WWT Relies on Opengear to Keep Their Advanced Technology Center in Business During the Pandemic

An Opengear Case Study

At the World Wide Technology Advanced Technology Center (ATC), WWT’s engineers customers and partners collaborate, design and test solutions in sandbox environments, 24/7. And with the help of Opengear’s Network Resilience platform, these engineers can connect to the ATC’s virtual lab at any time, from anywhere, without having to be on-site.

Geoff Hubbard is the Manager of the ATC Data Center Operations based in
St. Louis, MO. The ATC has two main service offerings. The first is a Product Showcase, providing technical validation for their customers, which he refers to as proof of concept (POC). Hubbard says that, “customers can validate their ideas by installing equipment and configuring it to mimic their environment within the ATC data center.” The ATC provides architecture and engineering support for those use cases.

The second offering is Lab as a Service, which provides “hosting plus” for customer labs. The ATC delivers a fully functional hosted environment with both the engineering support and the remote hands that you might see in a traditional colocation.

Opengear gives ATC Reliable Remote Connectivity

Hubbard’s team handles everything that requires hands-on support within the ATC data centers. A typical deployment might involve racking and cabling routers, switches, servers, and then hooking them up to remote access with Opengear console servers.

The ATC has more than 300 racks at their four data centers and has deployed more than 70 Opengear IM7248 console servers. During the pandemic, the remote access that Opengear provides has become even more critical, allowing WWT to continue to demonstrate their products and win new business.

“Right now, nobody’s in the office so we’ve given our architects and engineers remote connectivity as well as sharing that remote connectivity with our customers so that they can validate the things that we’re doing within the ATC,” Hubbard says. “We rely on the access that Opengear provides to continue to do product demos and POCs without bringing customers into the facility.”

Opengear Plays Well with Others

WWT engineers in the ATC work with a wide range of devices which all require remote access. As Hubbard says, “Anything in the data center with a console port can connect to Opengear.” That includes NetApp, Palo Alto, Cisco, HPE, Dell and many others. He adds, “We can also connect unusual devices, fiber infrastructure, and optical switches, and optical routing.” Opengear’s Lighthouse centralized management software allows the ATC team to manage all of the devices through a single pane of control, making it easier to run multiple demos at once.

Reliable, Easy and Relevant

After using other console servers, Hubbard says that Opengear is the easiest one to set up and hand off to his customers. “The Graphic User Interface works well, which doesn’t sound like much, but I can easily find what I need in the Opengear GUI. Opengear just works and is easy to use.” 

One of the reasons the ATC team originally chose Opengear is because it has features that make things more human, memorable, and consumable. For example, one of Hubbard’s favorite features is that there are IP addresses on each port and you can give a host name to a port instead of the traditional method of just an IP address. He says, “It was a game changer for us to be able to hand off a DNS name. The DNS name can be anything you want, and you don’t have to fiddle around with IP addresses.”

When asked what three words he would use to describe Opengear, Hubbard says, “reliable, easy, and relevant.”

With secure, remote access to all the ATC equipment, WWT have been able to keep customers engaged during the pandemic. Opengear has proven to be a critical part of their business strategy.


About World Wide Technology
and the Advanced Technology Center

Founded in 1990, WWT has grown to become a global technology solution provider with $13.4 billion in annual revenue. With thousands of IT engineers, hundreds of application developers and unmatched labs for testing and deploying technology at scale, WWT helps customers bridge the gap between IT and the business. By bringing leading technology companies together in a physical yet virtualized environment through its Advanced Technology Center, WWT integrates individually impressive technologies to produce game-changing solutions.

Based in St. Louis, WWT employs 7,000 employees and operates more than 4 million square feet of warehousing, distribution and integration space in more than 20 facilities throughout the world.