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  1. #1
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    Looking for colocation in San Francisco area

    I'm looking for a stable company in/around San Francisco with solid network that works with small clients. I need around 8U-10U of space (we have 4 1u servers currently, but I'd like to have some space for future growth) and about 3 Mbps of bandwidth. I don't need a fancy datacenter, the only requirements: staff on location 24/7 (so I can always call and ask to hook a monitor up to one of the servers to see why it's not responding), physical access to our servers 24/7 (so I can just show up at 2am in the morning on Saturday to swap hard disks if I need to, for example), redundant power and true multi-homed network connection (or, their own network). Please, no resellers. Don't care if it's a shared cabinet. My budget is $300 per month. Is it possible? Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    your budget is pretty low...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Budget is to low for what you want and you wont get quality if you can manage to get it.
    Matthew Gunnin
    COO - Dataracks, Inc.
    Dataracks.net | Ultra-Reliable Hosting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Give Erica at Simpli a call, or visit her website... http://www.simpli.biz/

    She is a regular on this board. I would imagine she will be able to take care of you.

    -R
    Hosting&COLO.COM -- Toll Free: (888) 473-1831
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  5. #5
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    Using the prices on Simpli website, our setup will cost $600/month. Also, it looks like they are just renting a cage at above.net datacenter, so I doubt they have staff on location 24/7.

    Any other recommendations?

    Also, if $300 is too low, what's a more realistic budget?

  6. #6
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    $300 is a bit unrealistic. You should be looking at an absolute minimum of at least $450 - $500 for a 1/4 Rack (10U) & 3 Mbps. Now if you were down here in LA....

    Maybe you should consider starting with enough space for just your 4 1U Servers for now, and upgrade when needed. A $300 budget would definitely cover that.

    With Simpli, remember that you not only get quality AboveNet bandwidth and a top-notch facility, but she also provides you with a 100% uptime guarantee. I can't speak for them having staff on location 24x7, though I would recommend contacting them with your questions and see if they can work you a deal.

    Good Luck.

    -R
    Hosting&COLO.COM -- Toll Free: (888) 473-1831
    Affordable colocation in Los Angeles. Yes, we have Mzima Bandwidth!
    "If you quit before you've given it 100% you will be very disappointed in yourself for the rest of your life."

  7. #7
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    Hi fatale,

    To answer your question, AboveNet has staff on hand 24x7. We have a remote hands contract with them to provide service 24x7, we have 24x7 access, and we have our own techs a few minutes away from the datacenter.

    Please feel free to call or email if you have any more questions. Randy, thank you for the recommendation.

    -Erica
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Simpli-Erica
    To answer your question, AboveNet has staff on hand 24x7. We have a remote hands contract with them to provide service 24x7, we have 24x7 access, and we have our own techs a few minutes away from the datacenter.
    But if he wants to show up at 2am on a Saturday to work on a server, what's gonna happen, hmmmm?

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

    EGIHosting had $500/month for a full locked cabinet in HE Fremont with 2Mbps, $35/Mbps overage. Not sure if they're still offering it, you might want to drop them a line.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by trevyn
    But if he wants to show up at 2am on a Saturday to work on a server, what's gonna happen, hmmmm?
    We'll put him on the access list and have AboveNet personnel supervise him, or pull one of our techs down there to help him. The access list allows us to be specific about exactly what people are allowed to do and which servers they're allowed to touch.

    Please don't make assumptions.
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by trevyn
    EGIHosting had $500/month for a full locked cabinet in HE Fremont with 2Mbps, $35/Mbps overage. Not sure if they're still offering it, you might want to drop them a line.
    Does EGIHosting have staff onsite 24x7? This is an honest question; I don't know.

