Tag Archives: Data Center

Security Considerations when Adopting the Cloud

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The issue of security within a cloud server environment may no longer be the issue it once was, but it never hurts to be cautious when incorporating preventative measures into your business strategy. Here are some guidelines for maximizing the stability and security of your information within the cloud.

One of the biggest challenges that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are facing today is learning how to define the appropriate control measures to classify and secure data entering the cloud. There isn’t an official set of rules regarding what information to put in the cloud and what data to leave on a local hard drive, so the details can be pretty ambiguous.

Generally, it is best to view the cloud as a separate environment out of your organization’s control. Your data and applications may not necessarily be protected against malicious attacks to your cloud server. So, it would be best to store very sensitive information, such as tax documentation, employee information and other human resources-­‐related documents on a secure local drive.

Different providers may interpret the cloud in different ways: some may build state-­‐ of-­‐the-­‐art redundant data centers with appropriate security measures while others may build a server on a shelf on a dirty porch. Do your research before you make any agreements with a provider: tour the facilities, read the fine print and talk to others to gain their impressions.

When it comes to the security of your sensitive information, it is best to be extremely cautious. If it’s personally identifiable, don’t put it in the cloud! If the provider isn’t willing to show you where your server is located, don’t use them! Use rational judgment and your information will remain safe and sound.

 

Why Do Companies Colocate?

Colocation is one of the options for hosting offered at Atlantic. With colocation, you get space and bandwidth. Essentially, you are taking advantage of the expertise of a hosting company for providing the right type of physical environment for your hardware and its abilities to properly and effectively feed you onto the web.

The only thing that is different about colocation is that you are providing your own equipment. With any other type of hosting – dedicated, shared, VPS (virtual private server), cloud, whatever – you use equipment provided by the hosting company. Oftentimes, people like to be in control of the equipment. For one thing, they think of it as an investment. Additionally, they like to be able to customize each part if they want – to “build” the server like a custom car.

Along with having to go out and figure out what type of equipment you want, colocation also has the challenge of not being managed to the same degree as with other hosting solutions. With colocation, the equipment is all yours, so depending on the colocation facility you use, you may have to handle certain aspects of its maintenance. Of course, the climate control of the room, disaster recovery, etc., are still handled by the host.

As you can see, colocation is complicated, but it is a very popular choice, especially for companies with a growing number of servers. Let’s look at a number of different reasons why companies choose colocation so we can better understand this hosting option. I will review some ideas from the “young entrepreneur network” EntreRev and provide some thoughts of my own.

Support

One reason to choose colocation, suggested by EntreRev, is 24/7 tech support. That sounds strange if comparing it to other hosting solutions with the same feature, but EntreRev is contrasting colocation to keeping your own server or servers in-house, as many small businesses do. EntreRev also notes the level of skill at a colocation center (and keep in mind, many hosting companies also function as colocation facilities – there’s a lot of crossover).

That skill level is an important point. If you hire an IT person or use an independent contractor, chances are they will not have the same server and data center expertise. IT is a massive field, so you want specialization. The tech professionals at data centers specialize in setting up equipment and maintaining it.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure within a colocation facility that is “purpose-built” – built specifically with that usage in mind – is completely designed for all the needs of a tech environment. Furthermore, a quality colocation center or web host is thoroughly focused on redundancies. That means you don’t just get bandwidth, but you also won’t go through periods of time when you’re blocked from using it (downtime). In other words, the network is highly reliable because many checks and balances are in place.

Scalability

EntreRev says that space is one of the largest initial factors that SMB faces with its technology. You can’t keep adding servers into a closet, because you eventually run out of space. Get a little bigger, and the same becomes true of a room. Turn to the idea of building a data center, and it’s unclear how large to make it. Do you make it triple the size you need currently, and leave a large part of it empty? Even if you can afford the upfront expense, size immediately becomes confusing. With colocation, rent the amount of area you need and bump it up as you go.

Green Power

You will experience strength in numbers at a data center. That means that not only will you get your IT servicing for less and your space for less, but you will also be consuming energy with many other businesses. It’s been proven time and time again that a purpose-built data center excels in energy efficiency, reducing all clients’ power bills. That makes your business greener. You save money, but you also have all the benefits of environmental friendliness (such as use for marketing, etc.).

