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The Art of Network Redundancy

by: Hostwinds Team  /  December 21, 2021


By utilizing diverse methods to send data, networking engineers do their best to ensure customers never notice a network outage. Network engineers perform this by constructing multiple communication pathways to create connections between data points, such as a router to a server. In sum, we call these connections "redundancy," which allows us to direct network traffic seamlessly, regardless of interference.

Hostwinds strategizes to create a fully redundant network that ensures our customers never experience outages. We have taken extra strides to guarantee that our networks perform in tip-top shape around the clock. We deliver uptime over our network by paying close attention to the redundancy details in our equipment, power supplies, hardware choices, and network components across all our infrastructure. However, it can be so much more complex than that.

Let's dive into it, shall we? We will teach you the basics of network redundancy within this blog post and explain why Hostwinds deploys such practices.

Why Use Network Redundancy?

One of Hostwinds's goals, ever since we launched our first data center, is that our customers would never experience downtime. We continue to accomplish this goal by implementing redundancy best practices across our infrastructures. That is why we boast a 99.999% uptime, and we stand by that. We are interested in redundancy for our Hostwinds clients since they are concerned for the sake of their data and loss of potential revenue, interest, or exposure.

Imagine you host your website on one service, but a competitor hosts at a place that has higher uptimes. When your site goes down, the customers seeking products will go to the competitor's store. Keeping your site up and running is essential to keeping your customers happy! The loss in ad revenue could be paramount for you as well. When your website is not up and running, there are no ads for your customers to click.

A fully redundant network, like Hostwinds, prevents your business from losing its connection to the outside world. Having a wide variety of working paths ensures that no matter what life throws at the web, there is some way to keep your connections working. Part of Hostwind's excellent service is ensuring our network reroutes right away if a physical connection is ever lost. We purposely created and engineered these connection pathways that remain on standby and run 24 hours daily. This way, the secondary links keep all our hardware running. At the same time, our team of experts repairs the failed components without our customers ever knowing there was an issue.

With significant redundancy comes a greater need to control growing complexity. Think of this like putting together a ten-piece puzzle versus a 1000 piece puzzle. There is more room for error and mistakes in the larger one. That is why Hostwinds considers balancing the need for redundancy and its complexness as vital while using the smallest amount of moving parts.

A Look at Automatic Network Failover

Transitioning a failed component to a prepared backup should be a seamless process. We call this an Automatic Network Failover.

Failover ensures that a duplicated backup is active and available when a primary connection fails. Behind the scenes, Hostwinds provides this by an automated process that automatically switches connections whenever a need arises. The secondary link is already connected and running, eliminating even seconds of downtime for our customers. As our network continues to run, our team of professionals can repair any issues. In contrast, our network continues to run indefinitely.

Hostwinds customers can see the details regarding our automatic failure procedures from our Enterprise Redundant Network page at any time. The information is an informative look into the processes that keep Hostwinds networks up and a great place to jump-start your journey into uptime.

Nothing Less Than a Tier 1 Network Provider

Hostwinds only uses Tier 1 networking providers, but what is a Tier 1 provider or Tier 1 carrier, and why are they important? Tier 1 providers connect directly to the backbone of the internet. Their infrastructure ties directly into the web of the internet at high speeds and interlinks with others, instantly eliminating any fear of losing network coverage. Additionally, Tier 1 carriers own their networks directly, which allows them to offer some of the fastest speeds and safest processes around.

Hostwinds utilizes the following Tier, 1 Network Providers:

1. Zayo

2. GTT Communications

3. Cogent Communications

4. NTT Communications

Hostwinds is determined to make sure we provide solid and reliable network connections for our customers. We have developed relationships with our carriers ensuring we have similar goals. Each provider we use goes above and beyond to provide exceptional service, just like Hostwinds.

N+1, A+B, Covers All of the Unseen

Part of life is planning for the unforeseen. For example, you don't start a road trip and expect the highway to shut down for construction. However, to still reach your destination, you may need to take an alternative path temporarily. Similarly, this is what N+1 redundancy means and how it performs in delivering power. N+1 is the process of planning power for each component Hostwinds utilizes within our network. We ensure every critical junction has at least one backup if something goes wrong.

Hostwinds A+B redundancy starts at our core routers and is set up in a way to resist even the worst outages. Our routers, switches, and servers hardware utilize fully redundant network feeds, power, drives, and pathways. We take no shortcuts when it comes to our uptime.

Beginning with our core routers, each has multiple redundant components if one fails internally. However, if an entire core router fails, Hostwinds additional core routers take over. We include numerous core routers within each facility and everyone ties into multiple Tier 1 carriers. Internally, our routers connect into redundant switches, which provide redundant internet connections to our servers. There is an A-connection and a B-connection everywhere, thus sustaining our customer's services every minute of every day.

Hostwinds operates hot-swappable drives within our infrastructure. Unlike some competitors, we eliminate downtime further by not needing to shutdown our cloud servers to replace a drive. We format our cloud drives with RAID 10, allowing us to replace a failed drive seamlessly while the server remains running.

While Hostwinds infrastructure starts with our servers and switches, this same principle is carried over into electricity sent by an A-circuit and a B-circuit. A different source provides each electrical circuit with power, and each circuit is backed by separate generators if needed.

Hostwinds' Redundant network & 99.9999% Uptime Guarantee

We believe Hostwinds customers should never have to worry about their services going down. We understand how much anxiety and frustration this can cause due to business or personal loss. We never want Hostwinds customers to experience this.

Hostwinds boasts fast and dependable hosting 24/7/365 worldwide because we prioritized network redundancy. We work hard to provide the best service at cost-effective prices. We consistently monitor our infrastructure and employ redundancy everywhere we can. Hostwinds is fully committed to our 99.9999% uptime guarantee.

Written by Hostwinds Team  /  December 21, 2021