This Data Center Has Seen It All

Avnet’s IT facility in Phoenix has evolved over 25 years to handle petabytes of data, absorb acquisitions and cut cooling costs

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When Brad Kenney joined the IT group at Avnet in 1987, the electronics distributor's newborn data center was populated by mainframes, data capacity was measured in gigabytes, and the company owned five servers.

Twenty-five years later, Kenney is vice president of enterprise infrastructure and that data center houses 1,700 servers, maintains 1.2 petabytes of data, and is cooled by a cutting-edge, environmentally friendly HVAC system.

The Phoenix data center's history highlights some of the tremendous technology changes over the years. "[In 1987] we had nine megabytes of bandwidth per second, and it cost the company $500,000 a year," says Steve Phillips, Avnet's senior vice president and CIO. "You can get that on your 4G smartphone today. And no one's spending half a million dollars for it." (Today the data center supports bandwidth of 2.2 gigabytes a second.)

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