Sauber Technical Case Study


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Magnus Frey, Head of IT for the Sauber F1 Team, explains how they are finding high performance at reduced costs using NetApp solutions.

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Sauber Technical Case Study

  1. 1. Technical Case StudySauber F1 TeamBy Magnus Frey, Head of IT, Innovation at 200 Miles per HourSauber Motorsport AG Fanatical crowds, fever-pitch emotions, to-the-edge drivers, thunderous engines, screaming tires that hit speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, devastating defeats and exhilarating wins, champagne and celebrity—it’s all part of Formula One racing. But it’s also composite engineering and carbon-fibre/aluminum honeycomb monocoques (the driver’s workplace and safety cell); high-tech, 6.6-pound seats that cushion against 4 g of lateral acceleration; a 460-foot-long wind tunnel tube; and world-class computational fluid dynamics (CFD) programs for aerodynamics research. Formula One racing is clearly a sport of passion, but it’s also a sport of technology at the highest level. IT and the design and production processes we support are at the core of Sauber Motorsport AG activities. In fact, we’ve turned our capabilities in IT into a competitive advantage that helps our privately owned Sauber F1 Team successfully race against much larger, more generously funded teams with such well-known names as Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren. The FlexPod ® data center platform from NetApp® and Cisco® and NetApp MetroCluster™ storage solutions are fundamental to our IT infrastructure. NetApp solutions deliver the speed and agility we need for critical decision-making in a sport in which 0.001 seconds can be the difference between winning and losing. The Formula for Success Sauber Motorsport AG, founded by Peter Sauber, operates the Sauber F1 Team. We employ some 300 people who collaborate on the design and production of our race cars. Our headquarters in Hinwil, Switzerland, houses the main office, a factory building, and the wind tunnel building where we test race car prototypes for aerodynamic performance. Most of the tests run on 60% scale models because of Formula One regulations that limit full-scale testing. Our sport is heavily regulated in both technical and sporting elements. Regulations direct everything from engine and tire specifications to where we can position the exhaust, the height of the nose cone, and even how much time we can spend testing in the tunnel. Such regulations make it even more critical for us to focus on what we can control—aerodynamics and race strategies, for example—to differentiate our team and to make the adjustments that will give us that all-critical lap-time advantage.
  2. 2. Competition is fierce and it happens at 01:20:000 200 miles per hour. Often, milliseconds can 1st place be the difference between winning and losing. 01:20:005 2nd placeFinding that adjustment—which can be a miniscule change in a part design—takes attention to detail and fast but sophisticated analysis of the huge amountsof data generated during the development of the car and on the track. In botharenas, NetApp storage plays a mission-critical role.FlexPod on the RoadA mobile data centerOur partnership with NetApp began in 2007 when we implemented the firstMetroCluster solution at our data center in Hinwil. It was only natural that wewould consider NetApp again when we needed a movable system—essentiallya complete, but mobile data center—for the racetrack.We selected the FlexPod data center solution, jointly created by NetApp andCisco, for its small size and weight, which enable us to conveniently transportit on planes or in trucks; its functionality—we can run all our analysis tools rightat the track; and its reliability. The FlexPod must operate dependably—and itdoes, whether it’s a cold day at the track in Germany, sweltering in Singaporeat 100º Fahrenheit, oppressively humid, or truck-rattling windy.ReliableFormula One teams travel to racing venues on the Monday before the raceweekend. Race cars arrive partly in pieces and are assembled by Thursday,after which they are “scrutineered” by FIA officials and team crews practicepit stops. Track action begins on Friday with two practice sessions, followedby another practice session and qualifying events on Saturday. With justtwo days to analyze data in preparation for Sunday’s race, we can’t toleratesystem downtime.The FlexPod platform travels with our team to every race—that is, to 20 racingevents in 19 countries every year. Races occur in different countries on averageevery two weeks between March and November. Driven or flown, the FlexPodplatform must survive the vibrations and shock of transport to operate acrossthe season’s wide range of environmental conditions. Once the system arriveson site, we bring it up quickly—we can have our crew working within two anda half hours after arrival. 2
