Data and Servers get Gold Treatment at Vancouver Vault Data Center

At the beginning of 2014, it was announced that TeraGo Networks had purchased it’s first west coast data centre facility as a part of it’s strategic initiative to provide complementary solutions. However, this wasn’t just any regular facility — it was a vault, literally. The location was originally built for the Bank of Canada in 1966 to store gold bullion. The Bank of Canada occupied large parts of the building until 1997, and the vault is now used to house the critical IT infrastructures of several businesses.

Vancouver Vault

The massive vault door is still intact and fully functional, guarding the secured entrance to the server floor. This cool, dry area is the protected by 22″ thick steel reinforced concrete – providing some serious physical protection. Taking it to the next level; the space was also constructed utilizing a room-in-room design, which is essentially a concrete room inside a concrete room. There’s just enough space for a person to walk the perimeter of the inside room, which gives employees the space they need to monitor the condition of the structure to ensure it’s in pristine condition.

Vancouver Vault Data CenterVancouver Vault TeraGo

With many of the Bank of Canada’s original security features in place, the location provided the perfect space to house servers and IT equipment. After adding in some other protective items, like a state-of-the-art digital video recording system, a full man-trap solution with two factor authentication, and a second generator, the facility was ready to start welcoming customers and their IT infrastructure.

Vancouver Vault Data Center

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the facility is becoming popular with IT professionals that are looking for something more interesting – and more physically secure – than the run-of-the-mill data centre facilities.

Vancouver Vault

 

Click here to learn more about the Vancouver Vault, or call us at 1.866.837.2565 to arrange a tour of the facility.

The Future of Cloud Computing Infographic

Guest Author: This week’s blog post was provided by Ivan Serrano, an online entrepreneur who enjoys writing about tech, globalization, and business communications. He often contributes to 1800-number.com’s blog, and he prides himself on his love of sharing information with others. Ivan is passionate about what he does, and aims to stimulate conversation with his work.

The digital revolution is long underway, moving from block-sized computers of the 90’s to sleek, one-pound MacBook Air laptops to a now invisible landscape up in the clouds. Cloud computing, where computers can sync up and store data on large databases “in the cloud” is growing increasingly popular for companies to store and share data in a safe and reliable way.

The digital clouds are now blowing north. Cloud computing is primarily used by American companies, who have been using the cloud not only to store and share data, but also for messaging and conferencing purposes. But two years ago, the cloud had yet to catch wind in Canada. In fact, until recently, Canada had the lowest internet caps in all of the developed world. This is something the Canadian Cloud Council is trying to change; to create an open and democratized proliferation of information online. While the Canadian government remains skeptical of cloud computing for security purposes, Canadian companies are beginning to privately take the reigns using dot-ca domain names hosted outside Canada, and the cloud is becoming the route to take. This infographic explains how cloud computing works, and the dangers that come along with it.

 

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Saving Money with Colocation in Canadian Data Centres

If you are a business owner or executive, finding ways to save money on IT is probably high on your “To-Do List.” As necessary and vital as technology is to running virtually any kind of organization, it can also represent a bit of a budgetary black hole – and an area of the company where you might struggle to make the right choices and investments.

What you may not know already, however, is that reducing your IT expenditures doesn’t necessarily have to mean making hard choices between budgets, performance, and reliability. In fact, thousands of companies throughout Canada and the world are actually getting more from IT while saving money through the process of colocation.

How Colocation Works

In a traditional IT department, servers, networking equipment, and other pieces of technology are stored together in some remote portion of an office or facility. These typically receive attention only when something stops working the way it’s supposed to, and then the repair process can be lengthy and expensive – especially if new hardware or equipment is needed.

With colocation, things are simplified. Instead of keeping technology equipment on site, companies outsource those needs and simply lease what they need at a given point in time. In other words, they stop holding on to their own servers and networking equipment and simply use space on a business data centre located elsewhere.

Aside from the obvious benefits that come with not having to buy and install their own hardware, businesses gain tremendous advantages through the use of colocation in Canadian data centres.

