We’ve had a few people ask us exactly what we were doing in our recent scheduled downtime sessions during April, so here we are:
New Datacentre Facilities
The main bulk of the time has been spent moving the majority of our servers from our current point-of-presence (PoP) at Interxion in central London to our new PoP at London Hosting Centre in the Docklands area. There are a number of reasons for this move, which we weighed up very carefully with the inconvenience that would be caused to you:
- Inability to get extra power to our racks – we were running them half empty as we could not get extra power without moving our equipment to a different part of the building.
- A change in focus for Interxion – they are moving towards fewer, much larger corporate customers.
- Above market rate pricing – year on year we have absorbed price increases, unfortunately the latest price increase we would have had to have passed on and would have resulted in prices rises of between 15-25% for you, this is not something we would have been happy doing and something a number of you told us you wouldn’t want to pay.
When we weighed up these 3 main factors we took the decision to find alternative facilities to run our services from, we are confident we have made the correct choice of facilities. We have always set out to work with partners for the long term, working as we did with Interxion for over 7 years.
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed a plural in the above statements, that we have chosen facilities to work with, not just a facility. Our network and services are now present in 3 geographically diverse datacentres, along with London Hosting Centre we have setup PoPs in:
We are now present in Manchester, with our first services planned to go live during May (more of which below). We take network connectivity in Manchester from two providers, as well as having a gigabit link between Manchester and London.
We also have a presence in the Sentrum IV facility in Woking. This is a highly secure, Tier III+ facility providing excellent options for customers who need to be outside of London, but not so far outside that it causes them major travel problems.
A major part of our work has been to upgrade our network so that it is now Juniper powered in the core and distribution layers. For LHC this means using the latest Juniper MX80 3D line of routers and EX4200 switches. For Manchester this means Juniper J-Series routers and EX4200 switches. Woking is currently connected via diverse Layer-2 services back to LHC for routing – as any network connectivity in to the building is predominantly back-hauled to London first anyway, so it would currently serve no purpose carrying out routing from there.
As time passes, the needs of the facilities change and traffic levels increase we will be reviewing the equipment used at each facility, with the plan being to bring them all in-line with each other utilising the Juniper MX 3D series of routers.
Gigabit for all
During the move to LHC we took the opportunity to replace the last of our 10/100 switches and replaced them all with new 48 port Gigabit capable switches – all existing customers will now find they are connected to our network with a Gigabit port if their equipment supports it – a free upgrade that many providers charge monthly for!
A major driver in replacing all of our routers has been IPv6, it is something that has been long overdue in its implementation on our network and will be formally rolled out in June. Unfortunately many software vendors still aren’t supporting IPv6, so this does mean that for some services we still won’t be able to support IPv6 – unfortunately one of those vendors is cPanel, so for the time being our shared business hosting still won’t support IPv6. This is something we are putting pressure (along with many other companies) on cPanel to implement as soon as possible.
We’ve increased our public Internet facing network connectivity by 100% in anticipation of take-up on our new services and also to match ever increasing broadband speeds.
We’ve got a couple of new products on the way in May, as well as making some changes to the way we do certain things – but you’ll have to come back later to find out about those :)