|“||The simulation technology that stores and tests all of our storylines: the Cradle. Delos' time capsule that ensures you get the immersive and dynamic experience you deserve.||”|
– Official description
|“||Wondrous technology, really. A fail-safe of the utmost sophistication. All the hosts—their scripted minds, their loops—are stored in this simulated universe, a testing ground for new narratives. Of course, us mortals could only access it remotely. So I made a slight adjustment…||”|
– Virtual Robert Ford
Room CR4-DL, known colloquially as the CRADLE, is a colocation server farm located in Mesa Hub.
The Cradle contains the most important intellectual properly (IP) of Westworld and its associated parks, as it stores complete copies of the programming and memories for every host, as well as the programming for the park environments.
Elsie Hughes likened the server farm in the Cradle to a "hive mind."
To the naked eye, the Cradle appears to be nothing more than a massive array of water-cooled servers and storage cores, but within the endless rows of ruby-red cores the Cradle houses a self-contained virtual park environment — hosts and all, down to the last detail — completely in code.
This information can be used as a fail-safe backup: should a host's control unit become damaged and unrecoverable, a new copy of the host's memories and programming can be downloaded from the Cradle, imprinted onto a new control unit, and inserted into the host's body, avoiding the loss of valuable IP.
In addition, the virtual environment can be used to run simulations for host behavior refinement (similar to training a cognitive neural network on multiple iterations of massive amounts of data), narrative testing, and technician training scenarios.
Access to the Cradle's virtual environment is normally possible from authorized control terminals throughout Mesa Hub, but events leading up to Season 2 Episode 6 have taken the Cradle offline, and the Cradle's own control software has been actively blocking any attempts at establishing an interface from the terminals. What's more, the Cradle itself has been sending messages throughout the parks, which it was not designed to do.
Determined to find out why the Cradle software is "improvising" in this manner, Elsie and Bernard conclude that the only possible means of accessing the Cradle's software requires entering CR4-DL, removing Bernard's control unit (called a "pearl"), and interfacing it directly to the server farm via an onsite physical reader.
The extraction of a control unit pearl from the host involves computer-controlled robotic surgery, but the equipment in the Cradle was designed for older-model hosts prior to Bernard's version. Hence, the process is painful and traumatic for his host form.
While it's common knowledge that the Cradle holds copies of all extant park and host programming and data, Bernard discovers during his interface session that Robert Ford managed to plant a virtual version of himself within the software, hidden from Delos executives and personnel.
This virtual Ford is apparently able to monitor the physical park through any of the park's sensors and systems. As he explains through a guided text chat on the Delos Destinations intranet site, "Everything is code here, friend. Just as the paths of our hosts intertwine and mesh, so do Delos systems in the park. My reach is limited by the confines of our network, but I do what I can."