Time4VPS as well as its sister company Hostens are owned by the leading website hosting provider in Lithuania named "Interneto vizija" which also owns the TIER III data center located in the geographic midpoint of Europe – the capital of Lithuania Vilnius.
We took a short interview with the Head of data center Engineering where we’re
going to discover how data center was born and what the main ch
allenges as well
as lessons learned while building and starting to run one of the most modern
data centers in the Baltic region were.
Vytautas Skirius, the lead person of
Time4VPS and Hostens data center, is one of those who spend most of their time
at the website hosting data center. He knows all its corners so well as if it
was his own home. He ensures the stability, integrity, and efficiency of all
information systems operations and leads data center engineering projects.
Today he agreed to share his know-how and experience with us.
Give us a short overview of how
everything started. When was the decision to build company’s own data center
made? How did the whole process of setting it up look like? How did facilities,
premises, etc. have to be prepared for a DC?
When business is on the fast track and
is experiencing growth, the website hosting company often finds itself in need of additional
storage space for the data. That was the case with our company, too. Although
we had good partners, in regards to the growing number of customers and
increasing infrastructure requirements, we decided to build our own data
The whole process took approximately 2
years and started with a strategic step to choose location for the data center.
In this case, choosing the right location wasn’t the same as finding premises
for, let’s say, office space. The potential location had to fulfill not only
such ordinary needs as geographical location, availability or parking options,
but also meet really high infrastructure and security requirements.
Eventually, we had to connect all the
systems, elements, and parts of the whole infrastructure in order to operate
smoothly and serve a common website hosting purpose. It’s like all body systems working together
to keep a human alive. Actually, that was quite a challenge.
Finally, the data center opened on
December 15th, 2015.
Do you remember the day when the first
servers were implemented here at the data center? What was the feeling like?
Sure, I can even show you where those
particular servers are placed right now. In general, as I remember, the first
server setup was a really significant moment. All our team member could clearly
understand that it marked the new beginning of providing a top-level service.
Tell us a bit about the data center.
The most important part to talk about is
So, first of all, Time4VPS website hosting data center is set up according to TIER III level. It
means that we offer 99.98% availability.
We run the most modern data center in
the Baltic region. It is also one of the biggest ones. Currently, 139 server
racks are securely housed at the site.
The data center has an ecological and
energy efficient new generation “free cooling” system installed. This system
takes air from the outside and adapts the temperature and humidity to suit the
equipment. No water is used for cooling, so there is absolutely no risk of a
Also, we pay great attention to fire
prevention which is very
important for any website hosting
company. Our aspiration smoke detection system
with a highly sensitivity range (from 0.001% to 20% obscuration/m) is made to
detect smoke even at very low concentrations over an area of 2000 m2. For
example, if the system detects a burning wire, it immediately provides us with
an early warning by pinpointing to the source of that fire. It allows us to
react and protect the data center against any possible danger even before the
fire has started.
Finally, I would like to highlight the
access control. As our data center has an iris recognition option, there is no
doubt that it adds an additional layer of protection. Iris recognition is used
to authenticate employee or customer identity prior to them entering the site
by unlocking our website hosting facilities with a simple glance.
What is your favorite feature at the
Without any doubt, it is the cooling
What were the main challenges in
developing this data center?
For sure, building a new data center
always brings multiple challenges. Talking about the very beginning, finding
the right location was the main issue. We had to find the best and the most
suitable location for the facility. I remember all those months of analysis and
evaluation very well.
Also, other main factors that had to be
considered were data center equipment and network infrastructure. It was a huge
challenge to find systems that fully met our website hosting and other requirements. As I have already mentioned, all the
systems are different, made by different manufacturers, designed for different
loads, as well as different climatic conditions, but they all have to work
together flawlessly. Data center managers must manage all of these processes,
at the same time remain maximum
efficiently, and still meet strict deadlines. In fact, that was a tough
challenge, but amazing lessons were learned.
Are there any funny stories or
interesting facts regarding the data center?
To be honest, I cannot tell you any
funny stories at all (laughing). Basically, everything is in such control, so
well-estimated and secured, that there are no non-standard website hosting situations. Interesting facts? Oh, yes. Personally,
I’m very interested in the fact that the building where our data center is set
up has a special purpose property status. During the World War II, that
building was a military factory. Therefore, its structure is of an exceptional
strength. In general, our data center is designed as a secure “building in a
building” with its own additional walls and ceiling as well as separate access.
Now, when the data center is
successfully running, tell us which things have to be considered when building
a data center. What should organizations pay most attention to when developing
a data center?
I would highlight the following points:
- It is necessary to evaluate how
suitable the potential location of the data center is. There are a lot of
things you need to keep in mind when it comes to website
hosting: performance characteristics, power availability,
geographic issues, and climatic conditions.
- It is crucial to choose the right
technologies for the data center. Before building the data center, you have to
evaluate all technical possibilities to be able to choose the most suitable
- Strong project management. By
implementing a project of such a huge scale and complexity, it’s almost
impossible to avoid various mistakes. Therefore, it’s necessary to do your
research first, have a clear plan with estimated budgets, deadlines, and
precisely follow each stage of the project.
Tell us about your technical expertise.
I have more than 5 years’ experience in
data center sector. At first, I commenced my career at another website
hosting company here in Lithuania. This helped
me to grow as an expert and gave me an opportunity to see how a data center was
run from up close. This experience increased my enthusiasm to continue my
career working at data centers. At that time exactly when could feel that I had
reached the top of my career in this company, I was offered to move to Time4VPS
and Hostens parent company. I accepted this challenge and today I work here
managing its data center.