Archive for February, 2023

Why Does Data Center Location Matter?

Why does Data Center location matter?

Data Centers exist all over the world. They’re used to stored all sorts of computer data, including websites and web apps, like MIDAS.

The location of the data center that houses your cloud-hosted MIDAS system can have an impact on the quality of your overall experience.

One of the unavoidable aspects of long-distance internet communications is high latency.

What is latency and why is it important?

The term “latency” describes a measure of delay between two events. 

In the context of the internet, latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to perform a round-trip between two points in a network. In the case of your MIDAS system, these two points are represented by your web browser and the server in a data center which runs your MIDAS system. 

The amount of time it takes for a unit of data to travel from the server in the data center to your browser is considered the latency of the network. This is usually measured in milliseconds and expressed as ms. This is also frequently referred to as the response time of a server.

We recently added two new data centers to our network, including one in Europe.

In our testing, we saw lower latency leading to an approximately 30% improvement in page loading times for Europe-based users accessing a MIDAS system in our EU data center vs our East Coast US location.

How does a data center’s location help reduce latency?

Being geographically closer to a data center can have several benefits, including:

  • Lower Latency: When the distance between a user and a data center is shorter, the time required to transfer data is reduced. This results in lower latency and faster response times.
  • Improved Performance: Lower latency can result in improved performance for applications and services hosted at the data center, such as faster loading times for websites, smoother streaming, and reduced lag in online gaming.
  • Increased Reliability: By being geographically closer to a data center, users are less likely to experience network congestion, data loss, and other issues that can affect the reliability of their connections.
  • Better Compliance: Data centers located in specific regions may be subject to local laws and regulations, such as data privacy and security standards, which can affect their suitability for hosting certain types of data. By being closer to a data center, organizations can more easily ensure compliance with these regulations.

Our Data Centers

Earlier this year, we significantly expanded our network into new data centers.

We added new client nodes in a data center in Europe (in Amsterdam, Netherlands), and in a data center on the West Coast of the US (in Seattle, Washington).

These two new data center locations are in addition to our existing nodes residing in our East Coast US data center (in Atlanta, Georgia).

We then looked at the location of each organization with an active cloud-hosted MIDAS service. Those which were geographically closer to either our EU or West Coast US locations were seamlessly migrated to those data center locations.

Naturally, we provided customers with advance notice of proposed migrations, and allowed individual customers to opt-out, or to choose a different data center for their MIDAS system.

The client migrations went smoothly, and have lead to noticeable improvements through lower latency for many customers.

Because our cloud-hosted MIDAS systems can now be run out of three different geographic regions (US East, US West, and Europe), we now offer all new cloud-hosted customers a choice of data center where they’d like their MIDAS system to reside.

Network Expansion – Feb/Mar 2023

We’re upgrading and expanding our MIDAS network!

We’re adding additional new client nodes in Europe (in Amsterdam, Netherlands), and on the West Coast of the US (in Seattle, Washington).

We’ll also be upgrading existing client nodes in our East Coast US data center (in Atlanta, Georgia) too.

We're adding new data center locations on the West Coast USA and in Europe
We’re adding new data center locations on the West Coast USA and in Europe

Why are we doing this?

As part of our continued commitment to the service we provide, we’re investing in new additional hardware, upgrading older hardware, and expanding our network infrastructure.

What are the benefits?

Our network expansion is designed to further improve the speed and performance of existing cloud-hosted MIDAS systems.

By relocating cloud-hosted customer’s MIDAS systems to data centers which are geographically closer to them, faster communication speed between an end-user’s device and their MIDAS system can be achieved.

As a result, customers should notice that their MIDAS systems will load and respond quicker than before.

For new cloud-hosted customers, going forward our network expansion will also mean that we can offer a choice of data center for where their hosted MIDAS system will reside.

What’s happening and when?

Our network expansion and upgrades are scheduled to take place during February and March 2023. The work is being done in 5 phases, which are outlined below:

Phase 1: (Expected completion: End of February 2023)

The first phase of our network expansion involves provisioning new client nodes in Amsterdam, Netherlands and in Seattle, Washington.

Phase 2: (Expected completion: End of March 2023)

Once the new client nodes are up and running, the second phase involves migrating existing cloud-hosted customer’s MIDAS systems to the new Amsterdam or Seattle nodes where appropriate.

For example, if a customer is geographically closer to one of these new locations than they are to the current East Coast US node where their MIDAS system resides, we’ll move them to a closer node.

Phase 3: (Expected completion: End of March 2023)

Once applicable existing clients have been relocated onto the Amsterdam or Seattle nodes, phase 3 sees a reorganization of existing client nodes located in our East Coast US data center (in Atlanta, Georgia).

We’ll be retiring some older client nodes in this data center after we’ve moved customers to the new West Coast and EU nodes. The remaining East Coast US client nodes will be consolidated, which will mean that some customers may move nodes within the East Coast US data center.

