“For any large-scale event like the Special Olympics, building and managing key components of the IT infrastructure come with considerable challenges. A critical IT requirement for any sporting event is to provide game offi cials with secure and easy access to applications, game results and information in real-time,” contends DENNIS ROSE, VICE PRESIDENT – PACIFIC, CITRIX SYSTEMS, INC. along with ALDIS BERZINS, DIRECTOR, IT INITIATIVES AND APPLICATIONS, SPECIAL OLYMPICS, in an interview to DANISH A. KHAN OF EGOV
Q DANISH A. KHAN (DK): For 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, Citrix Systems is going to provide Game Management System (GMS) to enable offi cials access real-time information at the games. How has the use of information technology (IT) really helped in the smooth conduct of such large sporting events?
A DENNIS ROSE (DR): Building and managing key components of the IT infrastructure for any large-scale event like the Special Olympics come with considerable challenges. A critical IT requirement for any sporting event is to provide game offi cials with secure and easy access to applications, game results and information in real-time.
The application delivery solutions contributed by Citrix for various applications including the Game Management System (GMS) have ensured that the offi cials are able to securely access real-time information at the games. At the core of the IT infrastructure at the Shanghai Special Olympics (SO) is the Presentation Server that has helped the game offi cials in centralising IT administration, which is essential to ensure continuity and security. All key information, data and applications pertaining to the games are centralised at a data centre. By virtualising applications and other critical information, the Presentation Server enables the user to interact with the application without actually installing it on his or her computer or any other access device. The Presentation Server’s “secure by design” imperative enables IT administrators to provide secure delivery of applications and critical games information in real-time to end users who could be in multiple locations, using different devices.
Earlier, Citrix also provided application delivery solutions at the 2006 Special Olympics Invitational Game, a precursor to the 2007 event, which was held from 12th– 20th October 2006 in Shanghai.
DK: Please tell us about GMS and its applications in detai?
ALDIS BERZIS (AB): The GMS is customised software that will hold the crucial information on the athletes’ data and results produced by over 7,000 special athletes, representing more than 170 countries, who are expected to compete in the 2007 Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai. GMS is used to standardise the reporting and recording of real-time competition results. This software registers the participants, organises the divisioning of athletes, stores the competition results and provides standardised reports for games offi cials,the public and media. GMS provides for registration of participants and real-time reporting of competition results. Other features include Participant Registration Wizard; automatic competition results display via sports competition “timing systems”; integration with the Special Olympics World Games Credentialing System and Medical Services software;and, results posting to Internet. At the SO World Games, the GMS operates in the Windows 2003 Server Operating System environment with a SQL database backend. Secure access to GMS is provided in a network infrastructure covering 22 sports venues across the 19districts of Shanghai.
DK: How effective is GMS in Games results management, information dissemination and facilities management?
AB: Citrix application delivery infrastructure has been a successful triedand- tested solution for GMS in the past such as the 2003 Ireland Special Olympics World Summer Games, as well as the recent 2005 Nagano Special Olympics World Winter Games in Japan, where we contributed our secure application delivery solutions.
DK: In 2003 Ireland Special Olympics Citrix Systems deployed the HealthOne patient record system over the Internet to provide doctors with instant access to detailed medical information about Special Olympics athletes. Besides HealthOne patient record system, whatother solutions is Citrix Systems going to provide for the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympics?
DR: For the Shanghai Special Olympics Summer Games (2007) and Invitational games (2006), application delivery solutions for the Game Management System (GMS) was contributed, which includes 260 concurrent user licenses of Citrix Presentation Server 4, Enterprise Edition. For the Special Olympics Healthy Athlete Software (HAS) support is being provided. During the 2007 Games, HAS will collect medical screening data of the athletes in the 6 disciplines of the Healthy Athlete event: Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes, Special Smiles, FUNfi tness, Health Promotion and FitFeet. A pair of Citrix Access Gateway appliances and 200 concurrent user licenses– a universal SSL VPN solution to provide secure, always-on, single pointof- access to the GMS to ensure game continuity for the authorised offi cials from any device, location and network, has also been provided.
“The GMS is customised software that will hold the crucial information on the athletes’ data and results produced by over 7,000 special athletes, representing more than 170 countries, who are expected to compete in the 2007 Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai. GMS is used to standardise the reporting and recording of real-time competition results”
DK:How has GMS addressed security and other risk factors?
DR: GMS application delivery solutions have ensured total security of all information and applications. As already told, the Presentation Server is “secure by design” as it virtualises applications, meaning that applications and information are centralised in the data centre which is secure and easier to manage. No critical application or data leaves the data centre as the applications are executed entirely on the server, hence ensuring utmost security of all information. With centralized IT administration at the data centre, the application delivery infrastructure solutions also ensure game continuity, for example, if the doctors need to access special athlete’s medical record while out on the fi eld to attend to emergency cases or game of- fi cials need to update the competition results real-time, they are able to perform these crucial information access or update effectively using any kind of enabled devices even if their own desktop computer or laptop fail.
DK: There are other industry players like Hewlett Packard, Atos Origin, India’s CMC etc. in the GMS area. How has Citrix System positioned itself?
DR: Citrix is the leading provider of endto- end application delivery infrastructure solutions for any applications – be it client-server, Web or desktop applications at the lowest cost, highest security and best performance.
DK: What are the future plans of Citrix Systems?
DR: Secure, on-demand access to business applications and information from anywhere is a fundamental component of many businesses needs today. Users need access to be invisible. They want easy, on-demand access from wherever they are, using any device and network. IT Department needs access to be visible. To observe, monitor, control, and manage access and resource usage to deliver the highest security, best performance and at the lowest cost.
In May 2006, Citrix acquired a company called Refl ectent Software – renamed as Citrix EdgeSight, which is an application performance monitoring solution that provide enterprises with the ability to monitor performance in real-time, across all applications and users regardless of connection method, application type or application delivery technology. We can now provide our customers with the insight, data and tools they need to intelligently plan capacity, solve performance problems, to better ensure that all IT resources are operating at peak effi ciency.
Most recently, we expanded our partnership with Microsoft in end-to-end application delivery to make computing faster, more secure and more cost-effective for employees in branch offi ce locations through the new Citrix WANscaler branch offi ce appliance.
The joint solution represents a new type of branch offi ce appliance that combines advanced wide area network (WAN) optimisation technologies with consolidated branch offi ce services in a single, multifunction appliance that is easy to administer remotely.
In the Pacifi c regions, we have 21,000 customers and they are seeing tangible business benefi ts from their initial deployments, and now want to extend those benefi ts further out into the enterprises. We continue to drive business growth in the region by investments in key marketing, sales professionals at Pacifi c Headquarters and local systems engineers to drive our go-to-market strategy with our channel partners. We are focusing to develop leadership position in the application security and networking market.
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