Network Configuration

Extended Network

TechStride Consulting recognizes that down time is not an option for your servers. That's why we see to it that the proper hardware and Facilities are maintained to ensure you are up and running on the web 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Uninterruptible Power System

To guard against local power failures, the servers are powered through two industrial-grade, three phase Liebert UPS systems. These act as back-up batteries, maintaining uninterrupted power in case of surges or power outages. With these backup systems in place, you can be ensured that your web site will reamin up and running indefinitely without relying on external power.

Custom Web Servers

The web servers that your site will be hosted on, are custom-built industrial machines designed for a 24/7 web serving environment. All servers are equipped with dual redundant 450-watt power supplies, hot swap Seagate Baracuda/Cheetah drives and force-filtered cooling systems. In addition, the NOC is equipped with an inventory of identically configured, burned-in standby servers.

Network Reliability

Industry analysis reveals that 70% of downtime over ten hours with any ISP is caused by telephone circuit failure. Since the NOC is in the same building as Global Center, Qwest, and GTE, circuit failure is virtually eliminated because there is no phone circuit between the NOC and the Internet providers. Instead, there is a direct connection provided to the Cisco 7500 routers that feed the web servers. Our Internet providers also have peering connections with other major Tier 1 providers, which allows traffic to be switched to alternate backbones should the need arise.

Force Filtered Cooling

All web servers are equipped with a positive pressure filtered-air system. Four large fans pull filtered air into each server's protective case and the components within are cooled by fans which circulate this purified air. This constant introduction of clean air into the case creates a positive pressure environment ensuring dust and particles remain outside of the server.

Hot Swap Seagate Drives

The drives and drive bays of all servers are constructed from high-grade aluminum, and rest in shock mounted drive cages, which adds to the durability of the hardware. These drives proudly feature the lowest failure rate in the industry.

Redundant Hot Swap Power Supplies

Each server employs dual-redundant hot swap power supplies. If a power supply were to fail, the server would continue running with power from the alternate supply. Meanwhile, alarms would alert a technician, who would quickly restore redundancy. In the meantime, servers and client sites would experience no downtime.

Industrial-Grade Air Conditioners

The NOC has two Liebert ten ton industrial air conditioners, which condition the computer rooms and operations center. The computer room is kept at an optimal temperature of 65 degrees fahrenheit.

Standby Servers

Spare servers of all CPU configurations are kept on-line. If a server were to experience a hardware failure, the technician on duty would turn a key, grab the handle on the drive, pull it out, and insert it into an identical standby CPU. The primary server would be shut down and the backup server would then be rebooted and the server would be up and running again in a matter of minutes.

Connected to Three Backbones

The Network Operation Center located in Baltimore, Maryland is OnNet with GlobalCenter (GC), Qwest Communications and GTE through three separate bandwidth-on-demand connections. GC, a Tier 1 provider whose 13,000-mile fiber optic network and Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology provide an enormous 460 gigabytes per second (Gbps) of capacity worldwide, has an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) fiber node located just a few floors below the NOC. Qwest comes into Baltimore with an OC-12 line and plans to upgrade their connection to an OC-48 in the near future. They also have an ATM fiber node floors below the NOC. The Qwest connection enables additional redundancy and better routes to Europe, Latin America and Asia.  Genuity, a division of GTE, is the third Tier One Internet backbone. Genuity provides excellent network performance as a result of their high-speed peering arrangements with other Tier One Internet backbone providers. The GTE global network delivers customers directly onto the Internet via a high-speed connection to its private, super-capacity backbone, including 17,000 miles of fiber and OC192 capacity. It is comprised of more than 800 U.S. local access points and approximately 1,500 international local access points in more than 150 countries. Furthermore, because of these unique connections, a need to link to the Internet though an OC3 or T3 Telecom circuit is not needed. Instead, independent cables run inside the building directly from the NOC to all three carriers points of presence. These lines can handle the bandwidth of a T3 or an OC3 with DWDM. Plus, they handle several times the bandwidth of an OC3. Whatever your bandwidth needs may be, TechStride Consulting has the ability to meet them.

Network Redundancy

Intelligent end-user routing software called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is used between the NOC and all three carrires Qwest, GC, and GTE, who use the same protocol.  BGP identifies which path is the most efficient for each data packet and then routes the packet to its destination on the fastest path.  This increases the speed at which web pages sent from the NOC arrive at their destination.  Studies have shown that the most common reason for downtime is circuit failure on Tier 1 provider backbones, the major data highways. To guard against this potential problem, three different Tier-1 providers are used to create the redundancy needed.  If one experiences problems, traffic can be routed down the other one. Furthermore, because the NOC is OnNet with GlobalCenter, Qwest and GTE, their digital distribution architecture, which includes private peering network connections to major Internet carriers such as MCI, Sprint, UUNET, EUNET, AT&T, AOL, Best, Erols, @Home, IBM Advantis and others are shared. These private peering arrangements allows the NOC to exchange packets of data with every major backbone carrier in a one-to-one environment quickly and efficiently. In addition, GC has high-speed links to eight public exchanges including both MAE East and West and several NAPS. Through these public exchanges, customers have the ability to reach their site, no matter from where they are coming on the Internet.

Raw Performance Equals Low Latency/High Throughput

Too often providers operate their networks at three to four times responsible capacity. As a result, their corresponding transfer times reach over 300ms. Your Web Site will be hosted on a network that has a daily average of 27% of its capacity, with midday peak spikes reaching only 33% capacity. This guarantees that your web site will be carried off the network in less than 80ms over a five minute average at any time of day or night.

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