A Look Inside Steadfast Networks
December 10th, 2009
I apologize for the delay here, but I've been quite busy lately and haven't had time to put together another data center update for our new site at 725 S Wells, here in Chicago.
This is the data from the report on Friday, Dec. 4:
7th Floor Construction Progress Summary:
Demolition: VCT tile, interior doors and Break Room cabinets removed, carpet removal in-progress.
8th Floor Construction Progress Summary:
Demolition: Overall space cleaned of debris. Bathroom demo complete except for plumbing. Existing HVAC units removed except for one on the North side. This will kept for temp heating. Suite entrance wall, doors and glass block window demolition in-progress.
Painting: Concrete slab ceiling – removal of loose paint in-progress in preparation of painting.
Since then, all demolition has been completed, walls on the 7th floor are being prepared for painting and floors prepared for tile. On the 8th floor, the ceiling has been prepared and painted and a final coating is being put on the concrete floors to smooth them out and to make them more durable. Things are really progressing nicely at this point.
Here is a PDF with some pictures from Dec. 4th: http://steadfast.net/images/dec4progress.pdf
November 23rd, 2009
We had finally finished configuration of our Any2 California router and circuits on Friday and today have turned up our first peers at that location. Any2 is one of the larger Internet exchanged in the US, with roughly 200 members, and extends between multiple Coresite owned facilities throughout California, including 55 S Market in San Jose, where our POP is, and One Wilshire in Los Angeles. This peering point should allow us to further extend our network reach, especially in the Southwestern US, Asia, and Australia, and increasing overall network performance to users in those regions.
One day in, we already have several peering sessions turned up, including sessions to Los Nettos, the network provider for USC, the California Insitute of Technology, and other education/research institutions in the Los Angeles area, Atlantic Metro Communications, a nationwide network service provider that we already peer with in Chicago and New York, Ygnition, a privately owned cable television, phone, and Internet provider, GTA Teleguam, a full service communications company based in Guam, and Transtelco, a telecommunications provider in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. There are several sessions with other smaller providers as well. We feel we're off to a good start and look to add dozens of new peering partners over the coming weeks.
If you are looking to peer with Steadfast Networks at any of our many peering points, ChIX, Equinix Chicago, Equinix Ashburn, NYIIX, PAIX New York, PAIX Palo Alto, Any2 California, LINX, and AMS-IX, please look over our peering policy.
November 20th, 2009
Around January 1, we will be replacing our 10 GIgE circuit to Savvis in Chicago with a 10 GigE circuit to NTT in each Palo Alto, Chicago, and New York. This will increase our overall network capacity and scope, improving service out of our new POPs. This decision is also being made to improve overall network performance globally. There should be no major network outages/issues relating to this change.
We have been using Savvis ever since we opened our dedicated server and colocation operations back in 2004. THis is not a decision we are taking lightly, but over time, we have simply seen a lack of overall network improvement and growth. Savvis target seems to be largely on the data center side, where they compete with us, and in gaining financial and enterprise transport business, which does not help us as far as network reach. In addition, Savvis' network outside of the US has been relatively weak and does not seem to be getting any stronger.
On the other hand, we have been watching the continued growth of NTT while they increase their overall network reach, as is demonstrated by the Knodes index: http://www.fixedorbit.com/metrics.htm. Being a Japanese based copmpany, they have a significant Asian network, and with the Verio roots there is also significant US and European infrastructure. According to representatives at NTT, they also plan to make a push into South America, helping us to connect with those emerging markets.
This change will result in various route changes and I am certain some of you may see slightly increased latency, though based on our own measurements the improvements we see should far outweight the negatives.
November 5th, 2009
We are in the process of changing VoIP providers for our sales/support services. As a part of this change, we are also improving the reach of our phone support services. Now, our toll-free number 888-281-9449 will work from both the US and Canada, instead of just the US. These changes are also noted on the Contact Us page of our web site. We have also added a new number for our UK customers (44)2033181415, which should help reduce their long distance bills. Hopefully these changes will make things easier on our Canadian and UK based customers. If you experience any issues with the new number or the new VoIP provider/system please contact us and we will work to resolve those issues promptly.
If we have further demand to add more international numbers, we will do our best to meet everyone's needs. We are only looking to extend coverage to countries where the primary language spoken is English, as we currently only offer support in English and do not want to mislead potential customers into thinking we offer support in other languages.
October 29th, 2009
Not much has changed at the site so far. The finishing touches are getting put on the architectural drawings, we're waiting on permits, and demolition should be beginning next week. I do have some updates as to some final decisions we have made though.
1) We will be using 20" raised floors. Under the raised flooring we will simply have chilled water, water sensors, etc. so it will be clear for the airflow from the HVAC units.
2) For cooling, we will be using chilled water provided by the building along with a set of four 70 ton HVAC units, giving us N+1 redundancy. We will also be using an air side economizer to draw in filtered outside air during the cooler months, of which we have many here in Chicago. Combined with the building's economizers on the chilled water side, our overall energy consumption should be greatly reduced, giving us a greener and more sustainable facility.
3) Power in the facility will be backed by an N+1 redundant UPS system over a single bus, unlike 350 E Cermak where we have a single UPS system on each an A feed and a B feed. We have found that most customers do not dual-cord their equipment, so this configuration offers greater redundancy to that single corded equipment. There will also be, of course, generator back-up.
4) We will be using an IDF on each floor and installing patch panels in each cabinet by default, with 4 or more pre-run cables. This will then allow us to do all cross connects easily and quickly with a single patch cable in the IDF. This should speed up deployment of any cross connects internal to the facility.
5) We will be using a Starline bus-bar system for power delivery. This system will allow us to offer customers with greater flexibility, as we will not need to wait for electricians to install additional power circuits. Our own staff would be able to easily and quickly install whatever voltage and amperage you may need on a circuit, decreasing install costs and improving turn-up times. In addition, the Starline system will allow us to easily monitor each individual feed remotely and using automated systems, improving overall monitoring and thus reliability.
Also, last time I went through I was able to get significantly better pictures and from what I've just said above, you can tell there are going to be significant changes to this space over the next several months.
Here is a good overall view of where the raised floor space will be. The main entry is directly to the left, the area that is going to be used as the mechanical room and IDF is right past that along the left, then behind that even further is the freight elevator and the bathrooms. Behind where this picture is looking would be where our office space will be.
This next picture should give you an idea of the primary office space. The walls straight ahead are going to be taken down, and the office space will be along the full front of the building, back to the first pillar. Directly behind where this picture was taken is the space for the conference room. Overall, it is significantly more office space than we're working with currently, with actual windows to the outside as well!
Then here is something I didn't show in the previous set of pictures, the 7th floor space. Our main data center and office is on the 8th floor, but we also have over 2,000 sq. ft. on the 7th floor. The space on the 7th floor has a kitchen, with room for some tables, etc. a storage room, and two rooms that can be used for overflow office pace or to allocate for customer office space. This is the kitchen section of that space, though all the cabinets and appliances are going to be getting replaced anyway.
If anyone has questions about our new data center space, don't hesitate to ask!