Supernode core network upgrade

Just as quickly as the new year begins, investment continues in earnest as we roll out our brand new Supernode core network architecture, enabling enhanced 100Gbps+ capabilities across our metro network.

Our core node in Telehouse received the steroid treatment mid-March, upgrading to a much larger ASR chassis, providing further interconnection capacity as we maintain the steep upward growth trajectory of our network. Telehouse now functions as our first on-net Supernode, handling masses of fibre connections that mix in and out of our multi-site network.

You can take a look at a compressed time-lapse of the upgrade work being undertaken here:

Beyond the full node rework in Telehouse, all on-net nodes have received line card upgrades that enable the enhanced operational capabilities we require as we head steadfast into 2020.

Looking further ahead, we’re also adding a brand new core POP to our metro network in Q2 2020, which will be officially announced in a few weeks. This will further increase our on-net capabilities as we gear up for what will be the largest evolution in our service offering since launching the London Central data centre in 2016 – more on that very soon!

Does your business have a data disaster recovery plan? Here’s why it is necessary

Is your business ready to handle a data disaster? If all your electronic documents and information are lost, how will your business survive?

25% of small businesses in the UK don’t have a data disaster recovery plan in place. 80% of businesses that went through an IT disaster failed within 18 months of their data loss event.

Data is fragile. If your business doesn’t have an IT disaster recovery plan already in place, it’s time to create one.

Understanding a data disaster plan and why your business needs one is very important. Read this handy guide and you’ll have all the detail you need to start the process of creating and integrating a suitable plan. You’ll then be well-equipped to find and work with a data centre partner that serves the needs of your business to the highest possible standard.


What is a data disaster recovery plan?

To be clear, this article does not cover business continuity planning. A data disaster recovery plan sets out a business’s workflow in the event of a disaster that wipes out electronic data, documents, and information. Wider business continuity plans put in place the processes that ensure the physical business can continue should a disaster occur.

The term disaster covers a multitude of potential events. Anything from terrorism to extreme weather and more can be included in this term.

Business stakeholders and investors expect data disaster plans to be in place so that in the event of the worst-case scenario, the business will not succumb to that data loss.

There are many different types of DR plan that your business can implement. These include prevention, detection, and correction plans. The best IT disaster plans naturally include elements of all three.

The prevention element of a plan aims to stop a disaster happening in the first place. Proper data storage, backups, and power protection are all part of the preventative approach. Outsourcing your data storage to top-quality data centers is a smart way to engage in proper disaster prevention.

Detection of imminent threats to your data is also highly important in avoiding a devastating loss. Routine system inspections should form part of any solid data DR plan.

Correcting data loss is an internal business function and should form part of any good plan. Investing in insurance against data loss will allow your business to correct any damage more quickly and completely. You’ll also need all key internal stakeholders involved in the data protection and recovery process to be ready for immediate action in the event of a data disaster.

Understanding these core elements of an IT disaster recovery plan will mean you’re in a good place to integrate such a plan to your operation. Having that plan in place ahead of a disaster, rather than scrambling to create one in the aftermath, is the smartest IT-related move you can make for your business.


Why does your business need an IT disaster recovery plan?

The threat of data loss is very real. Whether the threat is natural, environmental, or human, there are more and more instances of data loss in the UK every year.

Environmental disasters are less common in the UK than in some parts of the world. Outside of flooding, there’s a very low chance of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado wiping out your premises. A less severe environmental issue, such as a fire, will be more likely.

But in the UK, the biggest threat to your data comes from hacking. 88% of UK businesses have been subject to a cyber attack in the past year.

Dealing with the cost of losing your data and your business being unable to function as a result is a primary driver for implementing a recovery plan. If you lose your data and your business is unable to fulfil its responsibilities to its clients, it has the potential to cost a lot of money. The downtime your business experiences during a data loss event can also be highly damaging to your organisation’s reputation.

Chances are, you employ humans. Humans are wonderful creatures. But humans are also fallible. Your business needs a way to recover lost data quickly, because it’s all too likely that human error will, at some point, cause your business to lose data in one way or another. You can’t eliminate the possibility of a mistake, but a good data disaster recovery plan will help your business get back on track far sooner.

Hardware, much like humans, also isn’t perfect. Even without a natural or environmental incident, there’s a chance your hardware will simply fail. If your systems go down and you don’t have a recovery plan in place, it’s going to get expensive. You’ll have to replace or repair your machines, and you’re not going to have the data and documents you need to do your work.


What steps should you take to ensure your business can survive a data loss event?

Plan ahead. That’s the most critical component here. And that’s the point of a data disaster recovery plan.

Find a reputable data center that can assist with DR as standard. Talk to them about how your business can create a plan that’ll work properly for you in the event of a disaster. There’s a decent chance that your organisation won’t have adequate data recovery expertise in-house. Don’t try to do everything on your own, because you’ll likely need specific expertise and experience to make a plan that will work across the board.

