Tech Solutions Library > Firsthand Lessons Learned for WFH | CDW  
Case Study

Meeting the needs of 7,100 coworkers – over a weekend.

Over the course of a weekend, CDW Information Technology teams quickly gained firsthand knowledge of what our customers were about to go through, needing to allow 7,100 coworkers to work from home.

CDW’s VDI Deployment Plan

While CDW is in the business of providing IT solutions and services to our customers, behind the scenes we deal with the same operational issues that other enterprises face. This was never more true than earlier this year when our leadership made the decision to close our offices and arrange for all non-essential CDW coworkers to start working remotely.

Over the course of a weekend, CDW Information Technology teams quickly gained firsthand knowledge of what our customers were either already going through or soon would be. It was a tall order to simultaneously tackle all the enterprise networking, storage, security, collaboration and communication needs to allow 7,100 coworkers to work from home, but our teams rose to the task and we’re now sharing this hard-won experience with our customers.

1 Weekend

CDW originally planned for a 4-to-6-week remote work rollout, but had to accelerate plans to a single weekend as the situation escalated. 

Network Upgrades for WFH

An initial challenge was to implement the necessary upgrades to network infrastructure, firewalls, internet connection, servers and storage to accommodate more than doubling the workload of remote access. Within our data center, we then needed to build out the necessary server, storage and license capacity for up to 7,500 simultaneous VDI users who would be hitting over 6,000 sessions a day.

We were expecting a large increase in the internet traffic from our now-remote coworkers into our environment, so we increased the internet bandwidth from 1Gb to 5Gb to accommodate this. We also moved our website,, to a separate 1Gb circuit to remove contention and to support expected higher web transaction volumes.

Extending our network out to so many locations opened us up to new security threats, so one of our first fixes was to roll out new Cisco Firepower next-generation firewalls. Using our web content filtering tools, we blocked access to websites that are not critical to conducting business. We wanted to ensure that bandwidth was available to support our customers.

Collaboration Upgrades for WFH

CDW’s IT and Services organization engineers quickly partnered to develop a plan to deliver a seamless work from home experience to our coworkers. To ensure coworkers are able to stay connected to CDW customers and support day-to-day collaboration needs, our combined team upgraded our Cisco phone system to enable coworkers to use Jabber’s remote phone capabilities, allowing our coworkers to take and make calls from their CDW phone using their mobile device.

We worked to ensure that the documentation for all our collaboration tools was up to date, knowing now more than ever these tools would be critical to help support the work from home efforts. With myriad tools available, we wanted to be sure our coworkers knew about all the options available including Cisco Webex and Microsoft Office 365 tools like Skype, Teams and SharePoint.

1 Gb to 5Gb

The increase in bandwidth CDW had to make to handle increased traffic.

Serving Our Customers

Our success can be attributed to the early planning phases when we brought in our services team and our vendors to quickly design the necessary changes to our systems to support the expanded work from home situation. Without the partnership of these teams we would not have had the quick success that we did in the time frame we needed. This quick success put our coworkers in a position to be able to serve our customers as they in turn struggled to adjust to the new challenges in their businesses and personal lives.

Learn How CDW Responded Quickly and Efficiently to Support 7,100 Employees to Work From Home

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