We believe we have a responsibility to provide the best services available and
to protect each client. We have two goals:
1. To provide fast and dependable servers for your web site
2. To provide fast and dependable customer service
MinnesotaShopper.com recognizes that down time is not an option for your web
site. That's why we invest heavily in hardware and facilities that ensure you
are up and running on the web 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Network Operations Center is located in a secure, monitored, class A
building with a minimum number of approved personnel allowed access to highly
sensitive areas and equipment. A detailed record of employee and visitor entry
is maintained at all times.
Custom Web Servers
MinnesotaShopper.com's web servers are custom-built industrial machines
designed for a 24/7 web serving environment. All servers are equipped with dual
redundant 450-watt power supplies, hot swap Seagate Baracuda/Cheetah drives and
force-filtered cooling systems. In addition, our NOC is equipped with an
inventory of identically configured, burned-in standby servers.
Hot Swap Seagate Drives
The drives and drive bays of all MinnesotaShopper.com servers are constructed
from high-grade aluminum, and rest in shock mounted drive cages, which adds to
the durability of the hardware. All drives proudly feature the lowest failure
rate in the industry.
Redundant Hot Swap Power Supplies
Each server employs dual-redundant hot swap power supplies. If a power supply
were to fail, the server would continue running with power from the alternate
supply. Meanwhile, alarms would alert a technician, who would quickly restore
redundancy. In the meantime, servers and client sites would experience no
We keep spare servers on-line of all CPU configurations. If a server were to
experience a hardware failure, we would turn a key, grab the handle on the
drive, pull it out, and insert it into an identical standby CPU. We would then
reboot the second machine and the server would be up and running again in a
matter of minutes.
Connected to Three Backbones
MinnesotaShopper.com is OnNet with GlobalCenter (GC), Qwest Communications
and GTE through three separate bandwidth-on-demand connections.
GC, a Tier 1 provider whose 13,000-mile fiber optic network and Dense Wave
Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology provide an enormous 460 gigabytes per
second (Gbps) of capacity worldwide, has an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
fiber node located just a few floors below our servers.
Qwest comes into our servers with an OC-12 line and plans to upgrade their
connection to an OC-48 in the near future. They also have an ATM fiber node
floors below the NOC. Our Qwest connection enables us to offer additional
redundancy and better routes to Europe, Latin America and Asia. With our
carriers, our router has up to 150,000 possible routes to send each packet of
Genuity, a division of GTE, is our third Tier One Internet backbone. Genuity
provides excellent network performance as a result of their high-speed peering
arrangements with other Tier One Internet backbone providers. The GTE global
network delivers customers directly onto the Internet via a high-speed
connection to its private, super-capacity backbone, including 17,000 miles of
fiber and OC192 capacity. It is comprised of more than 800 U.S. local access
points and approximately 1,500 international local access points in more than
Furthermore, because of these unique connections, our servers do not need to
link to the Internet though an OC3 or T3 Telecom circuit. Instead, independent
cables run inside the building our servers are located in directly from the NOC
to all three carriers points of presence. These lines can handle the bandwidth
of a T3 or an OC3 with DWDM. Plus, they handle several times the bandwidth of an
OC3. Whatever your bandwidth needs may be, MinnesotaShopper.com has the
scalability to meet them.
MinnesotaShopper.com uses intelligent end-user routing software called Border
Gateway Protocol (BGP), between Qwest, GC and GTE, who use the same protocol.
BGP identifies which path is the most efficient for each data packet and then
routes the packet to its destination on the fastest path. This increases the
speed at which web pages sent from our NOC arrive at their destination.
Studies have shown that the most common reason for downtime is circuit
failure on Tier 1 provider backbones, the major data highways. To guard against
this potential problem, we have three Tier-1 providers. If one experiences
problems, we can route traffic down the other one. Furthermore, because we are
OnNet with GlobalCenter, Qwest and GTE, we share their digital distribution
architecture, which includes private peering network connections to major
Internet carriers such as MCI, Sprint, UUNET, EUNET, AT&T, AOL, Best, Erols,
@Home, IBM Advantis and others. These private peering arrangements allow us to
exchange packets of data with every major backbone carrier in a one-to-one
environment quickly and efficiently.
In addition, GC has high-speed links to eight public exchanges including both
MAE East and West and several NAPS. Through these public exchanges, customers
have the ability to reach their site, no matter from where they are coming on
Industry analysis reveals that 70% of downtime over ten hours with any ISP is
caused by telephone circuit failure. Since our NOC is in the same building as
Global Center, Qwest and GTE, circuit failure is virtually eliminated because
there is no phone circuit between us and our providers. Instead, there is a
direct connection between our Cisco 7500 routers and theirs.
MinnesotaShopper.com's providers also have peering connections with other
major Tier 1 providers, which allows traffic to be switched to alternate
backbones should the need arise.
Raw Performance Equals
Low Latency/High Throughput
Too often providers operate their networks at three to four times responsible
capacity. As a result, their corresponding transfer times reach over 300ms. Our
network daily average is 27% of its capacity, with midday peak spikes reaching
only 33% capacity. MinnesotaShopper.com guarantees clients will be carried off
our network in less than 80ms over a five minute average at any time of day or
Network Uptime Guarantee
The MinnesotaShopper.com upstream providers (Qwest, FGC, and ATT) guarantee that our
network will be available at least 99.5% of any full month. If that goal
is not met, MinnesotaShopper.com will pass 100% of the credit from the upstream
providers to its clients in a pro-rata fashion.