The Wikimedia Foundation recently announced they would be moving their main operations to Ashburn, Virginia.  Currently headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Wikimedia says the move will help them improve the site and offer greater reliability to its users.

Wikipedia is by far one of the most popular sites on the Internet. If you have searched a topic or popular phrase, Wikipedia is sure to have an answer for you.  Best of the entire site is free to use, and the data is updated and supported by donations from its readers. 

Wikipedia is now saying that in order to keep the site more readily available they will have to make Ashburn, Virginia their new data center and home of technical operations.  The move will allow them to, “…improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia sites, including Wikipedia.”

Engineering teams have been preparing for the big move, and planning out the best ways to minimize any major black outs.  However, they are saying that users need to expect a short disruption while they get the service back up and running. “Our sites will be in read-only mode for some time, and may be intermittently inaccessible,” Wikimedia writes. “Users are advised to be patient during those interruptions, and share information in case of continued outage or loss of functionality.”

The original Tampa, Florida location for Wikimedia was chosen due to the fact that it was the home of Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales.  As the site grew in popularity the foundation’s technical operations team was in dire need of a larger and more reliable network.  Furthermore, the weather conditions in South Florida were not conducive for such a large network.  The team eventually settled on the Ashburn, VA region due to the fact that the area has a faster and more reliable network.

The team is promising that the new data center will have improved text storage systems and a brand new media storage system to help them keep up with user demand.

According to Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation currently operates with over 885 servers and services approximately 20 billion page views per month.  All of their services are free to the public, and they subsist entirely on donations from their readers.

Expect to see blackouts for the site between January 22, 23 and 24, 2013 from 17:00 to 1:00 UTC – you may also click here to see other time zones.