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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    UK
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    Angry Sick of Colocation (UK)

    We are a small hosting company within the UK. We host our own CMS software for our clients, so it's essentially niche hosting and we are responsible for everything.

    We have several servers with one of the largest colocation companies within the UK, state of the art data centre, etc. etc. I won't name it, that's not what this thread is about.

    We are consistently frustrated when:

    * We have an issue on our side where we need to implement an immediate disaster recovery procedure, but it's out of hours, the network staff only work business hours, they've recently recruited a large number of new staff - and training is at the forefront of their ongoing business strategy (big help now)

    * The colocation company is excited to announce that they are expanding, moving to new premises which are offering better facilities, blah blah, resulting in unnecessary risk to our hardware, and downtime

    Basically, our few little servers generate a great deal of money. They ARE our business, and our business is not in our hands. It is miles away, in the hands of people who may or may not have been trained up to do the particular job we need doing when 'it' hits the fan.

    We're also at the mercy of whatever they decide to do with their colocation business, who has just taken them over, which facility they're moving to next because they've outgrown the old one. We have no physical access to our servers. Even if we did, they're over 50 miles away.

    --=--

    Moving forward, this isn't sustainable - if we're going to grow. We have to be in direct control of our servers, and our business. I'd like to ask what are our options.

    How can we, in the UK, host our own servers with a comparable connection to a data centre. We are based near Milton Keynes, and I happen to know there is a colocation company based in Milton Keynes. What does that kind of connection cost? We're talking about a small number of servers that we want ABSOLUTE control over, at all times.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    You might want to try BlueSquare Milton Keynes. You would get full access to your servers 24x7

    Rus
    Russ Foster - Industry Curmudgeon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    What about two sets of servers with total fallback capabilities? you could colocate one set and rent another (dedicated) or colocate it in another facility.

    This way your completely redundant and not anymore reliant on one provider.
    Swiftway.net Your Business deserves our Quality - Experts on Hand since 2005. Europe & US locations, we operate our own network AS35017
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  4. #4
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    Jun 2003
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    As Rus says, you should enquire with Bluesquare about taking some space directly with them in their new Milton Keynes datacenter.
    Darren Lingham - UK Webhosting Ltd. - (0800) 024 2931
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  5. #5
    You won't be able to match the connectivity, power redundancy and cooling redundancy offered by a good datacenter. Bluesquare MK sounds like the ideal place for your servers.
    478east
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    UK
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    We'll certainly look at them as well, thanks for the recommendation.

    It's a big move for us if we do relocate our servers, as it involves the changing of IP addresses (many of our clients point their domains via A records rather than nameservers, so there's a tremendous amount of coordination to consider). But it's something we could potentially do on a server-by-server basis.

    We'd still be in the hands of another company, however. I'm wondering what's required to have a suitable connection in an office location.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2004
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    The connection in the office could go down as well. You would also have to setup a complete redundant power supply with power generator, to come even close to the reliability that a datacenter offers.

    Redundant setup distributed over two locations would be the best solution for you. You could also think about using a (Custom made) CDN, if your CMS software allows it.
    Swiftway.net Your Business deserves our Quality - Experts on Hand since 2005. Europe & US locations, we operate our own network AS35017
    Unbeatable dedicated bandwidth deals for Dedicated servers ! Support response time <15 minutes 24/7

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northallerton
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    249
    Maybe you should find a reputable provider and get some PI space so you can take them whenever you go.

  9. #9
    I can see your dilema but if you went for colocation with BSQ you would have access to your it.

    Just to clarify is the company your colocating with also managing the boxes or are you doing that side of things yourselves ?
    Data Republic - UK Managed Servers - Server Management - Managed Backup/R1Soft
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Lancashire, UK
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    I'd go with BSQ Maidenhead rather than MK, considering Maidenhead is closer to London and is a much larger unit.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by eG-Dan View Post
    I'd go with BSQ Maidenhead rather than MK, considering Maidenhead is closer to London and is a much larger unit.
    It has more buildings so yes overall it's bigger. But MK is a higher spec and closer to the OP.
    Data Republic - UK Managed Servers - Server Management - Managed Backup/R1Soft
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  12. #12
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    Since you are being forced to move to 'their' new DC with all new IPs and anything, you should do some research ahead of time and choose your own DC. That way you will be doing the move yourself, and you can be assured that the new DC is going to be reliable.
    Fast Serv Networks, LLC | AS29889 | Fully Managed Cloud, Streaming, Dedicated Servers, Colo by-the-U
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  13. #13
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    I'd setup some form of redundancy as swiftnoc suggests.