5 Key Benefits of Colocation in a Canadian Data Centre

1. Lowered hardware costs. Actually, most businesses can eliminate their networking hardware costs altogether with colocation. That’s because, instead of investing tens of thousands of dollars in new equipment on a regular schedule, you pay a low monthly fee to use what you need. For most companies, that means a very significant cost savings. It also means they can stop worrying about the kinds of unplanned hardware investments decision-makers at every level worry about most.

2. Better technology and performance. Even though cost savings are a major attraction when it comes to colocation, you shouldn’t overlook the actual performance upgrades that are possible, as well. Because technology investments and upgrades can be pooled and shared over several different businesses in a data centre, you ultimately end up getting access to better equipment than most companies would purchase on their own. And, because performance is important to marketing colocation services, savvy IT providers upgrade to newer models all the time, meaning you get the very best for less.

3. Lower overall IT expenses. Aside from the obvious hardware savings, most companies that make the switch to colocation enjoy lower IT expenses in other areas, too. This often stems from the fact that software packages can be leased on similar monthly agreements, and that they suffer fewer problems associated with software and hardware failure. In other words, colocation in a Canadian data centre means fewer errors and less downtime. Those might be difficult costs to calculate, but every business leader knows the impact they can have on the bottom line.

4. The flexibility to scale technology up or down. Managing technology can be incredibly difficult if your company is growing too quickly, if only because the sudden need for more hardware and bandwidth can make expansion costs prohibitive. Even worse, if you need to scale your technology or operations back to save money, you might be faced with the uncomfortable prospect of selling equipment you’ve purchased at a loss. With a colocation plan in place, both of these problems are alleviated because you can scale your services up or down as needed – in an instant, and without any long-term financial repercussions.

5. Increased IT security. You don’t have to pay much attention to the news to know that the security of your technology is more important than it’s ever been in the past. What better way to keep data safe and sound than by having it stored and backed up regularly in a secure, climate-controlled, and continuously monitored environment? The average Canadian data centre is many times more safe and reliable than the office building or facility they replace.

Colocation Gives Businesses a Bit of Everything

For most organizations, and especially those that don’t have the resources to obtain or purchase high-performance technology equipment, colocation offers a number of important financial and performance benefits without any trade-offs. It’s no wonder so many companies are looking to Canadian data centres for colocation in 2014… shouldn’t yours be one of them?

To learn more, click here.

How to Migrate Your Call Centre Into the Cloud

In a previous post, we looked at the many advantages to moving your customer service call centre into a cloud platform, which included the possibility of huge cost savings combined with higher customer satisfaction. Today, we want to look at the process of actually migrating your call centre into the cloud. In other words, we’ll look at what it takes to actually turn that money-saving vision into a reality.

The actual process will vary, of course, from one company to the next. Moreover, your specific steps will probably depend a bit on the size of your business, where your calls will be routed to in the future, and what Canadian data centre you’ll be working with for colocation.

However, the template below should apply very well for most situations. Moreover, it will help to dispel the widespread myth that moving your call centre into a cloud has to be expensive, time-consuming, or problematic. Few things could be further from the case. In fact, most businesses find that the transition is incredibly quick and smooth. The only real issue is figuring out why they didn’t make the switch sooner.

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Steps Involved in Migrating to a Cloud-Based Call Centre

So, what does it actually take to move your customer service calls into the cloud? Here are the steps most businesses will follow:

1. Choose a data centre for colocation. This is an important piece of the puzzle, since the right environment for your cloud platform is essential. You want to work with a partner who can guarantee lots of uptime, maximum security, and “extras” like automatic file backup on a regular basis. Biased as we might be, we recommend you consider a Canadian data centre for the most reliable technicians in a stable, accessible environment.

2. Make a plan for your migration. In most cases, this doesn’t have to be complicated, just an outline of the actual system to be transferred, a date and time for the migration to be executed, and all the relevant details like telephone numbers or server addresses for customer records. Additionally, your plan might contain information on backups and contingencies, just in case systems are offline for a few minutes during the transition.

