Damir Špoljarič

Throughout the past 14 years, we have experienced a lot of difficult times, technical problems, and other complications. The current pandemic is different in many ways. It is not possible to prepare for such a situation in advance and design a detailed crisis procedure for it. Although this is nothing compared to companies that had to completely “shut down”.

During the first days, we’ve made some elementary changes (we’ve subsequently informed about them on social media). We have, perhaps, approached the situation with too much paranoia but our intense measures have two goals: to postpone (or entirely eliminate) the infection in our company and to maintain operation at all costs.

Preventing the infection

First and foremost, we’ve made wearing face masks mandatory for all personnel in the building. This was days before the government announced this measure country-wide.

We also banned the use of public transport and introduced corporate car rides using the capacity of company cars. At the same time, we allowed the maximum number of people to work from home, although in our case it is quite complicated and we have significantly reduced our staffing capacity.

In an effort to prevent contamination, we also restricted all foreign persons from entering the building and asked clients to do so only in the most urgent cases. We subsequently tightened this measure and introduced a total ban on the entry of foreign persons as well as clients and suppliers into the building except for emergency situations. Our teams of admins and technicians solve all other issues on behalf of clients so that visits are not necessary.

Furthermore, we measure the temperature of all persons entering the building, disinfect work stations daily as well as door handles, etc.

Preparing for anything

One of the early measures was also filling up our diesel tanks with fuel for our generators (tens of thousands of liters purchased). We don’t expect the state to “pull the plug” on electricity for companies but we want to be ready for anything. This way, we can endure a several-week-long blackout without a hitch.

On top of everything, we divided the management in such a way, that they cannot get infected at the same time. The objective is that the full managerial operation of the company remains intact even if someone falls ill, our strict measures notwithstanding.

Paradoxically, our volume of work during this crisis has remained the same or even increased. This is due to most of our clients being online stores that are currently experiencing a demand comparable to the one before Christmas. Not only food is sought after but electronics or even sports goods as well. However, thanks to our wonderful colleagues, we are managing everything just fine.

Full lockdown? We’re ready

We’ve also prepared for an emergency “island-like” operation if the company in the event that the state enforces a full lockdown after all (as data centers fall under telecommunications and are thus not exempt from it). The building is now fully stocked with food and other essentials to make the continual operation of the company and the data center possible.

A big thank you to all colleagues, they all approached the situation responsibly and devotedly. In these tense situations, the health and strength of each company team come to light. At the same time, I would like to assure our clients that vshosting ~ is still running at 100% and is ready for all crisis options.

Damir Špoljarič
CEO



Damir Špoljarič

Summer is in full swing and we’re working like men (and women) possessed to improve our services and infrastructure. Take a look at what’s new at vshosting~.

Application Protection

We’re finalizing our new protection system for Managed Servers called L7 DDoS Protect, which will shield our clients from http floods, SQL injections, and many more attack types. It is a unique kind of protection that is fully decentralized and that we’re creating, just like our successful service DDoS Protect, all on our own with our team of infrastructure specialists and C developers.

CDN Extension and New DNS (CloudDNS)

We will soon be expanding our CDN into another location: Singapore. It will be our first CDN location in Asia! We expect the installation of the pop in Singapore sometime in September.

In addition, we’re developing a number of new functions for our CDN. Any day now, it will support the webp format for additional acceleration of image loading, purging of files via API, “on the fly” image resize function and their subsequent caching, and we’ll also support PUSH CDN with Object Storage access (S3 API) and much more.

During the summer, we’ll also be migrating our current DNS to the new CloudDNS that will be integrated into the client zone and accessible via API. CloudDNS will be utilizing our global anycast CDN network.

Expanding the Network with Additional 100Gbps Upstream

At the end of the summer or first thing in the fall, we will be implementing yet another 100Gbps upstream to a Tier1 operator abroad in order to further increase the robustness of the vshosting~ network.

New Clients

We’re very happy to welcome additional noteworthy internet projects, that are migrating to vshosting~ this summer. Among them are e.g. FootShop, telecommunications operator WIA, agencies BlueWeb and Proof&Reason, or the CBRE and obchody24.cz companies.

New Dedicated Servers and the Popular NVMe Discs

During this summer, we will present new dedicated server configurations. You can look forward to servers with XEON E-2100 processors and with up to 128GB RAM and 2x NVMe discs. In general, NVMe discs are increasingly more popular. As a result, we will be installing tens of new managed servers with NVMe discs, often for the heavily loaded database servers.

Blackout Test and Datacenter Third Phase Prep

This past week, we’ve conducted a blackout test including a simulated diesel aggregate malfunction. All went perfectly well, just as expected. We are also preparing for the last expansion of the data center.

