Higher, Collectively – Cisco IT on the Tokyo Olympics


“Sooner, Increased, Stronger – Collectively.” The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Video games motto highlighted an immense feeling of solidarity internationally. Remoted for therefore lengthy throughout the pandemic, these Video games signified coming collectively and forging ahead, not simply as people, however as groups. And Cisco was there for it.
Cisco is famend for supporting giant scale sporting occasions and this 12 months was the official Community Gear Associate for Tokyo 2020. Whereas Cisco IT has been closely concerned in earlier occasions, together with Rio 2016 and London 2012, this time was totally different.
As a workforce, we had to determine the best way to run a 24×7 operation from our house places of work, delivering the very best expertise attainable. We have been chargeable for the soundness of our inner infrastructure, functions, and help processes for our enterprise stakeholders akin to our Technical Help Heart (TAC) engineers and Buyer Expertise engineers. Our engineers have been supporting the wired and wi-fi community in additional than 80 competitors and non-competition venues throughout Japan.
On reflection, we discovered a whole lot of classes about our individuals, processes, and expertise.
Our individuals are the heartbeat of the operation
For a program of this scale to achieve success, we would have liked robust partnerships constructed on belief proper from the planning part. We discovered this to be much more essential as we have been working this 24×7 struggle room operations just about over Webex.  Whenever you’re beneath stress and fixing for points throughout a essential time, having that established rapport and belief actually helps break down these obstacles.
We additionally relied very closely on our native Regional IT and Office Assets (WPR) groups in Japan who did a whole lot of the groundwork getting ready the Recreation Time Operations (GTO) struggle room for our CX Obligation Managers, Advertising and marketing and different enterprise groups. Configuring the GTO struggle room with Webex boards, IP Telephones, printers and activating all of the community ports turned fairly difficult due to pandemic restrictions— the IT and WPR groups may solely come into the workplace on their specified days. Planning and coordination between these groups was essential to make sure every little thing was prepared earlier than the massive day.
Getting ready for the Recreation Time Operations Conflict Room – Tokyo Midtown Tower, Degree 21
Our processes saved us on monitor
Loads goes on behind the scenes for such a large-scale occasion just like the Olympics. With two years within the making, we had big effort and dedication from many groups in Cisco IT.
Our Enterprise Operation Centre workforce and Technical Help workforce have already got clearly outlined operational processes to make sure that the community and our functions are working like clockwork. We constructed one other layer of safety and rigor into these processes
With the help of our Enterprise Launch Administration Group (ERMO), we arrange the Tokyo 2020 Change Management Board. This board made remaining selections round change requests to the community or to our functions throughout the Video games (e.g., downtime for upkeep, upgrades, scorching/chilly backups).
We would have liked full visibility and transparency of any incidents to our IT companies and tagged shut to six,000 configuration objects (e.g., databases, hosts) with ‘Tokyo 2020.’ Any points on our community or software that had a dependent CI (Configuration Merchandise) tagged have been handled as excessive precedence incidents regardless of their designated criticality.
As soon as the Video games have been underway, IT responsibility managers have been the central level of contact between the enterprise groups and the IT service groups.  To make sure we had 24 x 7 operations, we used a ‘observe the solar’ mannequin by partaking the regional IT workforce throughout APJC, Americas/Latam and EMEAR.
Having the IT responsibility supervisor coordinating throughout groups was extremely useful due to their holistic view and understanding of a problem’s affect on all stakeholders.  For example, when some workers had problem connecting via VPN, initially solely customers experiencing the problem have been supplied a workaround answer and the variety of incidents raised with technical help continued to extend.  The IT responsibility supervisor ensured that e mail communication was despatched to all workers in Japan, informing them of the workaround, and the variety of incidents dropped considerably.
Our expertise made it attainable
Whereas expertise was a key enabler in the best way we operated as a cohesive workforce, it additionally gave us foresight into potential incidents.  We leveraged the next to function our digital atmosphere:

Webex – We simulated the bodily struggle room expertise in Japan via Webex. Since all workforce members from all time zones have been within the one house, everybody had visibility of any points. Handovers between responsibility managers have been seamless.
ThousandEyes – We all the time attempt to determine points and resolve them earlier than they affect clients and companions. ThousandEyes gave us the power to detect points early within the community and stop them from turning into main points.
AppDynamics – Wherever we had AppD software monitoring enabled, we checked out what was happening within the system, for instance, was there one thing caught within the database or was .  This detection helped us determine points extra shortly than the normal method of going via logs within the programs and lowered the MTTR (imply time to decision).
Dashboards – We used homegrown instruments to achieve a enterprise view of essential incidents and the way they may affect our Cisco engineers supporting the Olympic and Paralympic Video games.

Community efficiency (VPN & WAN) throughout the Video games
Planning is properly underway for the Olympic and Paralympic Video games in Paris and our IT groups are wanting ahead to supporting these Video games with a number of the greatest practices now we have learnt from Tokyo 2020!