Red Sox's Latest MVP: EMC's Traveling Data Center
An EMC Clariion CX500 system has traveled with the team for its away games in the United States in recent years.
When the Boston Red Sox travel to Japan later this month to play Japanese teams in Tokyo, the team will carry the usual assortment of players' favorite bats and uniforms. Also making the trip will be the team's modern coveted talisman -- its EMC traveling data center.
"Information makes winners," said EMC's Mark Lewis this week at a session at the AIIM 2008 conference in Boston. "Information is becoming more and more important in sports all the time." So important for the Red Sox, in fact, that the team brings along its data center to all of its away games.
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Lewis, who is president of EMC's content management and archiving division, told the packed session at the AIIM event that players and managers have virtually instant access to the center. A batter suddenly scheduled to face a new relief pitcher can instantly call up videos of the pitcher to study his delivery and assortment of pitches. Conversely, a pitcher can study videos of batters he is likely to face. The pitcher can search for a weakness -- for example, the batter may have trouble hitting curve balls or a split-finger fast ball.
Lewis said teams always have to be on guard against being flooded with useless information. The days of hunches, superstitions, intuition, or second-hand stories from scouts are long gone, replaced now by the hum of EMC's storage arrays, storage area network, and sophisticated software from its Documentum unit.
"The Red Sox have gone a little crazy" with technology, said Lewis as he outlined the team's near-obsession with statistics and videos -- all of it captured, stored, and pulled up quickly.
During the AIIM session, Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee reported in from the team's spring training workout in Florida. He said running a baseball team is similar to any other business as he noted that the World Series champion team's revenue has doubled since 2002 and that IT has played an important part in the revenue growth.
The EMC system stores years of previous games, giving players and managers instant access to videos of every game as they prepare for opponents or, when there's been a loss or even a slump, enabling them to search for clues to return to a winning path.
Two years ago, the EMC system utilized 15 TB in an EMC Celerra NAS Gateway supported by a Clariion CX700 system used for home games and at the company headquarters at Boston's Fenway Park. An EMC Clariion CX500 system has traveled with the team for its away games in the United States in recent years.
The team even has a resident geek in the form of pitching immortal Curt Schilling, who maintains his own popular blog. Schilling is also an avid and accomplished gamer. His gaming development company, 38 Studios, has assembled a team of prominent gaming developers.
In a blog this week, Schilling said the company has "progressed into another stage of development but I think the lengthy period of time we spent in the concept phase will pay off in huge way down the road. The millions of dollars that can be saved with proper preparation was evident very early on."
The company's president and CEO, Brett Close, and VP of product development Mike Kosenski once worked at gaming companies EA and VR1.