Tivoli ramps up IBM mega-solution for 2000 Games

While Steve Burke, Tivoli's general manager for Australia and New Zealand, conceded his team was feeling the pinch of the Games' looming start date (27 days from today), he claimed the IT plan was running on time.

The IBM solution will be deployed on September 2 to accommodate international media expected to arrive for pre-Games reporting and early visitors, according to Burke.

However, he said the resilience of IBM's solution would hinge on four major factors: the complexity of the solution required; a fixed start date (September 15) for full system implementation; the scrutiny of a 3.5 billion global multimedia audience; and high demand for round-the-clock IBM manpower, which Burke said would be exacerbated by a lack of IT expertise among Olympic volunteers.

IBM will assign 4500 Tivoli specialists from IBM Global Services Asia-Pacific (GSA) to monitor the IT solution "minute-by-minute", Burke said.

The multi-platform solution will include over 13 million lines of code, 7300 endpoints, 540 servers, 845 network switches, 9000 PCs, and hundreds of applications, an IBM statement said.

Major components of the solution include the Games Information Retrieval System (INFO), an intranet-based communications tool available to users in any Olympic facility to track event schedules and results, athletes' details, news, weather and transport information.

INFO and the official Olympics website (http://www.olympics.com) combined will receive around 1 billion hits, Burke estimated.

Tivoli will also oversee the network connectivity and availability of two other critical systems. The Games Results System will capture, time-stamp and distribute medal event results and venue data to judges, scoreboards, media and the internet.

The Games Management System will manage venue logistics, and administrative and operational activities across the Olympic Village.

Tivoli conducted over 40 Games systems tests since late 1999, including contingency plan implementation, according to Burke. Disaster-recovery technology includes dual "hot backups" for Tivoli hardware and server technology, hardened data centres and high-level networking technology, he said.

"From an IT standpoint, (Tivoli and IBM) are confident we've done the right planning and testing of the system. We're ready to go," said Burke.

He was careful to add: "We're not cocky -- I don't think you can be. The proof will be in how the Games go."

Tivoli and IBM GSA maintained they were under due diligence not to disclose the value of the IT contract with SOCOG.

Meanwhile, Tivoli added another enterprise contract to its belt this week, announcing a partnership with Telstra's IT outsourcing provider, Advantra, to manage the national carrier's 50,000 PC desktops -- one of the largest desktop environments in Australia, a company statement read.

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