Steadfast Blog


Posted in Networking, Tech Events on October 29th, 2009

I said I would give updates on NANOG and ARIN if anything interesting happened, but I was so busy then, and when I returned to Chicago, that I just hadn't had time to write about it until now.  First of all, I have to say that both events were great, as was the Global Peering Forum event on Tuesday night.  I would encourage anyone in the field to go to these events to learn and to be able to converse and share ideas with people with common interests.

Now, at NANOG, much of the talk seemed to be on how to make things more complicated, thus I won't touch on those things here, but there are three things that I will cover.  First of all, I highly encourage everyone go through the How to Accurately Interpret Traceroute Results presentation.  Even if you're pretty familiar with traceroutes, it is a very in-depth presentation and I'm sure you'll learn something.  One of the other ideas mentioned that interested me, was the overall idea of expanding the current idea of an Internet Exchange, making it a full MPLS based metro network, allowing companies to get ports with the exchange for private interconnections over specific VLANs or as a public exchange, as most exchanges are currently configuraed.  Overall, the idea would be to make interconnectivity even easier, no matter wether or not the company you want to connect to is in the same building as you or not.  FInally, NANOG served as a great opportunity for us to meet with many of our existing peers and to talk to other networks that we are now working to peer with.  It is always nice being able to put faces to the people you're communicating with via email.

As for ARIN, it is quite evident that the IPv4 run-out is in fact a dire issue.  Sure, we might have IPs for about 2 years yet, but that really isn't that long, and many changes needed to implement IPv6, such as in software and harware platforms may take that long to implement.  We have been fully IPv6 capable for many months now, and encourage all customers to get IPv6 address space so that they are prepared for the change.  To help push people towards IPv6 we are no longer charging the one-time fee for IPv6 allocations.  As IPv4 space does run out, we will likely be forced to charge more for IPv4 resources, as there will be a point where we simply would not be able to get any more IPs, making them a scarce resource.  The best way to mitigate the need for those more IPv4 addresses is to be prepared with IPv6.  Yes, IPv6 is not in common use now, but when IPv4 runs out, the change will likely happen very quickly.  You'll want to be prepared in advance of the change, or you are in danger of losing significant business if you're not prepared to move over to IPv6 when everyone else is.  I am not trying to scare you.  I am telling you that you need to be prepared, and we provide you with all the resources you need to be prepared as far as network and hardware.

If anyone has any questions about any of the topics discussed above, just post a comment on this post an I'll be happy to answer your questions.


Posted in Networking, Tech Events on October 17th, 2009

Kevin and I, Karl, will be headed to Dearborn, MI tomorrow to attend the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) and American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) meetings/conferences.  The NANOG event goes from Sunday the 18th through Wednesday the 21st and ARIN picks up on the 21st and continues through Friday the 23rd.  The NANOG events will allow us increase our knowledge in new technologies and trends, with various presentations and discussions on BGP policies, networking hardware advancements, new/evolving security threats, etc.  At ARIN, we will be able to participate in discussions regarding allocation and management of IP space as well as the overall transition to IPv6.  Due to the high number of industry professionals at these events, we will also be able to develop relationships with many other networks and be able to meet face-to-face with many of our current peers.

I am expecting these events to be informative and beneficial for expanding relationships with other network operators, but I doubt they'll be all that exciting.  If there is anything we feel is especially interesting, or even exciting, we will be sure to tell you here on the blog.  If you are attending NANOG and/or ARIN, feel free to come and introduce yourself to Kevin Stange or I, Karl Zimmerman, the more the merrier.

Palo Alto, CA Peering Now Live

Posted in Networking on October 16th, 2009

We now have a live GigE to PAIX Palo Alto and have fully established our POP at 529 Bryant in Palo Alto.  Peering sessions are live over this circuit and we are now accepting new peers.  This POP and peering location have now given us a nationwide coast-to-coast network and should open up many new peering opportunities, including larger nationwide ISPs/carriers and Asian Pacific networks/carriers.  This is now our 8th public peering point, as we are already connect to Equinix Chicago, the Chicago Internet Exchange (ChIX), Equinix Ashburn, New York International Internet Exchange (NYIIX), PAIX New York, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), and the London Internet Exchange (LINX).  Soon we should also have peering at Any2 California, in San Jose and Los Angeles.  This peering is established to extend our network reach and to give us faster and more direct connectivity to a diverse number of networks, with the goal of increasing overall network quality.

