrastructure needed to deliver UEFA’s IT services. That infrastructure will be hosted on dedicated hardware, but UEFA does not own any of the hardware, nor control what server or storage platforms are used.
UEFA runs many of the applications one might expect to find in any large organisation, such as SAP financial systems, HR systems and email. It also runs a number of more unusual systems, including systems to deal with ticketing, broadcast and media rights, photographer accreditation and anti-doping monitoring systems. Its web site activities include online video and mobile apps.
“The big challenge for us is that we don’t get a second chance. If we miss a big match, that’s it,” said Marion.
The Euro 2012 football championship will inevitably be a time of peak demand for UEFA’s IT team, but it can expect many frenetic days before it kicks off.
“For Euro 2012, there will be two matches on a day at the most. With the Champions’ League group stages, we have eight matches on at the same time,” said Marion.