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Author Topic: "BT Locate"  (Read 2022 times)

Weaver

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"BT Locate"
« on: September 21, 2019, 07:29:49 PM »

I read at
    https://www.btwholesale.com/products-and-services/managed-services/bt-locate.html
that BT is selling rack space for any old servers within telephone exchanges now. Itís talking about close locations of servers Ďfor your dataí so that you can get out to them quickly if they break.

Someone was saying very recently that BT was getting rid of exchanges. It seems that some will be here to stay certainly though because they have given customers the use of them.
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kitz

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2019, 08:01:54 PM »

Hmmm.  Good business sense.   Rent off a bit of space for server storage  :D

>>> Someone was saying very recently that BT was getting rid of exchanges.

They will certainly be getting rid of some.   Many years ago BT actually sold off a lot of their exchanges and are now just paying rent on the vast majority.   Incidentally most of those sold exchange are coming up for their first rent review any time soon.  The original plan when they bulk sold off a lot of the exchanges was that they would have been out of the smaller exchanges long before now.   It all dates back to ~10 yrs ago when the original intention was for PSTN to go at the same time as 21CN.

>>> It seems that some will be here to stay certainly though because they have given customers the use of them.

At a rough estimate without me checking any figures somewhere around 1 in 7 will be kept depending upon locale - these will be the FTTC head end exchanges.   They won't be getting rid of those.   As well as being the FTTC head end exchanges, these are usually also the Tier 1 sites for 21CN backhaul.

If you look at the diagram on this page here, (which is from 10 yrs ago) you can see that the new 21CN network was designed with the long term aim to be able to get rid of the smaller exchanges.    They just fell behind when it came to PSTN side of things.

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Weaver

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 09:06:39 PM »

So you have to park your kit at a Tier 1 exchange.

If say youíre in Aberdeen, then it means your staff can be local if thereís a fallout to your own servers then. But the whole point is to locate servers where the action is, so you should be parking the server in docklands and then having staff parked down there all the time anyway, so no long drive, no?

If you donít care about performance then you park server at Aberdeen and customers in Skye go all the way from Skye down to London to their isp, into docklands to interconnect to bt then all the way up to Aberdeen, then all the way back down to London, then all the way up to Skye. Nightmare.

If you donít care about anything other than convenience you could park your server in your own kitchen next to the fridge, as someone I know does.

I understand the attraction of the convenience but it seems to be missing the whole point for performance-critical loaded servers. Thereís no reason for BT not to do it though because as kitz says it makes use of the exchanges, and it will suit someone out there.

As an example, AA has some servers in a data centre at Maidenhead iirc anyway near their office, but they have to have lots of kit such as routers / switches in docklands so staff have to be going to docklands anyway regardless.
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kitz

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2019, 01:27:36 PM »

Aberdeen is a metro node.   
Tier one exchanges are usually closer to 'home' -  eg Portree .   These parent exchanges feed various smaller exchanges for 21CN backhaul and act as FTTC headends.
Fibre from the FTTC cabs will always go back directly to the parent exchange (headend) as opposed to the local exchange.   


Being that Skye has circa 18 exchanges, then there will probably be another headend exchange somewhere on the island.   
Looking at the map, Broadford looks like a site which could well be an existing parent exchange.    I have a partial list somewhere but don't think my list covers Scotland so I'm only guessing on that.. Sorry.

----
I actually think what they are doing is a good idea and good sense when it comes to creating a new business opportunity for BT.   
If you are an SME business and want to park your server in a more secure place than the back office then it could well fit the bill.

Bear in mind that Openreach has 5500 exchanges of which ~1000 are tier one sites so there's a good chance that unless you are out in the sticks then it's likely there will be one within 15 mins drive or closer. 

It's not intended to be a data centre for time critical web servers - for that you do need to locate your servers in a Co-lo such as docklands or Maidenhead etc.

However if you are say a local business with 20 staff and want to keep records of staff payroll or orders & sales records or pvt LAN site off location then it serves a purpose.  A friend of mine who is a leccy has over the past few years kitted out SME's with their own server rooms to comply with GDPR regulations.     For example one he's recently done is a local garage & car dealer.  He goes in and basically converts a room and sets up a server rack and makes it secure and lays new electrics and cabling etc.       What if you don't have room nor want to go to the expense of adding a secure mini server room?   This could be an ideal and cheaper way of complying with GDPR regs.         
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aesmith

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 04:05:05 PM »

I notice it's a BT Wholesale product, so I wonder who it is actually offered to?   I might pop an enquiry in to see how it works out.
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Weaver

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2019, 10:12:51 PM »

@kitz whatís in Maidenhead btw - it rings a bell because thatís where AA has a lot of their servers and I think thatís where they offer colo.
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gt94sss2

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2019, 10:35:23 AM »

Lots of IT companies are based near there as are 3's HQ
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kitz

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2019, 09:28:12 PM »

Possibly because its just on the outskirts of London - more land with easy access to the M4 and M25.    There are an awful lot of data centers/colos/IT & telecoms companies based in the Slough/Maidenhead area which forms the UK's silicon corridor.   
BTw have one of their BTw WBC interconnects there and it is also a Core node for 21CN.
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d2d4j

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2019, 09:41:05 PM »

Hi

Our racks are in a Maidenhead Datacentre

Many thanks

John
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kitz

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2019, 08:28:18 AM »

I think a lot of Internet related services, especially web hosting now tends to be Maidenhead/Slough.  My server is also at Maidenhead.  Land will be substantially cheaper than city center and because it is a core node for the UK backbone then it makes an ideal location for IT companies and webhosts.   :)

>> AA has some servers in a data centre at Maidenhead iirc anyway near their office, but they have to have lots of kit such as routers / switches in docklands

There are actually a few core nodes in and around London and it's not unusal for ISPs to make use of more than one.
Docklands is a popular location for ISP gateways/edge routers because most of the Transit companies have a prescence there.  Level 3, Cogent, Telia, Hurricane, Sprint, BT Global etc etc all operate out of Docklands which mean you are  practically straight out on to the Internet if you locate your edge routers at Docklands.   

