With all the recent talk about the fabulous new office space that the Chicago crew just moved into, I wanted to share a little bit about another long term move that is nearing completion. For the last four years our infrastructure has been hosted with Rackspace. As of last weekend, the vast majority of our traffic is now being served out of our own colocated server cluster.

Some of our Dell R710 Servers, we have a bunch of these.

Hosting with Rackspace over the last four years has allowed us to ignore hardware to a large degree. When I joined 37signals, I was the first system administrator in the company and we didn’t have the resources to realistically manage our own physical infrastructure. Choosing a provider like Rackspace made a great deal of sense. We also had a lot of unknowns about what our growth profile was going to be and were able to take advantage of the ability to more organically grow our infrastructure.

Fast forward to today and we have a team of three people who are responsible for the care and feeding of the 37signals infrastructure. Our applications are mature and we understand our growth path very well. In those four years, we’ve grown from around 15 physical machines to a mixture of around 150 physical and virtual machines. We’ve also grown from having less than 1TB of data to on the order of 80TB of data today. Our needs have evolved a great deal as we’ve grown and we reached the point where it made sense for us to acquire our own hardware and manage our own datacenter infrastructure. The amount of flexibility that we have with our own environment makes it much easier for us to use some specialized equipment that meets our needs better than the solutions that Rackspace generally supports.

Isilon clustered storage servers.

Over the next few days I hope to cover some of the architectural choices we made when we were designing the new platform. If you have anything in particular you’d like to hear more about, please drop me a line via email to mark [at] 37signals.com and I’ll try to cover a few of them.