Six Things Your Datacenter Should Have

6ThingsAre you interested in finding a datacenter, but aren’t sure what you should be looking for? Here is a list of six important factors to consider in your search for colocation and other datacenter services.

 

1. Redundant Cooling – Servers are a whirring, hard-working bunch and when temperatures rise or fluctuate it can wear on hardware. Keeping a cool and consistent environment can take an amazing amount of effort and expense. To maintain this environment there are things like Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units, raised flooring to evenly cool the cabinets, hot aisle containment, an outdoor misting system in the summer months to increase efficiency, monitoring of temperature and humidity, and regular, professional maintenance. Phew!

2. Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) – It’s not just a matter of inconvenience, many businesses rely on servers that are up and running without interruption. Down time can mean loss of sales, email, data access, and sanity. When all power is supplied via UPS, which is essentially a large cabinet of batteries, the switch to an alternate power source goes unnoticed should there be any reason that the city power plants can’t deliver power. All batteries should be tested regularly and replaced on schedule and as needed.

3. Generator Backed Power – Once the city power goes out, the UPS needs enough power to keep the datacenter running for a few minutes. This is plenty of time for the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) to move the UPS over to generator power. These machines are primed and ready whenever they’re needed. This process only takes a matter of seconds and can prevent hours or days of picking up the pieces after a server outage. Of course, a supply of fuel and refueling contracts are important to keep the generators running as long as necessary until the city power is back on.

4. Physical Security – Access to your equipment should be limited and, preferably, monitored. You only want authorized personnel to access your equipment, whether with an assigned badge for 24×7 access into the building and datacenter or by checking out a temporary badge. Security systems put in place to capture and store footage of the datacenter, log all access and monitor datacenter activity are great standard security measures to have. All of the datacenter staff should get a thorough background check and training on security and privacy best practices.

5. Reliable Network Connectivity – You want a reliable, fast and high performance production network designed by certified engineers with uptime and quality in mind. Redundant hardware, BGP4 based routing tuned for performance, dedicated routers for peering to prevent carrier issues from affecting multiple services, direct peering with multiple Tier 1 carriers and regional exchanges – it also doesn’t hurt to have available HSRP and redundant internet connections from separate routers.

6. Annual Auditing of Policies and Procedures – Many datacenters strive to provide great services by holding themselves to high standards. Is there a way to find out who among them back up their claims of high standards, perhaps by providing a convenient report? Yes! Datacenters that apply for and pass SSAE 16 auditing are proven to have policies and standard procedures in place. SSAE 16 Type 2 auditing, performed annually, ensures that those policies and procedures are put into practice. Whenever a customer or prospective client asks for a copy of the audit report, we’re happy to provide it.

Data102 has done all of the above and we strive to improve, satisfying our customer’s requirements whenever possible.

Do you have any questions about our datacenter or any of our products and services? We’d love to hear from you!

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DDoS Attack Protection

DDoSimgWhen most people hear the term hacker, they think of a cyber-thief who breaks into a secure system to steal sensitive data. Hackers like this certainly do exist, of course, and they pose a continual threat to web-based systems, but hackers also commonly engage in cyber-attacks against specific websites or systems for the sole purpose of disrupting service. In fact, according to the Verisign/Merril Research Group, one third of all Internet downtime is attributable to these types of attacks, which are known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks can be very disruptive and disabling without the proper security measures in place.

 

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS)

A distributed denial of service attack happens when a hacker overwhelms a single target with more traffic than it can handle. The target can be a website, email server, or even critical network infrastructure. This attack causes disruption to everyone trying to access the resources and has the potential to impact other customers on or between the network links of the destination target. This can cause tremendous latency and packet loss for all involved.

Hackers accomplish this by taking control of hundreds or thousands of computers through malware. Links to malware installers are spammed across the Internet, and unsuspecting users who click on infected links in emails or social networks download these malicious programs. This network of infected computers, referred to as a “botnet”, can then be controlled by a single user who can overload any target, large or small. Once the links are full, other users are prevented from accessing the target resource, leaving it, in effect, “down.”

