Disaster Recovery   Latest 0 comments on 3 Ways FIBERTOWN Prepares Customers for Possible Blackouts

3 Ways FIBERTOWN Prepares Customers for Possible Blackouts

Due to the scorcher in Texas this summer, people and businesses have faced water and energy restrictions.

Hot temperatures place a strain on the electric grid, and electricity issues, in turn, affect your computer hardware. And when servers are interrupted, business comes to a halt.

In this article, we outline three ways FIBERTOWN helps businesses stay running, even when facing hot temperatures and rolling blackouts.

FIBERTOWN Offers Redundant Power and Cooling

FIBERTOWN is a one-stop shop, a single-source solution. We’re a data center with two locations – Houston and Bryan, Texas. And as a data center, we provide redundant power, cooling, and connectivity. With redundancy, you have a backup plan. And that means your business is not vulnerable when rolling (or unexpected!) blackouts occur.

In July 2022, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (or ERCOT) issued warnings of rolling blackouts expected for many Texans. The power grid was under strain. To prevent rolling blackouts from being necessary, though, the Council first asked citizens to not use large appliances between 2:00 and 9:00 pm and to adjust thermostats to 78 degrees on specified days.

Fortunately, these preventive measures conserved enough energy to make the rolling blackouts unnecessary (for now). But an important question remains –  How would a rolling or unexpected blackout affect your business?

At FIBERTOWN, both data centers are equipped with a concurrently maintainable cooling configuration so the cooling system is always available. As for power, we have concurrently maintainable, redundant power as well, plus generators onsite.

While others are stressed about possible power outages, our customers are not.

Disaster Recovery Means Preparedness for You 

We’re not just a data center. We’re a “disaster recovery and business continuity office space.”

At FIBERTOWN, we provide 100% uptime for business-critical systems, and that means fewer effects on your business in case of a disaster. And whether power outages are planned or are a result of disasters, our disaster recovery (DR) clients have access to a range of options. We can be your primary and secondary site, only secondary site, hot or tape backup and highly available (HA) failover. Plus, we have office space ready for your team to work if your location is without electricity.

Staying Connected

Another major concern with blackouts is network connectivity. Relying on only one provider to keep you connected may result in you being down during maintenance or an outage. FIBERTOWN offers our blended bandwidth.

This way, no matter what’s occurring with one or two carriers, you’re still connected. Furthermore, our multiple carriers enter our building via numerous points of entry. It’s redundancy on top of redundancy. And that’s the FIBERTOWN way.

FIBERTOWN Can Help

We want you cool-headed during blackouts and/or disasters. With our redundant systems, we ensure power, cooling, and connectivity for our clients. And this means business as usual for you…no matter the temperatures outside.

We’d love to tell you more about our services at FIBERTOWN. Complete this form to start the conversation.
Data Center   Disaster Recovery   Latest 0 comments on 3 Reasons Why Colocation Services are a Better Choice than On-Premise Data Centers

3 Reasons Why Colocation Services are a Better Choice than On-Premise Data Centers

Perhaps this is a strange start to a data center article. But consider these questions – If you had an aching foot, would you rather see a podiatrist or a general practitioner?

 If your vintage car no longer ran, would you rather a mechanic well versed in 30-year-old engines or a general mechanic?

 If you were running a marathon, would you rather shoes designed for distance running or just any pair in your closet?

 Most of us would choose the first option in each one. We would want the specialist.

And the “specialist” mentality is how we approach this next question – Should a business invest in colocation services OR build and maintain its own on-premise data center?

At FIBERTOWN, we’re experts at colocation. It’s our business. It’s our focus. We do it every day. All day.

And because of this laser focus, we’re effective. Unlike a company that’s pulled in lots of directions while building, staffing, and maintaining its own data center.

Below are 3 reasons why you should choose FIBERTOWN’s colocation services.

Reason 1 – Infrastructure is Ready to Go

Ease is the first reason you should invest in colocation services. On average, it takes 6 months to build an on-premise, or “on-prem,” data center. To build requires a specialized architect or engineer because of the redundancy needed for power, cooling, and connectivity. Any single point of failure can cause all of the other redundancies to be ineffective.

And of course, the cost of building, in general, has increased. But for materials and systems specific to a data center, these costs have been rising for the last 3-5 years. It is now 10 times the cost per square foot to build a data center compared to a standard office building. So, a low estimate comes to about $1,000 per square foot to build a data center.

We share these numbers to demonstrate the ease – the lack of hassle – you get when choosing colocation services over building an on-premise data center for your company. Even if time (or money) wasn’t an issue, what about the building know-how.

For example, redundant power (or multiple sources of power) requires different substations, plus generators, switchgear, and battery backup. These must be considered in the planning phase as they are very difficult to correct retroactively.

