Inside Look: Our Network Infrastructure

To get you more familiar with our network, I have decided to write an article to explain how our network infrastructure works and how it will benefit you. Our servers run on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, unlike most traditional hosting providers which use a Unix based OS, such as the popular CentOS. Windows Server 2012 R2 allows us to take advantage of Microsoft’s Hyper-V services (“Hyper-V Host Clustering”) and cluster our servers together using the Failover Clustering feature, providing a redundant network with 99.99% uptime.

What is Hyper-V Host Clustering?

Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering allows us to provide Highly Available (“HA”) Virtual Machines on two or more physical servers (also known as nodes). That means that your virtual machine is active on a single node, and other nodes (passive nodes) are only involved when the active node becomes unresponsive or if a tool that is used to dynamically balance the node workloads initiates a live migration.

The Failover Cluster hosts are all connected to the a single SAN (“Storage Area Network”) device. Using a single SAN allows the hosts to take control of Virtual Machines (“VM”) from an unresponsive active node almost immediately, without having to transfer the VM’s files as it is using Shared Storage. This also has great benefits:

  • Survive Host Crashes – VM’s are restarted on another node
  • Restart VM Crashes – VM OS restarted on the same node
  • Recover VM Hangs – VM OS restarted on the same node
  • Mobility & Load Distribution – Live migrate VMs to different servers to load balance

What is a Virtual Machine?

A Virtual Machine (also known as a VPS) is a software computer, just like a physical computer, that runs an Operating System and applications. The Virtual Machine is installed on software that imitates physical resources of a host  (Hyper-V) and gives you the same experience and functionality plus additional benefits such as failover, fast start/reboot/shutdown times, and more security.

Why would you want a VPS? It saves money – Virtualization reduces the number of physical hosts needed to run multiple machines, which means saving hardware and energy costs. It’s good for the environment – It is a green technology with less energy consumption and with widespread adoption, reduces the need for more power plants.

To give a better understanding of how Hyper-V saves money and has less impact on the environment, it can save up to 80% on energy use and up to 4 tons of CO2 emissions are eliminated by a single virtual server. This is a significant saving on money and on the environmental impact.

What hardware do we use?

For our HA server environment, our physical servers are fitted with Intel Xeon 6-Core CPUs at 2.0GHz, 256GB RAM, on a RAID50 SSD SAN. For non-critical, non-HA servers, the hosts are configured with slightly faster Intel Xeon 8-Core CPU’s at 2.6GHz on a RAID10 SSD SAN for even greater performance, truly maximising throughput of data.

Both HA and Non-HA SAN’s consist of 24 SSD Drives, but can have up to 4 active SAN’s in a cluster with a total of 96 SSD Drives. As previously mentioned, the HA SAN is configured in RAID50 for redundancy while the non-HA SAN is configured in RAID10 for maximum throughput and performance. Each SSD has also been specially picked to ensure data can be copied to a new SSD if it were to fail, making the rebuild process quicker when a drive fails.

Overview

Compared to other hosting providers, our network infrastructure allows your website, hosting service or VPS, to be running 24 x 7 x 365 even in the event of hardware failure. This provides you with an outstanding uptime of 99.99%, guaranteed! In combination with great hardware and our full SSD SAN, your website, application, or server, will also load exceptionally faster compared to standard SATA/SAS SAN storage solutions.

This is why we chose our web hosting servers to run Cloud Linux OS with the popular and trusted cPanel on a VPS across our HA SAN, providing maximum uptime as well as exceptional performance. When you order a VPS, you have the choice of choosing if you require a HA solution or not.

If you would like to know more about how we could virtualise your in-house infrastructure and provide a fully redundant system, contact our Sales Team today.