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.

5 Tips for Establishing a Data Center Disaster Recovery Plan

As businesses continue to utilize Internet technologies, data has become central to operations and productivity. Companies have a variety of data that they must manage and protect, such as employee information, customer details, policies and procedures, and so on. In many cases, companies use data centers to store their information. However, it’s important to establish a data center disaster recovery plan to ensure your business critical items are protected. Not sure where to start creating your data center disaster recovery plan? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.

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  1. 24/7 Availability: Disaster recovery plans typically need to accommodate high availability requirements, so make sure your data center provides 24/7 assistance.
  2. Overcome Redundancy Limitations: If your company requires full data redundancy, the hardware costs may be more than what you’ve budgeted for – especially if you have multiple sites that need a redundant connection. Fortunately, there are options to help you overcome any budget limitations, such as virtual machine snapshots or thin provisioning.
  3. Be Sure to Manage your Disaster Recovery Spending: In addition to managing redundancy costs, it’s important to sync your disaster recovery plan with your budget. Relocating vast amounts of data offsite to a data center facility can be quite costly if your company doesn’t have the technology to support it. Some companies have found great success in utilizing their existing WAN set up to transfer the data over their Internet connection.
  4. Learn from Mistakes: Disaster is the name of the game, and sometimes even the best laid plans aren’t enough. Companies that are in the early stages of their disaster recovery planning have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by others.
  5. Create a Plan with IT Members: Having the right hardware and software in place isn’t the only aspect of a disaster recovery plan – you need to have an actual plan. It’s important for your IT staff to sit down and create a plan that works best for the needs and requirements of the company.

Haven’t found a data center to store your company’s information? Find the right facility for your business by clicking here.

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.

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.

The Great NSA Debate has Companies Moving to Canada

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This week, privacy advocates around the world staged a protest online in an attempt to protect their data and company information from the world’s government intelligence agencies. Over 6,000 websites took part in the protest, which was branded as “The Day We Fight Back” campaign, by displaying banners at the bottom of their web pages to encourage individuals and companies to participate. Heavy hitters like Google, Twitter, and Mozilla took part in the protest.

Even though the protest itself was more of a whimper than a roar, the controversy over government surveillance still had a significant impact on the businesses economy south of the Canadian border. A recent estimate completed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation stated that the American economy could stand to lost up to $35 billion in lost revenues as a result. Because of our proximity to the U.S., skilled workforce, cold climate, and affordable energy sources, Canada is a very ideal location for businesses who no longer want to house their data in the States. Several businesses have already made the move to a Canadian-based data centre, including European banking and insurance firms with operations in the States as well as American retail outlets and oil and gas companies.

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Telus and Rogers are expecting data storage sales in Canada to increase by 20% this year, not including the number of businesses seeking refuge from the ever-watching eye of the NSA. Though it would be naive to assume to any data stored in Canada is fully exempt from government surveillance, there are stricter rules on what government agencies can access. The Canadian Privacy Act, established in 1983, limits the amount of personal information the government can collect, use, and disclose.

So what does this mean for Canadian businesses? With more businesses looking for storage in data centre colocation facilities, there will be increased competition for space. Data centres are a finite resource. Once the space is gone – it’s gone, putting pressure on Canadian companies to get their foot in the door before the data centre is full. Many companies will also be looking to utilize cloud computing services, further driving the demand.

There will also be an increased need for bandwidth as businesses transfer data to their colocation facility or cloud, so obtaining a reliable and secure high speed connection is critical. In order to obtain the full benefits of cloud computing, users will require a symmetrical connection so they can upload and download data at an efficient rate.

To learn more about Canadian data centres, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung

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

Top IT Predictions for 2014

It’s that time of year again – businesses around the globe are busy preparing for 2014. After reviewing multiple research documents released by industry leading companies, such as Gartner, IDC, CA Technologies, and CompTIA, we’ve compiled a list of the top I.T. predictions for 2014.

  1. Security: In a survey conducted by CompTIA, it was revealed that businesses are funnelling resources into better security, and that 56% of CIOs have indicated that IT security is their top priority. As the number of devices used by employees increases (driven by BYOD – bring your own device) it is getting increasingly difficult to protect company data. Factor in the technical advances made by cyber criminals, who are finding more and more ways to get around security barriers, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands. There is a delicate balance between enabling and protecting the business, and IT members will need to find the happy medium.
  2. Outsourcing IT: Several companies are either planning or rolling out programs and technology trends such as cloud computing, mobility, and big data. This combination of multiple technology trends, in addition to the increased adoption rate of these technologies by enterprises, will contribute to a IT skills shortage. For many companies, change is occurring fast, and they don’t have the in-house resources or expertise needed to implement their plans. In order for businesses to obtain the full benefits of these technologies, they will need to employ outsourced resources.
  3. Data Centre Utilization: Businesses of all sizes are quickly filling up data centres across the country. Best advice – get in while you can. Data centres are comparable to a finite resource – once they’re full, that’s it. And as the demand for data centre services increases, so can the price. Several smaller businesses perceive data centres an inaccessible – believing that the costs will be too high – but that’s not the case. There is a variety of data centres across the country, ranging in price, size, and security level. Still don’t think your company needs data centre services? Check out our post on the Top 5 Benefits of Using a Data Centre for Business.
  4. The Internet of Things: We’re on the brink of the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, many companies are aware of IoT, but haven’t yet explored the possibilities of an expanded Internet. As a result, several businesses are not operationally or organizationally ready to employ IoT. However, Gartner predicts that companies will be using 2014 to prepare for IoT by utilizing data centre resources, adopting a variety of data management software, and ensuring the right employee resources are in place. IoT is not restricted to any particular industry, and with the advent of massively connected devices, businesses now have access to more information than they actually act on. Gartner’s prediction focuses on the “opportunity to build applications and services that can use that information to create new engagement models for customers, employees and partners”. This means that IoT is set to become more user friendly and accessible – so you had better start preparing for it.
  5. Software Defined Anything: Gartner predicts that software spending will increase by 25% in 2014. Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term used to define the growing market momentum for software systems that are controlling different types of hardware. More specifically, it’s making software more “in command” of multi-piece hardware systems and allowing for software control of a greater range of devices.

Reviewing the five top IT predictions listed above, there appears to be three things in common; businesses will need to manage a vast amount of data, businesses will need a reliable Internet connection, and businesses will need to act fast. So if you haven’t solidified your 2014 IT plans, or if you have – and it doesn’t include at least one of the items listed above, then it’s time to hustle.

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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