Hivelocity’s Director of Operations, Steve Eschweiler, was recently interviewed by Bryan Kim at Hosting Review Box. A transcript of this interview is below.
Whether you are a small scale business owner or a big time business magnate, the importance of managing a business is well emphasized. Thus, the inception of the web hosting industry.
This allows business owners to freely launch their business and advertise it online and these ingenious technological advancements, these comforts are well within our reach.
To tell us more about web hosting, our guest for today comes from a company that have been around through highs and lows…
a company who’ve seen a lot and managed to thrive as a learning and growing entity.
Today, we take a look at this promising company straight from Steve Eschweiler, Director Of Operations at Hivelocity.
So let’s get started.
Thank you for granting us this interview, Steve. Hivelocity is a major web hosting company since 2002. Now, a lot of our readers are curious about how the company came to be. Can you please share with us your story and the brilliant minds behind it?
Thank you for the forum and letting me share our story. When Hivelocity began there was just four of us in a basement with one cabinet and a few servers. Initially, we were offering shared hosting on Hsphere. One fortuitous day a customer asked if we could provide them with a dedicated server. Of course, we had plenty of extra room on our one rack so we made it happen. Eventually that scenario played out over and over again to the point our one little rack was full. At a certain point shortly after we made bare-metal our focus. Within a few years we were maintaining thousands of servers but they were all colocated in data centers we were competing with. At that point we made a decision a lot of hosting companies do not make. We stopped colocating and built our own data center. We have since filled that data center, opened up space in Miami, Atlanta and LA and are just a couple of weeks away from completing the build out of another 30,000 square foot data center in Tampa FL. On or around August 1st, the first phase of our new data center will be complete and give us capacity for 250 new server cabinets in Tampa. Like so many other startups, it all started in a basement.
14 years in the industry may seem a long time but with the ever changing hosting needs, one has a long way to go. With years of experience, you’ve got to have a tough eye for what lies ahead.
In previous years, what are the major revamps the company has to take to stay competitive? And how did it directly affect your production?
It used to be all about the hardware. Customers trusted a data center with the infrastructure but they wanted the management of the servers handled internally. Over the years, businesses have warmed to the idea of handing off the management to a 3rd party like Hivelocity. Today it is common for us to have a business tell us they want Hivelocity to handle everything, from the hardware to the management to the licensing. Things have gotten so complex, businesses just want to focus on their product and let someone else focus on the ever increasing complexities of their IT infrastructure. You stay competitive by giving people what they want and what they want is one company to handle all of their needs and for that one company to make life simpler for them.
That’s very interesting to know. Sounds like your hard work paid off!
In 2016, Hivelocity is one of the Best Places to Work in Tampa Bay at number 6. Can you cite some of the best practices of the company that pushed you ahead of the curve?
Ultimately we have one core philosophy that ends up dictating everything we do here: consider the end user experience first and foremost. That mantra applies to how we sell our products, how we interface with our customers and the culture we create for the team internally. If you want your customer experience to be amazing then it is essential you have happy employees. If someone hates their job or the company they are working for, you would be foolish to believe they are doing their best work. When you consider your customer first you end up putting out a good product which results in happy customers and when you have happy customers you should, more often than not, end up with a happy staff.
Sure is a breath of fresh air to know this, Steve.
You maintained a 100% uptime record over the last 5 years. What methods are followed to maintain such a record?
At the end of the day, providing constant uptime year over year comes down to a willingness…and ability, to spend what it takes on equipment, technology and expertise. We have been fortunate in our success over the years which has afforded us the ability to maintain an N+1 environment as well as a full-time on-premise Facilities Team whose sole purpose is to test & maintain our critical assets. Additionally, we employ some of the most brilliant Network Engineers in the business who have built an incredibly diverse and robust network of 8 transit providers. We further enhance our network with the addition of Noction for IRP routing and Corero for threat defense both of which help us keep servers online in the face of adverse network scenarios.
