Data Center Migration
As planned, we have spent all of April talking to potential hosting and colocation providers about providing space for our new Shadowserver data center, including following up with everyone who had already contacted us to offer assistance. We have completed the review of all of our options and have signed a contract for a new home for our Data Center.
In the meantime, progress to consolidate our current rackspace footprint is going well, and we plan to execute the move by August. We will post periodic updates as the final data center migration approach is confirmed.
Our Data Center has a New Home
Earlier this year in February we asked for funding assistance to help Shadowserver step out and become independent of our previous corporate sponsor. The response was tremendous and we very quickly reached our goal with the highly appreciated assistance of Craig Newmark. From that point our current Data Center provider extended our move out date to August. This gave us a bit more breathing room to figure out where we will be going and be able to negotiate a better deal for Shadowserver since wherever we moved would be for several years to come.
We set several deadlines for ourselves and the different providers. As the end date approached to make a decision we put out an additional plea for any others that might want to help. We received an overwhelming response from the many providers that were interested in our business but also many organizations that we have worked with for years wanting to help in some fashion. Many of our old friends reached out to see if they can help get us the best deal as well as many looking to build new or to further partnerships.
It was not an easy decision on who to choose because each one had its own pros and cons.
Criteria for Decision
Besides the requirements we weighted the areas for each of the vendors in the following fashion:
- Requirements: Needing to meet all the requirements set forth was a given but a common area where several of the providers failed was their loading dock. A couple did not have one at all, and at least one had a short one. Using a forklift to move the racks off of the moving trucks was going to be a perilous activity that we were not willing to partake of. Our racks range from 1500 lbs to 1900 lbs (680 kg to 860 kg) in weight each while loaded with gear. They are barely able to roll at that weight and to try to lift and move with a forklift? We deducted severely for all the failure areas.
- Cost over 36-months: Most of the quotes that were submitted were for 36-months, and some to increase the discounts also included 60-month quotes. Since we are now using community funding, we need to make sure that we get the best possible deal for our new space. We did not care if it was a little old, ugly, needed a paint job, or had that odd lingering smell. But we had to be very cost conscious.
- Location: Our most wanted choice was to keep the data center in the California Bay Area followed by Sacramento California, and Portland Oregon. We did get a few quotes for the Phoenix Arizona area, and while those were the least expensive, they would have increased move costs a large amount to the point where they cost would end up being very close to other quotes from locations closer to where we already were. The further away from the Bay Area the more we discounted the vendor.
- Providers: This ended up being more important as a differentiator between similar providers. We have two other colo locations in the Bay Area that we would like to eventually consolidate in the new data center space. Since we plan on looking at more cloud providers in the future, being able to have direct network connections in the colo to those cloud providers was also very important.
- Office: We needed some sort of minimum office space since we would not have one for the foreseeable future. The system administrators needed some space to work that was not in the data center itself. Working with excessive noise pollution makes for a difficult work time.
- Storage: We still have a fair number of spares and other parts that we would prefer to keep stored somewhat close to where all the racks of gear are. While we could consider offsite storage, that would quickly become unwieldy.
- Post Contract Cost: The lowest consideration, but we did not want the price to balloon up at the end of the contract forcing us to move unless it was really necessary.
There were also several other considerations but were custom to each provider. If we were just another occupant, if they wanted partnership, or even if there was more to the relationship.
It has been a long road from asking for the funding, getting the funding, and then negotiating a space for Shadowserver. I know that our team is pretty tired of the process and will be happy to be able to focus on our mission once again and move past this process.
Our final choice was Digital Realty at their Oakland data center location. The space was nice, it was still in the Bay Area, and met all of our requirements. They offered us their Network Hub solution on PlatformDIGITAL, which will enable us to scale our business by optimizing network performance and interconnect network traffic flows to create centers of data exchange. They had the second greatest number of carriers at 62 which was one of our sticking points for many of the other locations and vendors. It will also be possible to get a network connection to our other colo locations so that we can more easily migrate our other gear to a single location, as their Oakland data center is part of their connected campus in the Bay Area.
Our new layout is much simpler than the previous one. We have 50 “hot” racks that will start off powered up and 18 “dead” racks that will not have any power at all. At a later date we can power up these other racks for some additional installation and sustaining costs. We will also be able to have our storage area within the cage. We will have room for both of our lab benches and all of our spares. It will be very nice having everything in one place and not have to transport it as we need those parts.
Shadowserver still needs to meet the final funding goals for 2020 as well as to start looking at how we should achieve our 2021 budgetary goals. Our success has been solely from those people and organizations that have stepped up to help us, and we very much so give our heartfelt feelings of thankfulness. Our success is only because of everyone else on the Internet.
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