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After Tampa, Wikipedia to Have Its Second Data Center in Virginia, USA
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July 06, 2010

After Tampa, Wikipedia to Have Its Second Data Center in Virginia, USA

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor

Wikimedia Foundation has come up with its annual report, where it has made it clear that its number one priority is to ensure high site availability for Wikipedia. To keep to this goal, the organization has decided to set up a second data center in the upcoming years. A second data center is essential to support Wikipedia and its other sites, Wikimedia stated in its annual report.

"Our projects are vulnerable to primary data center failure. We will build out a second data center to enable safe failover in the case of disaster. We will also increase uptime by improving site monitoring, capacity planning and operations response," the organization running the world's most popular online encyclopedia explained.
Online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which continues to rank as one of the busiest sites in the currently operates a data center in Tampa, along with a data center in Amsterdam for its European traffic.
Wikimedia mentioned that it is going to build up a second data center with the "primary objective to ensure that we have full failover capacity in the event of a major disaster."
The second US data center will most likely be located in Virginia, according to Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner.
Wikimedia will invest $3.27 million for the new facility. Additional $1.87 million will be spent on maintaining the Tampa and Amsterdam data centers.
The non-profit organization received a $2 million grant in February from Google (News - Alert) for its data center expansions.
The group's Tampa facility reportedly has 300 servers while its Amsterdam facility has 250. But this is not enough and the failure at Tampa data center proved the organization's infrastructure has significant weaknesses.  Monday morning's outage following power failures at its Tampa data center emphasized that it required some immediate attention.
However, Wikimedia was quick to come up with an explanation.
"Starting at 0:10 UTC on July 5th, the Wikimedia Foundation suffered from intermittent, partial power failures in the internal power network of one of its main data centers in Tampa, Florida. Due to the temporary unavailability of several critical systems and the large impact on the available systems capacity, all Wikimedia projects went down."
A few months back, the Amsterdam data center also suffered an outage, when a cooling problem triggered a heat condition leading to a server shutdown.
At first, the issue only affected European Wikipedia users, but when the facility had trouble executing a 'fail over' to the Tampa data center the main Wikipedia site went offline as well.
However, these incidences of outage have prompted the organization to upgrade its infrastructure and strengthen its operations.
The Wikimedia Foundation said in its annual report that in 2010-11 it is "focused on eliminating single points of failure (both in terms of staff and infrastructure), improving operations response, monitoring and optimizing site performance around the world, and supporting the software engineering team in its deployments."

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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