Purchasing Power

Again regarding strength in numbers, the rates for bandwidth and energy are reduced for bulk buyers such as a colocation facility. Massive amounts of each of these elements are negotiated by a savvy colocation center, and some of those savings are passed on to clients.

Network Carriers

You will have multiple carriers to choose from, which enhances competition. This also get you better prices on bandwidth. If you have a problem with one carrier, you can switch to another. If there are outages with the carrier, jump ship immediately: that functionality is integrated into an adept colocation center. For example, at Atlantic, we automatically switch you over if one of the carriers goes down.

Conclusion

Colocation is not for everyone. If you feel you are ready to go out, get the equipment, and have more of the technical responsibility for your servers yourself, this option may be right for you. At Atlantic, we are proud of our Colocation services. We have worked hard to make them as or more sophisticated and reliable than our competitors, at an affordable price. To see what we have to offer, click here.

By Kent Roberts

Check Out These Amazing Cloud Statistics!

I think I’m suffering with brain overload; not that I’m trying to defeat the object of learning. I just decided to quantify in this article how much storing data on the cloud affects us. It’s no small thing I’ve discovered, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here at Atlantic we are operating at always increasing our upper limits of capability, redundant internet service and backbone connections, to make sure that we can provide optimum services in the event of peak loads. Here’s 3 articles that allow you to grasp the unseen efforts of data management:

Colocation Communities Are a Match for Cloud » Data Center Knowledge


Colocation Communities Are a Match for Cloud » Data Center Knowledge | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it
From www.datacenterknowledge.com – 1 month ago

As more enterprises put their internal servers under scrutiny, they are noticing that legacy enterprise data centers are becoming increasingly ineffective, writes Kevin Dean of Interxion.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

IDC predicts that the total number of U.S. data centers will fall from 2.94 million in 2012 to 2.89 million in 2016. However, while new data center facilities themselves may be on the decline, the data they house certainly isn’t, given that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, with fewer facilities to house them. This implies that for hosting companies data management is becoming rather like NASA, failure is not an option. At Atlantic, we benefit from being able to service cloud facilities from our data centers as well as colocation communities, thereby strengthening our overall service to businesses.

Let’s take a look at Google’s Data centers, now available in street view!

A Rare Tour of a Google Data Center (video)


A Rare Tour of a Google Data Center (video) | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it
From techfeit.com – 2 days ago

A data center is a centralized location for the storage and management of vital data and information organized around a particular knowledge or business. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), for example…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

From the networking room to taking special note of the cooling towers outside of the facility, you can explore the different areas of a Google data center in this guided video tour. Learn more about what you’re viewing in Street View above, and see some of the equipment in motion.

Managing this enormous amount of data produces a huge amount of heat, which we have to exchange with the outside environment via the use of cooling towers. In a research paper just launched by MIT, there is a suggestion that computational efficiency of data management can reduce the load and energy requirement by as much as 35%!

Smarter Algorithm Could Cut Energy Use in Data Centers by 35 Percent


Smarter Algorithm Could Cut Energy Use in Data Centers by 35 Percent | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From thetbleconomy.com – 2 hours ago

Storing video and other files more intelligently reduces the demand on servers in a data center. New research suggests that data centers could significantly cut their electricity usage simply by st…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

With the new technology, any individual data center could be expected to save 35 percent in capacity and electricity costs—about $2.8 million a year or $18 million over the lifetime of the center, says Muriel Médard, a professor at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics, who led the work and recently conducted the cost analysis.

Going green is no small issue. Recently, a report issued by the Carbon Disclosure Project stated that by using cloud computing, you can reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions, while saving on IT resources and improving functional efficiency within your business. Any small effort to reduce energy consumption cumulates to significant effect especially on bigdata with cloud servers. It’s no surprise here that increasing efficiency from the root level of coding can reduce processing requests on servers, and therefore load demands.

by - Juliana

Should You Own or Outsource Your Data Center?