    Go visit your local datacenter in Milton Keynes first. That should be your first step. You'll get a better understanding etc. Then visit others to compare the features. I say this because Milton being the first one you visit, you may like it straight away but the person down the road still might be better.

    I would try and have either: servers in 2 datacenters mirroring or servers in datacenter/office mirroring. This depends on a lot of variables like the cost of bandwidth to your office, upgrading infrastructure too but it's always nice to be in complete control that way even if it's the backup.

    End of the day though, a single datacenter (provided you have 24/7 access) that has 24/7 support staff and is accessable within an hour by you or your workers should be sufficient.

    Get your clients to start using nameservers. This always provides a headache when we upgrade our network with clients telling us it's down because they're using specific IPs unnessarily. This should be part of your preparation if it isn't already (as long as it's possible).
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsurugi View Post
    * The colocation company is excited to announce that they are expanding, moving to new premises
    Quality colo providers dont just move facilities on a whim - although there are several that do it every year or so - and it's a cost-cutting measure, nothing else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsurugi View Post
    * We have an issue on our side where we need to implement an immediate disaster recovery procedure, but it's out of , the network staff only work business hours
    Companies that do a lot of colo have their own 24/7 staff, so there's no such thing as "out of hours"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsurugi View Post
    Basically, our few little servers generate a great deal of money. They ARE our business, and our business is not in our hands. It is miles away, in the hands of people who may or may not have been trained up to do the particular job

    We have no physical access to our servers.
    Sounds to me like it's time for you to "trade up" to managed quarter rack with someone who can meet your requirements ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsurugi View Post
    I'd like to ask what are our options.
    1. colo somewhere that can provide you 24/7/365 access and do it all yourself.

    2. move the existing colo to a more professional outfit, who can accomodate your needs now and moving forward

    3. switch to managed-dedicated servers from someone with 24/7 support, who either has their own DC or a direct relationship with the DC and autonomy within their suite

    In all cases, if the systems are out of London understand what the effect of being "away" from the heart of the internet can mean to your service.

    Spare kit, KVMoIP, APC Reboot can all "assist" when the brown-and-sticky goes flying - actual visits to the DC dont need to be that frequent ...
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    London, United Kingdom
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    We also host CMS systems and rent colo space (a rack) as well. Everywhere we've rented we've had 24/7 access to, I wouldn't buy it if we didn't. I'm afraid there is little you can really do about moving datacenters from time to time, whether its the service that gets worse or them hiking your prices up loads at the end of your contract. Unless you own the DC there isn't much you can do.

    I'd recommend not going down the host-it-in-our-office route. BT have a habit of accidently unplugging fibre now and again and its unlikely you could afford having multiple redundant links like a DC has.

  16. #16
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    Feb 2004
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    UK
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    I'd just like to thank everyone who's replied for taking time to pass on their advice, it's really appreciated.

  17. #17
    The best thing for you to do is to move to facilities based colo. That is, your vendor actually owns the physical site, or the leasehold. That way, they aren't about to be moving every few months. Get a quarter or half cage, or whatever you need.

    Also arrange for kvm/ip and remote power reboot access to all your boxes. And get major brand boxes with redundant everything. You should then be able to run almost uninterrupted, with or without the help of the data center staff.
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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    183
    Try gyron.net too. They've been in London for years (and still are) but have just opened a big new self-owned DC in Hemel Hempstead.

    Their network and support staff are second to none.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Agree about Gyron. We have just taken space in their new Hemel Hempstead facility last month and so far everything has been smooth sailing.

    - Chris
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    Now offering both US & UK premium business hosting, reseller hosting and managed virtualized services.
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