No hibernation for AllisonHouse: A quick look at what we’re up to

Radar image showing a flash flood warning from Gibson Ridge

Thanks to upgrades on our end, and improvements on the National Weather Service side, data is flowing to AllisonHouse customers faster than ever! Super-res data and imagery from GRlevel3 courtesy Mike Gibson and AllisonHouse.

With the onset of winter, we kept very busy with Super-Resolution level 3 data coming to your favorite radar apps like Radarscope and GRLevel3. But what else have we been up to? Let’s take a quick look and let you know what has happened.

First, in December, we switched to all-new servers, on a new high-speed network. The servers that we were on before, as well as the network, was fast, and we never had any issues with it. But data sizes keep increasing, more customers come on board, and we have to be ready to handle whatever comes our way with both. So, just before Christmas, we switched to entirely brand new servers on a brand new, state of the art, high-speed network. We have no reasonable capacity limitations: if we suddenly got a million subscribers (hey, I’d love that!), you wouldn’t notice a thing. We have the power to instantly scale up not only to meet new customer demands, but also ones from our current customers. The only times you’ll see anything go down is if the National Weather Service or one of our private vendors goes down for maintenance and upgrades, and due to rendundancy, those outages are rare. Any outages on our end should be very few and far between now, except for maintenance windows where we give notice to our customers when those will happen.

Furthermore, it would be negligent of me to not tell you what the National Weather Service has been doing on their end in terms of upgrades. When GOES-16/17 came online, the NWS upgraded their systems to handle the firehose of data. As it turns out, some of the networking and the servers were underpowered, causing delays and outages of data. Over the last two years, the NWS has gotten a handle on the situation, and has the capacity to handle all of it now. This spring, further upgrades will occur to resolves some very brief and intermittent issues. In January, the NWS got a big boost in network and Internet connection bandwidth, allowing for more robust data throughput to us and other companies. All of that to say, this spring, we expect few data delays and outages versus last year from the NWS. Not that there were many for them in 2019, but any that occur should be minimal. We have already seen the improvements this winter, where only a few minor, very brief delays have been experienced that only we at AllisonHouse noticed. The delays were short enough that customers didn’t even notice. Even these rare brief outages should diminish as the year goes on as the upgrades continue.

All of this to say: There is no way AllisonHouse, will ever claim we have 100% uptime, always, and forever. But in 2019, we had over 99.99% uptime with our products and services. While our goal is perfection, in reality we just do our absolute best to get as close to it as we can when it comes to uptime. And like the Six Million Dollar Man, this year we are stronger and faster than ever before. To get the products to you, we now usually measure the delays in milliseconds, not seconds or minutes. We cannot break the space-time continuum (we tried it once, but William Shatner slapped our wrists HARD!), but we can and we do deliver the highest quality data we can, affordably, as fast as we possibly can. In 2019, we implemented a data ingest solution that allows us to pluck from data feeds that always, on the fly, pick the server that can get it to us the fastest, and then it does it. From radar, satellite, surface and upper air data, models and more, we give you the data as soon as we get it, and through satellite and fiber, we get it to you fast!

Finally, one more note. I handle the data coming in to AllisonHouse. If at all possible, every feed is redundant as possible. For example, the watches and warnings and level 3 radar data are received via satellite by 4 different satellite dishes, including ours in Oklahoma. If any go down, the other 3 are feeding data and the dish or server with issues is automagically blocked until service can be restored. We also feed Level 2 data redundantly, which avoided serious data lags last spring and summer that others experienced, as our ingest software automagically picks the fastest vendor to retrieve data from.

So, that’s what we have been up to in prepping for another year of severe. And it could be at or above average for at least the amount of tornadoes:

So, be ready! We are. Are you? Get an AllisonHouse subscription now, and get the data you trust and the weather display you want…fast, reliably, and redundantly!

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