Back in the day, it was not abnormal for even the smallest of companies to run their own servers. Sure, they may have been unorganized, inefficient and possibly even a fire hazard, but there simply were no other options. Today, businesses are increasingly coming to realize that technology has improved and there are alternatives. As a business owner, should you run your own data center or outsource your data storage and computing needs from a third‐party vendor?

If you have chosen the route of building your own data center, you need to ask yourself some questions first: How big will it need to be? How resilient can you make the hardware? Are you going to rent the location or purchase it outright? Additionally, you will need to update the equipment and operating systems every three years or so in order to remain up‐to‐date. Are these expenses ones you are willing to make?

Building a data center from scratch is ideal for companies that need to keep a close eye on sensitive information. For example, governmental agencies may have access to social security numbers and other information that could lead to detrimental consequences if compromised by unauthorized access.

For those with a tighter budget, outsourcing your data storage and hosting needs to a reputable cloud hosting provider is an ideal option. This solution provides the customer with a reliable option for storing their data and applications, meanwhile only paying for the resources they use. In addition, colocation is a great option if you have your own server, but need a place to house it. Colocation allows businesses to avoid the high cost of in-house storage, power, and bandwidth.

Choosing between owning and outsourcing your data center may not necessarily be easy because there are many factors to consider. However, outsourcing is a great option for the average SMB business, and owning is an equally great option for larger corporations storing secure information. Let the experts at Atlantic.Net help you find the best solution today. Call 1-800-521-5881 to get started.

Major Consideration When Choosing a Data Center: Don’t Choose One Near an Airport!

Last Friday, a plane crashed shortly after taking off from the airport in Fort Lauderdale, killing 3 people and causing a lot of property damage.  Apparently, the plane departed from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, realized something was wrong, and tried to circle back around and land – unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful.

The plane crashed within 2 miles of Peak 10′s data center in Fort Lauderdale.  As a result of this unexpected plane crash, many people are raising questions about the location of Peak 10’s data center and why they chose to locate it in such close proximity to a major airport.  Similarly, there are many other data centers all over the world that are located in close proximity to airports, including right here in Orlando, Florida.

Data security remains a key concern for most businesses, and for good reason.  Businesses need to be able to trust that their data is secure in order to effectively provide service to their own customers.  They must be fully confident that their data and infrastructure is being housed in a data center that has no potential security threats, such as a plane crashing into it from a nearby airport or a hurricane flooding it because it is located in a low-lying area (referring to Hurricane Sandy flooding Datagram’s Manhattan Data Center).

Atlantic.Net’s data center in Orlando was designed with all these considerations taken into account.  Our Orlando data site offers state-of-the-art redundant systems, guaranteed power, temperature/humidity control, and security.  Rest assured that your data is in safe hands in a geographically sound location, discounting meteors.  Contact an Atlantic.Net advisor today at 800-521-5881 to learn more!

Hurricane Sandy and its Effect on New York Data Centers

As Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast coast on Monday, several major websites including the Huffington Post, Gawker, and Buzzfeed struggled to stay online due to the flooding of a major data center in lower Manhattan.

Datagram, an Internet Service Provider based in New York City, kicked on its emergency systems to maintain power to its Manhattan data center on Monday when hurricane Sandy made landfall.  However, within a few hours after the hurricane hit, the building’s entire basement, which houses the building’s fuel tank pumps and sump pumps, was completely flooded.  Therefore, the data center was forced to shut down to avoid fire and permanent damage, taking several major websites down with it.

Luckily, Datagram experienced no permanent infrastructure damage from the storm and none of their customers lost data.  However, many of their current clients are left questioning why the company chose to locate their data center in such a low-lying area prone to flooding.  Unfortunately in this case, the data center location was chosen based on real estate and power costs, instead of natural disaster tolerance.

Hurricanes have a history of knocking out the technology that keeps us going.  However, businesses must be able to rely on their data center so that their customers can rely on them.  This means choosing a data center with adequate physical security in a location that is tolerant to these types of natural disasters.

At Atlantic.Net, we own and operate our own data center in Orlando, Florida and our facility offers state-of-the-art redundant systems, guaranteed power, temperature/humidity control, and security.  Protect your investments within our World-Class Data Center.  Call 1-800-422-2936 today to get a quote and a free consultation!

