Pub quiz fact: keeping the 2012 Olympic Games in London going next year will take an astonishing 12,600 computers, 900 servers and over 350 support staff. That's according to Acer, which has just given CNET UK a behind the scenes tour of its IT facilities for next year's games.
Acer is one of the top-tier Olympic sponsors for London 2012 -- another way of saying it has paid an awful lot of money. As part of the sponsorship deal it has the mammoth task of providing the computery tech that runs the whole operation, from the PCs the athletes will check their emails on to the touchscreen systems that give TV commentators live results.
Inside an office in Canary Wharf, the exact location of which we've been asked to keep secret for security reasons, the Olympic organising body has recreated a little bit of a Slough business park among the gleaming banks. Most of one floor is dedicated to preparing and testing the computers that will be used to record the times of events, display results and so on.
Throughout this vast space, banks of desks have been arranged in the shape of a cubicle, with each cubicle dedicated to a particular sport. Computers and monitors are piled up high, so it's next to impossible for one group of people to see the people working next to them. Here, serious-looking people make sure the equipment will function properly when it's on the site -- everything gets moved to the venue for test events, then moved back afterwards.
This is a world where reliability rather than style is king, and it's a reminder that in Corporate IT Land, the snazzy interfaces consumers are starting to take for granted haven't made any impression. We had a brief look at the software commentators will use to see who has won each event. Made by Atos, it's a powerful tool, with the ability to call up any stat from the whole games. But in terms of how it looks -- well, the politest thing we can think to say is it's very functional.
Have a click through our photo gallery above to see more of the facility, including a peek at the central IT support centre for the games.