What is an LOA for a cross-connect

LOA’s (Letters of Authority/Authorization) are a mystery to many.  We help many of our customers with LOA’s on a semi-regular basis.  If you are here you are probably wanting to find out what an LOA is and how to properly fill one out.

When you or a provider orders a cross-connect within a facility, such as a data-center, you have to generate an LOA that allows someone to run a cross-connect to your space from someplace else. This cross-connect could be fiber or copper.  The other side generates and LOA as well.

An LOA is simply a piece of paper with a few parts.  It usually starts on your company letterhead to make it more official. It states you are giving authority to the other party to land a cross-connect to your physical space.  Normally it reads something like this in the first paragraph.

The undersigned appoints ______________________________________________________ (“___________”) authority to act as an authorized agent to order cross connects to be delivered to YOUR_COMPANY (“YOUR_COMPANY”) collocation facilities.

Specifically, this letter authorizes ___________ to order services on the behalf of YOUR_COMPANY in order to engineer and deliver access and transport to the collocation designated below.

___________ is hereby released from any and all liabilities for making pertinent information available to necessary contractors and for following instructions provided by YOUR_COMPANY with reference to the following order:

The above establishes who, why, and somewhat the what and where. The meat of the LOA is usually in the next part.  This is where you define where the LOA is specifically going.  Most LOAs include the following information:
-Where your physical space is in the facility
-What cabinet or rack the connection is to land in
-What patch panel to go in, If you are not using patch panels you really should
-The port designation to plug into on the patch panel
-The type of media (single mode, Ethernet, etc.)
-If fiber what ends your side should be (LC,SC,etc)
-Any other pertinent instructions.

Depending on several factors you may or may not need to include all of the above.  Some data centers are totally hands off and just run the cable to a spot in your space and you are responsible for plugging it into your gear.  Others will plug into the patch panel ports you designate.  Others can do a full turnkey of actually patching it down to your equipment.  If they do this you will need to include additional information on where the switch is, what switch port, what cable needed, etc.

You may ask why can’t I just tell them what I need and they do it? Part of it is because the person doing the work needs to know exactly what they are doing. The person running it into your space may never have even seen your gear and set up before they get there. Secondly, it is a check and balance.  If you tell them to plug into ports 3/4 on patch panel 2 and there is already something there it helps to make sure your documentation is correct, and you meant to type the correct thing.  Thirdly, its a CYA for the data center or the contractor running the cable.  If you specified LC and the contractor put SC on it’s the contractor’s fault.

Lastly, the LOA includes signature, and title of someone who has been authorized by the facility on your behalf.  This is another check and balance.  Some LOA’s have additional wording about a time limit this LOA is valid for or additional notes.

LOAs are an important part of the documentation process.  Data centers are a place most people do not visit very often.  Having good documentation to generate a proper LOA is essential to things running smoothly.

Hope this helps.

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The state of Data Centers and Co-Location in Indianapolis

We like to refer to Indianapolis, Indiana as an “NFL  City” when explaining the connectivity and peering landscape.  It is not a large network presence like Chicago or Ashburn but has enough networks to make it a place for great interconnects.

At the heart of Indianapolis is the Indy Telcom complex.  www.indytelcom.com (currently down as of this writing).  This is also referred to as the “Henry Street” complex because West Henry Street runs past several of the buildings.   This is a large complex with many buildings on it.

One of the things many of our clients ask about is getting connectivity from building to building on the Indy Telcom campus. Lifeline Data Centers ( www.lifelinedatacenters.com ) operates a carrier hotel at 733 Henry. With at least 30 on-net carriers and access to many more 733 is the place to go for cross-connect connectivity in Indianapolis.   We have been told by Indy Telcom the conduits between the buildings on the campus are 100% full. This makes connectivity challenging at best when going between buildings. The campus has lots of space, but the buildings are on islands if you wish to establish dark fiber cross-connects between buildings. Many carriers have lit services, but due to the ways many carriers provision things getting a strand, or even a wave is not possible.  We do have some options from companies like Zayo or Lightedge for getting connectivity between buildings, but it is not like Chicago or other big Date centers.  However, there is a solution for those looking for to establish interconnections.   Lifeline also operates a facility at 401 North Shadeland, which is referred to as the EastGate facility. This facility is built on 41 acres, is FEDRAMP certified, and has a bunch of features.  There is a dark fiber ring going between 733 and 401.  This is ideal for folks looking for both co-location and connectivity.  Servers and other infrastructure can be housed at Eastgate and connectivity can be pulled from 733.  This solves the 100% full conduit issue with Indy Telcom. MidWest Internet Exchange ( www.midwest-ix.com ) is also on-net at both 401 and 733.