When Choosing your Data Center, Consider These Things

Lately, business growth and technological advancements have consistently aided each other towards further improvement. With every new business requirement, technology has stepped up to provide an effective solution.  Data centers enable businesses to protect critical data and systems in a secure environment, while allowing managers to focus staff and capital on their core business, rather than day-to-day IT tasks.

Choosing a data center is an important decision for your business.  You will want to be able to rely on your data center so that your customers can rely on you. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing the data center that is right for you:

Customer Support – Choose a data center that can give you the customer support you require.  You’ll want a data center that can give you 24/7/365 access to a qualified employee who is able to support your needs. Also, check the employee turnover ratio — enormous high employee turnover could be a red flag.  You want the assurance that you will be working with a trustworthy and qualified company.  Atlantic.Net has provided customers with 24/7/365 in-house customer support (all human communication) since 1994.

Finances – A data center that is tied down to certain investments or paying back loans has limited availability to adapt and grow with the market. Being able to grow with technology advancements allows clients to always have the best possible products.  Atlantic.Net has little to no debt.

Infrastructure – You are looking for a data center with a strong and secure platform that you can rely on.  Atlantic.Net takes pride in taking advantage of the many open source technologies to pass the cost savings to its customers.  We offer a secure, robust platform for carriers, competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), Internet service providers (ISPs) and other bandwidth-intensive businesses to gain rapid access to superior network and facility resources.

Guaranteed Resources – Choose a data center that guarantees that resources will be available when you need them.  Atlantic.Net’s Network Operations Center ensures sufficient bandwidth capacity to accommodate your organization’s needs.

Data Security & the Facility – Be sure the data center facility you choose is secure, has easily accessible cabling, is free of excess moisture, and away from any windows.  At Atlantic.Net, our facility offers state-of-the-art redundant systems, guaranteed power, temperature/humidity control, and security.

Most likely, you’ve invested both time and money in the hardware that powers your business. Of equal importance is finding the perfect home for it!  Protect your investment within Atlantic.Net’s World-Class Data Center.  Our facility offers state-of-the-art redundant systems, guaranteed power, temperature/humidity control, and security.  Call 1-800-422-2936 today to get a quote and a free consultation!

Hot site protection on the cheap

In years gone by, fully redundant “hot site” colocation was seen as the gold standard for robust disaster recovery protection.  Having a geographically distinct site with redundant data storage and functionality was certainly good insurance against nearly any imaginable disaster, but of course the cost and complexity of establishing and maintaining distinct functional hot sites were impossible for most businesses to absorb. An array of other options (data-only backup, cold sites that require startup time) came into use as cost-effective alternatives, but each offered significant drawbacks and made it difficult for companies to implement a disaster recovery plan that was both comprehensive and affordable.

However, modern cloud hosting solutions can offer almost all of the advantages of an offsite colocation facility, including their disaster recovery benefits, at a tiny fraction of the setup and running costs.

Since the lifeblood of most modern businesses is their data, data security and accessibility is paramount for any disaster recovery plan. But companies that use a cloud-based solution for day to day operations are already far ahead of the game: this arrangement means that the primary, current data is already secured in a service provider’s data center. As a result, adding measures like additional colocation mirroring, application hosting, web presence and e-mail continuity is extremely easy and affordable.

In addition, world-class cloud computing providers like Atlantic.Net offer robust physical infrastructure benefits that may well have been beyond the reach of even an advanced hot site implementation. Data centers include features like:

  • Carrier neutrality - Multiple redundant internet backbone connections, to ensure connectivity even if an uplink fails.
  • Robust power supply - N+1 UPS supply, plus backup generation
  • Dedicated fulltime security and staffing - Unlike a hotsite, the cloud computing service provider is always staffed and ready to respond to a crisis.
  • Robust physical security - Full-time security staff, reinforced walls and doors, biometric scanners, etc.

Thanks to cloud computing options, you no longer have to make so severe a compromise between disaster recovery functionality and cost.  A quality cloud computing service provider can give you great peace of mind with minimal hassle and expense. Talk to a provider like Atlantic.Net today to see what kind of service package would be right for you.

