Data Center Alchemy


HOSTWINDS FIELD TRIP! The other day, I took a trip to Hostwinds’ Seattle Data Center with our Data Center Expert, Dustin, and it. Was. Awesome. The first thing I remember while passing through the multitude of locked doors that led up to the server room was the very real possibility of getting lost within this Narnia-like building.

When we finally reached the server room, loud fans blew dry air all over, and I began sweating profusely. The room reminded me of a dog pound that replaced all the dogs with servers.

Hostwinds' Seattle Data Center
Hostwinds’ Seattle Data Center

Hostwinds has two data centers, one in Seattle, Washington and one in Dallas, Texas. The servers in the Seattle Center do not mirror the servers in the Dallas Center, and vice versa.  In other words, our Seattle servers are completely different servers than our Dallas servers. Back to the tour!

I remember seeing so many servers, so many cords, and so many blinking lights. It reminded me of those, as the kids say, “TRIPPY” dub-step holiday light music videos. Those elements, along with the loud fan noises, made for a sensory overload. Yet, Dustin was focused as a hawk. He went to work installing a new server part while I asked copious amounts of questions and tried not to break things.

As I observed Dustin take apart a server case, or chassis, it seemed like magic to me that simple sediments/rocks/base metals were able to create such a complex device. More accurately, it seemed like alchemy. Alchemy is the process by which one converts base metals into gold. This process also has a great deal of metaphorical significance, as it often symbolizes the power we all have within us to achieve anything we set our minds to. Throughout this blog piece, we will discuss some interesting information about our Data Centers, and we will also include a few alchemy facts that are likely to make you smile.


Base Metals to Magic

Dustin goes to our Seattle Data Center nearly every day. Therefore, I made sure to write down all the data center wisdom he spoke. At one point, he mentioned, “If you have a VPS, one chassis [or, as I call them, “rectangle slidie thingies”] contains four servers, and sometimes more. There is software that separates them, thus virtualizing independent instances.” A chassis is the hardware that protects your server because the latter is securely placed inside the former’s robust walls. A chassis is a big rectangle that has also been referred to as a “server case.” That is an accurate way to describe it because it is the casing that servers stay in.

Once Dustin opened up the chassis, he pointed out the servers living in the protective case, and I immediately coined them as the “smaller rectangle thingies in the chassis.” Next, he mentioned that some chassis contain dual processors. I looked at him blankly because I didn’t follow, so he elaborated. He explained that, simply put, if the chassis contains two processors, it has what’s called a dual processor.

Dual Processor
Dual Processor

Another Dustin quote I managed to rapidly jot down is the following: “RAID is the means by which we are able to configure certain drives to either mirror one another or do other things.”

A Few Data Center Vocabulary Words I Learned On The Field Trip

Processor: A term also known as a CPU  (Central Processing Unit). (Sarcasm coming up:) To say it in a very technical way, the processor communicates with the computer. The processor tells the computer to receive things, send things, edit things, and create things.

RAID: RAID Stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. It is like performing backups, and it is a really smart tool to employ because it mirrors the data somewhere else so it isn’t lost. You reduce the risk of losing critical information if, for example, the hard drive poops out.

Here is what else I noticed at the Hostwinds Data Center: Much like the process of alchemy, it takes patience and time to manage a server at our Data Centers. We have to take special precautions during installations to ensure certain hardware functions smoothly with other hardware and doesn’t overheat or something. Dustin was patient as a Preschool teacher as he waited for reboots to happen and magic server alchemy to do its thing.

Another cool connection between servers and alchemy: Cole, Hostwinds’ Art Director, told me the following quote, and when we looked it up, we found it was a Twitter post from an individual with the username daisyowl:  

“if you ever code something that ‘feels like a hack but it works,’ just remember that a CPU is literally a rock that we tricked into thinking”

Transforming rocks into intricate machines is a beautiful example of alchemy.


A Magnificent Soul & A Heart Full of Light

Speaking of alchemy, here are a few other wonderful things you may not have known about it:

We already touched on the metaphorical meaning of alchemy, but to elaborate on that, I see it as working with the cards the universe gave you when you entered this life, and turning the dull aspects into gold by trying to think positively, by being a good person, by keeping your eye on the prize, and by remembering to be grateful for what you have at every step of the way.

Have you ever heard of Paulo Coelho’s very well-written novel entitled The Alchemist? If not, it would be an understatement for me to tell you that I highly recommend reading it. The protagonist’s meaningful adventure illustrates Coelho’s understanding of the symbolism of alchemy. In short, Santiago – the main character in the novel – has a vision that he finds an immense amount of gold by the Egyptian pyramids.  He puts it out into the universe that he would like to manifest this vision into his reality. He experiences a wide range of challenges, trials, and tribulations while journeying toward this vision.

Ultimately, Santiago learns that all his heart’s desires also live within “The Soul of the World.” My interpretation of that is this: The universe will conspire to help you reach your goals if you put such goals out there and try your best to be your best/seize the opportunities presented to you. This Rumi quote conveys a very similar sentiment: “If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.”

Toward the end of the story, Santiago asks the Soul of the World to help him with something (I won’t spoiler alert by explaining what that something is), and this is the key to bringing it to being. Furthermore, Santiago realizes that his desire to be with the love of his life is also a part of the Soul of the World. OoOo OOO, this other Rumi quote reminds me of that idea: “What you seek is seeking you.”

This isn’t necessarily about alchemy, but it is extraordinary: I was so elated to write this blog post (because I’m a total alchemy nerd as well as a major server nerd), and while I was expressing my excitement to my very intelligent, warmhearted, and creative partner (can you tell how much I love him based on the abundance of adjectives I used to describe him? haha), he told me this incredible fact: “Silver and gold are the only metals that you can see in nature without some sort of extraction process, which means our neolithic ancestors could only ever encounter silver and gold while wandering.” WHOA!

Back to Hostwinds Data Centers

The Hostwinds Team began allowing clients to test the latency of each of our two data centers when we realized it would be of immense value to them. Why, you ask? Testing latency gives clients the ability to see which data center will give them the best connection speed from where they are.

This guide was created to give clients a step-by-step tutorial about how to check the current latency of each of Hostwinds’ Data Centers:

If you would like more information about our Seattle and/or Dallas Data Centers, visit

If you want to verify which of our two data centers your server is hosted in, simply login to your Client Account >> Click the green “Manage” button to the very right of your product or service >> Scroll down to the very bottom of the web page and find the “Configurable Options” menu. If it says “Seattle” to the right of  “Location,” your server is being hosted in our Seattle Data Center. If it says “Dallas” to the right of “Location,” your server is being hosted in our Dallas Data Center.

If you want to verify whether or not you are moving in the right direction while turning all that is lackluster into gold, ask yourself if you are truly thankful for your current blessings.

If you want to verify that we will be concluding this blog piece soon, skip six sentences ahead when such blog piece comes to an end (hehehe).


You Are Golden

Hostwinds’ Data Centers are secure, powerful, and reliable. We make sure of all three. Hostwinds is golden because we are resolute in turning the dull aspects of web hosting into gold that profits our clients. Alchemy is golden because it is a microcosm of an important principle of life – When you flow with the universe and are content with what you have now and where you are at now, you are drawing your desires and goals closer to you. Keep that light in your heart, fam, and we’ll all find our way home soon! Farewell for now!

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