Redundant cooling doesn’t just happen either. Not only do you need enough chillers to cool your gear, but what if one breaks down and needs repair? Will you have an extra one ready to keep your gear cool while the other is being fixed? It gets VERY hot, VERY fast if the cooling fails.

And like power and cooling, redundant connectivity requires specialized engineering from the onset. A few questions to consider: Do you have more than one Internet Service Provider (ISP) coming into your building? Are those ISPs entering your building at different areas? Do they travel diverse paths directly outside of your building?

All of the specifics about power, cooling, and connectivity are already done at FIBERTOWN’s two data centers. The infrastructure is ready to go, and that makes it easy for you.

Reason 2 – Cost Efficiency

Utilizing the ready-to-go, state-of-the-art infrastructures at our colocation centers in Houston, Texas and Bryan, Texas is cost-effective for your company. (With the numbers we shared above – average time to build, cost per square foot, etc. – we’ve already hinted at this second reason.)

Contrary to an on-premise data center, a colocation center houses the servers and computer hardware of multiple businesses. This shared location also leads to shared expenses. Or, as we like to point out, cost efficiency for your company.

Multiple businesses share the cost to maintain redundancies within the facility (i.e., generators, cooling systems, and connectivity providers). THIS SHARING is what makes co-location work. Because without it, your company builds the center and then hires the people needed to maintain it.

For example, you need a team to run the generators every week, plus conduct load tests monthly. Parts will need to be fixed. Someone will need to plan for replacing equipment, as every piece has a shelf life. Within 5-10 years, most equipment will need to be repaired or replaced. The people and the parts cost money.

Oh, we also should mention insurance on the building, fire systems, utilities cost, and much more.

The good news, though – colocation services already factor in all of these costs and provide the needed services. The even better news – the costs are shared across all of the companies housed at a colocation center. And the best news, yet – a team of experts work at each FIBERTOWN facility. So, you’re not hiring your own data center team and determining health benefits, salaries, and vacation plans (so that someone is always working, which is imperative for a data center).

Simply put, building, maintaining, and staffing a data center is costly. Sharing a facility already equipped with experts and equipment is a cost-effective option for your company.

Reason 3 – Disaster WILL Strike, Not If 

Disaster recovery is an important reason for investing in colocation services. At FIBERTOWN’s facilities in Houston and Bryan, Texas, we have backup generators onsite, plus an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). We have N+1 or greater cooling redundancy and house servers in a hot-cold aisle layout. And that’s just for starters!

Our facilities are strategically located away from tornado alley and the Gulf Coast to prevent as much storm damage as possible. BUT, we’re near major highways for easy access and located outside of the flood plain.

Our two buildings were constructed to withstand strong winds, and our equipment is tied to the roof to keep it from lifting off the building in 100+ MPH winds. If antennas, cables, rods, and lights fly off, they can easily penetrate other equipment, leaving a large path of damage.

There’s also temperatures to consider.

We know it’s hot right now (over 100 degrees in Texas in July!). And our chillers are keeping things cool. But, will your on-premise data center run without fail during the cold, like in Winter Storm Uri? Will your generator be ready when the utility power shuts off for extended periods of time? Will your generator fuel line freeze up because you weren’t prepared for temperatures that cold for so long? Will you run out of fuel because you don’t have priority or because roads are iced over? How large is your fuel tank? Will it hold the load for 24 hours or longer?

All of these questions must be considered.

But also note, people often use “major disasters” as a reason for using data centers. BUT, what if a hard drive fails in the middle of the night? That’s a simple fix. Without a designated night team, though, no one notices for some time. That’s where our 24x7x365 on-site staff comes in for the win.

Will you have someone available 24x7x365? Rather than hiring someone to be there when this occurs, use FIBERTOWN’s on-site staff. (And simple hard drive swaps are completely free. Even at 3AM.)

It’s not a question of if a disaster will strike; it’s when. So, be prepared. Our colocation centers are ready for you.

At FIBERTOWN, We Specialize in Data Centers

Data centers are what we do. We don’t buy and sell stocks or fix broken bones. We make sure your computer hardware stays up…so your business continues to run. We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and we’ll keep doing it for another 25 (and hopefully more!).  

At FIBERTOWN, we’re staffed with experts. Our two facilities are fitted with the latest equipment and security to keep your servers and hardware safe and running. This is our specialty.

Reach out if you want to talk with us about colocation services. We’d love to speak with you. Use this form to start the conversation.

Data Center   Disaster Recovery   Latest 0 comments on Is Your Data Center Ready this Hurricane Season?

Is Your Data Center Ready this Hurricane Season?