3. Train your staff for your new customer service platform. Typically, when businesses make the switch to cloud call centres, they upgrade their capabilities at the same time. That means your team might have access to information they didn’t have before, which could require a little bit of training. Or, you might decide this is a great time to overhaul your entire customer service experience to meet a higher standard of satisfaction. Either way, it’s a good idea to ensure that staff members are informed about the switch and ready to move forward.

4. Port your telephone numbers from one location to another. Moving your customer service contacts into the cloud doesn’t have to mean surrendering the telephone numbers you already have (and your customers already know). Most major telecommunications providers can actually port numbers to a new location within just a few minutes, but it’s a good idea to give them a healthy amount of lead time if it’s at all possible. That way, you can be sure things will work the way they’re supposed to.

5. Keep a close eye on your customer service performance. Once you’ve moved your call centre into the cloud and had your numbers ported, you are ready to begin with your virtual setup. All there is left to do at this point is keep an eye on your most important customer service metrics to ensure that your staff is handling the transition smoothly.

Don’t Let the Fear of Call Centre Migration Hold You Back

Some companies end up spending far, far more than they should – one quarter after another – because they are afraid to undergo the process of migrating their call centre into the cloud. While this is understandable for those who aren’t familiar with the technology, it’s also a case where a little bit of misinformation can hurt your bottom line in a big way. Don’t be afraid to make the switch, because the process itself is likely to be very simple and the benefits to your business could be tremendous.

Ready to take the first step? Start your search a data centre that provides colocation services by clicking here.

How Cloud Computing Helps Small Businesses Level the Playing Field

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It has been said that the digital age has reduced the gap that used to exist between big companies and their smaller counterparts, if only because it’s easier for small businesses to reach out directly to customers. That might be true, but any small business owner can tell you that the bigger names still enjoy a number of important advantages – namely that they have larger budgets to work with, and can take advantage of economies of scale. When it comes to IT and business technology, those advantages can be a very big deal. Bigger spending leads to bigger performance and relatively lower expenses. In other words, it means that large organizations can afford to take advantage of things that small companies can’t…

Or at least that they used to be able to outspend smaller companies.

Cloud computing and colocation are changing all of that. By altering the way technology is used and budgeted, these two services are making it possible for small businesses to afford the high-powered tools and systems that their bigger competitors have access to.

Why Cloud Computing and Colocation Make IT a Fair Fight

When smaller businesses switch to cloud computing and colocation with a Canadian data centre, the size of the company, or its budget, doesn’t matter nearly as much. Here are a few of the most important reasons why:

Smaller businesses get access to better software through cloud computing. In the past, small businesses may have passed on investing in software applications that could help them grow their business because the costs were too prohibitive, or at least held off on making version upgrades. With cloud computing, though – and monthly subscriptions instead of big upfront investments – those barriers to critical software are removed.

Cloud computing and colocation mean lower, fixed IT expenses. Obviously, every small business owner or manager likes saving money. But, as an underrated side effect, these two types of IT leasing also allow for a fixed monthly expenses, meaning that it’s easier to plan for future cash flow. Why not give your company more money to spend elsewhere in the budget?

Cloud computing and colocation are both scalable. Over the past decade, lots of businesses have come to regret making huge investments in technology, watching it depreciate (or need to be replaced) even as business conditions remained unstable. By taking advantage of cloud computing and colocation, you can increase or decrease your level of service without making a big commitment now, or being tied to a huge monthly invoice later.

Small businesses enjoy better data security. One thing more and more companies are discovering is that keeping things like hardware and critical data in their offices is a bad idea. Break-ins, fires, and equipment failure all have to be considered and planned for. But, with leased IT in a remote location, encrypted file transfers, and continuous automated backup systems working for you, colocation and cloud computing can take away those worries.

