Steadfast Blog

I am proud to announce that we're now launching Steadfast Financial Networks at As our financial/trading customer base has been growing we decided it was a good decision to acquire RadiusIT, who had become a consulting partner of ours over the years. RadiusIT brings decades of experience in the financial network consulting business, which we can combine with our proximity colocation facilities, 24/7 on-site staff, and nationwide network to offer an end-to-end IT solution to financial and trading firms. If you're interested in any of these financial network services, such as network consulting, market feed data, proximity colocation, or in-depth 24/7 monitoring please contact us.

We have been offering them for a bit now as customer orders, but they're now a standard product offering, the Xeon X5660 2.8Ghz six core processor in a dual processor configuration. These servers come with 12GB of RAM and 2x 500GB hard drives (using our current RAID special) for $599.95 a month. This can serve as a great option to those currently running their Xeon 5520's to the max or simply need some additional headroom as it'll get you ~25% more processing power per core and 50% more cores for a nearly 90% performance improvement, assuming what you're doing can take full advantage of the additional cores. With this offering, you can get nearly twice the processing power and twice the RAM for just a 50% higher cost for the base system.

These servers can be ordered via our usual dedicated server page:

Steadfast Networks is happy to announce our new line of Managed Network Security services. These services are all monitored 24/7/365 from a SAS70 Type II certified Security Operations Center (SOC) and allow you to easily become compliant with regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, and FISMA. Many people overlook various aspects of a complete security solution, such as keeping IDS/IPS rules up-to-date or daily monitoring of server and firewall logs. What good is a hardware firewall if you're not familiar with the rules that need to be in place and don't have the time to monitor it closely? A single item forgotten from a compliance checklist can easily equate to fines and lost business/reputation. Together with our security specialists we can assure that you're meeting all the compliance requirements and are operating as secure of a network as-is possible.

The new product offerings include a managed firewall, managed intrusion prevention and detection (IDS/IPS), managed VPN, vulnerability scanning, log monitoring/management, email security (spam and virus scanning), and general security and regulatory compliance consulting. The most affordable solution is our email security service, which is only $5 a month per domain, but you can also get a complete suite of managed firewall, IDS/IPS, and VPN for $650 a month. That bundled service is enough to meet the requirements for a vast majority of our customers and can cover an almost unlimited number of systems.

These managed security services can be added on to existing dedicated server and colocation packages, but you may need to make various network changes, including potential IP renumbering. If you're looking to start a new service, please make sure you contact our sales department with your security needs.

Chicago, IL Aug. 30, 2010 -- Steadfast Networks, a leading Chicago based data center and dedicated server hosting provider, announced today its #1359 ranking on the Inc. 5000 list, a list published by Inc. Magazine featuring America’s fastest-growing private companies. The Inc. 5000 list ranks private companies according to highest growth in terms of revenue over a three-year period, from 2006 – 2009. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Music website Pandora, convenience store chain 7-Eleven, Brooklyn Brewery, and Radio Flyer, maker of the iconic children’s red wagon, are among the other prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

“The leaders of the companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have figured out how to grow their businesses during the longest recession since the Great Depression,” said Inc. president Bob LaPointe. “The 2010 Inc. 5000 showcases a particularly hardy group of entrepreneurs.”

"Since our inception in 1998, we have always focused on providing the best service possible for the price," said Karl Zimmerman, CEO of Steadfast Networks. "At Steadfast Networks, our focus has always been based on value; not providing the cheapest service, but providing a high quality dedicated server hosting service where customers can feel appreciated at a reasonable rate. This model has allowed us to keep up consistent growth even during this tough economic times"

Over the past three years, 2006-2009, Steadfast Networks has maintained 215% growth. This is the third year in a row that Steadfast Networks has been on the Inc. 5000 list, having been ranked 370 in 2008 and 630 in 2009. This continued growth has been sustained organically, with no outside investment, while continuing to improve the service offerings and level of service provided to their customers, which include major Chicago institutions such as the Chicago Reader, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, and the MacArthur Foundation.

"To continue our growth, we have expanded our services out of the New York metro area through our acquisition of The New York NOC, opened a brand new data center facility and office at 725 S Wells St. in downtown Chicago, and are now entering the financial networks market by offering market data services and consulting service to financial and trading firms" said Zimmerman. "To further enhance our hosting services, we have extended our network to San Jose, Ashburn, London, and Amsterdam to improve our international connectivity and peering relationships."