There are steps your business can take to reduce the impact of any data disaster, even if you don’t have a recovery plan in place at present. These steps work no matter the size of your business, but are especially important for smaller businesses without dedicated IT departments or third party services.

Make sure you know your data. Work out which files and directories are crucial to the survival of your business. Assess your documents closely; you can assign a priority and importance score to the data your business produces / uses.

At the very least, you should have some form of data backup. Ideally, this backup will be offsite, in the cloud. But if for some reason you’re unable to do that, there should be regular internal backup functionality built into your workflows.


Make sure your business is ready for the worst

A data disaster will, at some point, impact your business. It’s simply a reality most businesses will have to face. The level of impact will depend on the quality of your data disaster recovery plan.

Creating and implementing a plan should be top of your to-do list.

Contact us today to learn more about data recovery plans, and how we can help you reduce downtime, reduce risk, and make sure your business recovers strongly in the wake of a data loss event.

How to reap the benefits of colocation: finding the right solution for your business

The colocation market is set to see a 15.4 per cent growth rate from 2016 through to 2020. As a result, lot’s of companies are moving from in-house hosting solutions to an outsources approach involving data centres.

Why are so many companies making this change? Let’s take a look at the benefits of colocation / rack space, and how to choose the best data centre operator for your needs.


The benefits of colocation

Server colocation offers quite a few benefits over keeping your server infrastructure in-house. One of the most obvious of these benefits will be the associated cost savings.

If your server is on-site at your office (or even at home), it usually means you’ll need to install the infrastructure suitable for running high-uptime devices. This includes resilient cooling, network connectivity, power, and adequate physical security.

With a colocation service, the data centre handles these components for you, meaning you simply pay a fixed amount each month to make use of their enterprise-grade infrastructure. Because data centre operators provide colocation services to many companies, you’ll only need to pay a fraction of the total overhead.

Better support is another major benefit of working with a data centre. The colocation provider will have support staff on-site 24×7 to address any problems with your systems. Having your own staff on-hand around the clock would add enormous internal costs to your business.

Data centre operators also provide greater operational flexibility over keeping your systems in-house. There are a wide range of options available to clients, including various highly-resilient connectivity options. Offering a blended transit service ensures that individual carrier issues do not impact client services. This isn’t a viable investment for most companies when running a systems on-premises.

Scalability is another benefit that data centre hosting providers offer end-users. If your needs change and you need more bandwidth or power for your critical systems, you can scale up using the data centre’s existing infrastructure. Scaling up an in-house setup means fronting the extra cost of having these services installed, if they’re even available.


How to find the right colocation provider

There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the most suitable colocation provider for your business, which include:

  • Power and sustainability
  • Scalability
  • Connectivity options
  • Compliance
  • Locations
  • Security and environmental controls

Power and sustainability

One of the biggest benefits of a server colocation service when compared with hosting your critical systems in-house is power efficiency. This can vary from one provider to another.

Look for a data centre that offers a sustainable energy supply. Netwise’s resilient power feeds run on 100% renewable energy from wind, sun, and sea.

Your colocated systems should also remain operational if there is ever a power interruption that affects the data centre’s primary (and even secondary) power supplies. Netwise uses an advanced diesel generator system with a 48-hour on-site fuel supply to ensure your systems remain operational and available even during a power interruption.

We also have multiple 24×7 refuelling contracts in case of an extended power interruption.

Scalability

The scalability of your system’s resources is another important factor to consider in choosing a data centre partner. This applies to both the system itself and the associated connectivity.

If your bandwidth needs increase, you need to be sure the data centre can increase your network resources to meet new demand. This may be a short-term increase for unexpected spikes in traffic, or it could be an ongoing permanent / semi-permanent elevation as your needs evolve.

Look for a data centre that works with several carriers. This allows for highly-resilient blended transit options as well as fallback connection options in case of an outage.

The data centre should also offer scalable connection types. As your needs increase, you can adjust your service delivery and composition accordingly.

Connectivity options

With a colocated system, connectivity is critical. If you’re not able to reach your servers over the network, your entire business could suffer.

The data centre operator you choose needs to have multiple levels of redundancy engineered into their core to ensure your systems remain accessible. Access to multiple carriers is one aspect of this, but they also need to ensure diverse, redundant path options across the board, from edge to core.

Make sure the data centre network supports the IP standard you’re using, both now and in the future. IPv4 is the older standard, but if you’ve switched to IPv6 addressing standard, the network will need to support it.

Connections to cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are also important if you utilise any of these services.

Compliance

If you do business in an industry with particular compliance regulations, such as financial services and healthcare, you need to ensure the data centre you choose is fully compliant with any applicable regulations.

A component of some of these regulations is the physical location of your data. In some cases, the data must be stored within the same country the regulations apply to. This often applies to systems in which you’re storing customer records.

You also need to ensure the data centre is Data Protection Act (DPA) compliant if you’re doing business in the UK, as well as GDPR-compliant for any EU organisation holding personal information.