We’ve seen through your page and your services are a feast in the eye. What services do you think are getting a firm market nowadays?
Our biggest areas of growth are in our Private Cloud and Managed Services solutions. Both of these offerings kind of feed one another since most people wanting a Private Cloud typically want us to manage some or all of their cloud as well. Our expertise encompasses OpenStack, VMware, HyperV, ProxMox and SolusVM allowing us to offer a scalable cloud solution for nearly every use case. We are just a few months away from being able to stand up Private and Hybrid Azure Clouds as well. That product is in beta until Azure supports Windows 2016. The scale and affordability of a Private Cloud makes for an attractive solution to many businesses.
For the benefit of our dear readers, we shall delve more into your services. Shall we?
It’s highly important for clients to have a customized platform to ensure effective and efficient site launch. With your standard User Interface, how are you able to build and integrate add-ons to a client specified web site?
We have a team of developers whose objective is to develop applications and tools that empower our customers and improve their ability to succeed. The myVelocity portal all customers get allows users to upgrade their server, access services like our cloud storage, host and manage their DNS, monitor services, setup email & text alerts, create backups and much more. We constantly develop and introduce new applications that improve the customer’s experience and makes their life easier.
That seems very interesting.
For those of us who are technologically challenged, can you please tell us more on the concept of Load Balancing and how it greatly affects the client’s business productivity?
We offer a hardware based load balancing solution to our customers. A customer uploads everything to their master server, that content is then replicated across all of the servers within the load balancing pool. The load balancer then allows all of the servers within the pool to work together autonomously as one. As requests come in, the load balancer makes decisions based on certain parameters as to which server will handle the request. Load balancing is a great solution for someone who requires scale beyond the resources of what their single server can provide without requiring SANs or any IaaS platform.
In modern times, server security is insurance. We see that you’ve integrated DDoS Protection to your servers. How can it effectively protect stored data beyond the router layer? And how is it utilized by the client’s system behind standard firewall?
When a customer of ours becomes the target of an attack we are able to immediately detect this at the edge of our network. Once an attack is detected our arsenal of mitigation tools automatically get to work. We typically block about 95% of attacks with our proprietary systems developed in-house. Any traffic that makes it through our initial layers of filtering are then routed through our Corero Smartwall for packet scrubbing to ensure only legitimate traffic is going to our customer’s server(s).
In line with the question above, there have been questions of security when it comes to data migration. Some operates data duplication and others through cPanel migration. How do you perform data migration and prevent getting intercepted along the way?
We utilize SSH encryption when migrating new customers into our data center.
That will surely grant your consumer a well deserved peace of mind.
Now to seal our minds into clarity, can you share with us the technology behind Rapid Restore? How is your backup initiated and how does it finish it’s job?
Every server we offer is given the option of adding our Rapid Restore service. With this service enabled a new backup of the server is created every 24 hours. We maintain 5 system backups from the 5 previous days and make these recovery points available to our customers within myVelocity. Customers are able to see the amount of data that was backed up, data stats on each partition and what time the backup was completed. At any time a customer can initiate a data restoration by clicking on any of their 5 available recovery points. This initiates a trouble ticket informing our techs of the data request and we immediately begin the process. Rapid Restore typically restores data at 150GB-200GB per hour. We are able to restore the server configuration, the OS, the databases and of course 100% of the data.
Thank you for this golden opportunity, Steve. Before we end this interview, are there any announcements or offers or promo codes you’d like to share to our viewers?
Throughout the month of July we are offering up to 28% off any of our Instantly Deployed Skylake Xeon servers.
Additionally, with the grand opening of our newest 30,000 sq ft data center just 2 weeks away, we are offering 50% off the first 6 months on most colocation solutions. That includes 1U, ¼ racks, ½ racks, full racks and 10×10 cages.
There you have it folks. We hope that you’ve learned a lot about Hivelocity through this interview.
Thank you once again, Steve and we wish you the best of luck.