Console, switches and a lot of coffee: one day in the life of VDS hosting

    Zastavskaya Street. We enter the business center “MegaPark”, security, elevator, click on the button - 8th floor. The first thing that greets us every morning is a bright green moss and an impressive logo hosting. At 8:45 am, a new office workday is about to begin, the kitchen is noisy, colleagues rush to their seats.

    1500 square meters, 153 people introduce features, develop, administer, advertise and improve the product, which Timeweb has chosen as a strategic priority this year - virtual dedicated servers.

    It's been almost 2 years since the first release of the updated product - VDS Evoon our website We managed to switch from the XEN hypervisor to KVM, improve the iron under the hood, create low-cost tariffs and a mobile application, create an updated own control panel and ... return to Habr.

    Today we look at each office in our office to talk about working on VDS in the context of one day. Pour coffee, come with us!

    There are no signs on the offices in the office, but it is clear to everyone without them - the largest room, right behind the wall with moss and logo - an open space in which 80 people work simultaneously - Customer support . In Timeweb, it is divided into 2 areas - information and technical.

    With the growing number of customers, the number of employees is growing. We joke that the supports seize the company, because traces of the recently demolished wall are still visible between their large private office and the former office of the HR department (who eventually moved to the next office).

    Information support

    Call here, write applications from the hosting panel, contact through the online chat on the site. While one specialist checks the domain renewal status on an application from a client from Telegram, another tells about the features of the VestaCP panel to a client from VKontakte.

    Colleagues from the support - some translators of any phrases from “technical” to “human”. They are psychologists too. In the caches of the department there are jokes to lift the mood of customers and a couple of memes with cats.

    A team of 50 people daily undertakes all tasks related to financial support: advice on the details of the cancellation of the service for each period of time, assistance with documents, especially if you need payment from a legal entity.

    It is the information that ensures the correctness of signing contracts with webmasters.- those who offer our services to their friends and clients to earn 20% of each VDS sold. Now this direction is “on fire” - the season begins, a large number of new partners.

    We distract from the management of the department of Vladimir Tychin . We ask an obvious question:
    Why is the support divided, because from the outside it seems that all questions are solved by the techies ”?
    “On hosting and VDS we use a panel of our own design. The task of my specialists is to orient clients in the panel. Including the domains - this is the registration / renewal / configuration of the DNS. If you need to change the A-record, transfer the domain for renewal through us, install PTR or DKIM / SPF - just write. If necessary, experts will prompt the necessary utilities when working on SSH, select the appropriate configuration for the tasks of your project. ”

    Technical support

    The tech pod is full of life and the smell of strong coffee. On one monitor, there is an analysis of the logs of the client Exim server, on the neighboring one a dozen sites are pulled through tmux. At one of the poufs, there is a coding tool for automatically diagnosing the site response code. In the distance, you can hear the ping-pong ball from the lounge.

    A lecturer’s voice comes from a neighboring office, which tells future specialists about the possible sources of HTTP 500,502. We’re watching - the young man shares the secrets of the mail cluster and the work of the storage servers that store backup copies.

    Change the situation, distract and unite the guys helps the smell of pizza in the kitchen. Sometimes twice a day. Birthdays, memorable days, weddings, patched KDE2 under FreeBSD ... there are enough reasons. (Probably, so that we do not cease to fit in the chairs - the company pays for all the sport).

    It was possible to catch the specialists of the second line of VDS support, who daily solve technical problems received from customers. We stop and ask you to tell us what kind of support VDS has appeared in the company, because a year ago we officially answered customers that this is “outside our area of ​​responsibility”.

    Sergey Naumov , manages technical support:
    “At the start, we conducted a study of competitors and took it as our goal to ensure in the free support that amount of tasks that other hosting providers carry out for a fee.

    Then they collected the strongest specialists and deepened in the administration of client VDS, gained experience and added to the knowledge base. This allowed us to make unique tasks typical. After that, support was scaled for all senior specialists so that clients could count on our help around the clock. ”
    Moving on. Directly with us is the transfer of the site. In addition to applications for diagnostics, installation of additional software, the most requested option is to transfer sites from third-party hosts and VDS / VPS to us . It is enough to send a list of sites, connection data via SSH - and you can go and drink coffee with cookies. Depending on the workload, site size and speed of the project, projects will be postponed from a few hours to days. The guys still gently recall the application for transferring 120 sites to one VDS from different hosting sites.

    The second most popular task is to install or transfer an SSL certificate to make sure the site works over HTTPS.

    Coming out of the support cabinet, we meet a system engineer tmlide, who invites us to listen to a lecture on administration for company employees.

