Migration: 1 Year Anniversary in Ohio!

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Migration- noun. Fleeing the coop for bigger, better things.

Migration- noun. Fleeing the coop for bigger, better things.

[Our design team was obviously too busy for this post.]

Moving

When I was a kid, if my mom had sat me down, looked me squarely in the eyes and said: “Son, we’re moving,” I would have been furious.  Firstly, because I’m female and it wouldn’t be the first time she called me “son” and secondly, because I hate moving.  I like getting to know my area, seeking out the best neighbors to spy on and knowing the full story behind why, for example, the squirrel in our backyard is courting a lawn gnome.

lunchables

In essence, moving for a child means being stuck with whatever Mom made.

To a child, moving means exchanging friends that would have willingly traded their superior lunch for your own if it meant 10 minutes on your Nintendo DS for new friends that wouldn’t trust your lunch even if came straight out of a factory-sealed Lunchables ™ box.

Worse, they don’t even know what you own yet, so how can you lunch-leverage?

This is kind of how we felt when we moved our data center from Hopkinsville, Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio almost exactly one year ago.  Except…in our adaptation, we were not planning on filling lawn gnomes with acorns to attract local squirrels and we certainly weren’t playing with anything “Nintendo” as servers and workstations took up most of our time (though our Mom’s were still probably making most of our lunches).

Actually, our move was not very much at all like what I just described, so I’m going to let everyone else describe it for you…I at least contributed the breathtakingly beautiful migration picture up top.

On the Move:

In the words of our CEO, Fathi Said: “This move made it possible for us to focus on what really matters: customer service.  Bandwidth and space restrictions have not been an issue since and we’re able to find highly talented staff in Columbus.  I am very pleased that we’re well in schedule for 2009…a year to bear many fruits of the same kind: service, service, service!”

Our VP of Systems Operations, Rick said the following: “Thankfully, our move brought us to Columbus, which is a very nice place with good people and many opportunities. I’m glad I made the move up along with IX. With a world class data center and lots of bandwidth connectivity available, I look forward to our continued growth and development.”

The always-friendly Chris Testerman (Director of Sales) had a lot more to say: “When I think of the move, the memories that stick out the most are of our team the night of the big move. I was working in the Kentucky office at the time and had signed up to come out in the middle of the night to do the worst thing imaginable. We were going to violate the sacred law. We had to unplug servers. Hand to hand we passed servers filled with family photos and private thoughts. This one probably held someone’s family business and that one could have stored the corporate brands of someone else. It just felt .. …. BIG. A year later, I’m excited about the big changes we’ve made and the bigger improvements we are working on for the future. Things that just wouldn’t have been possible without the move. I’m glad we’ve made the investment in our customers and ourselves. But what really gets me excited, what makes me glad to come into work everyday, is that sense of commitment to each other, and to each customer that I saw the night we all came together to move your servers.”

Tiberiu Ungureanu (affectionately known as “Tibi”) is a customer-favorite for his vast amount of knowledge and complete willingness to go above and beyond for each customer. He said of the move: “I already feel as though I am a pro at moving. Coming from Bucharest (Romania’s capital) to Kentucky was not an easy task. I had become accustomed to noise, insane traffic, plenty of people surrounding you at all times, the Romanian language…but Kentucky was a different kind of place. Just as I was getting used to my new home, we were told of the upcoming move to Columbus, Ohio. Honestly, I was pretty excited. Like any man, I like extremely fast, low-latency, zero packet-loss, totally amazing bandwidth served on a platter of redundant fiber-optic loops. Well, maybe these are not the wishes of “any” man, but they are certainly the wishes of any Senior Network Engineer who cares about his customers…and these were things that Columbus offered us.”

Thanks for reading! Keep the comments coming!

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We Don’t Want to Leave You in the Dark

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…like our night shift system administrators were on March 30th.

I should probably start this post by introducing you to our VP of Systems Operations, Rick. This is a person who is not only passionate about his job, but also highly intelligent and creative.

OK, enough of the positive. He’s a little crazy. His insanity does happen to be almost wholly attached to the safety of the data center (he’s a really cool guy otherwise), but that insanity is there and it is something worth poking fun at.

Super, High-Tech Tea and Coffee Station

Super-High-Tech Tea and Coffee Station

Danger: Tea and Coffee May Cost You More Here Than it Does at Starbucks

For example, when our team decided to create a coffee and tea station in the kitchen (it’s not even as elaborate as I just made it sound…see photo), Rick immediately felt the need to establish regulations. We are not allowed to leave the “station” until whatever process we initiated is complete, and then when it is complete, we must unplug every surrounding appliance. If we use the microwave, we must watch it like a hawk—watch it like that microwave could steal our livelihood at any moment. You know why? Because it can. At least, that’s what Rick thinks. Any of these appliances can start a fire, which could spread if our fire-suppression system doesn’t kick in, which could enable that fire to somehow reach the servers, which could melt our customer data, which could make our customers very angry with us, which would make us very angry with ourselves, which could sink our business.

All for a plate of bland, re-heated Chinese food.

If Rick is this way about appliances that lie hundreds of yards away from the actual servers, imagine how he careful he is about the servers themselves. Our data center is about as redundant as they come—millions of dollars went into making it this way.

Well, in the middle of the night on March the 30th, a power line went down in our corporate park. All buildings in the complex (from one end of Dividend Dr to the other) lost power. No problem, right? We have backup generators, backup batteries…we even have the energy Rick’s undying concern for the data center would provide if we could only find a way to harness it. Unfortunately, one branch of our backup setup failed (namely, a generator) and a good percentage of the machinery we need for operations was left powerless (namely, our network). Fortunately, our network was back up fairly rapidly (within minutes) and it didn’t take long for the servers to catch up.

For those of you that experienced outages, however short, we are unbelievably sorry. We were able to quickly return to status quo, but many of our customers still experienced downtime and we know that this is unacceptable. We are really, really sorry.

The issue that we had with the power loss is being investigated with the utmost priority because we don’t want anything like this happening again… and neither does Rick. I came late onto the scene (at about 2 AM, when the power had been long-restored and the servers were coming back up from their temporary, power-starvation induced sleep), but I knew Rick was still inside because his car was parked parallel to the building, nearly on the sidewalk entryway and I could still hear the echo of his tires screeching against pavement. When I got inside, the root of the problem had been taken care of, but we had another problem. Our main System Administrator/Network Engineer had clearly arrived straight out of bed, wearing MC Hammer pants… and he was doing so without shame.

While this event that took place never should have happened, we are going through great pains to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. (The downtime, that is. We haven’t yet decided what to do about those pants.) We, again, are terribly sorry for any downtime that was caused by this downed line, though we were fortunate that it happened at such an odd hour of the night. If we find out that the line went down because it was hit and knocked over by a clumsy driver, we’ll make sure to find and then glare at them on behalf of all of us.

We’re sorry, we’re sorry, we’re sorry! (I can be redundant too!)

Thanks for reading!

Michelle Schroeder

P.S. If you want to look like one of our very own sysadmins, you can get your own set of updated, metallic MC Hammer pants for one payment of only $19.95 from this website. Oh wait, I’m sorry. I put the decimal where I thought it belonged, not where it actually was… Turns out that the net-a-porter site has nudged the price into the “can’t touch this” range: $1,995.00.

That site will even suggest what to pair with them, though I personally think this other site does a better job in helping you achieve the whole “MC Hammer” package: http://www.ehow.com/how_2058695_dress-like-mc-hammer.html.

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