Successful move to the new datacenter

Sebastien Simoni on Thursday, May 15th 2008 I 0 Comment

In this post, a few words about our move to the new datacenter. The datacenter market is very tensed in Paris actually.


The datacenter market

Since the 11th of September 2001, banks have bought a lot of dedicated areas in many datacenters around the world.

This led some datacenters to focus only on this type of profitable customers instead of web hosting. As a result, our hosting costs have been multiplied by 4 in two years in our former datacenter.

This time, OVH, the company which provide us the racks, decided to leave this datacenter.
Successful move to the new datacenter

The green datacenter

We decided to put our racks in a brand new concept of datacenter designed by OVH.

This "green" datacenter uses a smart cooling system. Instead of cooling the whole hosting area, only the racks are cooled. The loss of energy needed to cool the building itself is saved.

In fact, it is like if the racks were refrigerators! 30% of energy is saved compared to a classical datacenter. During the move, we removed 4 of our old servers very greedy in energy. We replaced them by 8 new servers, for an equal energy consumption.
Successful move to the new datacenter

Preparing the move

This is our third move in 4 years. We are used to it now. By the way, it is still a challenge because, if it was  easy to move 5 servers and 2 switches in the past, it is now more complicated regarding the volume of hardware we had to move.

It took us one month to prepare this move. We made many work sessions, we sent hundreds of skype messages (we use Skype a lot, even if we work in an open space). We produced a document in which we draw the new architecture were each cable has a colour and a number .... 4 people worked during 2 days to switch to the new datacenter during the week-end of the first of May.

A little good story : Murphy's law knocked Jerome P. down. He left Corsica one day before us in a van full of servers. In the middle of nowhere, he filled his tank with the wrong fuel. We arrived 6 hours before him in Paris ...
Successful move to the new datacenter

The longest day

The week-end of the first of May may the period when the activity is the lowest on the Internet. We served 1,5 millions of pages instead of 3 millions. We could unmount a part of the architecture without slowing your website because enverything was half loaded.

The day before, we mounted 8 new servers. We put them in production as we started shutting down those in the old datacenter. All our architecture is virtualized. It allows us to move very quickly a hardware from a place to another.

Vistualisation is a very good thing. It gives the opportunity to install various OS on the same hardware. Thanks to this technology, we can process twice as much SQL requests on the same physical server. MySQL do not deal very well with multiple processors. Thanks to virtualisation, we can cut (virtually) a bi-proc in two. What is magic is that we can process twice as much requests by machine and reduce by two energy consumption !
Successful move to the new datacenter

5 people during 20 hours

Jerome, Greg, Samir, Michael and I .... look at the photos .... By the way, I would like to thank people at OVH who were very kind with us and helped a lot.

SUN serveurs

We can say that WMaker architecture is 99% * powered by SUN. (* We use 2 file servers from Best Technology, for back ups). I would like to thank SUN for the advantageous conditions they proposed to our supplier Hexalis.

SUN is the Rolls Royce for servers. They optimise energy consumption. They propose energy consumption simulators on their website. Energy consumption has become an important parameter when choosing hardware.
Successful move to the new datacenter

What's next ...

Our architecture will keep growing. We plan to install 10 new servers before the end of the year.

We also work with on demand servers. It will help us to absorb overloads. Maybe in 2 or 3 years, all our application will run using this kind of services ... ?




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