Phase 4: (Expected completion: End of March 2023)

The forth phase of our expansion plan sees an upgrade to the server hardware which runs our main website, blog, and our public demo and private trial systems.

Phase 5: (Expected completion: End of April 2023)

The final phase of our network expansion sees the upgrading of remaining East Coast US client nodes to bring their hardware up to date and in line with the new nodes in the West Coast US and EU data centers.

Will there be any downtime?

We do not envisage any loss of access to our customer’s cloud hosted MIDAS systems during these network upgrades.

However, when we migrate a customer’s MIDAS system to a new node, we’ll temporarily place their system running on the old node into “Maintenance Mode” whilst the migration to the new node is performed.

“Maintenance Mode” essentially puts a MIDAS system into a special “read only” state. So you’ll retain full access to all your booking information, but won’t be able to make any changes.

Once the migration to the new node is complete, your MIDAS system will come out of “Maintenance Mode”, and you can continue using the software again as normal.

We anticipate that any “Maintenance Mode” period will last less than one hour.

We plan to carry out migrations at a time when a customer’s MIDAS system is typically least active (i.e. in the middle of the night)

We’ll also notify the “Primary Contact” we have on record in advance of any server migration and provide an estimated time when their migration will take place.

Can I choose which data center my MIDAS system will reside?

We’ll be contacting all existing cloud-hosted customers by email in advance if their MIDAS system is proposed to be migrated to a different data center. We’ll provide details of the data center we propose to move their MIDAS system to, and an estimate on when their migration will take place.

Customers will have a chance to respond to these emails to request a different data center, or that their cloud-hosted MIDAS system remains in their current data center.

Where can I get updates on the progress of these network upgrades?

We have a dedicated page over on our Service Status site, that we’ll continually update during these network expansion and upgrade works.

What if I have further questions?

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to our network expansion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to help!

Control heating automatically with MIDAS

We’re excited to announce that you can now integrate your room and building heating controls with MIDAS.

Inspire Home Automation are a UK based business who design, develop and sell smart heating controls.

In conjunction with Inspire Home Automation’s Smart Thermostats, spaces can be heated according to when bookings are due to take place in them.

Benefits of a calendar based thermostat

There are a range of benefits to automatic scheduled temperature control based on a calendar of bookings. Most notably, it can help:

  • Reduce heating costs by only heating rooms and spaces when they are in use.
  • Reduce administration and staffing costs – no need to get somebody in before a booking to switch the heating on and ensure it’s turned off again afterwards.
Room Booking System using Inspire Smart Thermostats
Inspire Smart Thermostat

Fully Configurable

Inspire Smart Thermostats with MIDAS calendar integration are fully configurable.

For example, you can setup your heating schedule to automatically switch on one hour before a booking, and then automatically switch off, or turn the temperature down, at the end of the booking.

If you want greater control, and have different heating zones for different rooms, multiple Smart Thermostats can be added.

For more product information on Inspire Smart Thermostats, please visit

How it works

There are two options for having Inspire Smart Thermostats control temperature based on your MIDAS room bookings.

Option 1: Export Bookings

Simply export bookings from your MIDAS system, and then import them into your Inspire Smart Thermostat. The Smart Thermostat then automatically controls a heating schedule based upon the booking calendar you import.

Option 2: Sync Bookings

For fully automated temperature control, Inspire Smart Thermostats can read an updating Data Feed of bookings from your MIDAS system.

This avoids the need to manually export bookings from your MIDAS system and then manually import them into your smart thermostat each time bookings change in your MIDAS system.

Instead, the Smart Thermostat automatically pulls an updated schedule from the Data Feed every 24 hours, so that any changes to bookings since the last check can be automatically captured.

Need an updated booking to be pushed to the Smart Thermostat schedule quicker? No problem, Inspire Smart Thermostats also have the option to refresh a Data Feed on demand.

Setting Up

Please see our How to setup automated heating control with Inspire Smart Thermostats Knowledge Base article for full details of how to configure MIDAS with Inspire thermostats.


Basic Inspire Thermostat integration (Option 1 above) is included as standard in both cloud hosted and self hosted editions of MIDAS room booking software.

Automated calendar sync functionality (Option 2 above) is available through our optional “Data Feeds” addon.

Like many of our competitors, we offer a no obligation “free trial” of our room and resource scheduling software.

Back in 2017 we increased the length of the free trial periods of our MIDAS room booking system from 14 days to 30.

Six years on, and we were curious to revisit this and try to understand if this is still the most suitable duration to offer for a software trial.

To that end, we began by researching what our competitors currently offer in this regard.

We analyzed 64 online software vendors who develop room booking / scheduling / appointment systems.

The results were quite surprising!

Length of Software Free Trial Periods
Length of Software Free Trial Periods

Nealy 44% of vendors we looked at didn’t offer any form of “free trial”!

