It was a snowy day in Dallas, January 10th @ 5 AM and I just jumped off the plane from Vegas. With only 2 hours of Red-eye sleep, I head to the hotel where I get only 1 additional hour, followed by a long day in Texas.
But it was worth it.
Why was it worth it? We got to see one of the largest man-made structures in the world. The Dallas Cowboy stadium.
When we got there with several bloggers in hand, Bill Haggard welcomed us to Dallas. He showed us around this behemoth of a football stadium, where we got to learn what it took to run. More important, we got to learn what was behind the scenes – computer-wise. That was HP.
Duncan Campbell started the day as he talked about the Converged Infrastructure. He talked about how HP servers show cost reductions and work to save companies like Dallas Stadium lots of money.
After about 45 minutes, Bill took us around the lower end of the stadium. That included seeing the field close up. A football field I ended up running across.
That woke me up.
The bottom line: This facility takes a lot to run – From the field, to the security cameras, the production booth to the severs and everything in between.
Let’s get this biggest part of Dallas Stadium out of the way – The Jumbo screen in the middle.
442 panels on each side make up the large screen. Mitsubishi created this 650 ton LED screen for Dallas to provide video footage, as well as footage of other events like concerts. The screens act separately from each other – The video on one side is mirrored to the other side. That way, if you are watching the screen during the game, they can make sure it points in the direction of the team on either side.
You can even play a video game off the screen for the right price. At least, that is what one band did.
The 13 person server team run over 600 servers. These machines do everything from program POS systems, to run day-to-day operations. 308 security cameras run HD footage 24/7. That is 2 petabytes of data per week.
With 265 miles of fiber optics and 4.5 million feet of Cat6a and 1.5 million feet of Cat5e cable, the building is wired for any situation. From touch screen panel, to TV’s (3000 sets throughout the building). They even have a backwards compatibility to accommodate other teams.
I found out that the bill on the stadium hit $200,000 a month for operations. Of course, all monitors – including the big screens – stay on all day for tours that constantly run.
There are also 19 spots to rent out for parties. Skybox booths are also available for shows, or just to see the game.
There are 3 turfs housed at the dome – One for Dallas and one for Texas A&M. The turf for the Cotton Bowl was on the field. Each turf is in 6 foot strips from n-zone to n-zone.
Of course, we cannot forget the tour of the locker rooms.
First was the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. We also got to see the player locker room.
We went up to the production booth. Bill mentions that Dallas controls cameras for the most part. They can be accommodating if an event needs something else.
We headed back to the conference room, where Bill started to go through all the numbers. In all, a pretty impressive tour of this stadium. The crews were even starting to prepare for Superbowl 45.
After a quick jaunt to the Pro shop, we boarded the bus and took a trip to Houston where we will continue with the day on Tuesday. After a nice dinner and conversation, we ended Day 1 on a good note. Day 2 will talk more about the HP ProLiant series. We will be running labs and talking with HP pros.
But first, I get some sleep (Video to follow tomorrow)…