Steadfast Blog

We are announcing that we have added two new account managers over recent weeks, Andy Salazar and Jacob Wall. They both bring extensive industry experience along with them and we're happy to have them on board.

With these additions, we'll be expanding our sales hours and increasing our presence on live chat starting Monday. The sales hours will now be 8AM - 7PM Central, Monday through Friday, which assures we cover the 9-5 work hours coast-to-coast. We should also have quicker sales responses on nights and weekends. Live chat will also be available during those times, and as you can see, we've already updated our live chat software (check the bottom right of this page), which should provide a better user experience as it is more responsive and not in a separate pop-up window. For us, the operator interface is also a significant improvement.

To note, our billing hours have been reduced to 9AM - 5PM Monday through Friday.

Snowmageddon 2011

Posted in Chicago on February 3rd, 2011

We got through the 3rd worst snowstorm in Chicago history unscathed with many people calling it Snowmageddon 2011. We got over 20 inches of snow with 70 mph wind gusts and now everything is back to normal just one day after; the city of Chicago did a superb job! It was the first time in over 10 years Chicago Public Schools had a snow day, but here at Steadfast it was business as usual. Us Chicagoans know snow, but it was still quite an event. I believe this story sums it all up pretty well:

Our data centers maintained full operations and had 24/7 on-site staffing through the whole thing. I would like to give a big thank you for the staff members who put up with the cold, wind, and snow to get to work, assuring all of our customers kept the same level of service they've been accustomed to. This specifically includes Andrew, Steve, Kevin, Ray, Jeremy, Sean, Matthew, Mike, Cody, and Marc. Some of them have interesting stories, needing to dig their car out of piles of snow in the road multiple times on a single trip, having police officers assist with pushing their car up an off ramp, walking through snow banks as tall as themselves, and the picture below of a city bus that got stuck in the snow. It wasn't easy, but they did what they needed to do to assure all our customers were taken care of during Snowmageddon 2011.

Bus Stuck in Snow

Again, thank you to our dedicated staff. Your hard work and effort is greatly appreciated!

Update: Here is a picture from in front of our 725 S Wells facility.

Snow on Wells Street

And a big thank you to Marc for the pictures. Hopefully everyone got through Snowmageddon 2011 as well as we did!

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31, 2011 (PRNewswire) -- Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR), a global datacenter provider, has completed a new Turn-Key Datacenter® lease agreement with Steadfast Networks that expands Steadfast's footprint in Digital Realty Trust's 350 E. Cermak Road property. Through this lease agreement, Steadfast Networks will expand IT infrastructure to meet growing demand for its managed dedicated server services, collocation services, and IT services for financial services and trading companies. In total, Steadfast Networks now has more than 1.3 MW of power and more than 17,000 square feet of datacenter space in the world's largest data center, 350 E. Cermak, as well as a significant amount of office space for its corporate operations.

"This datacenter expansion enables Steadfast to provide our customers with a complete suite of services, including managed services, hardware, IT consulting, network services, space/power, monitoring, on-site staffing and more. We offer companies in the financial services and trading industry a compelling value proposition: our services decrease their capital expenditures while also reducing the workload of their internal IT teams, whether they work with Steadfast just on specific projects or outsource their entire IT department to our team," said Karl Zimmerman, Founder and CEO of Steadfast Networks.

"We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Steadfast Networks and support the growth of its business," said Brent Behrman, Senior Vice President, Sales of Digital Realty Trust. "Our Turn-Key Datacenters feature state-of-the-art, raised floor datacenter space that adheres to the highest engineering design standards with the most reliable components available. We are committed to meeting the technical specifications of our customers such as Steadfast Networks by providing a secure, reliable and cost effective datacenter facility."

Each Digital Realty Trust Turn-Key Datacenter facility is physically secure and features a state-of-the-art power and cooling architecture that has been optimized for green operation. Every Turn-Key Datacenter is built using the Company's proprietary POD Architecture® and uses metered power to ensure that clients pay only for the power that they use. They also come standard with Digital Realty Trust's PowerVU software, which enables centralized monitoring and management of datacenter power consumption, energy efficiency and load analysis.

About Steadfast Networks

Steadfast Networks is a Chicago-based company that provides data management services including managed dedicated servers, financial exchange market data, and Chicago and New York colocation services. The company meets the data and colocation needs of thousands of small and mid-sized companies and operates more than 20,000 square feet of data center space. Its Steadfast Financial Networks provides execution access services to the largest financial markets in the world, providing low-latency proximity financial market data. Steadfast Networks has been listed on the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing private companies for the past three years.

About Digital Realty Trust, Inc.