Of those who did, the most common length of free trial offered was 30 days, with 18 businesses offering this. 30 days is also the length of free trial that we currently offer for MIDAS.

The second most common length of free trial was 14 days – which is what we previously used to offer for MIDAS. A total of 10 out of the 64 software vendors analyzed offered a 14 day (two week) free trial.

Of the remaining vendors we looked at, the shortest free trial period offered was just 3 days. The longest on offer was 90 days.

What is the best duration to offer for a free software trial?

The best duration for a free software trial largely depends on the complexity and capabilities of the booking system being evaluated. As we found, some software vendors offer trials that last just a few days, while others offer trials that last for several months.

Now some more “basic” scheduling systems may be easy for prospective customers to evaluate within a few days.

Others may require more time to fully test and evaluate all the product’s features and capabilities.

This is primarily the reason why we previously increased our free trial period from 14 to 30 days.

We were finding that some prospective customers were reaching the end of their 14 day trial and were then requesting a 1-2 week extension so they could complete their evaluation. In most cases, we were generally able to extend 14 day trials upon request. However, over time as we added more features and functionality to our booking software, we decided that there was quite a lot to evaluate and digest in just 14 days.

We certainly didn’t want prospective customers to feel “rushed” into evaluating our product.

That’s why we increased our free trial period length to 30 days, to allow extra time for users to get a good feel for what MIDAS is all about.

Since we did this, we’ve had far fewer requests for extensions to free trial periods.

Would an even longer free trial period not be better?

Looking at our our own data, we don’t believe so. On average, those prospective customers who evaluate a free MIDAS trial make their decision within 21 days of the start of their trial period.

That’s why we still feel that offering a 30 day trial is still the best length.

Some vendors offer considerably longer trial periods. One of the reasons for very lengthy trial periods may be because purchasing their solution ties you in to a long and potentially expensive contract, and so potential customers want to take extra time to evaluate their potential long-term commitment.

However, there are potential drawbacks to offering longer trial periods (a couple of our competitors offer 90 day trials for instance);

  1. Firstly, people have limited attention spans and may not be willing to to commit to a long trial period. If a prospective customer can’t get a good “feel” for your product within 30 days, it’s unlikely that they will. (or it’s likely that the software is far too complex for them to be able to readily get to grips with)
  2. Secondly, the computing resources needed. These days, it’s fair to say that the majority of room booking, scheduling, and appointment systems are online. The days of stand-alone, downloadable software packages have all but gone. Therefore, for each free software trial, that system has to be “hosted” somewhere, at a cost to the vendor. A free trial that lasts for 90 days will cost a vendor three times as much as a trial that lasts for 30 days.

What about those vendors who don’t offer ANY free trial?

Going back to our analysis of 64 software vendors, 28 of them (44%) didn’t offer any “free trial” period.

We did however find that 22 (79%) of these vendors instead encouraged prospective customers to “Book a demo” with a sales representative to schedule a live “guided demo” presentation of their software.

Software vendors not offering a Free Trial, but a scheduled "Guided Demo" instead
Software vendors not offering a Free Trial, but a scheduled “Guided Demo” instead

For completeness, we also found that 11 out of the 63 vendors offered both a free trial and a “guided demo” option.

Is a “guided demo” better than a free software trial?

Free software trials and guided demos can both be effective ways to showcase a product to potential customers and help them evaluate whether a product is a good fit for their needs.

Free trials allow potential customers to try out the software at their own pace and in their own time. It allows prospective customers to experience the software firsthand, which can be more effective than just watching a demo.

Guided demos, on the other hand, can be a good way to answer questions and address any concerns potential customers might have about the software.

Ultimately, both free software trials and guided demos can be effective tools for showcasing software to potential customers and helping them decide whether it’s suitable for their particular needs.

Do prospective customers want to see a “guided demo”?

A recent poll on Reddit, revealed that of the 444 people who voted, 300 would want to see a software demo on their first interaction with the vendor. 133 people would want to see a demo after 2-3 interactions, and 11 people wanted a demo after 4 interactions.

Looking at the poll’s comments though, many people want to evaluate software without any interaction with the vendor.

One person commented that “Sales-led demos only exist to give the sales people leverage in the interaction.

Another commented “Software selection is a part of my job description — if I can’t see a demo without needing to put a meeting on my calendar, it’s an automatic no-go.

Whilst another commented “Users should be able to signup for [a] free trial without having to talk to sales“.

We’re in agreement with these sentiments and feel that a “free trial” a customer can explore at their own pace is far better than “guided sales demos”.

In summary…

For prospective customers who insist on a “guided demo”, we can accommodate, however here at MIDAS we prefer to actively promote our FREE 30 day room booking system trial.

We believe that trying a fully-functional copy of our software free for 30 days yourself – with no credit card required, and with obligation to buy – is the best way to get to know our software and to explore its extensive capabilities.

…and our responsive sales team are always happy to answer any questions you have on our software before, during, or after your free trial.