Fox Sports’ Journey to the Private Cloud

Fox Sports originally sought to rebuild its private infrastructure in efforts to support its sports media empire back in 2008. Due to the economic downturn, the funding was not available for this venture. According to internal analytics, Fox Sports CIO Michael Tompkins realized that his organization was spending more in maintaining his aging infrastructure versus what the infrastructure actually cost to procure. As funding became available, Tompkins realized that 2014 would be the prime opportunity for his organization to build out Fox Sports’ own private cloud.

In an interview with ZDNet, Tompkins mentions, “We’ve hit a point where we’re spending too much money to run these systems than actually acquiring them and this problem has got to change.”

Fox Sports acquires over 3 Petabytes of data per year. This data is mostly high definition video that is used in sports broadcasts. In efforts to deal with this data more efficiently, Tompkins turned to VCE. As you may know, VCE utilizes technology provided by Cisco, EMC, VMWare and Intel to create on-premises cloud services. This robust solution allowed Fox Sports to reinvent their datacenter at a price that made sense.  What was the end result?

Tompkins explains, “I have more software developers now than actual engineers. I have no system specialists, no IT specialists, no storage specialists, and no networking specialists. Basically, I’ve taken the department and reformed it into logical segments where I have a brain trust where they drive the direction in which we go. I have a development section that is writing software across all platforms and I still have a level one-type IT, but they’ve merged with broadcast. So the philosophy and culture has changed, otherwise we’d be building silos again, which is where we never want to be.”

As costs of running a traditional datacenter begin to mount, seeking out automated private cloud solutions only makes sense. As large organizations begin building out their private clouds, the next step will be hosting much of this data inside of a public datacenter which creates a hybrid cloud. Vendors such as VCE can easily make this happen. As more organizations begin realizing the cost benefits of this model, look for private and hybrid clouds to become a more accepted solution for handling large amounts of data.