There is a lot of talk these days about moving to the cloud, and no shortage to the
list of quantifiable benefits to the business. The opportunity to reduced hardware,
software, maintenance, and management costs sounds coupled with more efficient
use of limited IT staff and increased productivity is enough to attract the attention
of any CIO/CTO. Assembling a highly scalable, flexible and reliable data center can
be costly, not to mention the headache of data center real estate and managing the
environmental echo system, such as power and cooling. Electing to go with a Cloud
offering offloads these responsibilities to the cloud provider and the data center
that the applications reside in simply becomes part of the service offering. That
being said not all Cloud service providers are the same and it is just as important
to understand a Cloud service providers data center capabilities and the SLA that
stands behind them. After all you are betting your business on it.
So how does a Cloud service provider Data Center work? Data Center and Cloud
service providers, in many cases, have long term leases on the property, or own the
property, and have made significant investment in environment ecosystems. They
have the ability, based on the size and scale, to have a full time facilities staff such
as HVAC or Electricians on site. This is something that becomes difficult to justify
in a traditional on-premise corporate Data Center. Depending on their size they
may maintain multiple large-scale generators, uninterruptible power supplies, fire
suppression systems, network connectivity, utility feeds, and much more to assure
So what does it look like inside a CDW Data Center? CDW currently offers cloud
services, managed hosting and colocation services across five data centers in the
From the moment you enter a CDW Data Center you will notice they are each
manned 24x7x365 with on site security, person traps, which do not allow both
doors to be opened at the same time, bio metric scanners, security cameras, and a
laser based body counter to prevent “tail-gating”.
The facilities are equipped with client workroom and meetings rooms for tactical
issues. Clients can use this space for remotely administering their machines,
checking e-mail, and other business functions. This room is external to the data
center allowing our customers to work outside of a chilled and security controlled
environment. Loading docks and staging areas are also available for equipment to
be unboxed and prepared before being loaded into cabinets, cutting down on dust in
the data center.
The CDW Data Centers are built on raised floors, with redundant electrical feeds,
which are backed up by uninterruptible power supplies and standby generators.
The data center floor is protected from fire with Laser-based Very Early Smoke
Detection and with a pre-action zoned dry-pipe system.
Carrier services terminate in a “carrier neutral” meet me room that is served by dual
entrance fiber from a multiple of carriers depending on the Data Center location.
The CDW data centers are also connected via a CDW built and managed redundant
private backbone that provides Internet, Private Ethernet Service circuits (PES),
and the ability to terminate MPLS services. CDW manages multiple Internet points
of presence (POPs) with multiple connections to Tier1-3 Internet Service Providers
(ISPs). This provides CDW the ability to provide customers with a multi-homed
IPv4/IPv6 managed Internet connection directly to their cabinet. Bandwidth can be
provisioned on demand and scale to the clients needs.
What you do not see walking through a CDW data center is that they are all
monitored 24x7x365 from a primary NOC in Madison, WI and a backup NOC in
Minneapolis, MN. The NOC team is made up of three tiers of engineers who are
staffed to support our clients. Beyond the cage inside the Data Centers are, SSAE 16
(SAS70) Certified, PCI Certified, HIPAA Certified, NIST Self Analysis, ITIL and SOP
It is the combination of all of these aspects that make leveraging a CDW Data Center
a smart choice for your business. For an organization to build out these services on
their own and then turn around and have to manage and maintain them, it would
require hiring the right people with years of experience in multiple disciplines, and
a large financial commitment to the infrastructure and to the facility. If you are
interested in more information on CDW Data Center please feel free to reach out to
your CDW Account Executive.