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season for regions on the Atlantic Ocean. And not to be an alarmist, but meteorologists are predicting 2022 to be a busier than normal hurricane season.

While human safety is the most important issue, data protection is critical. After all, functioning data systems help keep people safe and assist them in returning to normal life after weather events.

Now is the time to be considering data protection, specifically a data center, in preparation for hurricane season.

Use the questions below to guide your search for a data center or to evaluate the readiness of your current one.

How strong is the data center?  

This is an obvious consideration. More questions are listed below to determine the building’s strength and its likelihood for being affected directly by a hurricane or its aftermath.

-Is the data center located in a flood zone? And the best scenario – It’s located outside of a 500-year floodplain.

-Has the data center always been accessible by vehicles in previous weather events?

-Is it deemed “storm-hardened”?

-Is the roof wind rated? If so, what is the rating?

-Are the windows covered with a blast guard window film?

After all, if the building is no longer standing or not accessible by vehicle after a weather event, it’s failed to serve its purpose – to keep business moving forward, even in tough conditions.

What about continued service for the data center during storms?  

Colocation services allow companies to store their private servers and equipment in an off-site location for a monthly fee. This solution is cost-effective for businesses, as on-premise data centers are expensive to build, staff and maintain, and they provide no distance from a weather event affecting the parent company.

But, clients like you want to know that your colocation services at a data center will continue even with a hurricane bearing down on the Texas coast.

Here are some questions to ask to ensure likely service.

-What is the data center’s uptime service level agreement (SLA)? Word of caution, many centers offer 100% uptime. However, in the fine print, you’ll often find that they’re reliant on insurance policies to offset any failings. You want a data center that provides 100% uptime due to its infrastructure, not its willingness to pay you if something fails.

-Does the data center offer redundancy and concurrency for power, connectivity, and cooling? In layman’s terms, does the data center utilize multiple components and pathways so failures in equipment don’t derail data protection?

-Is blended internet used?

-Are backup generators ready and on-premise?

-Does the data center ensure full power for at least 24 hours for the whole facility?

-Is there access to backup fuel? Is it on standby or on-premise?

-Is the data center’s cooling system dependent on cooling towers linked to public utilities? Best case scenario – Its cooling system is not reliant on public works.

-Does your data center use standby equipment in a lead or lag rotation? This routine ensures backup equipment is operable when needed.

Is a human available onsite to assist my team during a storm?

You’ll want to hear a “Yes” to this question. Below are others to ask to further confirm human assistance during a crisis.

-Does your data center staff employees on-site24/7?

-What is the process for seeking assistance? Is a support ticket required? If so, who addresses the ticket? During a crisis, does this process for assistance look different? If so, how is it different during an emergency? 

-Does the data center personnel routinely check lights and cables, rack equipment delivered to the center, and replace faulty or old hardware?

-Does the data center team prepare the area for my group’s arrival during an emergency event? Set up office space? Provide food and drink?

Is there office space for us at the data center or nearby? 

For business to continue as usual during a horrific weather event, workers must have a viable space to work – a place with power and access to the company’s data.  

The questions below will help ensure a business continuity plan for your team.

-How far is the data center or the affiliated office space from the company’s home base? Ideally, the drive should only be a few hours, and the “office space” should be located on major roads with food and lodging options.

-If the workspace is not adjoining the data center, how resilient is that office building? (Many of the questions in the first two sections of this article are relevant here.)

-Does the contract with the data center include assistance with setting up workspace during a time of crisis?  

What about entrance into the data center during an emergency?

You want to know, in advance of a crisis, how your team can physically access equipment inside the data center. Ask the questions below to learn more about a data center’s security plan.  

-Can the data center grant entrance using biometrics or an access card? Preferably, you want multi-factor authorization as well.

-Does the data center maintain an up-to-date list of approved employees who can access equipment there?

-Are data center personnel trained for how to grant access (or remove it) during a crisis?

-Are security guards employed by the data center 24/7?

Has the data center “withstood the test of time”…and storms?  

Yes, we know new data centers are popping up every day. And many of them are great options. But, you’re not wrong to ask about any storms a data center has already weathered.

-When was this data center built?

-What storms has this data center already weathered? How did it fair during the storm(s)?

-Will you share some references/companies who rode out the storm with your data center?

-Can you quickly boost bandwidth, etc. and then do the paperwork? Basically, you want to know how much red tape is in the way of protecting your data in an emergency situation and for business to continue on.

FIBERTOWN Has Answers to Your Data Center Questions

We wrote this article to help you prepare for hurricane season. Plus, we’re confident in our answers to the questions above. Hurricane season, middle of the winter, or on a sunny Tuesday in the middle of October – we’re ready to answer them.