    Also, I'd be really wary of HE after that power outage the other day. They've lost a lot of customers over it already. It seems there may be an exodus brewing over there in Fremont...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    You're right, I was rude. My point is that logistics are more difficult when you don't have 24/7 access with the datacenter directly. EGI does not have staff at Fremont, but (at least for full cabinets, which are cheap) they do put you on their CE#, so you have 24/7 access to your cabinet by just showing up at HE, and you can use HE's 24/7 remote hands no problem. Need to install and configure servers for 40 hours a week? No problem, individually locked cabinets.

    I know it's easy to jump on HE for that outage, but as far as I can tell, it was an isolated incident. It was stated elsewhere that it was the only power outage in at least 2+ years.

    Few will consider HE to be the absolute peak of cost-no-object datacenter nirvana. However, they offer tremendous value, and the convenience of individually locked cabinets should not be overlooked. I was originally planning on colocating by the U, even considering purchasing smaller servers just so they would cost less to house. Then I found I could get a whole cabinet in HE for an equivalent price, and I'm glad I did. Access is fast and easy, and I have the flexibility to space servers out a little and add more without worrying about how many U they take up.

    Maybe in a few months I'll be bitching about reliability, who knows. But so far, I'm very happy with the easy access and space to stretch out.
    Last edited by trevyn; 05-05-2004 at 09:32 PM.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by trevyn
    You're right, I was rude. My point is that logistics are more difficult when you don't have 24/7 access with the datacenter directly. EGI does not have staff at Fremont, but (at least for full cabinets, which are cheap) they do put you on their CE#, so you have 24/7 access to your cabinet by just showing up at HE, and you can use HE's 24/7 remote hands no problem.
    So they do the same thing we (and most other colo companies) do.

    I actually got the impression that EGI didn't have much staff here in the Bay Area at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by trevyn
    I know it's easy to jump on HE for that outage, but as far as I can tell, it was an isolated incident. It was stated elsewhere that it was the only power outage in at least 2+ years.
    Yes, but looking at their infrastructure, it's easy to see how it can happen again and again. For the price you pay at HE, you simply don't get much redundancy. You can argue with me all you want, but I've toured their datacenter and grilled their staff (and have the HE T-shirt to prove it; heh!) If the power goes out and their single generator fails, you're looking at an enormous outage. If their transfer switch fails from the batteries to the generator, you're also looking at an enormous outage. They aren't even at n+1 redundancy, and the outage a few days ago -- though short in the grand scheme of things -- is proof that HE skimps on redundancy in their power system to keep costs down.

    AboveNet is fully n+2 redundant on every aspect of their power connections. They have 7 generators on site. 2 are needed to power the datacenter in case of an outage. Their redundancy goes so far that it's mind-boggling (every vertical power strip in your cage is connected to a different box on the side of the wall, for instance.) Of course, you pay more for this kind of setup... but you're guaranteed not to go down, and if by some insane chance you do have a problem, you get your money back.

    I won't argue that HE pretty much has the value end covered, but people are starting to open their eyes about what "value" really means. You can't count on 100% network and power uptime in a value colo solution. If that's okay with you (and for some people, it is) then pick HE. If that's not okay, and you need to be up 100% of the time, HE is not the right choice for you.
    Last edited by ericabiz; 05-05-2004 at 10:04 PM.
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  14. #14
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    Erica, just curious, do you get 2 redundant feeds from Above.net and feed your customer with 2 redundant feed runing ospf or something to avoid single point of failure?

  15. #15
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    It's on our to-do list. For an additional 100Mbit drop, AboveNet charges $50/month, so it's pretty reasonable.

    Having had over a year of 100% network uptime at this point, I have it on the to-do list but it's not a huge priority. If we had a customer come in and demand redundant network feeds, we could have it done in 24 hours. Heck, they could have their own private network feed and IPs completely separate from Simpli. Whatever floats their boat. We just haven't been put in that situation yet.
    Last edited by ericabiz; 05-05-2004 at 10:34 PM.
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Simpli-Erica
    So they do the same thing we (and most other colo companies) do.
    From your last post, it sounded like the Simpli procedure would be:

    1) Call you before leaving to get on access list or have someone from Simpli meet you at DC.
    2) Work on server while Abovenet or Simpli employee looks at you with one eye and their watch with the other.