Plus a lot of Internet peering occurs at the Docklands telehouse sites.  By using a (LoNAP, LINX, XPE etc) peer point the ISP can directly exchange traffic with other large organisations thus cutting Internet Transit costs and reducing routing hops.   Most of the internet traffic which does not go outside of the UK gets exchanged at docklands. Of course you have the likes of the BBC having prescence there too.... oh and other CDN services such as google. 

So if you are an ISP then it makes economic and logical sense to use of the 2 different locations.  Put your Edge routers in at Docklands to provide the most efficient transport for WWW destinations and everything else nearer to your main office location.
   
The edge routers need little supervision and will basically just sit there for months on end requiring no maintenance.   I have a hazy recollection during one visit to PN towers being shown Plusnet's Juniper ERX's which were just sat in the middle of a tiny room in TeleHouse via a livestream CCTV monitoring service.  These edge routers can be configured remotely so there is seldom any need for staff to visit London.

All their other servers (aside from the Gateways) were located in a co-lo on the outskirts of Sheffield. Think it took us about 10mins to get there from their HO.. and although it was quite a few years ago now and before they got the size they are now, they occupied a substantial amount of space in that particular co-lo.  Aside from the fact that staff routinely visited this location,   I would imagine the floor space cost would have been a heck of a lot more if it were in Docklands.
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Weaver

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2019, 09:18:47 AM »

Thatís very interesting. I knew some of it but I now understand the logic of Maidenhead; thatís where stuff that needs care-and-feeding will be located, as you said. Servers might need rebooting, backups and things that require a physical presence.

I suppose you can perhaps remotely reboot some kit or pull the power by remote control as a last resort. But backups - not sure about that. And these scary intel management processor thingummies can do a lot remotely even when a machine is half-dead - taking control of the hardware and fixing problems. I would be very worried about security too; giving malefactors a lottery win.

I wonder how Maidenhead is linked to docklands, and I wonder if any AA staff are just living in central London anyway. I could perhaps ask RevK.
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kitz

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2019, 07:33:41 PM »

I would have thought that AA only keep what is at docklands just to anything relating to transit of data. 
It is here they will have their gateway routers which is where BTw will hand over all of AAISP's  end users data.  From that gateway where traffic goes next will depend upon final destination eg:

 - Anything destined for AAISP will be routed to Maidenhad. 

 - Anything destined for other AAISP customers will go back out onto the BTw Core. 

 - Anything staying inside the UK is usually exchanged at Docklands eg your traffic to the BBC/Google CDN services / other ISPs is peered by LoNAP directly on to their network.

 - Anything going out globally to the rest of the world will be handed over to one of AAISP's transit providers.

All their other servers for services such as Mail, hosting, databases, Netapp storage and a zillion other things will be at the the Maidenhead CoLo


Quote
I wonder how Maidenhead is linked to docklands,

Both Docklands and Slough are CORE node locations.   There's a list here of the core nodes locations -  21CN Core & Metro Nodes.
You may also find the following page useful - The ISP Network.
It is slightly dated now as it was written prior to 21CN, but if you substitute 'Central Plus' with 21CN/WBC and ignore the sizes of the pipes, then the theory remains similar.

Quote
I wonder if any AA staff are just living in central London anyway.

Wouldn't have thought it mattered.   

As per previous post the gateway servers and routers require little maintenance once set up.  It may not require any attention for years. Any config changes are done remotely.
Plusnet never had any staff located in London - there was no need to ever visit the gateways on a regular basis.   The only time staff needed to go down there was to set up new ones.

Its similar to our modems, but on a much larger scale.   Since I set up my VMG8324 I hardly ever touch it.   If I want to make any changes to the config then I just either use the WebGUI or telnet via my PC.    I don't ever physically do anything with the modem router itself, other than perhaps stand it upright again if one of the cats have knocked it over :D   

I don't think there is a need for anything other than transit related to be located at Docklands...  and the only reason most ISPs put a gateway there is because thats where the most transit providers and peering companies have a presence.    There's nothing stopping AAISP from putting in their gateways at one of the other core nodes..  in fact Zen have done that and have one of theirs in Manchester.   

« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 07:55:24 PM by kitz »
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burakkucat

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2019, 08:16:57 PM »

Its similar to our modems, but on a much larger scale.   Since I set up my VMG8324 I hardly ever touch it.   If I want to make any changes to the config then I just either use the WebGUI or telnet via my PC.    I don't ever physically do anything with the modem router itself, other than perhaps stand it upright again if one of the cats have knocked it over :D

That's a nice analogy.  :)
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Weaver

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Re: "BT Locate"
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2019, 09:52:22 PM »

I was musing about staff being in London because I was thinking about the possibility of a rare cockup in the night. There was some badness with switches or routers a while ago. I once ended up in Burton upon Trent with a Ďportableí protocol analyser when it was heading towards midnight. The problem was found - my own bug! I was misled by some unclear documentation in a 68000 comms-assist i/o processor card and I didnít read it in a sufficiently paranoid way and another software component was running 400x slower than it should have been. Luckily afterwards I didnít need to go back to London; I just went to my parentsí farm 15 miles away, near Uttoxeter.

I appreciated the virtue of stuff not being 100 miles away when it goes wrong.
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