Many sports leagues rely on on-site scoring systems to provide live scoring and competition updates to fans, media companies, and gaming partners during events. Tied to on-premises systems which required being transported across the country, NASCAR engaged CapTech to design and develop a solution to address scalability, reliability, and redundancy concerns. The new solution, anchored in the AWS cloud, would serve as a more reliable and accessible way to store competition data, and enable NASCAR to derive new insights to improve the fan experience at future events.
At-track scoring systems are utilized to provide core race metrics during events such as lap times, deltas, positional info, pit stop details, and overall race status. These at-track systems are transported between events and require a hard-wired internet connection to download and store data, making them vulnerable to travel delays, network outages, and deployment issues. Despite their ability to provide instantaneous updates to fans and at-track consumers, core historical competition data is stored in on-premises systems, making it difficult for NASCAR to remotely access the real-time data needed to make informed decisions.
NASCAR wanted to leverage a cloud-based solution capable of securely transmitting and processing a high volume of real-time data from on-premises systems in the cloud while ensuring uninterrupted access during race events. The scalable platform would offload the computation and servicing demands from the on-premises systems and improve data accessibility and analytic capabilities, empowering the racing series to optimize fan engagement and scoring. With the ability to move large amounts of real-time competition data, NASCAR can build out an all-encompassing Event Racing Operating System (EROS) and achieve its long-term vision.
CapTech began designing and developing a cloud-based solution with the goal of running the at-track competition systems in a parallel AWS Cloud environment to the existing on-premise track environments. This would minimize disruption risk to critical race day operations.
After evaluating the existing architecture and defining the needed parallel environments, Terraform was selected to write infrastructure as code (IaC) to build and manage AWS infrastructure and applications, allowing for the efficient provisioning and management of the cloud infrastructure for at-track competition services.
Pairing infrastructure as code with automated deployment pipelines enabled frictionless control of ephemeral cloud environments that can be deployed and destroyed as needed with the click of a button. Each parallel environment was built using the same IaC with environment specific configuration which deployed into multiple AWS accounts. This provided segregation across environments, making each environment mutually exclusive and tunable from one another to allow for code promotion and security best practices.
To deploy the infrastructure, a robust deployment pipeline was designed using a layered approach, allowing layers to be built in dependency order as well as destroyed in reverse order. The layer segregation enabled concurrent development of multiple layers while reducing deployment times. In the fully automated deployment pipeline a new environment can be built in less than 45 minutes. The pipeline supports validation and stage gates for human approvals before deploying to production environments, ensuring the right code is deployed to the right environment with minimal risk to business operations.
The ability to manage ephemeral environments via automated pipeline contains cloud spend when an environment is not needed. Each environment can be destroyed, and then later redeployed to continue development. This enables the creation and usage of temporary environments for things such as performance testing, which must be scaled like production and can be costly to keep running. This also allows for environments to be taken down in the offseason when races are not occurring.
The solution was delivered to NASCAR and the competition applications are being integrated and tested in the cloud environments over the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
The cloud solution:
Delivered a scalable, easy to maintain cloud-based infrastructure that removes the limitations of physical hardware.
Allows for remote data access from anywhere, not limited to on-site locations.
Allows changes to be developed and tested anytime, not only when at-track mobile data centers are online.
Provides increased reliability through data replication, data backup, and disaster recovery.
Reduces maintenance costs and manual updates typically associated with on-prem systems.
Serves as the blueprint and first step for the Event Racing Operating System.