Workopolis turns to outsourcers for data centre job

Canadian online job board, breaking free of its former owner The Globe and Mail, has outsourced its data centre to Q9 Networks, a partnership that company executives say has turned out well so far for a Web site that’s wielding big data loads.

The Workopolis site fields over three million unique visitors per month and thousands of job postings daily, and is growing at a rate of around 35 per cent each year, according to vice-president of marketing, Max Tremblay.

Director of infrastructure Kevin Megarry balked at the costs and effort required in hosting its own environment. Said Megarry: “When we thought about building our own computer room and location, outsourcing to a co-location seemed like the way to go.”

Armed with a wish-list that included redundant AC units, dual power feeds, different transformers, and power feeds for each individual cabinet, Workopolis auditioned four vendors over a four-month period last winter, eventually settling on Q9 Networks. It shifted its servers over to the co-location in May.

The Toronto-based company won out partly due to its location, a short jaunt from Workopolis’ own downtown offices, which would make the occasional equipment visits or fix-it much easier, but it was its unique hub-and-spoke ISP model that really won over Workopolis.

“They have pretty much every ISP on board,” said Megarry. “If an ISP goes down, it’s re-routed to another ISP automatically.” He said that Q9 was the only company with such an offering, and it was a dealmaker for Workopolis.

Q9 also offered a proper staging area, something some data centres don’t have, said Megarry. “It wasn’t a mess. Some places have the various vendors come in and they just leave cardboard all over the place. There’s none of that cardboard here.”

Workopolis now maintains a cage in Q9’s data centre; they provide Workopolis with racks, space, cooling, and power for the company’s Dell Web servers, IBM database servers, and HP SAN servers, which are protected by the data centre’s cutting-edge biometrics (along with a swipe card).

Megarry is able to keep tabs on the whole operation remotely, using a gigabyte connection between the company’s office and the data centre.

This option is also a good fit with Workopolis’ rapid growth; that way, if it ever moves anywhere else, said Megarry, “We don’t have to take our data centre with us. It allows us to move anywhere we want.”

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