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Yottaa Expands Global Hybrid Cloud And CDN Locations

Yottaa’s DevOps team has just returned from Chicago. But far from reveling in the success of the Bulls or taking pictures of a giant bean, the team spent their days holed up in a datacenter, expanding the geographic footprint of Yottaa’s hybrid-cloud network for the benefit of Yottaa customers.  That is to say, they just spent several days in a cold, windowless room with deafening white noise and security guards watching their every move. Thanks guys!

The DevOps team, led by Director of Operations Jason Parsons, installed new physical servers and configured a new data center location in one of the world’s best datacenters, located in Chicago’s South Loop. The new datacenter there joins the dozens of others in Yottaa’s hybrid-cloud network that we use to operate our Site Speed Optimizer and Monitor services.Chicago Datacenter

Decisions, Decisions

One of the biggest challenges in building a secure and effective network like Yottaa’s is determining which facilities, providers, and equipment will be optimal for the performance of the network.  Yottaa is continuously analyzing our geographic reach, researching the state of the art in network deployments, and ensuring that we are able to provide our customers with the best service in a cost-effective manner. We also must assure the utmost network security at all times.

One reason we chose this particular data center was for its location. Chicago?s geographic centrality in North America makes it a great location for traffic going to and from the millions of people in the upper Midwest and Canada.  The highest concentrations of datacenters in the world are in the Northern Virginia and San Francisco areas, which means the northern-central region can sometimes be underserved.  Not on our network.

We also chose the Chicago datacenter because it’s a top-notch facility: a Tier 4 datacenter as those in the industry would say. (Tier certification is performed by the Uptime Institute, and “4” is the top of the pyramid.  Specifics on what defines each Tier changes constantly as new technology is developed.)

Built in a former R.R. Donnelly Co. printing press structure, the datacenter has a distinguished and historical appearance on the outside, unlike the average datacenter that’s housed in an unremarkable bunker-like structure.  But more important than the appearance is what’s inside.  The center has over a million square feet of datacenter space, making it the largest datacenter of its kind in the world.

The Chicago datacenter has security features such as mandatory “man trap” access (think of the airlocks for entering and exiting space shuttles), a redundant liquid cooling system, and A/B power supply – meaning every piece of equipment is hooked up to two power sources so that if one fails the other can pick up the slack.

We could go on and on about the fantastic space-age features of this datacenter, but it should suffice to say: we feel safe putting our servers here.

The Challenges + Benefits of Unique Infrastructure

We want to achieve the best, most secure connections for our network while delivering the lowest latency for our customers.  Building a scalable network, though, presents its challenges, especially in a the highly complex world of hybrid-cloud networks.

Our software was designed from the start to work on best-in-class infrastructure, whether that means a cloud provider, a managed services provider, or our own physical infrastructure. For our own infrastructure – the stuff we use to provision, configure, manage, and monitor our servers – we designed from the ground up for it to work in any environment. This means that we can’t rely on features only available from one provider. Our infrastructure needs to be self-contained and generalizable.  It needs to accommodate the differences between various virtualization or bootstrapping environments, thereby providing a way for us to automatically and easily scale across all of our facilities.

The Yottaa DevOps team has achieved this through robust infrastructure based on technologies such as the Linux Operating System, automated Kickstart deployments, and configuration management and automation with Puppet.  By designing these tools in from the start, our team is able to rapidly scale our services to provide the best performance to our customers.


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