Atlanta Data Center - Upgrade

Carrier Grade A Enterprise DataCenter Upgrade

Champion Consulting operates out of 2 carrier-grade North American data centers. These data centers are typically carrier hotels where we maintain our own private colocation suite/cage/space, running our own infrastructure. Each data center is chosen for geographic significance and away from any potential natural disasters. We run public and private networks between each facility and are able to offer full global load balancing / disaster recovery between 2 or more of any of these facilities.

Enterprise DataCenter Expansion (Atlanta Cage) (Day 1)

The Begining of the DataCenter Upgrade

Before we begin, this has taken a long time to plan and I’m excited to share this story, provide all the tech specs and details we geeks love, and blast out pictures and video.

Why the new cage?

Thanks to all our clients over 15yrs we have continued to grow and demand more space and particularly more power from our datacenters. In Atlanta, we had two older cages from yesteryear that began on 110v power and reached its capacity in power long before space. In addition servers have changed alot since those cages were first setup, where we started with towers then but today and for many years every new server has been a new lower power consumption (though much more powerful) rackmount server.

To get all our clients updated to our latest colo build, 208v, and specific pdu’s and switches our staff and systems love and have grown accustom to but also require more capacity. So we found ourselves in the process over years of trying to get rid of old machines, towers, older cpu’s in exchange for the newer ones.

We use two Datacenters currently in Atlanta, AtlantaNap where we first opened our Atlanta presence and also ColoAT. We found ourselves in a unique situation with AtlantaNap the newest half of the facility received massive injections of upgrades and updates to become a premier Healthcare facility. If you know anything about healtcare, you know they require all the perks for data. Our datacenter also needed space in the older area to improve upon its lacking power infrastructure.

So we gave up our older cages in exchange for new ones in the new space and took this chance to get all clients over to the 208v pdu, HP/Cisco routing/switching, and that promised backend we began but has taken a while to build out at all our locations for all clients. This is our project, to setup a new cage with all new gear, fixing any existing patchwork along the way. To physically move all rackmount systems from our older cages to this newer one. To move all clients on a tower based system to a newer rackmount one in the new cage.

What kind of preparation goes into this?

An insane amount of planning has taken place for this from June 2012 up to and including last minute changes in Jan 2013. We have to cooridinate with all our vendors to have the cage setup on time, power provided on time, distributed as we want, all our equipment and servers arrive ready to be racked on time, and get into a smooth “grind” of how to move nearly a thousand servers at this one location, from spot A to spot B.

First, what are we moving? We audit all our servers to prepare an accurate accounting of what was where, and where is it now, so throughout the process techs, clients, and nocc admins can all find what they need. So we build a master list and begin to sort it via vlan , comparing power draw @110v in the old cage to power @208v in the new cage, which actually runs from private pdu’s @ 3phase 480v. Anyway thats nerd talk for lots of power. Multiple 100kva pdu’s are needed to fill this cage.

Ok so when we know how many we are moving, we determine where and what power that will draw. Then we build our power plan on how to reach peek deficiency. This includes a mix of what type of server are we moving, is a small 1 drive 1u, or a mid 8xdrive 2u, or one of these 16 disk systems. Load each cabinet up heaviest and most power hungry at the bottom thinning to the top until we get our peak server per cabinet & power per cabinet usage. The two are designed to be one and the same. Ie if you fill our cabinets copying the way each looks from purely asthetics 2u’s, 1u’s you’ll find you can fill the cabinet fully and reach our ideal range of power consumption.

Well we better get rid of some of these really old things in the process, they will likely be the ones to give us problems anyhow. So we tally up how many potential problems we might have on our hands and order our servers, switches, pdu’s, cabinets, colo & power. The project tentative start date is set a few months out. This plan will be revised and scrutinized many times over before the start date.

We’re going to have to safe and cleanly power down each system one at a time, take it out of the rack, cart it over to the new cage, rerack and rewire it there. First we plan to come in and start prewiring everything the first week.We know some systems won’t come back up on boot, they just won’t. Some systems haven’t had a reboot in 500,800,1100 days, we don’t know what will happen for sure with that. We also know through the years of upgrading systems for clients, ourselves, repairing bad hardware, that we may find other anomalies.
Ok so we’re in Atlanta, just arrived and informed we will be behind already. They aren’t done preparing the cage which was due to be handed over January 1. We had just a physical cage . 

Enterprise DataCenter Expansion (Atlanta Cage) – Primary POP (Day 2)

Our Atlanta data center serves as one of two primary POPs that we operate from. We host shared servers, reseller servers, public and private clouds as well as dedicated servers from this facility.