With cloud computing and colocation, you don’t need a big IT team. In fact, when you make the move to these kinds of remote technology systems, you might be able to remove your IT team altogether. That can be a great way to lower your overall expenses while enjoying the same level of service and benefits that you and your employees have become accustomed to.

The best way to discover whether cloud computing or colocation in a Canadian data centre are a good fit for your small business – or find out exactly how much you could save on a monthly and yearly basis – is to call a provider and learn what solutions they have available. In almost every case, new clients find that it takes a lot less than they had imagined to enjoy the kind of IT care that big businesses take for granted.

Data Centers Canada Presents: Move Your Contact Centre into the Cloud

Data Centers Canada, a division of TeraGo Networks, recently posted an article on their blog site discussing the advantages of moving your business’s contact centre into the cloud. Below, we’ve provided a copy of the article:

Save Money and Improve Customer Service by Moving Your Contact Centre into the Cloud

Cloud computing is transforming the way we think about technology and communications, with new applications coming to light all the time. One of the most exciting – and one with a huge potential to save businesses a lot of money – is the ability to make your customer service contact centre cloud based.

How does a cloud contact centre work in conjunction with colocation at a Canadian data centre? In essence, it simply means that your calls are routed to Internet-connected workstations through a configurable software package. You control where the calls go, to whom, and what information is displayed to customer service representatives in real time. Because software is hosted online, and the calls are handled over the Internet through VOIP, your business gets bigger capabilities at a fraction of the cost.

With VOIP systems already standard in companies of all sizes, it’s no wonder that so many are turning to cloud platforms to lower costs and increase customer service effectiveness. It’s a classic win-win scenario, and one that virtually any organization can take advantage of.

To help illustrate the reasons why, here are seven big advantages you enjoy when you move your contact centre into the cloud:

1. You eliminate customer service hardware costs. One of the tremendous advantages you gain with any cloud computing platform is the freedom to do away with expensive and unreliable on-site hardware. The savings are especially important when you’re talking about servers, telephone switchboards, and other pieces of technology traditionally needed for customer service. By embracing colocation with a Canadian data centre, you can eliminate fixed investments and take advantage of less expensive monthly agreements.

2. More customer service capabilities. While a lot of businesses are limited to simply engaging customers over the phone, cloud contact centres can allow users to participate in real-time chat sessions and, in some situations, even screen-sharing sessions. That means your representatives can diagnose problems and assist buyers more quickly than ever before.

3. Better customer service call routing. Cloud contact centres work through infinitely customizable software packages. So, you can decide whether to offer menu prompts to callers, where to route incoming calls, and even whether to split them between different locations, departments, or priorities. With this increased control, businesses can deal with their most important inquiries first, and help customers to find the contact or information they’re looking for faster.

4. Real-time customer information. One of the greatest things about cloud computing platforms is that they work in real time, so software can be updated for all users in an instant. Since that includes databases, your customer service team can have the account-specific information they need, continuously updated and ready at a moment’s notice. That allows them to see what happened during previous interactions, view the details of orders, and check things like shipping without any delay.

5. Customer service scalability. When your cloud customer service system is set up using colocation at a Canadian data centre, you always have the option of expanding your operations quickly – and without investing in new call centre locations or buying expensive telecommunications equipment. Simply make a change in your account, based on your current or forecasted future needs, and your usage settings can be adjusted overnight.

6. Better data security. Colocation is a great way to make all of your technology safer, with encrypted connections, automated backups, and secure facilities that are monitored around the clock. That’s especially important when it comes to customer service, since you don’t want buyer information and order details being seen by unauthorized third parties. With the right Canadian data centre, you won’t have to worry about where your data is being stored, or where it might be going when you aren’t looking.

7. Less customer service downtime. Because cloud computing and colocation systems are notably more reliable than traditional in-office telecommunications packages, your customer service team spends less time offline. That means a more consistent experience for buyers, higher customer retention rates, and a better reputation in your industry.

A lot of businesses are just finding out about colocation contact centres for the first time, but they are quickly learning that there is a lot to love about handling incoming calls in the cloud. Is it time you looked into a better way to keep buyers happy and save money all at the same time?