Security Measures You Can Trust

Fortunately, we are not helpless in this fight. Data102 has mitigation systems in place to protect our customers from DDoS attacks. Currently, we monitor all network packet flows that come into our network and analyze the data in real time. If an attack pattern is detected, the IP addresses are “black holed” or redirected away from the intended site into a temporary null route.  Just like the monitoring and analysis, this routing redirection happens in real-time, and is pushed to our upstream carriers to further secure our links from saturation.

Data102 has years of experience dealing with DDoS attacks. The layers of protection we have in place keep our customers up and running safely. Give us a call to find out more about our colocation and managed hosting services.

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Emergency Power Supplies

Gen1The best monitors, controls, and switches in the world are only relevant if the datacenter has power. While Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) generally delivers reliable, quality power, we don’t take chances with our servers.  Our electric generators provide yet another layer of redundancy and ensure that our infrastructure will stay powered even in the case of catastrophic power loss.

Always Standing By

We have one 500kW Cummins generator and one 500kW Kohler standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the automatic transfer switch (ATS) detects any irregularity in the power coming from CSU, the generators are immediately started, and power is transferred: a process that takes less than 11 seconds. The generators are fueled by a 1000 gallon tank, which will keep the generators running for several days. In the event that a power loss extends beyond that, Data102 has fuel contracts with local providers to make sure the tank never runs dry.

To ensure that the generators will fire at a moment’s notice, our maintenance team has numerous tests and protocols in place. Once a week, the generators are fired and allowed to run for half an hour to keep all of the systems lubricated and operational. Once a year, our maintenance team tests the generators’ output by load testing their capacity for an hour. The machines also receive regular oil changes, just like any other diesel engine, and oil temperature is kept at 110 degrees to keep the engines from bogging down as they get cranked up.  The batteries that start up the motors are also maintained religiously. These procedures guarantee immediate response time from our generators.

Data102 Takes Uptime Seriously

All of these systems have been put into place even though our datacenter has had very few power problems through the years.  Several summers ago, we experienced some rolling brownouts in the Colorado Springs metro area, and from time to time accidents or construction mishaps lead to a brief power outage. Despite this, Data102 has kept the power on and our client’s servers running.

Interested in the other systems we have in place to protect your hardware? Call us to set up an appointment to tour southern Colorado’s premier datacenter.

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Data102 Partners with Apple to Bolster Local Service

Apple Logo

The latest in a series of big moves for leading Colorado Springs datacenter

applelogoData102 announced today that it has directly peered with Apple to improve service for Colorado Springs businesses and residents. Data102’s customers will be able to use popular Apple services like iTunes, Apple TV, iCloud, and iLife with much less latency and connectivity issues than are common with some other colocation service providers.

“We’ve already seen the benefits,” said Randal Kohutek, Data102 Operations VP. “Traffic is taking a shorter path, with lower latency. Not only does this provide better service to Apple users, it also opens up capacity on the network for general use. It’s a win-win for all of our customers.”

Data102 was able to improve service by connecting directly with IPv4 and next generation IPv6 Apple networks in Denver and Los Angeles. The direct links and redundant networking mean less lag for users and a better experience overall.

“As an Apple user myself,” noted Kohutek, “I’m glad to offer such a high level of service to our new and existing customers—something no one else in our market can.”

This is the second major partnership announced by Data102 this year. In May, they announced a deal with Netflix that dramatically improved streaming from the entertainment giant and opened up bandwidth for all users. And they aren’t done yet.

Kohutek concludes, “I look forward to finding and peering with relevant content providers to continue to push the envelope on what our customers can expect from their network.”

About Data102
Data102 is a Colorado datacenter and IT services provider. The company offers products and services such as managed firewalls, hosting, collocation and bandwidth. The team at Data102 is proud to be able to deliver affordability, reliability, and flexibility, as well as an unparalleled level of customer service. For more information about Data102, LLC, visit http://www.data102.com.

 

View this press release at prweb.com

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ATS – Another Layer of Automated Redundancy

ATSData102 has numerous layers of redundancy at every level of infrastructure. Nowhere is this more evident than the power supply and cooling systems. Obviously, without power, servers are just expensive paper weights damaging your business and productivity. And without proper cooling, the hardware is at risk. With that in mind, Data102 has an elaborate system of checks and balances, controls, and monitoring systems like power distribution units, uninterrupted power supplies, and a redundant pump system, among many other systems, ensuring that every piece of hardware in our datacenter keeps running no matter what happens on the outside. A vital component of the power system is automatic transfer switches.

