Sharktech brings its unique service focus to cloud, powered by Virtuozzo
Sharktech has been in the hosting business for almost 20 years, and has a clear focus on service quality, network expertise, DDoS mitigation and high-quality support.
Sharktech was founded in 2003 and has grown from its headquarters in Las Vegas to offer a range of hosting services from datacenters in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Amsterdam. What makes Sharktech different? Unlike other providers, they actually give a… damn, as Founder and CEO, Tim Timrawi, explains.
“You’ll find us on camera at sharktech.net being a little more expressive than that, but yes – we pride ourselves on providing amazing service,” says Tim.
“Plus competitive pricing, an optimized network, our DDoS expertise and hosting pedigree – we are all systems and network engineers, and we bring decades of experience to our customers and to our services.”
Moving to cloud… when the platform was right
With its dedicated servers, colocation, IP transit and DDoS services, Sharktech had established a reputation as a reliable, affordable hosting services provider with close-touch support.
Sharktech customers tend to be small and medium-sized businesses, and the company has many VPN and game service provider clients across the U.S., Europe and China. In 2019, Sharktech made the decision to expand with its own cloud services. Cloud has obviously been around for much longer, so why did they company wait so long?
“Until recently we felt there were no solutions that were mature enough to allow us to offer cloud at the same standard as our hosting services,” says Tim. “We spent two years investigating different vendors and approaches. The quality of the service and software is paramount to us. We had to make sure our cloud partner is the best on the market, the most reliable solution we can provide. We chose Virtuozzo.”
Performance, reliability and support
Sharktech looked at building its own cloud with OpenStack, and investigated and tested several other cloud platform alternatives.
For Tim, Virtuozzo was the only provider that met Sharktech’s stringent requirements for performance, reliability and support.
“Virtuozzo has been doing this for two decades, they are expert in this business, and the platform is still very actively developed – unlike some others,” he said. “Virtuozzo knows the hosting and cloud provider mind-set, what we need and what our customers need. And VHI integrates with other solutions, Acronis for example, that we also need to build into our service. Virtuozzo is in tune with service providers like us.”
Sharktech has now deployed Virtuozzo Hybrid Infrastructure – a full-stack cloud services platform – at its datacenters in L.A. and Denver, with Chicago and Amsterdam following soon.
“With our ability to rely on Virtuozzo for the platform, we were able to focus on our cloud infrastructure design,” says Tim. “This allowed us to over-engineer a scalable, redundant and performance-driven systems infrastructure for our cloud solution, in a cost effective way.”
A better alternative to hyperscale cloud
For Sharktech, another part of the attraction of Virtuozzo was that it is based on OpenStack, the industry-standard open-source cloud framework. This enables Sharktech to offer cloud services that are open and customer-friendly, as well as being much more cost-effective.
“I wanted an OpenStack cloud, but I also wanted us to focus on our strengths as a service provider, rather than building and developing the platform itself,” Tim says. “Virtuozzo takes care of the platform so we can do what we do best.”
With so many other cloud options, including the large public cloud providers, why do customers come to Sharktech? For Tim, it is partly about the price and service they get, but also because more and more customers are bouncing off the hyperscale cloud ‘promise’.
“The likes of Amazon and Microsoft have definitely raised the profile of cloud services – unfortunately, though, they’ve done it with proprietary platforms,” says Tim. “The customer deploys applications, they’re locked in, the bill is large, difficult to predict and understand, and getting your data out again is incredibly expensive.”
“They’ll drop prices, even give you free credits… but are they giving away something for the price drop? No – you’ll pay for it eventually. Sharktech has been in the hosting industry for 20 years, an industry with aggressive competition that made us come up with creative solutions and competitive agreements to keep our costs down,” he says. “And because our interest is your continued business with us – not because you are locked into our service – but because of your satisfaction with our service. This is paramount to us!”
Open is the new lock-in
Having an open-source cloud solution is incredibly important for Sharktech’s customers, and for Sharktech. It may seem counter-intuitive, but selling cloud with an open platform actually helps keep customers loyal to Sharktech’s service.
“I wanted a solution that is also being adopted by other hosting providers. So our customer can use our cloud in Chicago, for example, and someone else’s in Tennessee, or New York, that is using a similar set-up,” Tim explains. “Virtuozzo is OpenStack-based. You have a ton of providers you can use – and the only way Sharktech can beat another company is by our price, our service, the quality of hardware, our DDoS integration, our expertise.”
“We don’t lock you in with proprietary tech: we attract customers because they know they can move if they want, and we aim to ‘lock you in’ because we give you an awesome service. This is new for our industry, this is not something that we’ve had before.”
“And we give our customers flat understandable fees, too – so they are not looking at their bills and it’s like a hospital bill, and you cannot understand why it is twenty times more than it should be,” he adds.