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moved my server to internap houston data center

moved my server to internap houston data center

Posted on Nov 6, 2010 by Paul White

At the end of September 2010, my old Data Center had some lease issues, resulting in the data connection being pulled from the data center.  So I moved my 1U rack server to Internap.  Many are wondering why I choose Internap, hopefully this blog will provide some answers.

What is Internap?

Internap is a Datacenter located at 1301 Fannin Street, in Downtown Houston.  They are an SAS 70 Rated Datacenter.  Everything about their setup is not just about redundancy, but also about performance.  They do tend to be more expensive than most other data centers, but you definitely get what you pay for.

What is Internap's minimum Colocation Requirements?

Unfortunately if you are like me ( guy with a single 1U server ) you are not going to be able to deal directly with Internap.  Instead  you will have to deal through one of their customers who own 1 or more 42U cabinets.  In my case I found the guys from FastPCNet who own several cabinets at Internap's Houston Data center.  Their prices are not cheap.  So if you are looking to get a server online for less, you could easily colocate with another data center for half the price.  But if you have websites and applications that you consider Mission Critical.  As in if the server goes down, entire businesses can not function, then Internap is the place for you.  The rack space is expensive, and the bandwidth is also expensive.  But they focus on quality beyound any other data center I have seen.

How is Internap's Data Center different from other Data Centers?

At the Houston Data center they have 6 data providers.  This means your server has access to 6 internet Backbones.  If 1 goes down, there are still 5 others to handle the packets.  Most decent data centers will have 2 data providers.  The packets are sent round robin through each data provider.  This ensures the load is split equally.  But Internap doesn't have 6 providers as just a redundancy plan.  They have it for performance as well.  When a request is made to your server, Internap will route the request through the fastest data provider of the 6.  Since network speed is relational to your visitors geographic location, this means each visitor will get the fastest possible connection to your server.  This is a huge plus for those hosting websites with users all over the country or world.  Normally if you are hosted in Houston, the ping time to New York could be 50 - 80 ms.  I have clients in NYC and Canada that report much faster load times since the move to Internap.  My server hasn't had as much as a hiccup since the move.

How much does it cost to get Colocation in Internap?

It depends on which subcontractor you colocate with.  I went with FastPCNet.  They are smaller outfit with a few cabinets at Internap's Houston Datacenter.  From what I understand they also have rackspace at some other Internap Datacenters too.  I am paying about $150 / month for rackspace, plus $50 / month for 1Mbit of monthly transfer.  They only deal with whole Mbits of transfer.  There are small price breaks on the transfer once you get to the 10Mbit mark.  1Mbit is about 320 GigaBytes for those of you in the shared hosting world.  Keep in mind data centers charge based on the 95 Percentile.  They figure up your average transfer every 5 minutes.  Your 30 highest hours are taken off, then your monthly average is calculated.  I am also on a Gigabit Port.  They guys at FastPCNet were great with the setup.  They helped me get my rails setup and server in the rack.  They also had my IPs and RDNS setup within a couple hours. 

How is the Support at Internap?

Once again I am not a direct customer of Internap. So I couldn't really answer this.  But I am a customer of FastPCNet who is a customer of Internap.  Thus far support has been good.  Granted the thought that I could drive down to the datacenter 24/7 and touch my server is nice,  but in this case I don't have that kind of freedom.  If I wanted to see or work on my server, I would have to contact FastPCNet and have one of their guys meet me down there.  If it was during hours that they are not normally there, I would have to pay for their time which is also not cheap.  The only reason I can see needing to go down to the data center would be to switch out a hard drive or power supply.  Hopefully this only happens during normal business hours.

Is Internap right for you?

If you have a small server that runs your gaming clan, then the price might be a little expensive.  But if you are like me with 50+ websites running on the box, and dealing with outages could be an absolute disaster and not just an inconvenience, then yes Internap is the right place for your server.  Yes its expensive, but trust me you get what you pay for. 

Cabinets at Internap Houston Data Center
One of the things I like about Internap is all the Cabinets match.  Very clean design

Cabinet at Internap Houston Data Center
Inside of our cabinet

Rack Server at Internap Houston Data Center
My Server is the little White one.  You can do a lot with a single 1U Rack Server.

UPDATE 1/28/2011
I have been with FastPCNet at Internap for a good 3 months now. The service and support is still awesome.  In the past 3 months, the billing has been very fairly priced.  I was just a little over on my 1Mbit of transfer and they didn't charge me for overages.  Everytime I have needed to call them, I get one of their tech answering the phone. I even had to call on christmas morning when my server froze ( memory issues ), and their tech went down to and rebooted my box for me. 

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Karthik | Nov 29, 2010 5:37 AM

Looks cool btw what is the speed of the connection?

Paul | Nov 29, 2010 10:48 AM
I am sitting on a 1 Gbit Port.  Though they have the actual connection throttled down to 100 Mbits.  John, told me they don't like to open up the connection beyound that unless clients are pulling 30 Mbits or more for their average monthly transfer.  My Average Transfer is about 1 Mbit/sec.  They also offer port bonding, allowing me to bond my two NICs together for more speed and redundancy, but unfortunately the Intel NICs that are built into my server don't have any Windows Server 2008 R2 driver that supports Port Bonding. 
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