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When a professional football team planned to build the largest retractable-roof stadium in the league, they partnered with CDW to make it the ultimate entertainment experience for their fans.
The beauty of the 3-million-square-foot facility is impossible to miss. Two towering arches span the length of the stadium providing enough support to house the world’s largest HD video board. The world’s largest retractable glass doors rest at each end of the stadium giving the 100,000-plus fans panoramic views and fresh air.
This beauty has brains too. With the help of CDW, the stadium features a brand new virtualized data center. It incorporates 127 Hewlett-Packard blade servers and a new 100-terabyte storage area network (SAN) that provide the processing power needed to run operations throughout the stadium.
Take a look how CDW helps IT teams win—anywhere.
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There was not a lot of technology in the old stadium and the team wanted a change. “We’d turn on the lights and roll out the footballs and they’d go after it. The only technology we had there was a little bit in the press box. Other than that, it was pretty antiquated technology,” says the team’s Director of Enterprise Infrastructure.
The data center is the nerve center of the stadium, and the team knew they would need a data center that would move to the future. “We get different trends in the industry for video, voice, computers and handhelds, and now we’re able to layer that on top of the infrastructure that we put in place and offer the fans a better experience each and every year,” says team CIO.
“We were basically there to consult with the customer, on-site. We would sit down, 3-4 hour meetings, to go over speeds, feeds and capabilities, and really get a good understanding of how we were going to address all the challenges,” says a CDW Account Manager on the project.
CDW was there throughout the 18-month plan-to-implementation process, helping to assess, design, install and maintain the solutions. The infrastructure and technology in the stadium was put into place within 9 months.
In the enviable position of equipping a glamorous stadium with state-of-the-art technology, the team CIO went about networking 3,100 flat-screen TVs, 884 wireless access points, 655 point of sale terminals and 185 IP security cameras. The stadium uses 250 miles of fiber optic cable, 6 million feet of copper wiring and has 70 wiring closets.
All of this is controlled in a 5,000-square-foot data center, which is surprisingly small. The organization is made up of more than 30 companies, in 90 different locations, and under 500 employees. The new data center made it possible to manage all of these companies out of one, central location.
The data center has about 100 TBs of data. It runs all of the teams’ operations. They’re able to access data very
quickly to generate the reports they need, especially on game day. The team is now able to see how many hot dogs,
hamburgers and sodas have been sold in real-time. In addition, the merchandising staff can monitor inventory on the fly and
replenish supplies if certain stores in the stadium are running low.
“CDW helped us understand how we could virtualize certain applications in our data center to make them more beneficial for
our use and make them more flexible and scalable so we could use them in the future,” explains the team CIO. “CDW helped
the team understand how virtualization and storage can work in conjunction with each other. They helped the team design
the most optimal solution for their technology.”
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The team’s former home used legacy servers located across three different sites, including the headquarters and merchandise facility. These 5-7 year old servers would not be able to handle the new processing requirements and were retired with the old stadium.
The team turned to CDW to help design and install a new server infrastructure for their new palace. They now have a single, centralized data center to house their 127 new blade servers. Pre-configured by CDW, the blades allow the IT department to fully maximize the processing power in each server and easily deploy new servers when needed.
As a result of centralizing the servers, everything in the stadium now operates on one system and one network. The new point of sale (POS) system requires that each of the team’s 212 concession stands uses its own server for processing sales. Instead of purchasing 212 individual servers to run each concession stand, the IT team deployed 212 VMware virtual machines on 16 physical blade servers.
Storage area network (SAN) technology allows the team to better utilize storage capacity and more easily manage and backup data. They use another 30 virtual machines as file and printer servers for day-to-day operations for employees. “Virtualization reduced our data center footprint,” the team CIO says. “We save space and power while increasing the computing capacity of the enterprise.”
The use of smaller, virtualized blade servers and SAN consolidate the amount of hardware used. This saves on data center space and reduces power consumption. The result is reduced total cost of ownership, improved performance and a more efficient, easier to use data center.
The team’s IT department is proud of its handiwork. The new stadium represents the epitome of technology.
Since its opening, thousands of fans tour weekly. “This team has always been a forward-thinking organization,”
the team CIO says. “With the new stadium, we’ve jumped to the forefront
of a lot of new, emerging technologies.”
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The stadium, which holds more than 100,000 people with standing-room-only sections, is full of new amenities. Besides the many video screens, the stadium offers:
The team has installed a distributed antenna system to boost bandwidth for cell phone users who subscribe to major cellular carriers.
The team is designing a Hall of Fame Museum that will take advantage of cutting-edge interactive technology.
The team provides fans with wireless network access throughout the stadium.
To take advantage of the bandwidth, the team is building new smart phone applications that will allow fans in the stadium to keep up with football scores and stats.
To protect children, the team plans to install a system that allows children to wear Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) bracelets. If kids get lost, parents can use the technology to find them.