ATSs—Proactive Power Protection

The job of an automatic transfer switch (ATS) is to monitor the electricity powering the datacenter and to transfer power from one power source to another should the need arise. The transfer switch detects inconsistencies or outages coming from public utilities, for example, and will switch power to our generators if necessary. This has been especially necessary during periods of rolling brownouts where power levels drop significantly, causing major problems for large electrical systems. ATSs can also detect shorts or interruptions within the building or datacenter itself.

In order for an ATS to transfer power to the generators, they have to be on. The automatic transfer switches activate the generators as necessary before switching over. Once the generators are producing sufficient power, the transfer switch will make the jump almost instantaneously—within 100 milliseconds. This transfer is so fast that the servers do not experience a power loss.

Since ATSs monitor the power system at all times, they can send notifications to our technicians as soon as problems arise. In addition, every Saturday our ATSs fire the generators to make sure everything is working properly and that the generators are producing good, clean power. A report is then made available to our technicians to ensure our backup systems will be ready to go at a millisecond’s notice.

The Safest Datacenter in Southern Colorado

Data102 has put all of these controls in place to guarantee 99.9999% uptime to all of our customers. Be assured that your servers will be up, functioning safely, and protected in the state-of-the-art datacenter at Data102. This assurance is what has made us southern Colorado’s leading colocation and managed hosting solution. Give us a call today to find out more about our infrastructure and services. 

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The War Against Toll Fraud – VoIP Protection

VoIP_Toll_FraudVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the preferred voice solution for many businesses around the globe. According to some estimates, over a billion people will soon be using VoIP platforms for personal and business calls. This growth has happened because VoIP is a cost-effective, feature-rich platform, which makes it ideal for businesses, especially. Like all digital services, though, there can be security issues.

What You Need to Know about VoIP

VoIP’s greatest strength—that it’s a digital, cloud-based phone and data service—can lead to security issues that aren’t a problem with traditional phone lines. VoIP communicates on port 5060, which is used extensively for many purposes. Hackers know this and can tap into a VoIP system to access handsets and make international calls, which is referred to as international toll fraud. This can cost an unsuspecting business a lot of money and service complications.

To break into a VoIP system, hackers will send bulk invites out, targeting handsets. Because they don’t know what extensions are active on a given phone system, they have to try thousands of combinations. When they find one that’s active, they hack the password and gain full access to phone service, voicemail, and any other services available to an authorized user.

This invasion can be stopped, however.

Data102’s Arsenal of Mitigation

At Data102, we have an array of monitors and controls in place to keep your VoIP system fully functional and free of unwanted traffic. We monitor invites, and when something suspicious is suspected, our controls will automatically lock down the IPs to keep your phones safe. These monitors can be checked in real time and take automatic action when necessary.

When hackers are trying to break in, speed is vital. A third party IT company could take hours to respond to the issue, if they catch it at all. At Data102, our controls ensure that attacks will be prevented so you aren’t left trying to pick up the pieces after the fact.

Contact us to learn more about the security measures we have in place to keep all of our clients’ data safe.

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Even More Redundancy with Uninterrupted Power Supplies

Uninterrupted-Power-SuppliesAbove all else, the job of a datacenter is to keep servers powered at all times, regardless of external complications caused by public utilities, weather, hardware malfunctions, or other unforeseeable interruptions.

Every aspect of the power infrastructure at Data102 is backed up by redundant, monitored systems that ensure your servers stay up at all times. One of the primary systems we have in place is an uninterrupted power supply.

How UPSs Keep Our Servers Running

Every strip delivering power to the servers in our cabinets is connected to an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). These UPS units monitor the power coming from Colorado Springs Utilities, convert the electricity coming in from AC to DC, and charge the battery banks, after which the power is converted back to AC.  This process cleans up the power, removing power spikes or dips before it is delivered to our clients.

The UPS also protects against brownouts—rolling reductions of power. When a brownout is detected, the UPS supplements the power coming in with in-house batteries. If a more serious power outage occurs, the UPS will switch to backup generators almost instantaneously.

