Ferrari Driving Its New APC Data Center as Hard as Its Race Cars

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Ferrari Driving Its New APC Data Center as Hard as Its Race Cars

by Chris Preimesberger in Maranello, Italy

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Globally known brand

The world-famous Ferrari logo sign hangs at the entrance to the company factory and data center in Maranello, Italy. The standing black horse became the key art element in the logo for founder Enzo Ferrari in 1947, the year he opened his own company after working for Alfa Romeo for more than two decades.

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Original manufacturing building still in use

The building where the data center is located doesn't look particularly awe-inspiring from the curb, but it has been completely redesigned and reinforced by APC for fire and earthquake protection. It has a lot of history, too; it was the first building to house the manufacturing of Enzo Ferrari's race cars in 1947.

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It's all about building a pop-up super data center

A group of visitors to the Ferrari complex in Maranello listens to a presentation by a Ferrari executive. In the background is a life-size photo showing eight IT crew members monitoring in real time all possible aspects of two cars in a Formula One race. For each of the 18 international Formula One races in 2009, Ferrari will pack 150 crew members into seven trucks and travel to construct a temporary data center on the race track site. The portable data center monitors every possible aspect of the race car during the event, and alerts the driver when adjustments (involving wind dynamics, fuel usage, tire pressure and many other factors) need to be made during the race. The crew cannot make the adjustments during a race—only the driver can do that. (See story for details.)

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Massive engine--and computing--power

Power plants like this were designed and tested using computations from a data center like the one that is now working for the Ferrari racing division. The new APC power-infrastructure data center is dedicated to the racing, or entertainment, division of the company. It has been in continuous operation at 100 percent capacity since 2005. Its massive computing power handles all the aerodynamic designs, all engine designs and dynamics, power and exhaust monitoring, wind testing data analysis, and hundreds of other technical duties. Ferrari says this data center passed the test; it now intends to duplicate this data center in a refurbishment of its corporate systems during the next few years.

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Racing simulators are impressive

In the Ferrari auto museum on the campus, there are two race simulators that visitors can use to get a feel for what it's like to be in a Formula One road race. Five Euros per session.

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The only original Ferrari still in existence

Enzo Ferrari's first model, the Ferrari 125 S built in 1947, was designed and constructed without computing help. It remained dearest to him of his vehicles until his death at 90 in 1988. This is the only one now in existence.

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Personally built Ferrari for a friend

Only one 360 Barchetta was built—upon special order of Giovanni Agnelli, head of Fiat—and given as a wedding present to the daughter of a friend. This car was completely computer-designed and tested. There is no value estimate for this custom-built car, which is designed for driving only on sunny days (there is no convertible top).

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Ferrari Red was easily identifiable

This 1959 250 SWB is one of the classiest and most beautiful in the Ferrari building. Note that most Ferraris are red; years ago, red was the designated color for the country of Italy in any international race. In comparison, France raced blue cars, England's were green and Germany's were black. The color rules don't hold any more.

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Formula One super-speedster

Visitors to the Ferrari auto museum were impressed with this 2004 Formula One model that more resembled a spacecraft than a land vehicle.