A Space for the Oakland Raiders

Turns out the Raiders play pretty good defense where data's concerned, too

June 28, 2006

2 Min Read
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2:55 PM -- Like many organizations these days, the National Football League's Oakland Raiders rents data center space. Since 2002, it's been using square footage from 365 Main Inc., a San Francisco-based company that's just gone national with IT real estate. (See 365 Main.)

The team uses the space primarily for its Website, which gets 77 million hits annually, according to Tom Blanda, director of finance and technology for the team. "We have a server room at our headquarters, but we don't have the bandwidth to accommodate the number of visitors that come to our site," says Blanda (no relation to former Raiders Hall of Famer George Blanda).

Of course, you wouldn't expect Raiders owner Al Davis to let important information such as scouting reports and game plans venture offsite. And he doesn't. The team keeps that information at headquarters. "All the information that we want the general public to get access to -- our Website -- is held at 365 Main," Blanda says. "Everything that is proprietary or guarded, we keep at our headquarters. It's easier to keep the two separate."

Besides providing the bandwidth to keep the site running, 365 Main saves the Raiders from having to expand their onsite IT operations. "If you stack another layer onto what we already have, we would probably have a space problem, a power problem, and a cooling problem," he says. "Our server room is already maxed out with football operations, like digital video for the coaches to analyze plays."

Just because 365 Main doesn't keep the coaches' precious video and scouting reports doesn't mean that data's not important. Like most pro sports teams, the Raiders consider their site a key means of communicating with fans. The Raiders take their site seriously enough to have four different language versions: English, Spanish, German, and Chinese. They also make money off the site by selling merchandise and advertising, so downtime costs money.That's another thing they turn to an outside firm for -- to keep downtime to a minimum. By using the provider's NOC, they can monitor their site reliably, without having to worry about it.

The Raiders, who spent 13 years in Los Angeles before returning to Oakland in 1995, may send half their data center back to L.A. Blanda says the club is considering using 365 Main's new L.A. building for disaster recovery. Like other Bay Area businesses, the Raiders are mindful of earthquakes.

"We might place a couple of servers down there," Blanda says. "If anything happened, we could run operations out of L.A. if we had to."

Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

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