On the north side of Fort Wayne sits a building that not many people would give a second look. It is the Frontier Communications Data Center, a veritable hotbed of technology and engineering. With cutting edge approaches and a fast-paced work mentality, this is where Frontier teams work together locally, as well as nationally, to deliver an excellent customer experience.
“We have the cutting edge technologies IT business professionals want to work on. This facility is the primary data center for Frontier Communications,” says Matt Miller, director of Network Services. “That is significant because not many companies in the area are moving data centers in; most have moved them out. Frontier has really put a stake in the ground in Fort Wayne because this building has also become a primary engineering lab for the company.”
Within the Frontier data center are several special teams dedicated to intricate, behind-the-scenes operations that make the company tick. Brian Brenneke is the senior manager of Applications Operations, which monitors and supports applications to ensure they are running and stable. His team also averts crises as they emerge and oversees new code releases and changes like the new Amazon Prime.
The abundance of technology at the data center lends itself to a forward-thinking culture for Frontier. “It is fast-paced and we’re able to react to changes quickly,” Brenneke says. “This is a very competitive market and we need to stay ahead of our competitors. Newer product offerings like our video platforms allow us to constantly keep that edge.”
Also unique to the data center building is its cutting edge engineering lab. Ryan Warnock is the manager of the Technology Lab, and works with stakeholders in the lab (video, transport access networks, users) to create a functional environment and bring everything together. Blending engineering and data into one facility has been a recent and positive change for the company, as it used to be strictly an IT facility but now supports 1,680 locations within the data center.
According to Miller, “This is a technology sandbox now. To be able to work at a technology-rich facility such as this is a huge advantage. We have all the latest and greatest technologies here.”
Another unique characteristic of Frontier’s data center is the cross-functionality of all its teams. Josh Blauser of the Centralized Planning team deals with company standards and guidelines, and works with regional engineering to determine testing of new equipment and different technologies. His group also works closely with the procurement team, vendors and planners in the lab to monitor what’s being tested.
Frontier video operations are another major component in the data center headed by Ron Kaminski, Video Operations manager. His team manages the company’s head end facility and oversees the production of FiOS content. With 10 engineers supporting over 100 different types of equipment, Kaminski touts the Frontier data center as an extremely technology-laden facility. “Ours is the most complex system in the country because we support diverse platforms attained as a result of multiple acquisitions across the country,” he says.
Various other teams at the center are responsible for encryption, local ad insertion, FiOS apps, the electronic program guide, applications servers and the monitoring of new content. There is also a group dedicated to managing the Frontier.com website.
According to Lacy Doust, vice president of IT, “Frontier has taken steps to adopt new technologies. We are producing a foundation for continued product advancements and we work across several business units to achieve our goals. Frontier is an unexpected gem full of opportunity and is an exciting place to work.”
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