Another location where MidWest-IX is at is  365 Data Centers (http://www.365datacenters.com ) at 701 West Henry.  365 has a national footprint and thus draws some different clients than some of the other facilities.  365 operates Data centers in Tennessee, Michigan, New York, and others. MidWest has dark fiber over to 365 in order to bring them on their Indy fabric.

Another large presence at Henry Street is Lightbound ( www.lightbound.com ).  They have a couple of large facilities. According to PeeringDB, only three carriers are in their 731 facility.   However, their web-site lists 18+ carriers in their facilities. The web-site does not list these carriers.

I am a big fan of peeringdb for knowing who is at what facilities, where peering points are, and other geeky information.  Many of the facilities in Indianapolis are not listed on peering DB.  Some other Data Centers which we know about:

Zayo (www.zayo.com)
LightTower ( www.lightower.com )
Indiana Fiber Network (IFN) (https://ifncom.co/)
Online Tech ( www.onlinetech.com )

On the north side of Indianapolis, you have Expedient ( www.expedient.com ) in Carmel. Expedient says they have “dozens of on net carriers among all markets”.  There are some other data centers in the Indianapolis Metro area. Data Cave in Columbus is within decent driving distance.

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What is a DCI?

As you get more and more into Cisco Data Center terminology you come across the term DCI.  DCI is a Data Center Interconnect. DCI’s typically come in 3 categories.

Dark Fiber (CWDM/DWDM)
MPLS Layer 2 VPN (VPWS/VPLS)
MPLS Layer 3 VPN

A DCI is basically a LAN extension over one of the above methods.

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MTIN WISPA Announcement

MTIN would like to announce some exciting new services for ISPs and network operators

The first is Midwest Internet Exchange ( www.midwest-ix.com )

MidWest-IX has created a peering fabric we are expanding to data centers focused on the needs of WISPs and network operators such as yourself. Peering can be a valuable, and cost-effective solution for your ISP. MidWest-IX has created a solution based around those needs.

We are tailoring and providing these services to the WISP community as a way of making everyone stronger. WISP operators need advantages. MidWest-IX can provide lower latency to content providers such as Netflix. MidWest-IX can cut down on transit costs through peering. We are also creating an ever-growing marketplace for members to provide redundancy, market goods and services to each other, and create a WISP peering cloud. We have many more benefits of an exchange listed at: http://www.midwest-ix.com/benefits.html

We have exchange services available at:

350 East Cermak Chicago Illinois
733 West Henry Street Indianapolis Indiana
401 North Shadeland, Indianapolis Indiana
900 Walnut St. Louis Missouri
535 Scherers Court Columbus, Ohio

If you are a WISP in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, or Missouri contact us on how we can leverage the exchange to help your business. Other locations planned for 2015.

Our next announcement includes services in several Data Centers.

MTIN in cooperation with Midwest Internet Exchange (M-IX) offers co-Location, bandwidth, peering, transport, and managed services.

Do you have a need for circuit termination, server/router space, or peering in any of the above locations? Let us put together a managed solution for you. MTIN can handle the ins and outs of cross-connects, facilitating ports to the exchange fabric, and other data center needs. A data center can be an intimidating thing. Let us take the guesswork out of it for you.

Services Include
-Bandwidth (let our experts provide unique and out-of-the-box solutions)
-Transport
-Cross connects and cable landings
-Off-site backup and DR
-Co-location (TierIV and basic Co-location)
-Connections to 3rd Party networks such as Internet2
-BGP Peering

MTIN provides xISP consulting and backend solutions. BGP, OSPF, routing, DNS, network engineering, and other services. Talk to us how we can put together a complete solution to optimize your network. Our Engineers can design a cost-efficte solution that fits you and your needs.

Contact us:

Web: www.mtin.net
Web: www.midwest-ix.com
e-mail: support@mtin.net
Tel: 317.644.2224

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Indianapolis Indiana Co-Location Specials

Indy Single Server Co-Location $89 per month
1U rack Space
10 Meg Internet connection
1 120 Volt Power Outlet with A+B Power
Free Monitoring of Server

Indy Single Router/Switch Co-Location $79 per month
1U Rack Space
1 120 Volt power Outlet with A+B Power
Free Monitoring

Indy Raw Rack Space $69 per U

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