  3. 3. FlexPod’s mobility, size, and level of integration are amazing. But it’s thereliability that’s critical—we have never had a failure. If we did, it would bedisastrous—we could not even safely start the car, let alone optimize it forspeed. And, without a reliable infrastructure to support critical decision-makingboth on and off the track, it would be like going back more than 20 years,when drivers had to go it alone—they really would not be competitive againsttechnology-assisted teams. We are always in go-live mode; there is no comingback to do it over. If we miss the opportunity, it’s gone.At the track, we use data on the FlexPod system to fine-tune vehicle setup,qualifying tactics, and race-day strategy. The FlexPod platform collects newdata from the car any time it is running. Real-time data, including fuel usage,temperatures, engine information, and other sensor feedback, transmits viaradio to the FlexPod platform. We use this telemetry data along with trackconditions data to run new simulations on the FlexPod system before andduring the race, comparing how the virtual model performs with the actualvehicle setup and track data versus with the “ideal” parameters and factorycar design.From the track-based results we make on-the-fly adjustments to the driver’sstrategy and fine-tune the car for performance—for example, the team mightmake a front-wing change, modify cooling, or adjust pit stops to maximizehow long we can run a set of tires without risking overheating and blistering.We currently collect data from more than 100 sensors on each vehicle. Whilesensors are key to design and decision-making, their benefit is always measuredagainst the additional weight they add to the car. 100 sensors on the Sauber F1 Team cars send data to the FlexPod in real-time. On track engineers analyze the data to improve performance.FlexPod componentsOur FlexPod platform integrates a dual-head NetApp FAS2040 cluster withNetApp SyncMirror ® software for replicating data across the cluster, eightCisco® Unified Computing System™ blade servers, and a Cisco Nexus®switch (see Figure 1). Although we did look at alternative blade solutions,our experience with Cisco networking and NetApp storage and the benefitsof prevalidation made the FlexPod platform uniquely advantageous. 3
  4. 4. During practice sessions, qualifying runs, and at the end of each race, we replicate race data via NetApp SnapMirror ® technology to a MetroCluster in Hinwil. Data transmits to Hinwil via an MPLS link at a maximum rate of 4Mb/sec. The communications link is provided by a dedicated communication partner at every track with transmission rates dependent on the network speeds available in each country. The average track-to-headquarters delay would be 15 minutes. Right up until race time (and then afterward for the next venue), engineers in Hinwil collaborate with the track team to fine-tune car setup and race strategy. Races run an average of 190 miles and by regulation cannot exceed 2 hours. Even as the race winds down, crews are already packing equipment for transport to the next venue. NetApp MetroCluster at Headquarters We run all of our corporate systems on a NetApp MetroCluster solution that provides storage to two Hinwil data centers—one primarily for business systems and a second for engineering. In total we run 40 major business and technical applications and annually generate about 20TB of new data, with an increasing trend every year. Mobile Data Center at the Race Track VMware vSphere and vMotion Data Analysis and Database Applications Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) C250 NetApp SnapManager Cisco Nexus 5020 Switch Realtime Upload NetApp FAS2040A of Data to Running the Factory Data ONTAP 8.0 NetApp Snapshot FlexPod Telemetry Data Timing Video GPS Data from the Cars Data Data from Other CarsFigure 1. Mobile FlexPod data center solution at the track. 4
  5. 5. Flexible On the technical side, engineers continually strive to make our cars faster, better, and easier to drive. From year to year, we basically develop and build a completely new car, depending upon track results and new regulations. In April of each year, engineers start work on concept designs for the next year, using our CAD systems to develop 6,000 to 7,000 individual components (including car parts and the tools to manufacture them). At the same time, they’re making changes to this year’s car in response to driver feedback and what has happened on the track. As we adjust for track differences and periodically upgrade design elements based on the latest race data, we’re effectively putting a newly modified race car on the track almost every other week.Keeping Track—by the Numbers Per-lap data (speed, movements, MetroCluster gives us fast access to the large amounts of data engineers need g forces, pressures, temperatures, for decision-making. In the development process, designers analyze a broad set engine data, etc.): 4MB per lap from of data to most effectively balance regulated design elements such as stiffness race car to pit systems via real-time and weight, with the overall design. We buy the complete powertrain from radio transmission; 20MB to 30MB Ferrari, for example, but we develop, design, and build the rest of the car. downloaded from the car when it The goal is always to increase aerodynamic efficiency—that is, to maximize arrives back in the pit after each run the amount of downforce for the smallest amount of drag. Telemetry data collected per three-day race weekend: 25GB Available Data transmitted to Hinwil during In today’s motorsports, aerodynamics offers the most promise for improving one hour of free practice: 600MB performance. For us, that means keeping our wind tunnel and CFD systems running continually to enhance our design and correlate model data with actual race data. When we improve aerodynamic efficiency, we’re effectively reducing lap time in the next race. Ultimately it’s all about lap time and where we can shave off a couple of tenths of a second more. Competition during the 2012 racing season, for example, was particularly tight. During any given race, qualifying times of the first 15 cars were likely to be within a span of just one second. A fraction of a second can be the difference between qualifying or not in the top 10. Since strict Formula One regulations prohibit testing on the track during race season, we can’t use the race track to test efficiency, so we rely heavily on our CFD tools and the wind tunnel. MetroCluster keeps our aerodynamicists, model designers and model builders, CFD engineers, and other staff