In addition to ranking #1359 in the Inc. 5000 list, Steadfast Networks has achieved the #51 ranking in the Chicago metro area. The company’s business model was developed specifically to help companies get a better handle on their IT needs by providing a reliable and complete solution that can easily scale when customers require more space and bandwidth. By allowing companies to outsource their IT load and data center needs, Steadfast Networks has been increasing the efficiency and responsiveness of their customer’s IT staff while reducing their overhead.

"At Steadfast Networks, we believe that when you choose a company that demonstrates consistent and steady growth since inception, you receive additional benefits knowing that your equipment and data is being hosted and maintained by a hosting provider that will be here today, tomorrow, and well into the future," said Zimmerman. "Additionally, a company like Steadfast Networks has proven that we can grow quickly and consistently while maintaining our high levels of support and personal service."

Steadfast Networks’ Inc. 5000 list profile including ranking and revenue growth information can be found at

About Inc. Magazine
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. ( is the only major business magazine dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies that delivers real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. With a total paid circulation of 712,647, Inc. provides hands-on tools and market-tested strategies for managing people, finances, sales, marketing, and technology. Visit us online at

About Steadfast Networks
Established in 1998, Chicago based hosting company Steadfast Networks, delivers high quality, powerful servers through reliable dedicated server hosting, colocation server hosting, virtual private servers, shared web hosting, and dedicated game server hosting. Steadfast's award-winning services and dedicated support staff help customers from all over the world 24/7/365. Customers can choose basic hosting or a customized, fully managed dedicated server hosting solution.
To learn more about Steadfast Networks, visit

New Core Routers in Chicago

Posted in Networking on August 24th, 2010

Note: As of July 2013 we are no longer utilizing Brocade MLXe-16 routers and have upgraded to Juniper MX480 routers due to their increased routing table capacity.

I'm sure at least some of you noticed the announcement this morning that we're going to be replacing our core routers. I figured it was worth a blog post to detail these changes and what they mean for you.

First of all, we've been using Cisco 6500 routers with the SUP720-3BXL management cards at our core, which handles all BGP with our carriers and peers as well as some customer VLANs, for many years now. These routers have worked out great and have served us well, but we're reaching the end of their useful lives for us, at least here in Chicago. There have been some incidents causing higher CPU usage levels than we'd like to see and some bugs on the BGP side, with the large number of sessions we have setup for peering and the like, and that had led us on the initial search for a replacement. It was clear the 6500 platform would not last us much longer as core routers in Chicago.

Our primary concern in looking for a new router was the processing and throughput capacity along with the density of 10 GigE ports and "future proofing." In the end, we selected the Brocade (formerly Foundry) MLXe-16, the newest member of the MLX family that isn't planned for official release until mid-September. It takes less of a footprint and less power than the CIsco 6500's, but gives us a significantly improved platform. We had also considered Juniper, and we love the Juniper OS, but we simply couldn't get the density and capacity we wanted.

Here is a comparison:

Brocade MLXe-16

Cisco 6500

Processing for up to 400 Million Packets per Second
640 Gbit/sec of throughput
40 Gigabit backplane capacity per module
Up to 32 full line speed 10 Gigabit circuits
No support for 40 GigE or 100 GigE

Brocade MLXe

Processing for up to 4 Billion Packets per Second
Over 6 Tbit/sec of throughput
240 Gbit/sec backplane capacity per module
Up to 128 line speed Gigabit circuits with current line cards, higher density line cards are in the works
Support for 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet are in the works and the backplane capacity exists to support it

As you can see, the Brocade gives us roughly 10 times the capacity as well as the ability to continue growing with 40 GigE and 100 GigE modules. In addition, the line cards for the Brocade all have their own forwarding processors. Having this distributed processing means that we are much less likely to face similar CPU issues as we did with the Cisco 6500's, and that we have significantly more processing power at the router level.

The pair of MLXe-16's we're starting with each come with 8x 10 GigE ports (SFP+) and 20 GigE ports (1000BaseT) and leave us with 14 additional slots for future expansion, including the possibility of 100 GigE ports. The units also each have redundant management cards, which allow us to do software upgrades and maintenance without downtime, redundant switch fabric modules, and redundant power supplies. These are extremely redundant boxes on their own, but we believe strongly in our 100% network uptime SLA and still choose to have two of these routers in place.

Note: The picture attached is from right after we got them and were doing the initial software upgrades and base configurations. Don't worry, they won't be sitting on the floor when we turn them live!

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