    Department of system administration

    In the most comfortable part of the office there is a large team, which consists of system engineers, administrators and data center engineers. The first are engaged in ensuring the stable operation of the technical platform, its network channels and security.

    Administrators think over and form the architecture of the site, and the engineers of the data center install the equipment in the data center.

    Alexey Semenov , team leader of the system engineers group in Timeweb:
    “We are working on increasing uptime over virtual dedicated servers. The current uptime value is close to 99.99%, but to save it, a whole layer of work is required.

    Virtual servers are traditionally popular with intruders, so experts monitor the occurrence of both incoming and outgoing DoS / DDoS attacks on VDS and take measures to thwart the attack so that clients of the service do not suffer from such activity.

    Security is an important task: we update software in a timely manner, for example, the Ubuntu library. Quickly eliminate critical vulnerabilities. ”
    Recently, colleagues introduced OpenVSwitch on VDS. The result was a decrease in the forced reboot time of libvirtd (which does not affect the work of client VDS) during scheduled work on virtual servers with KVM from 40 to 2-3 minutes.

    For example, in the photo server, which will soon be assembled and placed in the data center:

    Gleb Shapoval , head of a group of data center engineers:
    “Now we are continuing to test the new Intel Xeon Purley processors . According to the results of the tests performed, we want to be sure that the platform is fully ready for the transition to a new type of productive processors.

    Servers with Intel Xeon Purley support large amounts of memory, and they can be installed faster memory. Such changes will have a positive impact on the performance of sites and other projects of our clients VDS.

    A useful step was to replace Intel SSDs with a new generation. This gave a performance increase of 10% for our customers. ”

    Software Development Department

    Before us is a large space in which developers and testers sit in groups in directions. The guys are programming the interfaces through which the user interacts with the VDS service - the control panel, mobile applications, billing. Right now they are sawing a new feature in the panel - very soon there will be a disk busy schedule.

    Konstantin Popov , Head of Software Development:
    “The VDS disk busy schedule is one of the most popular ideas in our crowdsourcing, and very soon we will introduce this functionality to our customers.

    Any client can leave in the “Have an idea” section of the control panel information about what he lacks in our products, write a ticket about it or tell support in a chat about any problem.

    This information will definitely get into the development and will be transferred to developers, designers and testers to implement the new functionality or fix the problem.
    Every week, we release dozens of updates to our customers for our products that improve our customers' user experience, the service itself and its stability. ”

    Between the two groups, smiling and poking fun, the project manager Natasha Gudyreva moves , who works with the team so that any project can see the release exactly on time:
    “In a month we meet several hundred applications, when the work of customer sites was difficult due to the lack of disk space on the VDS. Let control over the fullness of the selected disk size is traditionally in the area of ​​responsibility of the client, we want to facilitate their use of the panel, as well as implement a notification system about the approach to filling the disk. But after this project, the tasks are already scheduled for the next sprint - departments are asking for new improvements, marketing needs integration with new CPA networks, there is an idea to introduce deferred payment for VDS customers. ”

    Marketing department

    Meanwhile, behind the door where the BDSM inscription hangs ...
    (The marketing staff insists that the abbreviation stands for Business Development, Sales & Marketing.)

    On the walls, between the pirate flag, the illustration “How to build a MVP” and the poster with Mohammed Ali (“Impossible is possible” from Adidas), hangs graphs of growth of client bases, roadmap on products, conversion funnels, and a pair of chains of letters visualized on A0 format paper paper. On a whiteboard, bets are accepted from employees on interest exceeding the target for revenue and growth in VDS accounts for the current month.

    Here they test growth hypotheses, analyze the market and customer paths, come up with additional services. Responsible for the commercial component of the business, finding partners, advertising and sales.
    We are looking at how marketing director Aurika Vilardi forms (attention, spoiler!) New tariffs for VDS with large SSD-drives and reduces prices for them.

    At the same time, the guys are introducing new domain zones, looking for content for social networks and shooting videos for YouTube with the participation of colleagues from the HR department.

    Somehow it just happened that the girls in the company are represented in the departments that ensure the quiet life of our VDS. Lawyers, financiers and Eychary - our favorite female half of the company.

    It seems to us that being closer to customers is not only responding quickly to tickets and helping your virtual machines on demand. Including it is to talk about how we develop our products, show how our working days are going.

    Today the working day is over, and tomorrow will come ...

    You have learned more about our VDS product and the tasks we set for ourselves.
    Perhaps you still have questions for our team?
    Or ideas on how to improve the product? Write in the comments.
    And better - come to visit the St. Petersburg office to see everything with your own eyes.

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