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Building The CDW Technoliner

Spice IT

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So I get a call from a manager, “ I have a great project for you to work on, West Coast Customs is involved”. Well, being a fan of the show for many years (so many I might show my age), I said “I’m in!”

On the first call I find out I’m working on a bus. But not just any bus, a huge motor 40+ foot coach. When I first saw the rendering it was only the outside and I thought this is going to “wow” a lot of people. But what the heck do we put inside?

I started work with two of the best people at CDW Nick Muller (video Technical Architect) and Craig Coolidge (wireless Technical Architect) to divide up the work. We had a Cisco Stadium Vision design to use. Cisco Stadium Vision is a suite that allows owners of arenas, ballparks or large event locations to control video content and advertising throughout the venue. The base design provided us the foundation for the interconnections of devices.

Thinking ahead, I knew we would have to support wireless since we wanted to show off Stadium wireless as well as “office” wireless in and around the bus. We would also require a small layer 3 core. So I determined the network switch would be the new Cisco Catalyst 3850. This offered us the Layer3, Power over Ethernet (PoE) and would eventually allow for wireless access point termination. Next I looked at connection from the bus to the internet. In speaking to the Cisco router Business Unit we came up with using a 4G connection as this seemed to make the most sense and could offer the speeds we need. We added the UCS-E series as well so we could demonstrate the branch in a box concept. Having a server with a small footprint that is isolated from the backplane of the router (gets power only), allow for services like local DHCP, Print, Application Acceleration, etc. I added an ASA firewall and then got to work on the NetApp Express pod scope. With all of this hardware and the rest of the audio and sound gear, we started to look at how to rack all of this equipment.

Wow, what a challenge. We had been told we had only one rack to work with. How are we going to fit so many devices into one rack? After several attempts we realized two racks was the way to go and it worked perfectly.

Next came the power.

I had to get a list of all the devices with their estimated power draw. Then worked with Tripp Lite to come up with a plan to rack and power everything. This included separating devices that should have a UPS and the ones that just needed line conditioning.

Seven weeks later the bus shows up in Atlanta for the national championship game. I personally was blown away by the interior. I had never seen a rendering but knew the racks would be in the middle of the bus. My first reaction to the glass enclosure was, “what a perfect way to showcase the technology”. The rest of the interior was unbelievable.

I’m still amazed to this day at how the CDW Technoliner turned out and what a great way it will be for people to see the technology we use at CDW in person and in a new way. And, for the folks coming to CiscoLive in Orlando stop by the bus and come see it for yourself!

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