Reap the Benefits of Champion Consulting’s New Services and Expansion

Hello to all our Current and Future Clients,

It is going to be another busy season here at Champion Consulting. I spent a good part of the winter down in Atlanta planting more than a few new seeds for the company. The expansion at our data centers in Atlanta let us move into an entirely new cage area where my team and I installed new servers and cabinets which vastly expanded and improved our capabilities to better serve you. The benefits of the expansion should be apparent to everyone by now. Many accounts are now migrated off of older servers and they are now operating on the new ones we set up throughout January and into February. I also made the decision to add an enormous amount of NAS (Network Attached Storage) which allowed Champion Consulting to enable the newest version of our backup software across most of our fleet of servers.

While I was delighted to get the new servers installed and everyone moved onto the new systems, the new backup software has me just about as excited, if not more so. The new backup software version will vastly improve our restore methods and times while continuing to bring all of you restore times and services that are beyond the scope of anything that has ever been offered before now. Our customers can take advantage of a new range of restoration services and plans for you own data protection and backups. Make sure you look into the purchase of one of these plans. Although full datalockbox services are not available on all types of servers at this time, backup services for PC’s are now supported. I am already looking forward to the next version of the software being able to support all types of servers.

In addition to a data center expansion and new backup services be sure you look into your cPanel setting if you are on a shared or reseller server.  CloudFlare is now enabled on these servers and the setup is free and it takes only a few clicks to get it setup through your cPanel. I strongly encourage you take advantage of this service which allows you to improve your site’s performance and security. VPS and dedicated users can contact CloudFlare for installation instructions and our technical support team is here to assist you if you have any trouble enabling it yourself. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of this addition to our servers.

All of these changes will allow Champion Consulting to continue to bring you the best that hosting has to offer as we enter into a new season where these seeds of change will blossom into a vigorous and revitalized time for all of our customers. The expansion projects at the data centers have been a huge success and I’m pleased with the progress our staff has been able to implement throughout the last few months. Please, take some time to explore the topics of this newsletter to see how Champion Consulting is offering to make this one of the best and brightest seasons that we have seen yet.

Andrew Champion CEO/President

Enable CloudFlare for Improved Security and Site Performance
Champion Consulting has partnered with CloudFlare to help you utilize new technologies to improve your website performance and security. Shared and Reseller plans can easily take advantage of the CloudFlare option through your cPanel interface. VPS and Dedicated users need to only sign up on the CloudFlare site to get more detailed installation instructions. It is free and easy and a new advantage that Champion Consulting is bringing to you.

New DataLockBox Services and Backup Plans
Free daily backups are one of the many services that Champion Consulting provides to you. But, we still encourage you to keep copies of your own data. Server failures can cause corrupt data and we may not always be able to retrieve your latest updates. Our new backup datalockbox services could be the solution for you. Our newest version for backup solutions is being implemented across our fleet of servers. The new version allows Champion Consulting to offer you new backup features.

Let our Dedicated Managed Server Plans Free You of Tedious Tasks
You don’t have to be intimidated by the more complex details that many may think are involved when using a dedicated server. Our managed services can keep your server secure and updated which gives you more time to manage your business and/or the website assoicated with your dedicated server account. You can enjoy the benefits of a dedicated server when you use our managed services which give you two hours of administration time each month. Look into our bargin bin for dedicated server deals. It may be the perfect time for you to make the move to a dedicated server plan.

Our New Version of Backup Software Vastly Improves Restore Times
One area in particular that Champion Consulting has been working hard to improve is our overall restoration times when servers fail. We have now enabled the newest version of backup software for hosting providers across most of our server fleet. We have also put together a dedicated backup team and added an industry backup expert to our team. This new solution will eliminate high restore times and provide better and more streamlined services to get your servers back online without hiccups and extended delays.

Did You Know?
Every year over 100 million hard drives fail. While Champion Consulting takes every precaution to ensure that your data is safe we still strongly encourage you to keep an offsite backup copy. You can easily obtain backup protection services from Champion Consulting. Our backup services won’t let you down when tragic events destroy your data. Your data can be your income or the sum total of years of efforts. The prompt recovery of your information can be priceless. Let us help you find a method that will preserve your efforts and hard work. Contact our sales team today to learn more about what options are available to you.

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Enterprise DataCenter Expansion (Atlanta Cage) – Primary POP (Day 3)

We host shared servers, reseller servers, public and private clouds as well as dedicated servers from this facility.

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