Web Hosting Interview - Handy Networks LLC July 2015

Web Hosting Interview - Handy Networks LLC July 2015

Jay Sudowski, CTO and Co-Founder at Handy Networks, LLC

HostSearch interviewed Jay Sudowski, CTO and Co-Founder at Handy Networks, LLC - one of Denver's top colocation and dedicated server hosting providers.

  • HOSTSEARCH: Hi there, thank you for giving us an opportunity to talk with you today. Can you please introduce yourself and let us know your role at Handy Networks, LLC?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: I’m Jay Sudowski. I am a co-founder and the current CTO at Handy Networks, LLC. On a day to day basis, I handle a wide variety of tasks, including network design, virtualized cluster design and deployment, and ensuring our technical team is staffed appropriately. I also do a lot of direct work with customers – helping them to fix their urgent issues, or working to analyze their current infrastructure and map out the best way to scale it up or consolidate it to save on costs.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Can you tell us about the history of the company and what has led to its success in this industry?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: Handy Networks has existed as since 2000 and prior to that we offered web hosting services starting in 1997 as a different brand.  Initially, we had our servers hosted off a SDSL line and under a kitchen table in San Diego. Today, we have two data center spaces in Denver and a 24x7 Denver based support team. Everything we do is in-house, from building customized SuperMicro servers to supporting our clients’ diverse needs.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Could you explain to our visitors about your products and services?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: Absolutely! We offer all permutations of managed and unmanaged bare metal dedicated servers, highly available virtualized servers, and colocation services.
    One of the things that really makes our managed service offering unique is the high level of service we provide. As part of the base package we include hardware RAID, R1Soft CDP Backups, and extensive monitoring on 60-second intervals with proactive response and resolution to monitoring alerts.
    Our colocation service offerings are also unique in that we offer a colo package that includes 2U of space, 50Mbps IP Transit and 1 amp of power for just $99/mo. This provides our small business and small startup customers a very affordable way to colocate their own server in our data centers. In addition to that, for our cabinet and larger clients, we offer metered power billing, so our clients literally only pay for the power they need and use. The days of having to pay for the entire circuit are over.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Handy Networks, LLC has provided Microsoft software licenses through the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) program as a Microsoft service provider. Can you tell us how this was established?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: We have been a Microsoft SPLA provider for a very long time.  Hah, I don’t actually remember how long at the moment but it’s been something like 13 or 14 years. Initially we were one of the first SPLA providers, actually. Microsoft rolled out the program in the late 1990s and we have been a partner since the early 2000s.  At the time, Microsoft was fairly disorganized and a lot of people internal to Microsoft didn’t even know what SPLA or hosting really was, even though their standard EULA prevented using one-off licenses to sell commercial hosting services. Getting our initial SPLA agreement established was actually a pretty difficult experience. Thankfully Microsoft is much better about recognizing the value of their SPLA customers these days.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Can you please tell us about the company’s data center?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: Sure. We actually have two data centers, both in Denver. We own and operate our downtown Denver data center. It’s approximately 4,500 sq. ft. of raised floor. We have 2N Power and N+1 Cooling.  In particular, we have diverse redundant UPSs and generators on the electrical side of things. Mechanically, we have about 120 tons of cooling all around. Some CRAC units are on the building water loop and others are on condenser units that are located in the attached parking garage. This kind of setup gives us a lot of resiliency to unexpected failures. We also have dark fiber coming into our downtown data center via dual entrances, so our connectivity is very robust.

    We recently soft launched our Denver tech center data center space. Today we have a handful of customers there, and we also just got done installing and commissioning a 200TB Nimble SAN that can deliver about 100,000 IOPs of performance. The tech center space is a little bit different because it is a large, wholesale data center space with about 110,000 square feet of total raised floor. The infrastructure there is very impressive and we are able to leverage the highly reliable cooling and power infrastructure to deliver 10kW of actual load per rack. The data center itself has an impeccable operational history and has over 15 years of continuous uptime. We maintain diverse 10G waves between our tech center data center space and our downtown data center.  