Cloud Hosting: Behind the Scenes at an Atlantic.Net Data Center

Pricing, services and experience are all important, but at the end of the day your cloud hosting provider is only as good as the infrastructure behind the scenes. Many of the benefits of cloud hosting, such as security, reliability, and redundancy, are heavily hardware-dependent. And of course the advantages of Infrastructure as a Service are only advantages if the infrastructure behind the service is up to the task.

Atlantic.Net is proud to have world-class data center infrastructure, and we want to highlight some of the key features in this post. For more detail, please visit our Orlando data center page.

Secure facility
The data center building itself is hurricane-protected concrete. Biometric scanners (palm and iris) control access, and the facility is staffed and monitored 24/7/365. Redundant heating and cooling systems control humidity and keep the interior temperature at 73º F (± 6º) year-round. We have installed a VESDA system (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) and advanced fire suppression throughout the facility to provide early warning of any potential hot spots before they become fires. In short, the physical environment is the best money can buy, and indeed we’ve invested millions of dollars in equipping it.

Dependable Power Supply
Power failures are the #1 cause of data loss, and dependable power is an absolute must for any data center. We use multiple parallel Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) modules in an N+1 configuration to provide spare capacity even if the grid power and a UPS module fail simultaneously. In addition, we have an onsite multi-megawatt backup generator with a 24-hr fuel supply.

Continual Monitoring and Maintenance
Our facility is staffed with qualified engineers 24/7/365, and a maintenance team performs daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly checks of critical hardware. Monitoring software alerts us to any problems with hardware or network performance, and allows us to make repairs before a component goes offline.

Multiple Internet Uplinks
Of course, keeping the servers running is insufficient if they can’t communicate to the outside world. So Atlantic.Net maintains multiple redundant high-speed connections with different carriers so that we can maintain our clients’ services even if one of our data center ISPs experiences downtime.

Put all this together, and you have a SAS 70 Type II Audited and Certified world-class data center with the power, dependability and flexibility to serve a wide range of cloud hosting roles. This level of investment and expertise allows us to deliver on our 100% Network and Infrastructure Guarantee. Please see here for more details.

Benefits of always-on services

Always-on services give you an edge in a competitive marketplace. Cloud-based implementation can give you always-on services without the constant commitment.

There are many types of “always-on” IT services, from messaging and file backup to online ordering and inventory management. All of them can be integrated with some measure of cloud-based infrastructure, but this post will focus on “always on” e-mail service and what advantages a cloud-based implementation can provide.

100% Uptime Guarantee Atlantic.NetE-mail accessibility is crucial for modern businesses, and with mobile e-mail devices like smartphones and tablets, constant accessibility and reliability are more important than ever before. But implementing an “always-on” e-mail service using in-house hardware can be extremely difficult and expensive. The actual hardware purchase, setup and configuration may or may not be difficult, depending on your in-house expertise. However, “always-on” mobile e-mail, for instance via a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, is a very demanding requirement, much more so than traditional e-mail servers.  The requirements of “always-on” run up against the hard realities of computing experience.

To put it another way: hardware sometimes fails, and software sometimes crashes, so “always-on” requires redundant systems and power supplies to support e-mail servers and to ensure no data is lost even after a mishap occurs. And of course, an “always-on” concept must include disaster recovery services as well, including redundant sites in different locations. Achieving this on your own can be a daunting task, and many IT professionals who have been asked to maintain an always-on service have found that this requirement takes up far more of their time than they can afford.

Fortunately, these e-mail provision services can be moved into a data center and provided via the cloud. Cloud servers have two intrinsic characteristics that make them a great fit for providing always-on services for your business.

Redundant hardware and backups

By design, cloud data centers use redundant hardware, uninterrupted power supplies, and data mirroring across physically separate storage units. This means that you can enjoy far greater data security and redundancy than you can typically achieve with in-house hardware.

Dedicated support team

If something does go wrong, your cloud hosting service provider is also a knowledgeable resource for troubleshooting, service and maintenance, hardware replacement and network diagnostics.  For many businesses, the peace of mind that comes from knowing a dedicated team is in place is just one added bonus of the complete cloud computing experience.