For some people, a web hosting company is an arbitrary or detached entity that somehow lets your website be accessible online in cyberspace. They assume there are some computers and support people somehow getting the job done. Sure, the tech geeks like this kind of stuff, but maybe we should all give more thought to what goes on behind the scenes. What does a web hosting company’s data center really look like and how does it really function?
Recently, I was privileged to get a look behind the scenes with a tour of the InMotion Hosting Data Center in Los Angeles, CA. Being able to see the actual nuts and bolts that power their customer’s websites was an awesome experience. I’ve always considered InMotion to be the best choice for business web hosting since I first signed up as a customer in 2009. And after touring their state of the art data center, I can certainly see why and how InMotion Hosting is able to provide top web hosting for all of their customers.
First off, there are multiple layers of security. Entering the building requires checking in and screening and all of the hardware is kept in a well secured area. I was completely blown away by the vast number of servers throughout the facility. I got an up close look at both the dedicated and shared hosting servers. All of the hardware is kept up to date with new machines being installed when needed.
In fact, on my visit there were a bunch of new computers ready to be unboxed and set up.
It’s very evident that InMotion believes in having the best equipment possible for their customers. Among the top end servers at the data center are the Dell R720 series and the T420 machines.
I even got a look inside of one of the new servers with dual processors (E5-2430 Xeon) and 2TB hard drives running RAID (1-5-10). These machines also can potentially have up to a terabyte of memory. For those of you not into hardware specs, let me just say that all of the servers I saw at InMotion’s data center were impressive and more than capable of producing great results for your websites.
Any quality data center needs to ensure there is an optimum supply of power to keep things running and proper cooling for all of their servers. Again, I was given the opportunity to see exactly how all of that works at InMotion. They not only have emergency UPS battery power for temporary brownouts or outages, but they also have some massive backup generators under the building that can cover an extended power loss.
Cooling-wise, there are huge Emerson Network Power Cooler units located throughout the facility to maintain an optimal temperature of 68 to 70 degrees—which ensures that the internal temperature of their computers never gets above 85 degrees.
While InMotion is continually upgrading and making improvements to their servers, you don’t need to worry about data from any of the replaced computers being compromised. One of the cool machines I got to see was the hard drive degausser they use to erase and destroy the drives from the old computers. When upgrading servers, the old hard drives get pulled out and are put into this special machine that acts as a magnetizer and completely wipes all data off the drive and renders it unusable.
I’ve written before about InMotion Hosting’s Max Speed Zone technology and how my website speeds have always been excellent. InMotion’s Los Angeles Data Center is ideally located right next to One Wilshire—the hub for most connections on the West Coast. They also have another data center on the East Coast allowing them to employ their Max Speed Zone Technology. It’s no surprise then that their network speed is one of the fastest among web hosts.
Getting a behind the scenes look at InMotion was a very informative experience, but best of all, my tour of the InMotion Hosting data center confirmed to me their commitment to three of the most important concerns customers have.
1. Security – The InMotion Data Center is located in a very secure building. You won’t find any random people wandering around the facilities. And while the building itself has plenty of safeguards; additionally the data center floor is equipped with state of the art security.
2. Top End Hardware – I was very impressed with all of the hardware. All of the servers and other equipment look new—no outdated machines here. InMotion’s hardware specs are among the best out there. In fact, I got a look at some of the newest dedicated and shared servers being tested and readied for use as well as some brand new boxed servers that will soon be put into production.
3. Data Protection & Network Availability – The data center has an abundance of coolers to keep the temperature at optimum levels for all of the servers. Emergency battery power as well as diesel powered generators ensure continuous uptime.
Special thanks go out to the people at InMotion Hosting for allowing me to tour the West Coast data center in Los Angeles, CA.
Since my initial visit to the InMotion Hosting Data Center they have made some significant upgrades including:
- Expansion of the Data Center Facility
- Implementation of DDoS Protection System
- Fiber Optic Cabling Systems Capable of 43 TB sec. Data Transmissions
- Inclusion of Solid State Drives in their Servers
4 thoughts on “An Inside Look at InMotion Hosting’s Data Center”
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InMotions west coast datacenter went down about 10 days ago which was apparently due to a power outage (this is what they communicated), it resulted in the loss of our website plus a loss of the backup of our website that they do as a part of their service. The obvious question is how does this happen in a state of the art datacenter with UPS and generators. It seems that the backup service they offer is the most basic (cheap) offering they can provide and still promote a free backup service, basically when they lost power they were overwriting their only backup with a new backup.
Sorry to hear about that Phil. I actually just had a meeting with InMotion where we discussed the outage. They are just as upset. Unfortunately, the problem resulted from an issue with the entire building itself–not the data center. They are doing their best to prevent this from happening again–even considering a possible move to another building.
We always recommend that website owners perform their own backups in addition to any service your web host provides.