If you’re looking for a data center or unhappy with your current contract with a data center, we should talk. With hurricane season beginning soon, now is the time.

 

NOTE:

This article is an addition to one we published in July 2020. Read our original article 7 Key Questions to Ensure Your Data Center is Hurricane Resistant for more insight into protecting your data and, ultimately, your business during hurricane season.

Data Center   Megaport 0 comments on FIBERTOWN Keeps You Connected with Blended Internet, Cross Connects and Megaport

FIBERTOWN Keeps You Connected with Blended Internet, Cross Connects and Megaport

Do you remember the cell phone commercials from the early 2000s, “Can you hear me now?” The actor traversed insane environments (high snowdrifts, torrential rain, skyscrapers, etc.) while talking on the phone, and every time, he stayed connected. He never lost phone signal.

The premise of the commercials was simple – If you’re our customer, your calls won’t drop. We keep you connected.

At FIBERTOWN data centers, we keep you connected too. And similar to those old commercials, we do so during insane events – hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and more.

In this article, we’re sharing three ways we make sure you never lose network connection and always have access to your data…fast.

Blended Internet – What is it? Why is it important?

Blended internet is like the phrase suggests. It blends, combines, and brings together multiple internet providers into a single service for the data center customer. As a FIBERTOWN client, you don’t have access only to AT&T, for example, but to AT&T, Cogent, Comcast, Lumen, and more. See here for a list of our internet providers.

Blended internet is an important option for several reasons. First, it’s more time effective and easier for the data center customer. We at FIBERTOWN manage the connectivity for you and provide one invoice for the billing cycle (i.e., you don’t receive bills from multiple providers). You have a single point of contact when you need help, saving you time and frustration.

Second, FIBERTOWN’s blended internet offers Smart Routing. FIBERTOWN’s Smart Routing factors, in real-time, latency, transit costs, jitter, and more to send your data the smartest (i.e., the most efficient) route. Blended internet typically moves traffic the shortest path so your data gets to its destination the fastest.

Third, blended internet offers you more reliability. Our data center already provides you with redundant power and cooling. But why stop there? Blended internet completes the redundancy trifecta, so you stay up while others are down. With multiple network providers at your service, failover is already configured. This also means you no longer need to buy a backup internet circuit.

In summary, due to our strong partnerships with internet service providers (ISPs), FIBERTOWN offers blended internet that gives you peace of mind. Failover configurations, redundancy, and faster routing are just some of the advantages.

Cross Connects – What are they? How are they useful?

Do you remember in the early days when we actually plugged into the internet? We used an Ethernet cord to attach our device to the phone line in the wall where the internet lived. For the time we were plugged in, we had internet, 56Kbps internet, and it was glorious.

Cross connects in a data center are like the early days of the internet (but more sophisticated, obviously). Cross connects use cables like Ethernet or Fiber Optic to connect one unit to another unit in a data center. You may see it described as a “point to point connection.” A common example is when trading companies utilize cross-connects between servers in a data center to ensure trades are made quickly.

Cross connects are beneficial for a variety of reasons. Two of the most apparent are reliability and fast traffic. With a hardwired connection, the only variables are the connection points. Cross connects are not subject to wireless traffic congestion, which reduces latency and improves data security.

Megaport – What is it? Why is it important?

Megaport is similar to what the word implies – a port that offers big capabilities. Megaport, through a single gateway, gives customers access to cloud services like AWS, Office 365, Oracle, Google, and many more. Essentially, Megaport does the complex tasks like housing ports worldwide and performing maintenance, while you enter the global cloud simply through a single port.

At FIBERTOWN, we’re proud Megaport providers. Through our partnership, we offer your business cloud connectivity that is fast, agile, and scalable. You are able to contract it through us to avoid more contracts and invoices. Let Fibertown be your pass-through and enjoy the same service for the same price without having to read and sign more legal documents!

Advantages to Megaport include a fast spin up, reduced latency, more secure data, and cost-effectiveness. (You pay for your port on your FIBERTOWN billing cycle, meaning you do not sign a contract with Megaport.)

FIBERTOWN customers enjoy redundancy and reliability for cloud services without the hassle of cloud maintenance and complicated billing. Megaport makes cloud connectivity easy. We and our customers like that.

Why Choose FIBERTOWN

“Can you hear me now?” was a popular phrase in the early 2000s because of the phone commercial. And the premise is still an important one for businesses. Without connectivity, customers are not served because data is compromised or is moving so slowly that it’s not useful.

FIBERTOWN data centers in Houston, Texas, and Bryan/College Station, Texas provide customers with reliable connections. Through blended internet, cross-connects, and Megaport, we keep you connected and business moving forward.

To learn more information about these offerings and how they’re beneficial for your business, contact us.