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Red Bull uses virtualization to keep its Formula 1 cars on track
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Red Bull uses virtualization to keep its Formula 1 cars on track 

Have you ever thought of the role between racing and technology? What about the challenges in travelling and being able to share data and testing? How about the requirements that a driver has to adjust on the fly?

Technology is playing a vital role in all industries today and even in sports. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Zoe Chilton, Head of Technical Partnerships at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing about the integration of technology into racing and how that is helping Red Bull to keep its cars on the Formula 1 (F1) track.

Chilton’s role is one of being the uniting force among the Marketing Team, Engineering Team, and the IT Department in dealing with challenges in each department as they arise.  It is about finding solutions for these departments by utilizing the right technology to fix these problems.

Citrix and Red Bull Racing 

For its F1 racing, Red Bull works closely with Citrix, a digital workspace platform company, mainly due to the flexibility of working with data securely and remotely, as the team is constantly on the road. This requires a lot of work and effort in managing Red Bull Racing’s two F1 cars as they travel to 21 different countries, racing on different tracks and covering thousands of miles each season. To effectively manage the diverse team at each location requires fast, secure and instant access to the right application and right data at the right moment to do their job with precision and accuracy.

Citrix is crucial in making all these things happen. It provides support by helping Red Bull Racing implement a huge amount of virtualization across the business. Virtualization allows the Technical Partnerships travelling team to gain access to computer-aided design (CAD model) of the race car. This means that regardless of where the travelling team may be in the world, they will still have access to the remote or virtual machine located in the United Kingdom.

Citrix helps to ensure that Red Bull Racing’s data is secure and kept where it should be. There is no need to drag files over the network, guaranteeing that data is kept safe. This virtualization process saves time and helps the team to get access to mission-critical data in real-time. Through this process, drawings can be adjusted and moved as if the user is working in their UK office. By having this sort of solution the travelling team is better equipped to make the right decisions on the track.

Security 

Security is an important element within technology. With the incredible amount of data being gathered from the cars and races, it is critical to keep it secure. This is where Citrix plays a very vital part in their partnership. This collaboration with Citrix is “the FUEL powering the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s mobile workforce,” according to Red Bull’s CTO.

The data that Red Bull or any other company manages comes with inherent risks. For example, a travelling team member can drop his laptop, leave it behind on an airplane, damage the hardware or even use public networks that are not safe and can be easily hacked. Citrix addresses this security risk by allowing the team to access files virtually using the Citrix Workspace. This has enabled the Red Bull team to have more visibility and more control on where the data is residing because it’s all located at the data center with layers and layers of security protecting it from potential risk.

Red Bull’s New Project

According to Chilton, Red Bull has a new project to develop a new portal for a supply chain company. This new portal will allow the supply chain company to upload documents securely into Red Bull’s on-site ERP system, project management system with full reporting.

The new portal collects huge amounts of data in every component manufactured. Some of the supply chain businesses would send a report via email, which though acceptable, is not always the most secured. The new portal is called Secure Citrix Gateway, which is an incredibly clever security platform that can identify or flag unusual usage of the system.

The Next 5 Years 

One of the future plans that Red Bull is working with Citrix on is using a virtual wind tunnel on the computer to work out how air will appear around the model of a car without having to build or manufacture anything. This simulation process is currently of high demand on compute power and is very labour intensive and expensive. Due to the costs associated with this plan, the virtualization of machines is still being used currently. Virtualization helps save man hours in processing time resulting in cost and resources savings. It also delivers high quality graphical output by using a program called 3DHDX. By utilizing these technologies and partnership with Citrix, Red Bull Racing is taking big steps to become the leader in the racing industry.

To hear more about how Red Bull is using virtualization to power its F1 racing, check out the WRLWND podcast with Zoe Chilton.

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