Sahara Force India – Acronis partnership: complete data protection in motorsport

Earlier this week, Acronis and Sahara Force India announced a data protection technology partnership that means Acronis will provide innovative solutions to protect the team’s hybrid IT infrastructure.

To the casual observer, it may sound like a lot of tech buzzwords and yet another Formula 1 sponsorship deal. Yet this latest partnership means far more to the performance of the team going forward as Paul Bendrey, Force India’s trackside IT analyst, explains:

“Data is very important for us. Sending data back to the factory as quickly as possible, having it backed up, easily accessible — these are the key things we’re looking at. We want data backed up on the fly, as it happens!”

As soon as the cars start their engines, hundreds of telemetry sensors begin transmitting data back to the servers at the back room of the garage, and then directly to the Acronis Mission Control Centre at the team’s factory back at Silverstone in England.

Acronis Mission Control
Acronis Mission Control Centre, Sahara Force India F1 Team HQ, Silverstone, UK.

“During a racing session, we have all the data go back to the U.K. live. It’s streamed constantly,” adds Bendrey. “Then, after the session, we transfer the rest of the data as quickly as possible and have it immediately backed up at both locations.

“Whatever we see here in the garage, engineers back at the factory see the same data, live. They analyze it and help our engineers here at the track to make the right decisions.”

Sahara Force India, just like all other Formula 1 teams, uses ATLAS, ‘Advanced Telemetry Linked Acquisition System’ — a software package developed by McLaren Applied Technologies. It is used to obtain, display and analyze data from the control systems of racing cars. The ATLAS server runs locally at the track and represents one the most critical core IT equipment devices managed by each team.

Paul Bendrey, Force India’s trackside IT analyst, in the team’s trackside server room. © Acronis

To guarantee data availability during the race, Force India keeps spares for all critical servers in the rack.

“Here at the trackside, it’s mostly physical devices. For reliability, we have a physical machine for each task and keep a physical spare underneath. When something goes wrong, we can just swap the disks. Traditionally, we’ve done it that way. Having said that, we also use virtual machines wherever it’s appropriate to do so.”

Using physical and virtual servers for different tasks magnifies the importance of a data protection technology that is able to deal with both.

“This is why we welcome Acronis,” Bendrey explains. “Acronis’ data protection technology doesn’t discriminate between physical and virtual servers. It’s good for all data, in all environments — something that’s very important for us.

“Here at the server room that we take with us to every race, we have a number of server racks for core infrastructure, including networking, power, distribution, communication, and so on. And then we have one rack each for chassis guys — one per car — with overall control technology. We’re looking forward to having our devices protected with an easy-to-use and efficient solution. We’re looking forward to a successful partnership together.”

Top Image: Paul Bendrey, Force India’s trackside IT analyst pointing at the Acronis logo on a media wall. © Acronis.

Guennadi Moukine

Motorsport Technology Editor.