20/01/2011

By Max Clarke

Team Lotus, the Norfolk based Formula 1 ™racing team, can now build F1™ cars 60 percent faster by working with Dell. As anEfficient Enterprise, Team Lotus is driving innovation from factory to trackside with a standards-based enterprise and client infrastructure to meet tough design deadlines and create the most optimal racing car for every event of the season.

With a place on the grid for the 2010 season only being confirmed in September 2009, Lotus Racing, as the team was then called, faced the immense challenge of setting up a global IT infrastructure to support the manufacturing of a prototype race car in just three months. Dell was the only solutions provider that could deliver a data center and client infrastructure with round-the-clock support in such a short time period, and due to its experience working with F1™ racing teams in the past, Dell was the ideal candidate to become the official technical supplier to the team.

To offer trackside support, Dell developed a mobile data center for the team, which collects and processes thousands of megabytes of data from each lap of a race so engineers can scrutinize details such as tire temperature and aerodynamics to make adjustments to the cars during or after the race. Each car has 150 sensors linked to the trackside data center, and once processed on-site, the data is sent back to its factory in the UK for analysis using Dell EqualLogic™ PS6000X iSCSI storage area network arrays (SANs). The trackside solution is based on a consolidated data center infrastructure, which is a significant advantage for Team Lotus, as they are now known, as the hardware is shipped to all 19 races around the world that make up the F1™ season. In addition, this IT environment is able to operate in a range of geographical terrains which is critical, as events held in extreme temperature conditions could affect server performance.

Also key to Team Lotus’ trackside solution are the Dell™ Precision™ workstations, which include the Dell Precision™ M6400 mobile workstation and the Dell Precision™ T7500 tower workstation. These models are specifically designed for performance on large data sets and complex multi-threaded applications such as those used for design and engineering of the cars. With the Dell Precision M6400 mobile workstation at trackside, engineers are able to move between the pitwall, garage and mobile datacenter while having continual access to analysis tools.

Off the track, the Team Lotus Dell infrastructure drives the design of F1™ cars through advanced technology such as computational fluid dynamics, which replicates wind tunnels to improve aerodynamics of the cars. Each race has a uniquely designed car based on learnings from previous events, and the Team Lotus engineers depend on Dell to help create these bespoke cars, which are built from 5,000 hand-drawn components ranging from the wishbones to the entire chassis. To power these complex processes, Team Lotus uses a Dell high performance computing (HPC) solution in its factory consisting of Dell PowerEdge™ M1000e blade enclosures, Dell PowerEdge™ M610 blade servers and Dell PowerEdge™ R610 andR710 rack servers, which offer top performance as well as memory scalability as the team grows.

As around one-third of the Team Lotus employees work “on-the-go,” traveling from race-to-race, the group deployed more than 80 Dell Latitude™ series notebooks, which offer stability, flexibility and security with easy manageability and robust wireless options. Underlying this deployment are Dell’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings including email continuity, archiving and crisis alerting. For the Team Lotus office and factory-based employees, the Dell™ OptiPlex™ 780 desktops provide a durable, stable platform with comprehensive security control and management capability.

Team Lotus’ entire IT solution is covered by Dell ProSupport Enterprise-Wide Contract, which provides proactive support focused on simplifying the IT environment and ensuring maximum uptime and increased productivity. With a designated Service Delivery Manager, Team Lotus can rely on a single point of contact, leaving the team free to focus on driving performance on the racetrack rather than IT. In addition, a Worldwide On-Site Response agreement provides the team with local Dell contacts across the world, guaranteeing four-hour response for servicing and repairs throughout the F1™ season.