OnePartner’s datacenter was located in a rural area with no established datacenter operations. As a startup subsidiary of a healthcare organization, the company’s brand recognition was minimal as well. Companies selecting a datacenter to house their computing infrastructure have a selection criteria that includes proximity to staff, established locations, price, services, track record, etc.
OnePartner’s datacenter held no advantage over established facilities in any area except high-availability, which Mac Scofield and I fought for during construction. We discovered the importance of uptime and the deficiencies of our uncertified competitors had not been previously established.
I developed the UPTIMEdatabase concept to elevate high-availability, or “uptime” as the most important of these selection criteria – to push OnePartner’s datacenter higher in the evaluations. I’ve documented the strategic aspects of this effort in detail and this page outlines the technical aspects of the achievement.
This site features several applications which rely heavily on the underlying Microsoft SQL Server database. The “homepage” is a list of datacenters sorted by the number of days each facility has maintained uninterrupted service. I’m careful to avoid showing favoritism to OnePartner to establish the objective value of the site as a selection resource. The elevation of uptime as a selection criteria will itself focus interest in OnePartner’s facility due to the Tier III certification the company holds.
This site gave me an opportunity to deploy Google AdSense. AdSense serves the targeted banner ads on many web sites and generates micropayments to the hosting site.
One of the real innovations of the UPTIMEdatabase site is the datacenter map. I developed the map using Google Maps API which affords users the familiar pan and zoom controls.
The data overlays
I needed to challenge consumer’s assumption that datacenters should only be in traditionally accepted areas, such as Atlanta, Washington D.C. and amazingly, Florida. I also wanted to encourage rural datacenters over high-population centers. I researched data for tornadoes lightning strikes, etc and loaded values for each metric by state into the database. Next, I located an XML file with latitude and longitude boundary points for each state. I imported these points into a database table and developed code that placed a shape over each state. Data for each metric determines the state overlay color.
I used both serious and humorous metrics with the intention of generating leads from forums with the more humorous ones. The most famous of these overlays was, of course, my zombie survivability rankings.
Let me just say that while I enjoy a zombie movie as much as anyone, I’m not the kind of person who is fixated on them. I’m using the public’s fascination. My goal is to drag off a little of that interest over into my marketing battle to build awareness of high-availability datacenters. If I were marketing steel or chemicals, I’d do something else, with the correlation being that I’m obviously creative and capable of generating high-value, low-cost marketing.
I wasn’t about to just throw together my own assertions of zombie survivability. One of the aspects of the Internet that I most love is the way it allows creative people to take freely available data and repackage it into something valuable. That’s what I did.
I spent time on the phone, emailing and researching online to pull real data (sources). Then I created a lot of code to allow visitors to use the data I collected with weights for each factor as they deemed appropriate. They can publish their own theories right on the site. I developed every bit of code myself and I believe it demonstrates a good understanding of usability, graphical design and understanding of human behavior.