Formula1 is the pinnacle of motorsports – a test of performance, integrity & robustness. The cars on the race track are technological marvels – they contain technologies that would build the cars of the future – technologies like KERS to harness braking energy for a power burst and DRS to reduce drag being the latest additions to the list this year.
I am a fan of the sport, but little did I know that the subject of my passion – Microsoft SQL Server – is closely associated to it.
A modern F1 car uses a lot of embedded electronics. It has an onboard Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that connects to 100+ onboard sensors which monitor and control critical operations like engine configurations, transmission, pit-lane communications and a lot more. As the car moves along the track at around 200miles per hour, it generates and transmits data to the engineers in the pit-garage at a rate of 100kilobytes to 0.5megabytes per second – totaling to about 2GB/race.
This streaming data is analyzed in almost real-time by the engineers who, with using historical data provide near instant analysis help shape the race strategy and ultimately lead a driver to become a World Champion and earn a Constructors trophy for a manufacturer.
The Case Study
Together with its technical partner Microsoft, McLaren Electronics is the official supplier of engine control units (ECUs) and associated data systems to all of the teams competing in the Fédération Internationale de L’Automobile Formula One World Championship annually between March and November.
Business Problem: “McLaren Electronics needed to replace file-based storage with a relational database for the more than 2 terabytes of engine control unit (ECU) data collected each year by a typical Formula One racing team.”
Solution: “The company is using the FILESTREAM feature of Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 to store ECU data in a relational database while providing rapid access to the data streams for users.”
How SQL Server helps analyze F1 Racing Data: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000001476
How SQL Server helps access huge data stores for F1 racing teams: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Microsoft-SQL-Server-2008-R2-Enterprise/McLaren-Electronic-Systems/Firm-s-Solution-Accelerates-Access-to-Huge-Data-Stores-for-Formula-One-Race-Teams/4000009547
A brief video from Microsoft Showcase: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/us/details/be728b1e-7f78-470f-be7e-4003b023ff1c
This week-end (September 09-11, 2011), when you enjoy the race at Monza in Italy (are you a Ferrari fan? If yes, this is your home race!), do not forget that deep inside the pit-garages are many instances of Microsoft SQL Server crunching huge amounts of data that help shape the race, and bring tomorrow’s technology on the road, today.
By the way, how many of you are coming over next month to the first ever Grand Prix of India at the Buddh International Circuit at Delhi, India?
Finally, remember that your road to/from work is not a Formula1 race-track. Until we meet next time,
Be courteous. Drive responsibly.