Reliable colocation | Meteo Consult
System and network manager
"All parties I spoke with, were hesitant to help with what I wanted. BIT also needed a little time to think about it, but I soon got the response that they had come up with a solution. Things are not quickly dismissed as impossible at BIT."
Part of the MeteoGroup, the biggest weather firm in Europe. Meteo Consult was founded in 1986 and, since then, has set its reputation as the weather firm that puts quality first and handles weather forecasts in an innovative way.
"At Meteo Consult we convert numbers into numbers. Daily, we receive data around 120 gigabytes in the form of rough forecasts from weather models, plus an additional 45 gigabytes of satellite observations. We transpose this data into something useful for clients. In total, at least 160 megabytes are sent from here every day.
Meteo Consult has clients in diverse segments of the market. We have developed software for the shipping industry with which captains can calculate optimal routing suggestions based on actual weather information supplied by us. We also supply weather data to the offshore sector on a project basis. For example, we have determined the timeframe for the storage of the Koersk, in the Barentszzee and we coordinate the activities around the construction of the islands near Dubai. During the winters, we make special forecasts to help make sure gritting is only done where and when needed. This results in a big cost reduction for our clients. We provide the media with readily made weather columns for newspapers and we have our own radio and television studio. We work for road construction, agriculture and horticulture, insurance companies and event planners. All of them are provided with their own forecasts, adapted to their situations.
Internet access is essential for us 24/7. We sound out our forecasts digitally. If our connections fails, our firm practically seizes to exist. In 2001 we experienced two interruptions in our internet access of eight hours each. To find a solution for this, I went looking for a second provider. We did not have that much internet traffic then, so a DSL-connection of 2 Mbit would suffice. By means of the BGP-protocol, I meant to combine that 2 Mbit connection with our existing connection. BGP makes sure routes can be diverted quickly if something goes wrong. This was not a standard solution, BGP is technology that is typically used by providers, while DSL is mostly used for consumer access. All parties I spoke with, were difficult about what I wanted and when I floated the idea around in a specialised online newsgroup, I was practically laughed at. At BIT though, it was possible. By now I know that they do not quickly dismiss things as impossible. Of course the 2 Mbit soon was not enough; now we have a 100 Mbit ethernetconnection at BIT.
Within the Meteo Consult establishment in Wageningen are two complete system rooms in free-standing fire compartments which are able to replace one another in case of faults or calamities. We have decided to place one of these outside of our establishments. We chose the BIT data center for this colocation. We have connected the two locations with two physically separated fiber optic cables, on which we place our own colours of lighting. The advantage is that Ede and Wageningen are only eight kilometres apart as the crow flies. BIT has helped us design the connection in such a way that we can put that into good use.
Our connection with BIT has been good from the start. Their approach complements the way we do things. Our ICT department is a technical club with people who like to know how things work. BIT works the same way, which makes communication a lot easier. When we started with the DSL connection, my knowledge of BGP was virtually nonexistent. A couple of conversations with people who share the same technical way of thinking can teach you a lot then."