Interview with CEO of HOSTKEY: Part two

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Part two: Changes for HOSTKEY

The approaches are different now. That’s clear. What has changed in the structure of Hostkey services due to new demands, how have you restructured your work?

“HOSTKEY had already understood that the market was shifting. We were already moving systematically in the direction of leasing computing power or server racks to connecting infrastructure to global networks and creating comprehensive services for building global networks and comprehensive services. The pandemic has significantly accelerated this shift. For us, it has therefore been important to offer comprehensive service packages that cover the entire IT infrastructure lifecycle. Not only do we offer customers the option of racking their equipment in a data center and connecting it to global telecom operators, but we can also select and purchase equipment at short notice and at significant discounts, as we are well versed in the specifics of the European and US markets. We can then take care of the installation and configuration of the equipment, all technical support questions, the resolution of emergency situations, as well as the modernization and maintenance of the existing equipment. We also take care of the dismantling, disposal or sale of used equipment, according to the needs.

When we talk about the specific "COVID" impact, our answer is our new service called "Remote Smart Hands". When it became clear that the pandemic was here for the long haul and that it was completely impossible to plan business trips, we started getting requests for equipment maintenance in different data centers in the Netherlands. This is why we created this service, which provides support for customers' IT infrastructure in any Dutch datacenter.”

Besides your restructured work, how did the changes affect your own infrastructure?

“Due to the rapidly increasing demand for hosting, we have expanded our server space in data centers in Europe and in other locations continuously. For example, this fall we launched a new site at the Tier III euNetworks DC in Amsterdam. We rent substantial rack space there to host our customers' servers as part of our colocation service. At the same time, customers can rent a large number of racks to set up a large-scale IT infrastructure, or literally just one unit for a single server. Access to hosting in world-class data centers is not limited to large companies, but is now also available to small businesses, or even individuals.

Renting a small number of racks is not just interesting for small businesses, by the way. Large companies, for one reason or another, often have to move part of their infrastructure to another region or abroad. It is often wise for the core of your infrastructure to be distributed.

Secondly, despite the scarcity of components in the market, our partnerships with suppliers over the years have allowed us to offer our customers the latest generation of equipment, such as GPU servers based on RTX A5000 and RTX A4000 professional graphics cards.

In addition to the previous points, we have also launched a number of unexpected products. For example, to compensate for the lack of powerful servers with AMD EPYC processors, we have deployed powerful servers based on AMD RYZEN processors with the possibility of remote management via IPMI. This not only solves the problem of hardware shortage, but is also more economical than servers based on EPYC CPUs.

So we have been doing a lot of innovating in our organization so that the services are always closely aligned with the customer's needs.”

HOSTKEY has responded well to the developments. Why did you choose Amsterdam as your base in Europe and not London or, for example, Frankfurt?

“It is difficult to find a site in the European market today that offers high quality hosting at an affordable price. The Netherlands is the best option in Europe. This is the most English-speaking country (after the UK, of course), there is strong competition, which means high quality services and reasonable prices. In addition, the government creates business incentives for the IT sector. All this allows us to provide high quality services at affordable prices.

Our new point of presence in Amsterdam is provided by the international provider euNetworks, which enables us to provide our customers with sufficient rack space and maintain a reserve for sustainable development, which is important in view of the rack shortage in Western Europe and the unpredictability of demand in the future.

HOSTKEY equipment is directly connected to the euNetworks data networks that connect the world's largest telecom operators and AMS-IX, NL-IX, Speed-IX, Data-IX and Global-IX traffic exchange points via high-bandwidth fiber backbone networks.

The fact that one of the central communication and traffic exchange nodes is located directly in our data center guarantees uninterrupted service availability and high speeds. This gives us the ability to establish good network connectivity around the world. It is important that the customer always has the option to choose the server location. The geographical location of the equipment does not affect the quality of service and the reliability of the systems.”

Read also part number one of this interview.

Colocation and maintenance of servers in data centers in the Netherlands

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