The location: The Nissan Stadium, Yokohama in Japan.
The date: 2 November 2019.
The event: The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final – a rugby match that holds the top of the charts with numerous records broken and a few firsts in the Rugby World Cup tournament.
At a glance:
- The 2019 Rugby World Cup was the first time an Asian country hosted the event.
- It was the most watched rugby event ever, with more than 857 million people around the world watching the action via the World Rugby’s network of rights-holding broadcast partners, an increase of 26 per cent from the previous tournament in England.
- It was the United Kingdom’s most watched broadcast of the year with over 12,9 million viewers.
- It was also the first time in Rugby World Cup history that a black man, Siya Kolisi, raised the William Webb Ellis Cup.
Those who were lucky enough to secure and could afford tickets to the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama were on the edge of their seats the entire time. The atmosphere was palpable as the noise from the 72 327 crowd cheered on their favourite teams and players. Noises and shouts erupted all around, emotions flowed, electrifying one until their arm hairs stood on end, as tackles were made, as tries were scored and conversions followed.
“The atmosphere in the Nissan Stadium will be hard to beat and this is an experience that will live with me for the rest of my life,” one spectator said.
For eighty minutes millions of people around the globe sat glued to their TVs, computers and radios with bated breath as they watched the South African Springboks take on England. Eighty minutes later the world took another breath as the Springboks emerged as the victors, having beaten England 32 points to 12 – giving South Africa the right to claim their title as the nation who won the World Cup three times.
Some may say that the main reasons that the Springboks emerged as the greatest rugby team on earth that year was due to determination, training, hard-work, focus and diligence. Although this is true, there is one other aspect that helped the Springboks secure the Web Ellis Cup trophy. A silent partner if you will, but a partner that had just as much an important impact as the physical determination and hard work from the team. This partner’s name was Dell EMC.
“Through the years rugby has become a highly technical and computerised sport at the professional end of the game, and to have the best possible equipment for teams and operations is critical,” says SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.
“We analysed gigabytes of videos and images and used data analytics to give the Springboks the competitive edge,” he continues.
At the time of signing up the Springboks had just suffered a massive blow with their loss of 57-0 to the All Blacks. Understandably moral was down and being away from home with little contact with their friends and family just made things more emotional.
Dell EMC believed in the human spirit and believed in the Springboks’ DNA. So when it decided to partner with them its mission was to be more than just another partner with our logo visible on their kit.
Dell EMC needed to boost moral, get the players and coaches back up and ready to tackle the challenges ahead dead on. And the first order of business was to bring in technology expertise in the form of modern data systems to make a tangible difference, not only to the Springboks, but to the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Dell EMC’s first job was a relatively small one. With the Springboks mostly on the road and away in Japan for months at a time they obviously needed a means to keep in touch with their friends and family. To facilitate this, Dell EMC sponsored six notebooks with great video conferencing capabilities and reliable communications.
In addition, it turned out that many of the team members were avid video game players. So a further range of high-end gaming notebooks were made available. In addition to playing games, the team members were able to access streaming media such as videos and music and of course to keep up to date with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Inspecting Dell EMC’s vast repertoire of notebooks, the company decided on the Inspirion G-series of laptops. They were bundled with a range of peripherals including headsets, gaming mice and gamepads. In addition, the G-Series offers a range of USB inputs so team members could plug in their flash storage devices to access personal password protected data. Modern games have huge data storage needs, and at the same time the gaming notebook needs to be rugged and have a reliable hard disk drive (HDD) so solid state drives (SSD) were the call for the day. Memory was also an important factor, so RAM choices were the best at the time. With the basic entertainment side of things taken care of, it was time to tackle more pressing issues.
The Competitive Edge
Dell EMC’s next challenge was a little more sophisticated. Through the use of modern analytics, databases, software and high-performance hardware it was quickly realised that the Springboks could vastly improve their competitive edge.
But one challenge was that as the team and its coaches were continually on the road they had to have access to this information while on the move. This also included the use of notebooks and connectivity, but it also meant the integration of current technologies used by SARU.
Dell EMC found that the Union had already invested quite heavily in decent software, but they were running on legacy hardware systems which caused a problem in that the disparate systems were not really communicating with each other. In simple terms, the Union had vast silos of unsorted and unstructured data including statistics, images and videos.
Each of the defence, tackling and head coaches needed to be able to access this data to see how they could give the Springboks that extra advantage over the other teams participating in the event.
Another dig in Dell EMC’s hardware repository revealed that the Dell PowerEdge R640 servers were up for the task. These rack servers offered the best-of-breed in terms of scalability, optimisation and backups and had the latest and fastest CPUs, memory and storage systems at the time. They also served as a great device to store data with their low operational costs and disaster recovery solutions.
With the servers in place, Dell EMC was able to centralise all of SARU’s data. It was then sorted and analysed, making it available for coaches 24/7 anywhere in the world. Further more, due to their design the adoption meant that SARU was given the added functionality of redundancy, data security and reliability.
All in all, Dell EMC was ecstatic to help get the Springboks up to date in terms of their data – their winning was just an additional and very significant feather in the company’s cap.