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. enables customers to deliver critical business applications by providing secure, reliable and cost effective datacenter facilities. Digital Realty Trust's customers include domestic and international companies across multiple industry verticals ranging from information technology and Internet enterprises, to manufacturing and financial services. Digital Realty Trust's 96 properties, excluding two properties held as investments in unconsolidated joint ventures, comprise approximately 16.8 million square feet as of December 9, 2010, including 2.3 million square feet of space held for redevelopment. Digital Realty Trust's portfolio is located in 28 markets throughout Europe, North America and Singapore. For additional information, please visit Digital Realty Trust's website at Turn-Key Datacenter, Powered Base Building and POD Architecture are registered trademarks of Digital Realty Trust.

Other Sources, Links:

Steadfast Financial Networks

Posted in Our Customers on January 3rd, 2011

My name is Ryan Hayes and I am Director of Business Development at Steadfast Networks. In an earlier post Karl mentioned the launch of Steadfast Financial Networks. We've received some questions in response to a recent New York Times article on high-frequency trading, so I'd like to take some time to discuss computers and finance in general, Steadfast's involvement with the financial industry, and explain what this acquisition means for our business overall.

Computers and finance have a long history going back to at least the 1970s when the New York Stock Exchange introduced a computerized ordering system to speed up execution and meet the demands of increased exchange volume. The 1980s saw a large growth in computerized trading, with many of the algorithmic trading and cash management strategies like those of Ed Seykota being among the most successful. The 1990s and 2000s saw an explosion in computer-based trading with firms like Renaissance Technologies taking in billions of dollars a year. It's clear that computers in finance are here to stay. And while there are critics of the effect that computerized trading has had on the volatility of stock markets and market stability, it's difficult to deny that they've been a net benefit to the industry and to the economy at large: not only increasing profit potential, but also increasing available liquidity on the markets and allowing orderly, error-free processing of trillions of dollars worth of transactions that we see on modern equities and commodities exchanges and which contribute to the overall functioning of our economy.

Our involvement with financial firms, and in particular with high-speed trading started in the late 2000s when we noticed increased demand for our colocation offerings from financial firms. Since this demand has kept up and experiencing first hand the frequent complexity of working with third parties, we decided to supplement our existing offering with trading-specific services including market data, consulting, and expanded colocation and IP transport offerings in New York and Europe. We discussed with a number of existing firms about partnering, but in the end decided that it was best—for us and our customers—to do things our own way, which is why we acquired Radius IT and formed Steadfast Financial Networks.

Overall, our goal is to expand our footprint in enterprise and professional IT infrastructure services and the Financial Networks division is an integral part of this. This works organically with our existing goals of expanding our IP transit and transport network and colocation presence around the world and will benefit all of our customers. We continue to aggressively invest in all areas of our business and will have some new product offerings out soon to supplement our existing line up of hosting products. At Steadfast, we have no aspiration to be “yet another hosting provider”, but seek out unique opportunities that work with our overall goals, work to the advantage of our customers, and allow us to increase the quality of our products. Steadfast Financial Networks is another step in that direction.

Steadfast Financial Networks service offerings:

Information on Steadfast's acquisition of Radius IT:

Recent New York Times article on high-speed trading:

We've decided it was about time to revamp our drive offerings as our solid state drives have proven to be extremely popular, while others have fallen out of favor. I'll start with the bad news, we're no longer offering 150GB or 300GB 10k RPM SATA drives (Raptors) due to low demand and poor reliability. We are still offering the 74GB drives, but only for as long as we have them in stock. If you're currently using these drives, don't worry, we still have spares around in case of a drive failure.

Then, on the plus side, we are now offering larger 600GB 15k RPM SAS (SA-SCSI) drives and 2TB SATA drives to keep up with the changes there, but the main additions are the new lines of solid state drives (SSD), focusing on having some more affordable options. We're still sticking solely with Intel drives, as we've been extremely happy with their performance and reliability. We've tested various other brands, and none of the others we've tested seem to be ready for a server environment like the Intel drives are. The new Intel SSD offerings are from the Intel X25-M and X25-V series, which are basically the same, an Intel X25-V 40GB drive for only $15 a month (making it a free upgrade option as a primary drive on most of our servers) and the Intel X25-M 160GB drive at $50 per month, allowing you to have more SSD capacity at a reasonable price point. These MLC based drives still perform very well, but not quite to the extent of the SLC Intel X25-E drives we've been offering. On reads you should see similar performance, but the X25-E will have over twice the write performance, which is critical in heavy write environments, which can be the case with many databases. In addition, the lifespan of the X25-E is significantly longer (~70 years with 100GB in writes per day) due to the SLC technology and enterprise nature of the drive, while the X25-M and X25-V (5+ years in same scenario) should still have ample lifespans in most environments, it can still be an additional concern.

If you're interested in more data on these SSD drives and how they compare in head-to-head performance we recommend the following articles &

These drives can be purchased immediately with any of our dedicated server offerings, Dedicated Servers with Basic Management, Fully Managed Dedicated Servers, and Discount Dedicated Servers

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