Haggard, who is delivering a keynote speech at Forrester's Infrastructure and Operations Forum in Dallas Thursday, also discussed hosting the 2010 NBA All-Star Game and weekend activities at Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys have 700 IP phones throughout the building, but delivering enough to people working at the NBA All-Star weekend was still a challenge.
"The NBA needed a certain number of phones for corporate people, non-corporate people and the media," Haggard says. "500 press people showed up from around the world. We get a lot of local press [for Cowboys games], and some international but nothing like what the NBA brought in."
Cowboys Stadium has 70 IDF closets, 200 concession stands with the ability to take credit cards (as opposed to 30 in the old stadium), 700 point-of-sale terminals tied to the network, 261 miles of fiber-optic cable, and 6 million feet of Cat-6 and Cat-5 cable.
There are 150 employees or so at the stadium on a daily basis, and more on game days.
Haggard has heavily invested in virtualization to make his data center run more efficiently. With about 300 virtual machines installed on HP blade servers running VMware, Haggard says he can virtualize just about anything except Microsoft Exchange, SQL clusters, and some legacy apps.
Virtualization has made a big impact with concession stands, each of which needs its own back-end server. "We need 200 servers to do all the reporting and menus for concession stands," Haggard says. "Without virtualization technology we would have had to have 200 physical servers for those concession stands." Instead, the concession stand operations run on a 16-blade HP system.
Haggard was chosen to speak at Forrester's event because his technology team is so adept at enabling business functions.
"We always talk about ‘how do you align IT with the business," says Forrester analyst Robert Whiteley. "Bill's story is one of the best I've heard about sitting down and listening to what the business needs and building an infrastructure that scales. … If you focus on customer experience or revenue, it's actually easier to reverse engineer what your technology should do."
Haggard joined the Cowboys in November 2008 to make sure the stadium was designed effectively from a business perspective, and kept on board to manage it in the long term. Haggard says the franchise is planning out its next technology projects, possibly including RFID and extensive use of text messaging.
"If you're in the building and pass a concession stand and have a smartphone, we can shoot it a 20% coupon," he says. "Or if you're in a suite and Tony Romo throws a touchdown, we could give suite owners the ability to purchase a Romo jersey at a discount from their smartphones."