Looking back at 2013

2014 is already in its second month! A new year always appears as a new start, but in most ways it’s just a steady continuation of history. I’m happy to say that “The History of Basefarm, chapter 2013” is nice reading.

An increasing base of challenging customers trust us with their business critical IT systems. Our staff is strengthened by more than 50 skilled, dedicated employees, adding nicely to the 300 we already had on board. Our financial results are sound, and Basefarm is a safe and good place to work as well as a sustainable partner. In other words: More of the same development we have seen throughout our almost 14 years of operation.

In at least two ways, entering into 2014 also represents a milestone for Basefarm: We’ve celebrated our first year’s anniversary with our new owners, which has given us valuable insight into being part of a more international business society. From 1.1.2014 we have also changed our organizational setup thus enabling our three companies to work as ONE Basefarm.

People to build the business
The number of employees increased almost 18% last year, and we are now approaching 350. We also received a nice increase in the trust index of our employee survey that we are really proud of. After just one month with the new organization we can already see that collegues are working more with each other across the borders. Which they also seem to enjoy! By the way, we are still hiring if you are interested in joining our team!

New certifications in place
Last spring we passed the ISO 27001 certification (for security). We also completed the ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.  In addition, we completed the yearly confirmation of our PCI-DSS certification on Level 1.

FIRST Membership
We’re now a member of the global security organization FIRST; an umbrella organization that brings together trusted computer incident security teams from around the world. FIRST gives us the opportunity to more effectively respond to security incidents and work proactively with other organizations.

Collaboration with customers
Our customer satisfaction remained high also during 2013; still a score above 5 on a scale from 1 to 6 in our customer survey. We have also acquired many new interesting customers and partners. To mention a few: Cognizant – a huge international provider, with whom we cooperate on the deliveries to Orkla – supplier of consumer goods. Klarna – an e-commerce company that provides payment solutions for online storefronts and Helse Sør-Øst (South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority with 56% of the total population of Norway).

Chess world champion played checkmate in our cloud
Last year we were in collaboration with the new chess world champion Magnus Carlsen helping him to train using his chess applications in our cloud. Carlsen turned to Basefarm to ensure optimal preparation for the autumn’s World chess championship in Chennai, India.

Management award – all thanks to the team
As a CEO and co-founder of the Basefarm group, I just have to end the highlights of the year in 2013, by saying that I’m really proud that I was named the “IT-leader of the year” by the Norwegian Computer Society at the Rosing awards. The award is shared with everyone in Basefarm. It is all down to systematic and thorough teamwork over the years that has made Basefarm what we are today!

2014 – new year, new opportunities!
I’m looking forward to another exciting and inspiring year with good customers, partners and employees! Please remember (this year like the previous ones): having fun and delivering professional services works very well together!

 

How we went from 40 to over 35 000 services

This is our story of how Basefarm went from handle the operations of 40 to over 35 000 services, reaching over 40 million end users around the world. What’s the secret behind our success?

Born out of the IT bubble ashes
When we founded Basefarm in 2000, we wanted to support companies and organizations that wanted to build their success through the Internet. We had a strong belief that Internet would still exist and it might be strange to hear that today, but after the IT bubble, no one knew what was going to happen with the Internet in the future. We also believed that Internet would be a market place for businesses in the future. It turns out we were right. In 2000, only 5% of the world’s population had access to the internet. Today over 40 % have access, and more and more services are available online for companies and the end users.

How we distinguish ourselves from our competitors
We have always had a unique profile from day one; we’ve focused on Application Management for mission critical business applications. Our other competitors usually have a different focus, they started companies that focused on server hosting. In that way you build two completely different solutions. We built everything from the principal that everything should work at all times, but you should still be able to do changes without affecting the end user experience.

Don’t be a coward, dare to be brave
We did something radical on the financial side. We focused on our customers first and the price later. By that time this was a new thinking in the IT-industry and something fascinating. We have always been brave and had the approach that you should ensure the business and the customers needs first, before you need to invest.

