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Advantagecom
6 SW 13th St, Ste 2
College Place, WA 99324
USA


 

 

Obsessive network engineering at your service.

Visitors to your web site will simply choose a different web site to view rather than wait for your web site to function. Your web site must always be accessible and at a level of performance such that no visitor spends time waiting on your web hosting company's network to deliver the data.

To create and maintain a network that delivers 100% of the time at levels of performance that exceed all expectations requires a special kind of obsession. Let us handle the "obsessing over the network" part. It's what we do and we love it.

Here is our special obsession:

Backbone connections

  • Dual redundant Gigabit Ethernet links over a city-wide redundant fiber optic ring to our primary backbone provider. A secondary backbone provider uses a third Gigabit Ethernet link that enters the building at a different point of entry.

  • The upstream primary backbone provider's fiber optic network is fully redundant with transparent fail-over in the event of a fiber cut. The secondary backbone provider utilizes the local telephone company fiber optic network, which has very little down time.

  • The upstream primary and secondary backbone providers' IP networks are fully BGP multi-homed with multiple high bandwidth links to multiple carriers. They also directly peer with many regional and national networks at Seattle area network exchanges, Spokane area network exchanges, and Portland (Oregon) area network exchanges.
  • Enough fiber optic capacity for nearly limitless bandwidth. Of course, this immense capacity is only turned on incrementally as required.
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  • Comprehensive capacity planning and usage monitoring on all backbone links ensures there is always adequate capacity available for your heaviest usage.

Core routers

  • Cisco 7206VXR with NPE-G2, 2048MB of RAM, and dual redundant load sharing power supplies. It has three gigabit Ethernet ports (1000Mbit/sec each) and numerous other lower bandwidth ports. If needed, additional ports can be added. We have several spare chassis, power supplies, processor cards, and port adapters on hand to enable quick repairs, should they ever be needed. We closely monitor CPU utilization, link error rates, and link utilization and will upgrade as needed.

  • Cisco 7513 with dual redundant auto-failover route switch processor cards and dual redundant auto-failover power supplies. This router contains many high bandwidth ports. There is a tremendous amount of available expansion left in this router and it will easily scale to multi-gigabit speeds if required. This router is currently on cold-standby and can be easily deployed as needs dictate. It will be retired in the near future and replaced by a much more power efficient unit with significantly higher network capacity.

LAN core

  • The routers are connected to our core network via redundant links to multiple switches.

  • Transparent firewalling and bandwidth management system. This keeps unwanted traffic off the network and blocks known hacker networks. Dynamic attack detection and firewalling automatically blocks the bad guys.

  • Managed gigabit Ethernet switches with a 48 gigabit redundant ring interconnect. Each server gets a dedicated 1000Mbit or 100Mbit port to our network, depending on the device. Over 600 gigabits of non-blocking capacity and ultra low latency. For special needs we can provide switched 10 gigabit Ethernet ports or bonded ports.

Data backup system

  • Backup and restore staging area on hard disks at an off-site location. This ensures that file searches, backups, and restores all happen very quickly. The very fast seek times of hard drives also allow us to do one full backup each month with daily incremental backups without incurring unreasonably long restore times. It also enables a smaller storage requirement for backups than if we did full backups every day. This system is completely extensible and will be expanded and upgraded as required.

  • For systems that use our data backup system, backups are scheduled to minimize impact to the systems being backed up. Dedicated server and colocation clients can work us to specify a schedule to meet their needs if they have purchased the daily off-site backups service.

Power backup

  • APC Symmetra LX fully fault tolerant site-wide battery backup system. This battery backup system is fully scalable and all critical components are n+1 redundant. It self-tests all components every week and sends us an email if any problems are found during the self-test or during normal operation. It also sends an email if any parameter such as temperature or voltage is abnormal. Just about every possible aspect of the system is monitored continuously and logged every 5 minutes. In the event of a power outage, we have nearly an hour of run-time on battery, but we only need 20 seconds of that before the auto-start generator takes over. In the rare event we need to shut down the generator during an extended power outage to perform an oil change or other maintenance, this extended runtime enables uninterrupted power during generator maintenance.

  • We have an auto-start standby generator with automatic transfer switch to handle any power outages that exceed 10 seconds. It is carefully maintained and exercised regularly to ensure it operates properly at critical times. It is also routinely tested with full load to ensure no hidden faults exist. It uses natural gas as fuel which is highly available and nearly limitless supply. No fuel tanks to run dry or foul! Runtime on generator is only limited by the life of maintenance items such as oil and filters, which require changing every 24 hours of continuous run time. The longest power outage we've seen in our area between 1995 and now was about 5 hours, so we anticipate it will be extremely rare that we need to take the generator down for maintenance during an extended power outage. Our battery backup system (above) has nearly an hour of run time available to accommodate any such maintenance event.

  • A live full power backup system test, including battery backup, generators, cabling, and power switching equipment, is done monthly to verify readiness. In the rare event an issue is identified, it is fixed as soon as possible and the entire system is retested.

  • Due to the geography of our area (in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides), any power disturbances are localized and not over widespread areas like you'd find after a major hurricane or other widespread disaster. This helps keep the mean time to repair relatively low for electrical outages in our area. Furthermore, we are just a few blocks from the local power company's repair truck dispatch facility and in the high priority repair airport area.

Environment

  • Temperature and humidity in our datacenter is continuously monitored for abnormal fluctuations. If any problem is detected, our environmental monitoring system sends an email to the cell phone of on call technical support so that the problem can be investigated and corrected.

  • Datacenter is cleaned regularly to remove any dust that may have accumulated with normal use.

Security

  • Security system is monitored 24/7 by our personnel and additional security system monitoring staff.

  • Datacenter access is only by escort from one of our staff.

  • Due to our proximity to the regional airport (one block away), our area is constantly patrolled by airport police. If our security system detects an intrusion, they are typically on-site within one to two minutes of receiving the call.

Geography

  • Situated at the foot of the Blue mountains in the southeast corner of Washington state in Walla Walla, the geography of our location naturally has a lower risk for natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, mud slides, hurricanes, and volcanoes versus the typical datacenter on one of the coasts or in southern states. The area is in a valley surrounded on three sides by mountains and is several hundred miles inland from coastal risk zones.

  • Our location within Walla Walla is at the regional airport, which was formerly a military airbase. It sits at a higher elevation than the rest of the valley and thus avoids any flood risk from area rivers and creeks. When selecting this location for an airbase, the military naturally took into account those risks and minimized them.

Disaster Preparedness

  • The northwestern quadrant of the United States has several active and dormant volcanoes. Though our location is not directly at risk from any of those volcanoes (hundreds of miles distant), ash fall from any of those volcanoes could be a concern. To deal with this risk, we have taken steps to prevent fine volcanic ash from reaching and damaging our equipment, including electrical generators and datacenter air conditioning. We also have an ash mitigation plan that allows us to continue uninterrupted operations in the days and weeks of clean-up that could follow an ash fall event.

  • There are no known risks of floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, mud slides, or hurricanes at our location.

  • In the event of a fire or other event that destroys servers, data backups are done over the network to an off-site location.

Green Power

  • Electricity for the area is generated predominantly by hydroelectric turbines and windmills with zero emissions.


 

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