    I do this:

    1) Show up at DC.

    I've easily spent over 6 hours over the last couple weeks installing and configuring equipment. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive, but I appreciate being able to take my time and not wondering if I'm making too many visits to the DC this week.

    Originally posted by Simpli-Erica
    Of course, you pay more for this kind of setup... but you're guaranteed not to go down, and if by some insane chance you do have a problem, you get your money back.

    I won't argue that HE pretty much has the value end covered, but people are starting to open their eyes about what "value" really means. You can't count on 100% network and power uptime in a value colo solution. If that's okay with you (and for some people, it is) then pick HE. If that's not okay, and you need to be up 100% of the time, HE is not the right choice for you.
    Well, you can't count on 100% network uptime unless you have infinite bandwidth. You're right, of course, that everyone has to find their own price/redundancy balance, but it's easy to make yourself feel special by saying "I need 99.999% uptime" and paying more for it. I know I'm happier saving a few thousand a year and "settling for" maybe 99.9% uptime -- 8 hours a year potential downtime -- which is real hard for a provider as big as HE to not deliver. Heck, even Amazon goes down for maintenance.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by trevyn
    I do this:

    1) Show up at DC.
    Yep, we can do permanent access as well. It's required to be escorted access (i.e. an AboveNet employee lets you in), but it's quite possible to do exactly what you're saying.

    Heck, even Amazon goes down for maintenance.
    True, but planned maintenance and an unscheduled downtime in the middle of the day are two wildly different things.

    I'm fine with HE being where they are in the marketplace. Some people are okay if the network goes down once in a while. We, and other 100% uptime providers, get the upsells from places like HE (and believe me, AboveNet raked it in last week from the power outage at HE.) I'm just trying to point out to be realistic -- don't expect 100% uptime from a budget provider like HE. That's simply not a realistic expectation given their infrastructure.
    Erica Douglass, Founder, Simpli Hosting, Inc.
    I founded Simpli Hosting, and sold it in 2007 to Silicon Valley Web Hosting after over 6 years in the business.
    Now I'm blogging at erica.biz!

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Simpli-Erica
    It's on our to-do list. For an additional 100Mbit drop, AboveNet charges $50/month, so it's pretty reasonable.

    Having had over a year of 100% network uptime at this point, I have it on the to-do list but it's not a huge priority. If we had a customer come in and demand redundant network feeds, we could have it done in 24 hours. Heck, they could have their own private network feed and IPs completely separate from Simpli. Whatever floats their boat. We just haven't been put in that situation yet.
    Neither did we, they're quite difficult to implement correctly. But since you're making that 100% guarantee, I think you need to give all your customer that so that even a Switch reboot won't take them down....just my 2cent

  19. #19
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    Dec 2000
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    Could we please stay on subject?

    I'm pretty sure there must be other colo providers around San Francisco that work with small companies besides Simpli.

    I know about he.net, but to get a reasonable price you have to go with their resellers and as far as I know, all their resellers are separated from the main he.net network. Which means if there are any issues (DDoS attack, routing problems, etc.), resellers will have to deal with it themselves. I also heard that the reseller part of the network has less optimal routing, and all around worse than the main network. Also, a big chunk of he.net IP space is listed in SPEWS.

    Any other recommendations or stay-aways?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    fatale,

    A couple things I've learned:

    1) If cost is an issue, you pretty much have to go through a reseller. They're simply much, much cheaper on everything except very large commits. Simpli is a reseller of Above.net.

    2) I have yet to hear any proof of this "two networks" thing at He.net, and I believe an He.net employee flatly denied it here. By going through a reseller, my connection does does have to go through a reseller switch, but switches are pretty reliable. From a traceroute, the router immediately above my machine is owned by He.net.

    3) My IP shows as belonging to my reseller, not He.net, and does not show in SPEWS.

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