If you would like to peer with us at any of these locations, please look at our publicly posted peering policy:

Well, we've finally gotten the deal finished for our new Chicago facility.  We have been in the works on this for over a year now, scoping out sites, going into negotiations on several sites, and have finally signed a deal.  Our new data center and offices will be located at 725 S. Wells St., in downtown Chicago.  The initital build-out will be roughly 6,000 sq. ft. of raised floor data center space and 2,500 sq. ft. of office (including space that can be rented to customers or used for DR) and storage space with continued options for additional space in the building, up to 60,000 sq.  We have also reached agreements with RCN and Abovenet for fiber back to 350 E Cermak and will still be offering cross connects to the 350 E Cermak Meet-Me Room (TelX) and to Equinix.  725 S Wells will also have about a dozen carriers on-site, including Abovenet, RCN, Level3, AT&T, Verizon, Cogent, etc. once things are live.  The construction will be handled by MDI, who has handled many similar projects for various financial institutions and telecommunications providers.

Right now, the schedule is to begin moving in limited equipment starting January 1, 2010 and have a grand opening with space available to customers, etc. starting February 1.  We are planning to move our corporate offices, including our billing address, to 725 S Wells effective January 1.  We will not be forcing any colocation customers to move out of 350 E Cermak, but we may do some scheduled dedicated server migrations.  350 E Cermak will continue to have 24/7 on-site staff.

Now that I have covered most of the basics, feel free to email with any further questions.  We should have pricing for the new site finalized before the end of October and will start accepting pre-orders at that time.

This also means that we will be doing regular blog updates, likely once a week, as to the status of our data center construction, including pictures.  This will give you a detailed look at the inner workings of our facility and hopefully you'll learn some things along the way as well.  Here are a couple (bad) pictures taken with my cell phone to show the initial state of the site.  Full time construction should be getting started next week, so I'll likely have another update in 2 weeks or so.


The initial space is on the 8th floor, our office space will be at the front of the floor (west side), looking towards the Chicago River and this is the view, though hopefully most days are nicer than it was today.  It is still a significantly improved view over what we have in our current office, which has no exterior windows at all.

Behind the initial office space in the front is wide open space, which will be the raised floor data center space.  The space has good ceiling heights, ~12', and solid concrete floors with 150 lb. per sq. ft. floor loads.  This space should be completely changed over the coming months and yes, the windows in the back will be walled off.

Here is a look at the current front door for the floor.  This will be changed completely, with a man trap, ramp up to the raised flooring, etc.  I'm not even really sure why I took a picture of it.

Again, feel free to email with any further questions.  We should have pricing for the new site finalized before the end of October and will start accepting pre-orders at that time.

Now Peering at Equinix Ashburn

Posted in Networking on September 17th, 2009

We have been expanding our network significantly over the past several months, extending to New York (NYIIX and PAIX New York), London (LINX), and Amsterdam (AMS-IX) and we are now also live out of Equinix Ashburn.  This additional peering is an attempt to remove our reliance from any specific transit carriers and to improve overall network performance. At this point, we have direct peering relationships with over 100 networks, and that number is growing every day.  We currently have direct peering relationships with major end-user networks such as Comcast, Cablevision, Rogers, Shaw, Speakeasy, and RCN as well as major network service provuders like InterNAP, Hurricane Electric, Peer1, and Limelight.  Roughly 25% of all of our network traffic is handed to direct peers and as our geographic scope and network traffic expand, that number should keep increasing.

Over the coming weeks we are planning to open a POP in Palo Alto and peering through PAIX Palo Alto.  The plan is to add peering through Any2 San Jose/Los Angeles shortly after that.  Both of those moves should greatly improve our peering relationships with Asian Pacific networks.

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