Boston Red Sox play ball with EMC in the dugout

BOSTON – Call it old-fashioned baseball superstition, but the Boston Red Sox won’t hit, pitch or catch a ball without their trusted EMC equipment.

Since the start of the 2005 season, this city’s beloved home team has relied on Hopkinton, Mass.-based neighbour EMC Corp.’s network storage technology to gain competitive advantage over the other 29 organizations in Major League Baseball.

The Red Sox purchased two fault-tolerant EMC Clariion systems to meet the organization’s networked storage requirements, which include several years of video footage that enables players to review, from the dugout, their last at-bat or performance history against a certain pitcher or hitter.

“There’s a lot of technology at our fingertips and if we don’t use it, we’re missing the boat,” said Red Sox field manager Terry Francona.

For Theo Epstein, the team’s executive vice-president and general manager, the gain is also being felt in the decision-making process. “When I’m sitting at my desk and need to make a decision about a player, at my fingertips I have scouting reports, stats, medical information, contract and agent information that I can get to quicker than the other 29 GMs and have it available to scouts on the road or people in the office,” he said in a video testimonial.

In total the Red Sox have deployed 15TB of EMC networked storage systems. The storage area network environment includes a new EMC Celerra NAS Gateway and one Clariion CX700 system that supports core business operations, including online video editing, photograph and statistical archiving, Microsoft Exchange and a digital video system used for home games at Fenway Park.

The second, Clariion CX500, system travels with the team for all away games.

“Success of the team now depends on mining data and utilizing that video and we need EMC storage to be able to deliver that data quickly, efficiently and securely,” said Steve Conley, director of IT for the Boston Red Sox.

In order to support the systems over the course of a six-month, 162 game regular season and post-season playoffs, the Red Sox use EMC Navisphere storage management software to collect performance information and analyze system capacity to configure, manage and monitor the Clariion system.

“We’re not trying to change the game, we’re trying to put our players in a position where they can succeed,” said Francona.

In baseball, added Epstein, “you just have to be right 51 per cent of the time, so we use the information to get the smallest advantage and in the end it’s a real competitive advantage for the players.”

In addition to bringing technology to America’s favourite pastime, EMC has also recently partnered with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston to help preserve the more than 40 million pages from the Kennedy administration, as well as over 400,000 photographs, 11,000 hours of audio recordings and eight million feet of film.

“Unlike the Clinton administration, where most files are digital and in e-mails, most of our files are on paper that is corroding,” said Tom McNaught, deputy director at the JFK Library. “We have correspondence between Kruschev and Kennedy during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis — how do make sure those documents are preserved forever?”

EMC is in the early stages of deploying an information lifecycle management environment, said Tom Heiser, the company’s senior vice-president of new business development.

“We teamed up with JFK Presidential Library on a very ambitious goal to digitize all their content. We’re using a lot of EMC Documentum products like ApplicationXtender, disk extender, Legato NetWorker for back up, Clariion products for information ingestion and Centera FileArchiver for long-term retention,” he said.

Heiser added that the projects’ objectives are five-fold: long-term preservation of administration records, photographs, documents, video and audio; online accessibility; the ability to search using metadata; the protection of historical assets through remote replication (keeping a copy in another location in case of disaster); minimize wear and tear on physical assets.

EMC has also deployed similar solutions in two other sites in Europe, said Heiser. Switzerland’s NZZ Group, one of the oldest newspapers in the world, has over two million pages of information that has been digitized and put online using Centera technology on the back end for long term archiving.

And in Weimar, Germany, the Anna Amalia Library which had 30,000 volumes of books and documents destroyed in a 2004 fire, has since undertaken a sizable project that includes preserving content in its original form in high definition and working with EMC to digitize the material onto Centera.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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