working, helping to provide availability of wind tunnel technology, including data acquisition and model motion systems. These systems are in use 24/6 by our own team and for third-party projects. Continuous data availability is important across the company—downtime delays design, testing, or production processes—but it’s essential for the wind tunnel. Every hour it’s down is an hour we aren’t improving the car. MetroCluster components Data is replicated synchronously across two MetroCluster nodes, one a NetApp FAS3240 system in the factory building and the second a NetApp FAS3240 array approximately 247 feet away in the wind tunnel building (see Figure 2). With 460TB of capacity across both nodes, MetroCluster gives us always-on data service, built-in data protection, and the ability to scale performance and capacity without disrupting operations. By centralizing all of our data services, we’ve been able to significantly reduce the complexity and costs of IT management. 5
  6. 6. The MetroCluster node (configured with FC drives) in the wind tunnel buildingsupports all of our UNIX®- and Linux®-based technical systems. The NetAppsystems also store summary results of calculations run on a high-performancecompute cluster comprised of hundreds of nodes configured with minimalinternal capacity. Wind tunnel systems generate significant data from measuringdownforce, pressure distribution, air resistance (or drag), and other processesrelated to the design and testing of both individual components (such as a newwing) and the fully assembled car.In the office building, the NetApp MetroCluster node (configured with SATAdrives) provides storage for our production and office systems. The environmentis currently 90% virtualized. This node supports both physical servers and fiveVMware® ESX servers hosting upward of 55 virtual server instances. We expectto implement an additional cluster to support some 100 virtualized desktops,which will enable us to retire up to 80 physical desktops and make it financiallyfeasible for individual engineers to work in multiple-desktop environments.MetroCluster meets our requirements for 99%+ uptime. All data is synchronouslywritten in both data centers, so if we experience a loss of power or anotherfailure event in one of the buildings, we immediately fail over to the seconddata center with no data loss. It takes just two or three seconds to restoredata services at the second site, so in most cases our users are noteven aware of the failover. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Calculation Data Center 1 Data Center 2 Hinwil Hinwil CFD pre- and postprocessing VMware VMware vSphere vSphere and VMotion and VMotion NetApp SnapManager NetApp MetroCluster NetApp FAS3240 NetApp FAS3240 NetApp Snapshot Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) C250 Cisco Nexus 5020 Capturing Switch Vehicle Data at the Race Track NetApp FAS2040A Running Data ONTAP 8.0 FlexPodFigure 2. Storage infrastructure and data communication at Sauber Motorsport AG headquartersin Hinwil, Switzerland. 6
  7. 7. The Need for Speed—Faster, More Innovative, and Efficient on NetApp Increasing technical regulations on testing, equipment, and profiling, as well as various sporting regulations (to improve safety, ensure a level playing field, and reduce costs), require innovation in other areas like IT. To meet our IT challenges, we’ve for some time relied on NetApp—beginning with the 2012 season, NetApp became an official Technical Partner of the Sauber F1 Team— and UP-GREAT AG, our provider for information technology and infrastructure. Together they’ve helped us replace numerous individual solutions with a more high-performance, resilient, and cost-effective architecture.Magnus Frey Simpler, smarter data managementHead of ITSauber Motorsport AG Intelligent data management increases efficiency and gives us an edge over other teams. Because time is restricted in the wind tunnel, for example, weBorn and raised in Basel, Switzerland, strive to find more innovative procedures to measure even more on the model,Magnus Frey studied economics andcomputer science at Universities analyze it faster, and more quickly start the next run. NetApp data managementBasel and St. Gallen. His career helps streamline processes—it’s easy to increase/decrease volume size, andincludes six years at various consulting it takes just minutes to provision virtual servers or desktops, so we are able tocompanies working on projects related respond faster to requests and with fewer IT staff. Routine administration ofto IT strategy, IT infrastructure manage- the MetroCluster nodes typically takes less than 10% of one person’s time. It’sment, and IT service management, and also advantageous to use the same platform and tools for all of our operatingfive years in the IT infrastructure man-agement department of a Swiss bank environments—Windows®, Linux, and UNIX—at both data centers and on thein Zurich and New York. Magnus came track. Consolidating data onto a single architecture gives us a seamless datato Sauber Motorsport AG in January stack and eliminates data copying so it’s easier and faster to access data—2012. Outside of work, he is an F1 fan which ultimately means faster design and faster decision-making.and actively enjoys biking and golf.He says he would like to learn how We’re also able to complete all major IT technology refreshes during the two-to fly a plane “if I’m bold enough!” week break when by international agreement all Formula One racing teams cannot work. With MetroCluster, we can do updates during that break and with zero downtime. We fail over one node while we upgrade it, then fail back and upgrade the second. UP-GREAT completed this year’s upgrade in two hours. Marcel Keller, storage and backup specialist