Our Hardware

Each of our hosting servers are designed and built with reliability, security and performance in mind. Of the three, performance is the easiest requirement to satisfy, and though it requires constant attention, it is a company mission to be certain our hardware exceeds the needs of even our busiest websites.

Reliability is a tougher criterion. Experience has shown that the two weakest links in modern server hardware are the hard drives and RAM memory. Nearly all server failures come from one of these two items. Hard drive failures present an especially severe problem. When any other component fails, you can simply replace the component and restart the server. Downtime is limited. When a hard drive fails, replacing the hardware is only the first step. You also have to re-install all of the software and content from backup tape. This procedure usually takes many hours.

To dramatically reduce the risk due to hard drive failure, all of our servers use RAID 5 arrays for all disk storage, rather than single hard drives. With a RAID 5 array, the information that is usually stored on just one disk is redundantly spread across several disks (called the RAID set). If any disk in the RAID set fails, no information is lost and the server keeps right on working. The redundant information on the other disks in the RAID set prevents a failure of one disk from disrupting the system.

An important side benefit of this redundancy is also higher performance. A RAID 5 set is approximately twice as fast as the individual hard drives in the set.

For the second weak link, RAM memory, we use a very similar reliability solution. Instead of standard RAM memory, we use ECC memory. ECC memory, like RAID 5 sets, stores redundant information and uses this redundant information to detect and correct memory errors. Our experience has found this to eliminate almost all of the "mystery crashes" that people have come to accept with using Windows based operating systems.

All other hardware components have also been selected with reliability in mind. We use rack mountable cases, with superior power supplies and cooling capacity. For all other components like motherboards, CPU's and network adapters, we use industry standard components with proven reliability.