Despite crossing the finish line in fourth at the Mexico Grand Prix in October, it was enough for Lewis Hamilton to clinch his fifth Formula 1 world title, capping off an incredible five years for the Mercedes F1 team.
It meant that for five consecutive years, Mercedes and their drivers had claimed both the Drivers’ Champion and Constructors’ Champion titles.
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According to Matt Harris, Head of IT at Mercedes, technology – particularly the way that the team collects and organises data – is the driving force behind the team’s success.
Speaking on Mercedes’ ongoing partnership with data management company Rubrik, Harris said:
“Our team is focused on winning both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships and the right IT environment is essential to that pursuit.
“The difference between winning and losing in this sport comes down to fractions of a second. As a result, technology is weaved into every facet of our team’s performance, from design to trackside.”
The importance of big data
Mercedes collects as much as 500GB of data from each of its cars taking part in an F1 race. That equates to around a terabyte of data every two weeks, or 21TB over the course of a season.
That data proved to be hugely valuable to the organisation in order to develop cars and cut valuable seconds off of their drivers’ finish times.
“The team is constantly developing our cars in the quest for faster lap times, and analysis of race data plays a vital role in achieving the incremental gains that have put us at the top of the sport,” Harris said.
However, the challenge that Harris and his team face is processing that data and putting it into action faster than their opponents on the track. According to Harris, in order to achieve record times.
“The main currency in our organisation is time.
“Just as time is critical to the performance of our race cars, it is also vital to our team’s ability to deliver the technical infrastructure that holds our organisation together. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our IT team’s performance just as we strive to achieve faster lap times.
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“As a result, we adopt technologies that allow us to save time or simplify our processes—and that’s where Rubrik comes in.”
How replacing legacy systems put Mercedes on the podium
Rubrik is a data management solution that provides the businesses with a suite of backup, recovery, archive, search, analytics, compliance and data management solutions.
Mercedes relies on Rubrik to protect its virtualised environment, including MS SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, Oracle and NAS.
Prior to partnering with Rubrik in 2017, Mercedes relied on a legacy data management system that had become increasingly unreliable as the company’s data pool increased.
“We had no confidence in our previous solution and actually experienced data loss from the complexities of tape management,” recalled Chris Green, Mercedes’ IT Operations Manager. “We had a data tape inadvertently returned to the scratch pool, making it impossible for us to recover key data several years ago.
“We had a full-time employee dedicated to managing backups, yet we were missing 50% of our data protection goals.
“We needed a data management solution that would lessen our team’s workload while fully protecting the data that is crucial to our success,” Green said. “Rubrik stood out from the competition.”
According to Mercedes, Rubrik has helped to reduce the time spent managing data within the organisation by as much as 90%.
Likewise, for an organisation where time is of the utmost importance, Rubrik helps to avoid disruption when things go wrong. Using its legacy system, it would take two hours to recover when data is lost. However, Mercedes now has a recovery time objective (RTO) of close to zero minutes.
“Rubrik’s simplicity and intuitive interface make it a pleasure to work with,” said Harris.
“Every year, the data that we produce in Formula One increases significantly. With Rubrik, we’re confident we can not only protect that data, but scale to meet that growth. Rubrik is so much more than a business continuity solution—it’s the future of data management.”