To learn more about data centre technologies and trends, check out the Data Centers Canada blog by clicking here.

TeraGo Networks Attends TechBrew in Vancouver

On January 29th, TeraGo Networks joined more than 170 tech professionals at TechBrew, one of BCTIA’s most popular events, to check out new technologies and discuss 2014 trends. BCTIA (BC Technology Industry Association) is a not-for-profit organization that supports the development, growth, and advancement of technology companies located in British Columbia. Gathered in the Stanley Park Pavilion, TechBrew attendees interacted with the coolest new technologies and conversed with cutting-edge innovators and influential decision-makers.

Photo credit: Kim Stallknecht Photography and BCTIA

Photo credit: Kim Stallknecht Photography and BCTIA

We had the honor of presenting during the event, which gave our representatives the opportunity to provide attendees with information on the technologies we employ and the types of services we offer. Networking with tech professionals, colleagues, and customers allows for us to provide support to the industry where we can, offer connections to our services, and recognize industry trends.

After speaking with several attendees, it became clear that data centres – and the availability of data centre facilities – was the hot topic of the night. The increased use of data centres and colocation facilities across the globe has not gone unnoticed by IT professionals and businesses in BC. With cloud computing at an estimated worth of $200 billion globally by 2016, companies are eager to secure the space they need to utilize the cloud.

Additionally, many companies are specifically looking for data centres in the lower mainland of BC. In a recent article, IBM stated that they believe Kelowna is the best place to build a data centre in North America because it’s far from earthquake and flood zones and close to cheap power sources. The city is also just a short distance from Vancouver and the US border, bringing any US based companies that are looking to avoid the National Security Administration (NSA) up to Canada. The recent practices of the NSA has cast doubt on the security of data centres located in the United States, compelling businesses to look elsewhere for data centre and colocation facilities.

Discussing this growing data centre trend  with TechBrew attendees gave us some great insights on the resources needed for businesses to effectively utilize the technology. Not only do companies need to find space within a data centre or colocation facility, but they need to acquire a secure, symmetrical connection in order truly benefit. Without a reliable and safe connection, companies will not be able to protect the data they send to and from the data centre. And if the connection isn’t symmetrical, companies will not be able to upload as fast as they download, which results in lower productivity levels. To learn more about data centre services, click here.

We look forward to attending many more BCTIA events!

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

TeraGo Networks Presents: Back to Basics – What is Virtualization?

The term “virtualization” has been generating some buzz in the technology community as IT professionals look for ways to maximize their resources. But what exactly is virtualization? And how can it benefit your business? This blog post breaks down the history and functionality of virtualization.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization refers to the technologies designed to provide a layer of abstraction between computer hardware systems and the software running on them.  Since virtualization provides a logical view of computing resources instead of a physical view, it provides you with the capability to trick your operating systems into thinking that a group of servers is a single pool of computing resources. Virtualization also allows for you to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single machine.

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At its roots, virtualization is essentially partitioning, which divides a single physical server into multiple logical servers. Once the physical server has been divided, each logical server can run an operating system and applications independently.

Historically, virtualization has been around for several years. It was first used in the 1960’s as a way to partition large mainframe hardware. Back then, engineers faced the same problems that are faced today, such as too many underutilized servers. The team at IBM pioneered virtualization by providing the capability for engineers to partition mainframes, allowing tasks to multitask.

After the popularity of virtualization faded for a long period of time, it experienced a rebirth in the 1990s. Server virtualization on the Intel based x86 platform was invented in the 90s primarily by VMware. Since then, many other companies have entered into the x86 hardware and software virtualization market, but it was VMware that developed the first hypervisor for the x86 architecture, planting the seeds for the recent virtualization boom.

So what exactly is x86? It’s the generic name for Intel processors released after the original 8086 processor. The “x” in x86 stands for a range of possible numbers. If a computer’s technical specifications state that it’s based on the x86 architecture, it means that it uses an Intel processor, not AMD or PowerPC.

