Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

Extreme Performance

Oracle Team USA’s performance in the 34th America’s Cup represents the greatest come-from-behind victory in organized sports in modern history. With all due praise to the Team USA sailors and their world-class athleticism, the Cup was also a victory for Oracle technology.

To see why, let’s take a quick look at what Oracle Team USA’s AC72 was packing.

First, the “device.” The boat bristled with 300–400 Java Embedded sensors generating 30,000 datapoints per second—up to 200 GB of data each day. The sensors measured variables from boat speed and wind angle to winch loads and pressure on the gennaker foresail.

From there, the data fed in real-time over 3G to servers on the team’s support boat, and to a database back on the dock. Information specific to each sailor’s role also streamed to wearable and boat-mounted monitors, which the team could check to make quick adjustments to optimize the boat’s performance.

Meanwhile, back in the performance hub, Oracle Database on Oracle Exadata Database Machine provided crucial information the team needed to win, combing through performance metadata each day to help increase the boat’s speed.

When the team came in from the water, they were able to jump straight into the debrief room and analyze the performance metrics, as well as video. They got an objective sense of how the boat was running, which validated what they felt or experienced out on the water.

Legacy analytics systems took 30 to 40 minutes to collect, import, and run the reports—a long time to wait for sailing team members who have already put in a full day. But this year’s platform let them get the data while the boat’s feel was still fresh. "If you wait until the next day, they've lost a lot of information that was fresh in their memories,” says Asim Khan, performance database programmer and director of IT for Oracle Team USA. “So getting that time from 40 minutes to 10 is critical, and that's where Oracle Exadata Database Machine made a huge difference."

This constant feedback translated into constant adjustments to the boat. After every trial and test, the Oracle design team made data-validated modifications that effectively turned the AC72 into a different vessel each day it was on the water. So in a way, it was more like a dynamic, living system than a static object.

And this was one of the unstated victories—this unanticipated glimpse into the future. Oracle technology at the 34th America’s Cup showed us what the burgeoning “Internet of Things” is all about: a dynamic ecosystem in which connected, data-collecting devices interact with a platform that crunches terabytes of unstructured information into recommendations that drive world-changing performance.

Read more about Oracle Team USA's technology, and capitalize on this positive momentum by sharing these videos of Oracle's extreme performance on and off the water with your customers.