Fifa prepares rapid exit for World Cup network


Fifa prepares rapid exit for World Cup network

Will Hadfield

Fifa will begin to dismantle the World Cup network this Saturday, just 16 days after the football tournament started.

When the final whistle is blown at the second game of the knock-out round in Leipzig, Fifa’s IT team will remove the first server racks and IP telephones from a network spanning 25 locations and carrying 15Tbytes of data over its lifetime.

The systems have to be dismantled and the stadiums handed back to their owners just three days after they host their final football games.

The timeframe within which the World Cup’s data network has had to be set up and then readied for removal has been the biggest challenge facing Fifa’s IT team.

Fifa CIO Michael Kelly said, “What makes this project very hard without question is that not only are we building a temporary infrastructure, but we only have a short time to implement it and then tear it down.

“It takes years and years of planning to get a team of people to execute a deployment within one month."

Fifa had three years to plan how the data network would be implemented and one month to connect 12 stadiums and 12 hotel headquarters to its Munich datacentre. The deployment at the stadiums could only begin when Germany’s domestic football competition – the Bundesliga – finished in mid May.

The network, which supports 30,000 devices and more than 45,000 connections, runs on three server racks at the World Cup’s broadcast centre in Munich.

Half of the 1,000 people working full-time on the network are Fifa employees, the other half work for networking company Avaya, which supplied the servers, IP telephones and networking software used by Fifa.Fifa has three server racks on standby should the primary racks in Munich fail.

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