at UP-GREAT, agrees that this could not have been done without MetroCluster. He jokes that if it wasn’t for this annual maintenance upgrade, his support team would have nothing to do. We did the necessary maintenance of the FlexPod platform going to the track in an hour, a process that used to take four weeks when we had four racks of equipment we had to fly back to Hinwil for upgrades. We’re a data-driven company, and IT is truly an enabler of innovation. But we maintain limited IT staff—just five people at headquarters and one or two at the track. We know that IT efficiencies really do help our team compete and maximize the team’s direct investments in the car. High performance + reduced costs On-demand storage scale and performance help enable us to accommodate whatever changes race and design teams may make to data collection, as well as support more and faster compute platforms. We’ve also seen tremendous performance gains by using NetApp Flash Cache intelligent caching in the Hinwil MetroCluster solution. One of the benefits is that we’re able to use cost- saving SATA drives without sacrificing speed. In the virtual server environment where we use deduplication in conjunction with Flash Cache, we’re saving capacity at the same time we’re improving performance by as much as three times. For example, because we deduplicate 40 virtual machines, only the first is read from disk; the next 39 load directly from the high-speed cache. Database users also report extremely fast response times, particularly during major updates of data tables. 7
  8. 8. At the racetrack, deduplication gives us a savings of 8GB to 10GB per desktop,an important benefit when space is at a premium and extra weight increasestravel costs. And deduplication helps enable us to scale efficiently. Savingcapacity is always beneficial, but it’s particularly important for the track platform.Moving to a virtual server/desktop environment in the highly efficient FlexPodframe, we were able to shrink our footprint from four to two cabinets and weightby 50% to reduce transportation costs. We also cut power requirements inhalf—that’s particularly important at venues where unreliable local power sourcesmake our team reliant solely on the power available from our trucks. Overall,by cutting the footprint of the track system in half we saved in transportationcost more than the entire cost of the FlexPod platform.SummaryPartnering with NetApp and UP-GREAT to deploy an agile IT infrastructure, andfocusing on both IT innovation and efficiency, have helped us meet the advancingtechnology demands of this pinnacle of motorsport. We’re managing more data,refining our tools, and ultimately improving the car more quickly and betterthan ever before. NetApp storage infrastructure gives us the benefits of rapidadaptability, standardization, manageability, and room to grow—to support moresensors, collect more data, or support new functionality such as taking databasesto the track or adding video feeds from the track. FlexPod provides the samebenefits in a small-footprint platform for the road. I don’t know of any othertechnology stack that could deliver a better solution for our purposes. FlexPodgives us the best space efficiency plus the versatility we need for criticalon-track operations, including real-time data collection, analysis, anddecision-making.Of course the biggest test of our capabilities as a team comes on the track.So far in the 2012 season we’ve won four podium finishes. In Italy, Sergio Perez,one of our two drivers, scored a second-place finish. Our other driver, KamuiKobayashi, took third in Japan, and overall the team is already ahead of lastseason’s total points. Monisha Kaltenborn, our Team Principal and CEO,believes that “we’re getting better all the time.” I’d have to agree. 8
  9. 9. About Sauber F1 Team The Sauber F1 Team competes in Formula One racing, a March-to-November seasonal circuit of 20 three-day practice/qualifying/race events at race tracks in 19 countries around the world. Sauber Motorsport AG, headquartered in Hinwil, Switzerland, employs some 300 designers, engineers, and support staff. Another 100 full-time employees of suppliers and service providers in the region depend for their livelihood on the company founded in 1970 by Peter Sauber. In 2012, the Sauber F1 Team marked its 20th season in the Fédération Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship. About NetApp NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs. Discover our passion for helping companies around the world go further, faster at Go further, faster ® Key Products and Technologies Data Center Microsoft ® Windows environment: NetApp: ® UNIX/Linux environment: ™ for SQL ® Server , SAP , and SharePoint ® ® ® Racetrack (Mobile) ® FlexPod: ® Nexus® switch ™ Server VMware: ™ 4.5 ™ Server 5 ® 5 ® 5Another NetAppsolution delivered by: © 2012 NetApp, Inc. All rights reserved. No portions of this document may be reproduced without prior written consent of NetApp, Inc. Specifications are subject to change without notice. NetApp, the NetApp logo, Go further, faster, FlexPod, FlexVol, MetroCluster, SnapManager, SnapMirror, SnapRestore, Snapshot, and SyncMirror are trademarks or registered trademarks of NetApp, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Cisco and Nexus are registered trademarks and Unified Computing System is a trademark of Cisco Systems, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. VMware, vMotion, and vSphere are registered trademarks and vCenter and View are trademarks of VMware, Inc. Windows, Microsoft, SQL Server, and SharePoint are registered trademarks of Corporation. SAP is a registered trademark of SAP AG. All other brands or products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such. NA-164-1112