The company played a critical role in making the host to events like Super Bowl XLV, Big 12 football championship game and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic one of the most technologically advanced stadiums ever built.
"We needed technology that would provide the ultimate fan experience and enable team operations to run more effectively," said Pete Walsh, chief
information officer, Dallas Cowboys. "With the new stadium, it was time to upgrade our infrastructure to the next generation and centralize everything in one data center. CDW was able to provide us with more than technology -their on-site assessment, design and configuration were critical to creating a data center that would meet the unique and demanding needs of the stadium."
Beyond creating an enhanced fan experience, the Dallas Cowboys needed a data center – housed inside the stadium – to support the 30-plus organizations affiliated with the franchise in more than 90 locations, including the stadium itself and 35 pro shops selling team merchandise. The data center would also need to support team operations, from cheerleaders, scouting,medical staff and concession stands to game-day operations, such as 3,000 televisions, stadium lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
"As a result, 24×7 uptime was critical," added Walsh.
A new stadium didn't necessarily need to mean new headaches. The process for creating a reliable and future-proof technology solution for the stadium began in 2007 and lasted for 18 months. Initially, CDW solution architects and engineers went to team headquarters to learn about the Cowboys' needs and to offer expertise on the latest technologies. CDW considered several critical factors when designing the data center, including the required amount of total processing power, the number of virtual machines that could be handled on each server, the number and placement of rack configurations, as well as software management capabilities.
The resulting solution included HP blade servers with a storage area network (SAN) core and tailored tape backup technology. In early 2009, CDW
configured the products and shipped the equipment to the new stadium.
"As fans at home and at the stadium watch the game, most probably won't be looking for evidence of a virtualized server infrastructure with 100-terabyte SAN core," said Thomas E. Richards, president and chief operating officer, CDW. "Instead, they'll notice how great the game looks from the largest high-definition video board in the NFL or how easy it is to use ATM or credit cards at concessions. The engine behind all of these things and so much more is the data center CDW's solution architects built.It's truly the 'brains' behind the entire stadium operations – providing seamless solutions that make the experience for the fans more engaging and enjoyable."
CDW solution architects created a virtualized server infrastructure making the following possible:
- Digital signage – Cowboys Stadium is now home to the largest high-definition video board in the NFL. The video screen, which was provided
- by another technology vendor and hangs from the roof above the field, stands 72-feet tall and 160 feet in length, ensuring that fans – no matter what seat they have – enjoy a great view of the game.
- Point-of-sale technology (concessions and merchandise) – The newly constructed Cowboys Stadium now has 665 point-of-sale (POS) terminals which enable fans to pay with their credit and debit cards for the first time, ending the old stadium's reliance on cash while driving additional merchant
- and stadium sales. The new POS system also provides executives with real-time sales information so employees no longer have to hand count
- Wireless access points – The stadium has 932 wireless access points.Ticket-takers are equipped with wireless handheld devices to scan tickets,
- increasing ticket integrity, while staffers at bars and clubs have wireless handheld terminals to speed both order taking and customer payment.
- Smaller Footprint – Through virtualization, the stadium's data center uses significantly fewer servers, which reduces power consumption and
- the space consumed by the data center.
- E-mail backup – The new infrastructure results in easy management,speeding daily maintenance. E-mail backup, for example, used to take 50 to 60 hours during the weekend, and now takes less than five.
To learn more about CDW's work with Cowboys Stadium, please visit www.cdw.com/stadium.
About CDW:CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government,education and healthcare. Ranked No. 38 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs. The company's technology specialists offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include notebooks, desktops, printers, servers and storage, unified communications, security, wireless, power and cooling,networking, software licensing and mobility solutions. CDW was founded in
1984 and employs more than 6,200 coworkers. In 2009, the company generated sales of approximately $7.2 billion. For more information, visit CDW.com.