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As it continues the efforts to reinvent itself, AOL, the US company that played a crucial role in the early stages of public Internet, has launched a new data center that will support its private Cloud.  

Called ATC, the data center is a "100% lights-out facility", Mike Manos, AOL's VP of technology operations, wrote in a blog post. "There are absolutely no employees stationed at the facility full time, contract, or otherwise," he wrote.

"The entire premise is that we have moved from a reactive support model to a proactive or planned work support model."

Manos said the new data center represented a "model on how to migrate the old, prepare for the new, and provide a platform upon which to build our future."

Using 100% pre-racked, vendor-integrated gear and a standardized way to build out compute capacity, AOL's data center team was able to start delivering active capacity to internal users 90 days after inception of the idea.

AOL's private Cloud platform has enabled it to provision compute capacity very quickly in this and older data centers. "We went from provisioning servers in days, to getting base virtual machines up and running in under eight seconds," Manos wrote.

The platform uses open-source products and some products of of AOL's own development. The resulting system can support new "efforts and platforms", as well as the company's older products.

The system passed a resiliency test in August, when the US East Coast was struck by a minor earthquake. The system was not installed in the ATC, but rather at previously existing data centers.

"While thankfully the damage was minimal, the tremor of Internet traffic was incredible," Manos wrote. "The AOL homepage, along with our news sites started to get hammered with traffic and requests."

The team was able to add more machines to absorb the load quickly, causing minimal impact to users.