Rising Interest in Kubernetes

Our service Platform for Kubernetes is becoming continuously more popular. We’re newly providing this service e.g. for the well-known Shopsys Framework.

Affiliate Program in the Works

In the fall, we’ll launch our first official affiliate program. In the beginning, it will only be in service for dedicated servers but we’ll soon expand it to all of our other services.

Upcoming Move

A while back, our sales and marketing teams have moved to temporary offices at the Wenceslas square (WorkLounge coworking) due to capacity reasons: for almost a year, we can no longer fit into ServerPark. In a few months, we will be opening a new modern vshosting~ subsidiary in Prague for sales, marketing and development teams that’ll hold up to 60 of our colleagues.

Have a nice rest of the summer,

Damir Špoljarič

CEO


Damir Špoljarič

vshosting~ is experiencing a growth boom in Q1 of 2019. The sales team has been fulfilling their plan at 200 % and has brought more new clients to vshosting~ in the first 3 months this year than they have in the first 6 of 2018. Among the new clients are e.g. the Japanese giant (and owner of Prazdroj) Asahi or large e-shops such as Eyerim, Brasty, Průša Research, and many more. With that growth, the need to expand our data center capacity. Let’s take a look at the expansion plans and a couple of interesting facts to boot.

The ServerPark Data Center

Last year, we’ve been trying to minimize the growth of physical server numbers, among other things due to increasing power electricity prices. Nonetheless, because of our numerous new clients, we need to add more physical servers. At the same time, we are currently implementing the third instance of the cloud for cloud managed servers and another central CEPH storage with the capacity of up to several hundred TB on SSD in the N+2 setting.

The ServerPark data center has originally been designed for 150 racks with a total capacity of up to 8000 servers. This capacity was divided into 3 stages, two of which are already almost completely full and the third will be built soon. Thanks to small innovations, we’ve been able to expand the planned capacity to app. 158 racks in total.

When it comes to power, ServerPark is designed for 1 MW (1000 kW) net power consumption by servers. For data center cooling, up to 12 x 100kW cooling units in the N+2 setting are planned to be installed, that is a theoretical 1.2 MW net cooling output.

Reality, however, shows, that thanks to the division of the data center into the cold and warm sections (the section, where the servers “inhale” the air of guaranteed temperature and humidity, and the section, where the servers “exhale” the warm air) and to the large difference between their temperatures (the bigger the difference, the more efficient the cooling process), the actual output of the cooling units is about 15-20 % above what the manufacturer states. The power supply backup is ensured by modular UPS units with the backup output of up to 2 MW in the 2xN setting, generators with the total output of 3 MVA in the 2xN setting, and a transformer station.

Time for Stage III

The building is prepared for all three stages, including elements such as automatic inert gas fire extinguishing system and a security system. For full equipment of all technological elements in the data center, we will need to install another substation section, put in additional modular UPS systems, and gradually add more cooling units in order to keep up with the third data center stage being filled with more servers.

Traditionally, the installation of tens of 185mm2 copper cables between the substations, UPSs, generators and transformer stations as well as battery room will be the toughest nut to crack. Another fun puzzle will be the addition of 22000V, high-voltage switchboards and of course the placement of new transformation stations and generators using cranes always presents a challenge. Project documentation already takes into account the building’s usage to full capacity, which makes all this a relatively simple task. Furthermore, we have already gone through this process when putting ServerPark stage II in place.

An interesting fact to mention is that despite the expectations and calculations in the data center project, the actual power consumption is about half the expected one. This is mostly caused by our use of modern technologies and the almost exclusive use of SSD discs. In other words – our data center’s power supply and cooling capabilities are considerably oversized.

Security First

The biggest vshosting~ priority in our data center is operational security. Everything else is secondary. As a result, you may notice our not too standard 2xN redundancy (doubled number of active elements) or the N+2 setting (two backup active elements). This means a significantly larger investment for us but we try to minimize the risk of an outage to the absolute minimum.

As a result, ServerPark is ready for a Prague-wide blackout thanks to an above standard diesel supply. Again due to increased security, the data center is located away from the main road and railway tracks as well as within the regulated airspace of the Czech military (MCTR Kbely).

We’re Not Done Yet

With the next ServerPark stage underway, we will gain enough time to build our second data center, ServerPark DC2 :-), where our emphasis on operational security will be just as strong, but the data center capacity will be about 3 times that of the first one and it will utilize unique technologies (fully direct current powered, own server construction, 3 types of combined free-cooling without the use of traditional cooling systems).

What other technological news do we have up our sleeves? We have successfully launched CDN locations in Seville and Bucharest and are planning to launch more. Aside from European locations, we will soon be launching our first POP in Asia, in Singapore to be precise. We are also working hard on getting an additional 100Gbps connection with another global operator.

Would you like to learn more about our data center? You can read all about it in our article called Technical background.


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