The truth about Sago Networks acquisition of the Razor Servers clients.

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Razor signed the agreement in mid May and all clients were to be transferred to Sago Networks hardware and network in their Norcross Ga data center. Sago developed a plan to migrate the data of all clients to their hardware without consulting myself or the Razor staff in any way. Many assumptions were made. Their plan was to migrate all clients to Dell CS23 and CS24 servers. These are much older servers than any Razor clients were currently on, by years. There was little testing done with regards to trying to migrate data to these much older servers and in the beginning it was clear this scenario would not work. The Razor staff picked up this plan and attempted to make it work but there was nothing we could do. As we began to find out, there were horrific issues with the Sago network in Norcross. The GRE tunnel was completely unstable. This is when Razor found out they were using mikrotek routers like you can find at www.routerboard.com as the core routers for the migration. Obviously these proved to be ineffective at doing even the smallest job.

Once the plan to migrate all clients data to the Dell CS24 servers was abandoned. Sago ownership decided they would take the hardware Razor had leased to Norcross and negotiate buyouts with the lease holders. The next migration plan was to take all the “high end clients” (deemed as ones having more than one drive or any kind of SSD drive), put their servers on an airplane and fly them to the local airport in Norcross. Razor staff was told to unrack, package and take 206 servers to the airport. The reasoning behind this was the plane would hold 4000 pounds and servers weighed 20 pounds each according to the Sago staff in Tampa. At this time no one accounted for the fact that only the most basic, smallest rack mount server would even come close to weighing 20 pounds. The 206 servers chosen to go on the plane were all high end, multi drive, multi processor rack mounts weighing upwards of 30 pounds each. There was also no accounting for all the server rails, power and network cables or the boxes and packaging material. This is when I pointed out to Sago management that we were clearly going to be overweight by about 2800 pounds. I was told “don’t worry about it, it will be handled. They can shave weight on the plane”. Sago flew one employee to Philadelphia to assist Razor with this project. I hired six additional people and paid them from my own pocket to assist with part of the project. It was at this point that the Sago employee told me he knew we were overweight but there was nothing he could do. Everyone in Philadelphia wanted to only unrack the amount of servers we knew would fit on the plane but I stupidly over ruled them and said, if there is any way to get all these on the plane then we should try. Long story short, I was instructed not to go to the airport because I might “tip off the pilot” to him being overweight. We unracked, boxed and trucked 206 servers to the airport in one hour thirty minutes. The pilot said we had to much weight. The owner of Sago argued with the pilot for 45 minutes then called me and said the guys were bringing servers back to the Philadelphia data center. Mean while we had made all 206 GRE tunnel entries so we had to go back and remove all the ones that came back to the Philadelphia data center. At this point we had all been awake for about 30 hours.

The plane took 3 1/2 hours to arrive in GA, based on the FAA flight plan. Sago ownership argued with pilot about why it took so long and is firmly convinced the pilot stopped along the way to move another load, making him late. Mean while, there wasn’t an extra inch of space in the plane. In fact, the one Sago employee stayed in Philadelphia so more servers could be loaded on the plane.

It took almost a full day for the Sago staff to start to get servers to come on line for Razor clients after they arrived. The unsolved issue of packet loss across the GRE tunnel that had been there from the very beginning was rearing its ugly head now. The mikrotek routers could not properly handle the traffic and GRE tunnel so they would constantly crash, making the network in Norcross completely unstable for all Razor clients. It was the Razor staff monitoring the network and notifying Sago of the issues, down GRE tunnel, etc. The Razor staff also discovered numerous issues with the network configuration in Norcross coming from Telx in Atlanta, where Sago originates its traffic. The “redundant fiber ring” had no redundancy and has numerous issues along its path with switches and patches.

By now clients were abandoning Razor. No press release had been put out about the acquisition, by the request of Sago ownership. That is when I wrote up the press release and submitted it to news outlets. To this point clients had not been notified they were being moved over 800 miles away. Once they started to discover this there were some very unhappy people contacting us. Sago ownership had specifically told me not to tell clients they were being moved to Norcross GA.

While the network issues persisted the Razor staff attempted to do what it could to solve the issues in Norcross and pushed for the remaining servers to be migrated by truck, as we had recommended in the first place. Sago ownership finally “came up with the idea” to move the remaining servers on trucks to Norcross. The original reason this was not done was Sago ownership said it would result in to much down time for the clients. While there may have been some clients unhappy with 24 hours of down time we suggested to move the servers on a Saturday night in to Sunday to minimize the impact. Originally this idea was shoved aside in favor of the data migration, then an airplane. Mean while, all this time there was severe packet loss in Norcross GA and it was getting worse every day. The more clients brought online created even more problems. Finally the night came to move all the remaining racks to Norcross by truck. This project went relatively well as the Razor staff worked with the Sago staff to get everything loaded on two trucks and out the door in about three hours. The only hiccup in this part of the move was one of the trucks transmissions broke, leaving the second truck stranded. Another truck was brought out and the remaining Sago staff members had to move all contents from one truck to another in the middle of the night on the side of a highway. No ones fault and they did an admirable job getting it done.

At this point the GRE tunnel could be shut down since all BGP announcements were to come from Norcross. The Razor staff hoped this would solve the remaining network issues but it did not. The mikrotek routers are woefully underpowered for this job. Lacking 10G fiber uplink ports and not properly being able to load balance traffic between them there was literally no hope. Clients continued to leave Razor in droves. Eventually Sago purchased a single used brocade router to replace the microtik routers but only helped a small amount with the network issues.

Razors plan to migrate the clients was as follow: Move one Juniper MX960 core router and core switch to Norcross. Bring them online, open a GRE tunnel between the Junipers. Verify stability. Plan to move half the servers on a Saturday night to Norcross by truck. Bring up those racks in Norcross. The following Saturday move the remaining servers and core router to Norcross, bring those up. Done. No IP changing. No network issues.

For the months of July and August I watched almost 70% of the clients leave Razor for other hosting options. Clients I had built relationships with, who trusted us with their data. I watched as Sago destroyed the company I had built from nothing. I was powerless to do anything about it. I have been in this industry for 20 years. Started as a reseller, worked for a few companies then started my own. I started Razor eight years ago with a credit card. At the time of the sale it was doing seven figures a year. Sago ended up firing the Razor staff, the very ones who were more qualified than anyone at Sago. Most of the staff at Sago has left the company due to the owner. Many of those people were good at what they do and it was a pleasure to work with most of them. Clients continue to abandon both brands on a daily basis.

I am posting this in the hopes that former Razor clients understand what happened. This is not an exact blow for blow daily accounting of every particular event, it is an overview of the main subjects. There are hundreds of minor, daily issues that went on with this. I had taken Razor as far as I could with the limited resources I had available. I thought I was putting the clients in good hands. The Razor staff are an incredible group of individuals. “My guys” are the best people I have ever worked with. It was my mistake selling the clients to Sago. I tried to make the best deal for everyone and keep my staff employed. I thought I had done a good job. As it turns out it was the worst decision of my life. To add insult to injury, the owner of Sago Networks has refused to pay Razor the remaining payments due under the sale contract.

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