    We also put a lot of emphasis on having a quality, stable network.   We are in the process of upgrading our border routers to MX240s with the latest and greatest routing engines, which can support over 20 million routes. End to end our whole network is Juniper based, actually. We also use Noction IPR to intelligently route outbound traffic over the best of our 4 providers, which are Level(3), XO, HE and Telia.
  • HOSTSEARCH: I noticed Handy Networks, LLC has achieved SSAE 16, SOC II, Type II standards compliance. What are the advantages to the customers using this service?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: Our customers can rely on the fact that we have successfully completed our SSAE 16 SOC II, Type II audit for the past 3 years now. This audit process is very intensive and it makes sure that we have the necessary processes and controls in these broad areas:  security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. Customers who have other regulatory compliance issues, such as PCI or HIPPA can leverage our SSAE 16 audit use our controls to meet many of the physical and logical security requirements of such regulations. Other customers, who might not have these requirements, can simply be assured that we are an honest, reliable company.
  • HOSTSEARCH: As you are the CTO of Handy Networks, LLC, can you give us a quick tour of the company's facilities?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: I actually spend a lot less time inside of the data center than you might think. Even so, I’m still quite familiar with our facilities because I have overseen all of the improvements we’ve made since we opened our first space in 2007. Downtown is our company headquarters, where we have about 5,000 square feet of office space and another 4,500 square feet of data center space. We are located in the prestigious 1801 California St, which recently had over $50 million invested into common areas and has a 5 start steak house in the lobby that was rated best Steak in Denver for 2014. Our office was renovated in 2012 and is still in really great shape. We have a huge break room and snack buffet that is stocked for our employees and clients. We also have a lovely little conference room and some free desks that can be used by our customers. Our support team is located around the corner from the conference room, and they have 4 50” screens mounted to the wall that help them keep tabs on our monitoring, data center, network and helpdesk metrics. If you keep going you’ll get to the main data center door entrance. Up the ramp to the left is what we call “DC1”.  To the right is “DC2” and if you take a hard right there is our “MDF” room, which has our fiber carriers and “B” side UPS unit. If you go through DC1 you’ll exit through a door that takes you to our build lab, and beyond that there is our main electrical room that has our primary “A” side UPS and other electrical gear.  We have two generators dedicated to our data center space that are located in the attached parking garage.

    Our tech center data center space is an entirely different beast.  The security here is intense. The entire campus is on several acres of land, all of which are in an enclosed perimeter fence. If you are guest here, you will need to pick up the intercom at the gated entrance and check in with security. Once you are inside of the parking lot, you will need to go through yet another layer of physical security prior to checking in at the front desk. Our actual data center space is in the East building, on the second floor. Your escort will have to badge you into the building. In order to get into the data center space, you will need to go through a man trap with biometrics and card reader access controls. We have about 2,500 square feet of raised floor space that is divided into two areas – one for our breadrack style racks and the other for conventional 42U racks. Access to each area is controlled by card readers. A few fun facts about the facility -- it has 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel on site and 60,000 gallons of water.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What direction do you expect the company to go and what new products can your customers expect?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: As a company, we feel there is a decided lack of enterprise class backup, data security and disaster recovery as a service that’s accessible for small to medium businesses. Right now we are working on putting together a new suite of services that will bring enterprise class services to SMEs at an affordable price point. Our customers can expect to see an increased push on our part by managed security services. We’ve partnered with BAE Applied Intelligence to give our clients best in class managed security services, and for our clients who are dealing with credit card numbers, health data or other personally identifiably info on the Internet, these solutions are very affordable.

    We are also going to continue to make it easier and easier for our customers to grow. We’ve offered all forms of hosting in the past, and consumed most of them as well, so we definitely know the feeling of “Well, the server we have now is full, but if we buy another one we are going to blow all of our profit …” or “We need more power in our rack, but we don’t want to pay $500/mo for a circuit just to power a couple of servers”. We are going to be working on launching some programs that really mitigate these pain points for our customers, and actually already have. For instance, and I mentioned this before, we charge our cabinet based colo customers on their average critical load, instead of what the circuit is capable of delivering. This allows our clients who want to put up some infrastructure in Denver to very tightly manage their costs and get the best value for their money while they ramp up operations.  
  • HOSTSEARCH: What promotion do you currently have available for HostSearch's users?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: We are happy to offer a couple of promotions for HostSearch users. The first promotion is 20% off single process e3-1200v3 or e5-2600v2 based systems. HostSearch users can use HOSTSEARCH2015E3 for e3 based systems and HOSTSEARCH2015E5 for e5 based systems. Additionally, we also have a rotating stock of special dedicated servers that are already highly discounted that your users should check out. Some of them are as low as $59/mo, for an actual bare metal dedicated server.
  • HOSTSEARCH: That’s all for my questions. Thanks again for your time, is there anything you would like to add in this interview?
    JAY SUDOWSKI: I just wanted to take a few minutes to touch on our mission and values as a company. Our mission is simple, and that excel in the following areas: Quality, Value, Partnership and Transparency. I think these are all self-explanatory to some degree, but I really want to emphasis that we are a transparent organization. Anyone who has been in this industry for some time will tell you that issues of all sort will occur. The real measure of a company is how they respond to these incidents, engage their client base and the level of honesty and transparency they have with their clients. We put forth a huge effort to ensure our customers know exactly what is going on and why.

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