The monitor also provides reports and controls for our technicians. The UPS will notify us of any number of issues including brownouts, site transformer problems, or any other power inconsistency or outage. The controls then switch to the backup power systems to keep everything humming.

The Power of Redundant Power Supplies

Data102 is southern Colorado’s leading colocation and managed service solution because of our redundant power supply systems, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and superior technical support. Don’t put the productivity, revenue, and reputation of your company in jeopardy. Entrust your servers to a datacenter that has a proven record of service and 99.9% uptime. Give us a call to learn more about our datacenter and the services we offer.

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Power Protection

Datacenter power protection

power protectionStrong monitoring and redundancy systems are vital for datacenters because our job is to keep your servers safe, efficient, and, above all, running. While there are many layers of redundancy and advanced monitoring systems throughout the datacenter, perhaps the most important are those of the electrical system.

Power loss, power spikes, and inefficiencies can all lead to major problems. Thanks to our redundant power system and end of row PDUs, Data102 has you protected.

End of Row PDUs
Power distribution units (PDUs) are used at the end of each row of cabinets to monitor the electrical systems and deliver power. These PDUs deliver power via overhead power cables, which travel through designated ladder racks and power troughs above each cabinet. Once the appropriate cabinet is reached, the power is delivered to redundant vertical power strips, which in turn power the servers. The end of row PDUs are connected to Data102’s UPS (battery banks and generators), ensuring no loss of power or interruption of service to our client’s equipment.

The functionality of end of row PDUs allows our technician to carefully monitor the power usage of each breaker delivering power to the power strips in every cabinet. The PDUs also allow Data102 technicians to balance the electrical load per power leg, helping to prevent wasted power and additional heat. This balance is performed during the initial installation of our client’s equipment. End of row PDUs report on usage and other details about each active circuit to our clients, as well as the power delivered from our UPS. These reports allow Data102 to watch for potential power issues.

In addition to just delivering power, PDUs are more efficient than breaker panels. They monitor and alert us to unsafe conditions and are safer and more secure than traditional panels. We have multiple PDUs running on each floor of our Colorado Springs datacenter to ensure true redundancy in power delivery.

Southern Colorado’s Leading Datacenter

Data102 takes the safety and efficiency of your servers seriously, which is why we have put in so many layers of protection and redundancy. We view each server colocated in our datacenter like it’s our own and do everything possible to keep your servers active 100% of the time. Come take a tour of our datacenter to see the systems we’ve put in place to provide superior colocation and managed hosting services.

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The Power Is In Your Hands With PDUs

PowerIf you’ve ever tripped a breaker and lost power at your home, you know how disruptive it can be. However, once you’ve found your breaker and restored power, the inconvenience is generally over. With expensive electronics—like servers—drawing too much power can be much more problematic.

Powering a server is not as simple as plugging the cord into an outlet. While servers do use standard plugs, they draw a lot of power. When grouped together on a single circuit, the amperage can shoot through the roof. Without proper monitoring and controls, elevated power use may trip the breaker, fry the power strip, or even damage or destroy your servers. In some cases, a power strip may be pulling too much power but not enough to trip the breaker, which can lead to serious hardware problems. No matter what the cause, offline servers could lead to missed sales and internal disruption for your employees.

Fortunately, Data102 offers Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to keep your servers safe.

PDU Options
Every client purchasing colocation space from Data102 is given the option to lease two 24-outlet APC power strips. This A/B redundancy ensures that the any single power failure will not affect your duel fed equipment. However, the basic models do not provide any information about power usage. For that Data102 offers two systems that provide added levels of information and control:

  • Metered PDU — A metered PDU includes an LED monitor that displays the power usage of the whole unit. These reports will indicate if the PDU is drawing too much power overall. From this your technical support staff will then have a better idea of how to address any issue that may arise.
  • Switched Rack PDU — The most advanced option is a switched rack PDU. These units monitor and control each outlet individually. This level of granularity provides detailed information on all power usage throughout the strip. Additionally outlets may be remotely power cycled, saving your IT staff a lot of time and hassle.
    Power Solutions from Data102
    The technical support staff at Data102 has years of experience with server maintenance and safety. We have seen firsthand the consequences of ignoring server power usage. Don’t put your servers at risk. Contact us today about to find out more about PDUs and what Data102 can do to protect your equipment and your business.
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