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OnePartner datacenter passes milestone 1,000 days of uninterrupted service

May 20, 2011

Duffield, VA - On Friday May 20, 2011, OnePartner's ATAC datacenter passes a milestone, achieving 1,000 days of uninterrupted service.

Spring has delivered a punishing barrage of tornadoes, fires, floods and powerful weather systems that have disrupted power to thousands of businesses. These challenges can be devastating to businesses already struggling with a weak economy. Businesses that suffer multiple power outages each year lose unmeasured productivity and opportunities. It is these businesses that Tom Deaderick, Director of Business Development for OnePartner's ATAC datacenter wants to reach with his announcement.

"On Friday, May 20, the OnePartner ATAC datacenter passes a milestone – 1,000 consecutive days of uninterrupted operation," announces Deaderick. "When so many of the region's small and medium-sized businesses suffer multiple incidents every year, they can come to believe downtime is just unavoidable. Believing there is no other way, they don't bother running the numbers to see how costly these outages are to their business. They just accept them."

"Everyone suffers when there is downtime; patients, customers, employees and ultimately businesses lose opportunities and revenue," says Deaderick.

"Before OnePartner built the ATAC datacenter, there wasn't really a clear regional option. Now, every business in the region can move critical computing infrastructure into one of the nation's most robust and Uptime Institute Certified commercial datacenters."

The 1,000 day achievement is a milestone even amongst long-established datacenter providers. OnePartner's web site documents three outages by one well-known competitor in 2009 with more than nine hours of aggregate customer downtime.

Deaderick describes the contributing factors, "Our success cannot be attributed to any single factor, and I don't believe it would have been possible to achieve a milestone like this without the combination of all of them. When you consider how many opportunities there are to stumble in almost three years of weather events, when most other businesses have suffered multiple disruptions of service in that same period, it's amazing that the OnePartner ATAC datacenter has not suffered even a single second of downtime."

Location

Duffield is an ideal location for datacenters. OnePartner's ATAC datacenter is beyond the 500-year flood plain (the highest rating possible), far from airports, over a mile from a railroad and nestled in a rural town with a small population.

"I am pleased with OnePartner's milestone and their investment in our region," stated Delegate Terry Kilgore, Chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Commission. "The Commonwealth knew that OnePartner would succeed because of its location, and our investment in broadband. I congratulate OnePartner for their vision."

In 2010, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Deloitte Consulting published a list of twelve pre-qualified datacenter locations. Duffield and nearby Bristol, Tennessee were included on the list.

Design

After site selection the facility's design is crucial. Deaderick credits Facility Administrator, Mac Scofield with the facility design, "Mac really was instrumental in our success. At the time we began our certification process with the Uptime Institute, there were no other commercial datacenters in North America with a Tier III Certification. As a startup, we needed credentials that would immediately trump competitors. The Tier Certification process did that and more."

The Uptime Institute, based in New York, created and maintains the Tier Certification system for both private and commercial datacenters. The lowest Certification is Tier I. Most private and commercial datacenters would certify as Tier I. Tier I facilities have multiple single-points-of-failure and no redundancy, limiting overall facility reliability. As the Tier classifications increase, so do maintenance opportunities in power and cooling infrastructure. OnePartner's Tier III Certified Design features no single-points-of-failure at all. There are currently only three commercial datacenters in North America holding a Tier III Certification.

Uptime Institute Vice President Julian Kudritzki says, "The Uptime Institute congratulates OnePartner at this milestone of uninterrupted uptime. This achievement would not be possible without two factors. First, a Tier III Certified Design, which allows for all work on the data center infrastructure, including equipment replacement, without impacting the IT equipment. This ensures that OnePartner's equipment remains in a new or like-new condition. Only equipment in this condition performs at the highest levels of reliability. Second, such sustained availability is not possible without a disciplined site management program."

OnePartner's ATAC datacenter was the first in North America.

"People ask me why there aren't more commercial datacenters with a Tier certification. I see datacenter executives coming clean in videos online after major outages. Sometimes these executives come across as believable and sound like they are honestly trying to reassure their customers that they are taking every opportunity to avoid a repeat in the future. I think it's great to have a believable CEO who's willing to step up and admit failure, but I don't think that's an acceptable alternative to one who's willing to go through certification. Why would any datacenter operator spend tens of millions to build a datacenter and not spend such a relatively small amount to guarantee it is everything they say? I don't know. Why would customers pay for a service that wasn't certified? I don't know that either."

Process & People

The last critical factor required to achieve a milestone like this is the processes and the talents and reliability of the Network Operations Center (NOC) staff. "Every routine task is thoroughly documented and every employee is trained to follow process," says Deaderick. "Every action is performed in adherence with written processes and procedures, variations from process invite mistakes. OnePartner's processes and employees have been audited by consultants, professional auditing teams, security firms and our customer's internal experts. We've never received a single negative finding. Our guys are the best, able to respond within minutes to a customer's ticket while always staying within process guidelines. I'm very proud of them. When a storm's coming, I go out on my porch and enjoy it. That's the kind of assurance we want every business in the region to have."

"I congratulate OnePartner's ATAC Datacenter on 1,000 days of uninterrupted service. OnePartner is a good example of the type of company that helps Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth position itself as a national leader in information technology."
- Senator Mark Warner, Virginia

Articles of interest

ZDNET: http://www.zdnet.com/article/datacenter-milestone-1000-days-of-uptime/