Locations

The location of a data centre has a bearing on compliance, but it also affects other things, such as accessibility to your equipment and the physical safety of your systems.

Working with a data centre that’s located nearby ensures your IT staff have access to your systems for upgrades and other maintenance tasks.

The data centre’s location will also affect how susceptible it is to natural disasters, like earthquakes and major storms. These events can cause downtime and other problems, so choosing a location that’s less likely to be affected by them is always safest.

Security and environmental controls

The physical security and environmental control of the data centre are other factors that affect your overall system availability. Not to mention the safety of your critical data.

Look for a data centre with good physical security, such as 24×7 on-site security, live and historical CCTV monitoring with a long retention period, and access technologies like RFID and biometric access controls.

Cooling is a critical piece of the puzzle as well. Data centres hold large numbers of servers that create a lot of heat, so effective cooling is critical to keep your equipment up and running.


Why you should choose Netwise as your colocation service provider

Netwise has over a decade of experience providing best-in-class colocation solutions to clients all around the world. Our data centres offer all of the above benefits, along with many others.

If you’re looking for a UK-based data centre for colocation or need dedicated server resources to expand your existing systems, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.

Graham Cornell joins Netwise

We’re very excited to introduce you to the latest member of the growing Netwise team. Meet Graham Cornell, our new Technical Manager.

Graham has actually been working with us for some time now, forming part of our Technical Support team (namely our Data Centre Supervisor). Any regular visitors to our London Central data centre will have very likely had the pleasure of meeting Graham at some point in time.

Graham has a long history working in the data centre industry, having spent 6 years with Pulsant, and formerly holding a position with Telecity in the early years of their development cycle.

Graham’s promotion to Technical Manager comes as Netwise enters the next phase of its growth journey, making this role extremely important to the ongoing operational success of the organisation as upper managerial focus shifts to the next chapter in our development cycle.

Graham will oversee the technical operation of our facilities, working closely with Alex, our Facilities Manager, to keep client-facing services and internal infrastructure operating flawlessly around the clock. This will also extend to project work, developing new innovative systems and technologies to aid future growth.

A look back at 2019

As should always be the case for any growing enterprise, this year has unquestionably been our most successful to date. Here’s a look back at the year gone by; 2019 at Netwise.

Investment continued unabated this year, in line with our steadfast approach to ongoing improvement across all aspects of the organisation. This includes works in both customer and non-customer facing areas, to ensure our London Central facility remains the premier choice for world-class colocation services in the capital.

We’ve also seen the greatest level of growth we’ve ever experienced in the on-boarding of new client projects, across both new entrants to our facilities and network, alongside the impressive continued growth enjoyed by our existing customers.

Notable projects from 2019 include:

  • Deployment of Pods 4 & 5 – we took Data Hall 1 to 100% available capacity this year, with all five containment pods now online and servicing an exciting range of new and existing customers.
  • Generator system expansion – in-line with growth experienced in our technical spaces this year, we undertook a major upgrade of our backup generator systems to ensure we maintain power delivery resilience as we continue to fill out our London Central facility.
  • We rebranded – in the summer, we rebranded, dropping the ‘Hosting’ portion of our name and drastically evolving the look and feel of our organisation, to better suit our current position in the market.
  • We turned 10! – this December, Netwise officially turned 10 years old, having incorporated in 2009. We celebrated in style at Swingers West End, with a wide range of customers, suppliers, family and friends!
  • GitHub partnership – this year, we announced an exclusive and unique partnership with GitHub Education, bringing world-class colocation services to their famous Student Pack for the very first time.
  • Cisco hardware on-site – we drastically expanded our on-site hardware stocks in 2019, now holding over 250 different Cisco model lines at our London Central facility, ready for immediate deployment both on-site and off-site.
  • Team expansion – we undertook a complete reshaping of our out-of-hours team early this year, with five new engineers joining the extended workforce. We’ll also be welcoming new Technical and Sales Managers to the day team early next year.
  • Connectivity growth – we now provide a wide range of connectivity services on our ever-growing metro network to a number of notable international carriers, including PCCW, RETN and IDE Group.
  • The next stage – we’ve massively fleshed out plans for the next phase in our development cycle, as we look towards accelerated growth and expansion over the next three years – watch this space!

As you’d probably expect from looking at the above, we’ve also exceeded our performance targets for the year by considerable margin, which ensures the stable, reliable ongoing operation of your mission-critical data centre services.

This is an extremely important factor to bear in mind when deciding who best to work with on long-term projects of this nature. Providing this peace of mind to our clients is something we are hugely proud of.


Looking ahead

2020 is set to be a year of major change as we look to execute plans for the next stage of our growth strategy.

We’re hoping to publicly announce these plans early in Q1.

Alongside these sweeping expansion plans, we’re also looking forward to the excitement of business as usual here at Netwise; introducing a range of interesting new customers to our facility and network in 2020, a number of which have already been arranged for execution in Q1.

We’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a fantastic New Year, and a prosperous 2020. We look forward to sharing it with you.