One of the aspects driving the increased popularity of virtualization is the shrinking availability of data center space. Many companies are also using virtualization as a money-saving initiative. By reducing the numbers and types of servers that support business applications, companies are looking at a significant cost savings.

Next week, we will discuss the benefits and features of virtualization.

To learn more about data center options, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Cloud Providers are Utilizing Colocation to Deliver Services

Businesses aren’t the only ones looking to benefit from colocation services. Several cloud computing providers are making the decision to lease space in a colocation facility instead of purchasing or building their own data centers. The cost associated with constructing and managing a data center is significant, and many cloud providers aren’t interested in making the investment.

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According to Reed Construction Data, the cost of building a standard one story 22,500 square foot data center starts around $7 million dollars. For many start-up cloud providers, they simply can’t afford to build or outfit a data center. Even the larger, well established cloud providers are opting to lease data center space instead of building or buying their own.

Most cloud providers are choosing to lease space because they need an efficient and robust data center to deliver their service. By utilizing colocation, providers are able to focus more on other aspects of their business, such as advertising or customer service, instead of spending money on hardware, power, or cooling facilities. Providers need to stay current and utilize marketing to establish a competitive edge in order to compete with the hundreds of cloud establishments in the marketplace.

Colocation also offers the opportunity to reach globally dispersed customers quickly. Instead of building an entirely new data center facility, cloud providers are able to lease space in multiple data center locations. This gives them a great deal of flexibility because they are not limited to a single location. It also provides them with a larger target market because they are no longer confined to one geographical area.

Utilizing colocation to deliver cloud services is quickly growing in popularity as more and more providers recognize the benefits. Although building or buying a data center facility may still be the right strategy for some cloud providers, colocation is making it easier for start-ups to enter and compete in the cloud market.

To learn more about the benefits of colocation, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

Data Center Tier Standards: Which is Right for Your Business?

Choosing the right data center for your business can be difficult, especially when there are so many options available. The Uptime Institute, an independent provider of thought leadership, certification, education and professional services for the global data center and emerging Digital Infrastructure industry, has established a system that is designed to rank data centers according to their reliability.

The ranking order is defined by tiers, with Tier 4 being the highest achievable level. The criteria which is utilized to establish the ranks for the data center facilities is several and include elements such as; annual availability of systems, the amount of downtime the facility experiences in a year, power and cooling paths, levels of systems redundancy, and the time the data center can continue to operate in terms of hours if it were to loose utility power.

It’s important to note that not all industry experts agree with this grading formula, but as of right now – this ranking methodology is considered the norm in the data center marketplace.

Below is a break down for each tier:

 Tier 4

  • 99.995% availability
  • Annual downtime of point zero four hours
  • Two independent utility paths from the street
  • Fully redundant (2N+1) infrastructure
  • Able to sustain 96 hours of utility power outage

Tier 3

  • 99.98% availability
  • Annual downtime of one point six hours
  • Multiple power and cooling paths
  • Fault tolerant (N+1)
  • Able to sustain 72 hours of utility power outage

Tier 2

  • 99.749% availability
  • Annual downtime of twenty two hours
  • Single path of power and cooling

Tier 1

  • 99.671% availability
  • Annual downtime of twenty eight point eight hours
  • Single path of power and cooling
  • No redundant components

Which Tier Level is best for My Business?

Most of the mid-size data center facilities in North America are classified as a Tier 3 based on this ranking system. For a majority of enterprises seeking data center space, a Tier 3 environment provides a good balance between infrastructure reliability and the costs associated in utilizing these types of facilities.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 facilities really do not meet the needs of most businesses today. These environments are economical solutions, but typically utilize very little redundancy and support systems to ensure that the environment operates problem free.

On the high side, Tier 4 data centers are the elite facilities and deliver the highest levels of systems and infrastructure to minimize downtime for their clients. These facilities are typically homes for very large organizations, including large financial institutions, as these environments tend to come with a very high price point.

Need help understanding which tier is right for your business? Click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

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