London Datacentre Planned Relocation
We plan to move all of our setup to a new London datacentre this month. This move affects all customers and this update contains important info about the move. All of our kit will be moved out of Telecity / Redbus Sovereign House. The new datacentre is less than a mile away at Greenwich.
This move is due to a number of serious events that have taken place during the last year. These serious events are set to continue into the future with Redbus.
Why relocate to another datacentre?
1. Telecity / Redbus merger.
With the merge of Telecity and Redbus this has brought big price increases (approx 400%) plus a reduction in service. On site engineer numbers have been scaled down leading to long waits when remote hands are required. With Telecity continuing to expand another round of price increases and staff reductions are expected. Telecity Redbus are also unwilling to commit to contract terms longer than a few months which is not ideal for long term business planning.
2. Space for growth.
Existing Redbus London Datacentre sites are almost full and additional space is at a minimum. Any space that is available is priced extremely high since the merger. This makes it impossible for us to continue to grow without passing on price increases to our own clients. Up to now we have soaked up the increase in our costs but with this set to continue we’re unable to absorb the increases without taking action. In order to continue growing we need to be able to secure additional space. Avoiding 6 or 12 month waiting lists or having to spread our equipment between different buildings.
3. Electrical Power.
They have also introduced new power policies for the amount of power that can be configured per rack. This has resulted in us not being able to get anywhere near to the ideal capacity of a colocation rack. The latest limit per rack at Telecity Redbus is 8 amps which is enough to power approx 10 servers. (This is in a full rack capacble of physically housing 40 1U machines). At the new facility all racks will have 16 amp as standard with further upgrade options. This will allow us to continue getting the most from our colocation rackspace.
If we stay at Redbus datacentre we would be paying 3-4 times more per colocated rack. With 3 times less servers per rack and decreasing remote hands coverage. Combined with the low contract times, prices could increase and policies change for the worse (as we have seen several times within the last year) at any point.
At this point I wish to stress that this decision is not solely based on our costs. We have always focussed our own services on high quality and have the same in mind when seeking our own upstream providers but to continue at Redbus it would be impossible to continue offering the same quality and the same prices and we would have no option but to increase prices which is something we are keen to avoid.
When is the move happening?
All London Datacentre equipment will be moved on the nights of the 17th and 18th November 2006. The work will be done in ‘batches’ whereby the equipment will be split and done in different stages. We will ensure one batch is fully functional at the new facility before starting on the next. The first batch of each night will start at 11pm and 2.5 hours is scheduled for each batch to be completed before the next will be started with the last batch of each night ending at 5am.
Please note that 2.5 hours downtime per batch is the absolute maximum limit. If all goes to plan downtime shouldn’t exceed half of this amount. At this point we do not have specific schedules for each server and this information will be provided closer to the time. All clients should subscribe to our helpdesk announcements to be kept informed of the specific times and batch information.
How will it be done?
A specialist server relocation company is being brought in to handle the moving of equipment. There will be a 13-man team of qualified technicians on site performing the move. They take care of power downs, packing (all equipment will be packed in bubblewrap), moving and everything else associated with the work.
This company has years of experience in work like this and have performed many successful moves for companies such as Barclays. We know there have been some high profile datacentre moves at other web hosting companies going wrong. Those involved a lot more downtime than planned, damaged equipment and things of this nature.
We would like to assure everyone that all measures have been taken to ensure that absolutely everything goes to plan with our move.A great deal of data centre migrations happen without any kind of problem but generally we don’t get to hear about these as they aren’t as news worthy :)
What is the new datacentre like?
The physical infrastructure in the new datacentre is better than the current facilities at Telecity Redbus. There will be absolutely zero drop in facility standard (actually the opposite). In addition, the new facility has the provisons for building solid brick walls around certain areas of the data floor for additional security (and heat protection) as opposed to Redbus where metal cages are used instead. Along with the solid walls between suites, the new facility allows for dedicated air conditioning and fire detection/suppresion equipment per block. This means that we will not be solely reliant on the data centre’s facilities in this area.
Will servers be required to move again in future?
No. A big part in this is the fact that multi-year, fixed price contracts are now an option which allows for long term planning and security. The situation at Redbus is such that contracts longer than 3 months are not possible which allows for a whole series of short notice price increases into the future.
Will the network change?
We are not making any changes to the network in any way, apart from the physical location of the equipment. The same bandwidth providers, equipment, IP addresses and everything else will continue to be used. The excellent network uptime we have experienced since day one will continue into the future.
Both the new facility and Redbus, are carrier neutral. This means that those colocating in the buildings handle their own network without this being provided by the building. This effectively means that a provider in one cage will have a completely different network setup (and often quality) than a different provider just a few metres away. Therefore the building a company has servers in (when dealing with carrier neutral facilities) has absolutely no bearing on the quality of network of that company. With our high quality network providing high uptime so far, this will continue at the new facility with no change.
Will there be any changes in performance after the move?
The only performance changes are good ones due to us being able to continue growth with the same high quality we have provided so far. Without this update and the downtime involved, nobody would know this work has been done. Our servers are all staying the same, network unchanged, traceroutes identical, etc.
We hope that the info in this notice has helped anyone worried by the words “datacentre move”? We can assure everyone that this is a positive step forward in our continuing provision and growth of high quality hosting services.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.
Our planned move was finished last night with our last server coming back online just after 4am sunday morning. Everything went according to plan and we stayed within our maximum allocated downtime estimate on both nights.