The upgrades are coming…

Early this afternoon we sent Maintenance Announcement’s out to a select group of clients.  On Saturday March 2, 2013 we will begin with our network upgrade initiative. This is the first step in our earlier announcement concerning Network Upgrades.

If you have not received this email then the rack your server resides on has not been selected for this first round of upgrades (or you opted out of such e-mails).

I have chosen to upgrade two server racks per Maintenance Window.  This plan will take us a little longer, but will also allow us to work any bugs out as we move along.

We have tested this upgrade on a rack of internal servers, and I am very very excited to roll this out to everyone.  I am confident everyone will be blown away with this network improvement.

Thank you for your business and it is a great day to be a TCH GURU!

Still family owned and operated!

One of the selling points for many people when choosing TotalChoice, is that we are Family owned and operated.  Yes, we host over 50,000 web sites and yes, we are a large provider, however we are still family owned and operated.

Last night Billy and myself headed in to the Data Center to get some work done.  I snapped a couple of photos of the junior Head Guru in action. He still needs to finish the 10th grade, but one day he hopes to work at TCH Full time.

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Network Upgrades are coming

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The above photo was taken last night.  I don’t know how everyone else feels but seeing that stack of Cisco Switches gave me goose bumps, so I was inclined to include the photo with this blog post.

Over the next few weeks, TotalChoice will begin a mass upgrade to much of its network hardware. We have been busy negotiating with our vendors and have taken delivery of all the gear needed to make the upgrades that our customers deserve!

We will start by replacing every Rack Distribution Switch with new Cisco Switches.  These switches are a large upgrade from our current switches and will give us a nice boost in performance and should provide years of reliable service. A rack by rack announcement will be made via our Social Media outlets and via email to affected clients.  We anticipate very little downtime per rack as we work our way thru the switch replacements.

In addition , we are adding another layer of redundancy to our network.  We are in the process of adding additional up-links to each distribution switch from a redundant secondary gigE line card.  This means we will be able to sustain a line card outage on our router without any downtime to the switches. Over the past few days we have been installing the secondary up-links from the routers to the distribution switches.  So as we put up new the switches we will bundle the secondary redundant link to the new switch.

Last week we installed an additional fiber drop from our upstream providers.  This installation is part of our bigger plan for increased fiber redundancy and an improved automatic fail over system. Automatic fail over occurs when loss of connectivity occurs from our main fiber connection.  We had a brief network outage a few weeks ago and when the system automatically failed over to our redundant fiber path the fail over simply did not work. After some investigation this failure was determined to be caused by a bad optical device at our upstream provider.  The optical device has since been replaced and lessons learned. However, by adding this third fiber it gives us another path to our upstream and gives us more redundancy in our network and that means better uptime for everyone.  We have also set up a monthly test that will be conducted to test our redundant/backup fiber connections.

I will be posting more about these upgrades as we progress along. I know this was a long, technically winded post.  If you got this far in reading it, thank you.

Happy Hosting!


Additional Backup Servers now online!

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In a never ending quest to improve the reliability and quality of services that we provide to our clients, TotalChoice has expanded its number of available Internal Backup Servers.

Over the past few weeks we have been tracking a slight degradation in the level of services provided to our clients from R1 Backup Software.  This was tracked down to the current cluster of backup servers simply becoming to busy with traffic.  It was decided to add another 64GB RAM, 50TB of RAID drive space and 16 CPU’s to the cluster.

The parts were ordered and the additional capacity was brought online over this past weekend.

Services were never interrupted, the TCH team did a really nice job.  Specifically have to thank TCH-Bala for his endless push for new backup resources and all the hard work he did once he was given the resources he asked for.

ARIN grants TotalChoice additional IPv4 Allocation.


Today the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) granted a request from TotalChoice Hosting for additional IPv4 address space. This new pool of IP’s will be made available to our clients within the next 72 hours, as we need to get the block advertised to the internet and routed within our network.

With the pool of available IP addresses dwindling at a very fast rate, it has become increasingly difficult for providers to obtain new allocations directly from ARIN.  As of this posting there are 2.69 /8’s in aggregate available for allocation from ARIN.

We are very pleased to have accomplished this.
Happy Hosting!