Always looking ahead
Today, over ten years later, we are still specialized in mission critical business applications and we see ourselves as experts within our field. There is always a need for experts and this is one of our key success factors. We didn’t wanted to be like the other start-up companies in the early 2000 that had a wider business focus. We decided to make the best butter and to accomplish that we had to specialize ourselves to succeed in our role as the technical expert.

And that’s the secret behind our success of how we have went from handle the operations of 40 to over 35 000 services. We still grow and so do our services, in line with the technical development. Today, over ten years later, new technologies have emerges on different platforms and devices, but we will always have our original approach. It’s still about passionate people, taking pride in our customers success.

4 tips to succeed

  • Everything should be recyclable
    Place everything into systems to avoid spending time manually doing things more than once. You should be able to half the delivery time when you do it again.
  • Be able to answer why something work
    If you can answer that in a system context, you can also ensure fixing something if it would break.
  • One Basefarm
    Use what we call the ”One-thinking”: one platform, one product, one responsible and one service desk to be focused on the right things.
  • Make the best butter
    Be brave and make sure you are aware of what you have to accomplish to make the best butter.

Geek day 2013

Tomorrow is the official Geek day for geeks and nerds around the world. The Geek day has been celebrated on May 25 since 2006. The day originated in Spain as “Día del Orgullo Friki” and with help from internet it has been spread worldwide.

What is a geek?
In my opinion I see a geek as a person who have a passion for something and is an expert within a specific field. I know that I share this approach with my colleagues, we are geeks because of our passion for technology. Our movie called “Basefarm behind the scenes” describes pretty well what geekiness is for us at Basefarm. In the movie we take you to one of our data centres and talk about all the technology behind the solutions. Click on this link to show our movie.

How geeky are you?
At this point you might wonder how geeky you are? I actually did a geek test to find out how geeky I am and got the answer “Somewhat nerdy”. See the result on the picture below and do the test to find out how geeky you are.

geek-test

What is geekiness for you and what kind of geek are you? I’m glad if you would like to share your thoughts. Have a great Geek day tomorrow!

Board Game Evening with [d0x3d!]

A couple of times each year, a couple of friends at Basefarm run small board game evenings in the office where we play various games from Settlers, Carcassonne, The Resistance, Talisman and other games.
This time though we found a game that we had not played in the past, and it was an open-source board game called [d0x3d!]. You can either print the manual and cards yourself, or order a pre-printed version.

[d0x3d!] is a board game designed to introduce a diverse body of students to network security terminology, attack & defend mechanics, and basic computer security constructs.

The game has its strenght not with the actual game play (in my opinion), but with the talk about real life threats that comes up while playing. Discussions such as best practices for network topology, current zero-day exploits, and how to protect oneself and applications in the best manner were on the table.

hm

More information:
http://d0x3d.com

Sweden’s best sites from a hosting perspective

Tonight, the winners in the Swedish web competition Topp100, arranged by the magazine Internetworld, will be designated and here is the list of all nominated sites in all categories. Eight of our customers have been nominated in the competition and we at Basefarm are the engine behind everything and make sure that our customers services work. In this kind of contexts, usually the traditional web perspective use to be in focus, and with this blog post we want to tell you what makes the sites (regardless of platform) good from a hosting perspective.

Close cooperation and understanding is key

What is common for our customers who are nominated, is that they have had a high expansion. They have begun to see hosting in a new way and starting to demand how it should work, not just that it should work. The customers are good at creating, testing new things and set up requirements, while we take care of the demands, make them real and implement them. The customers rely on correct information is conveyed about how things should work. With our expertise, knowledge and experience, we understand our customers’ needs and can provide the best possible conditions for our customers. Today you have to concentrate on doing one thing well and trust that others will do the other things well. It’s this confidence that together allows us to agree about where our customers want to go and how to get there.

Checklist – 6 factors for a good site:

Below we have listed the things we think should be included on the checklist for a good site from a hosting perspective:

    • The 3 basic principles – a fast, always available and secure site
    • Flexibility and adaptability – it should be possible to add new features and update quickly so that it has a vibrant and functional site
    • A hosting provider with unique competence in hosting mission critical business applications – extensive experience and competence within design and architecture creates understanding for the provider and customer confidence
    • Operational processes and structures – creates security and should be in place to follow-up, catching things and solve problems.
    • Dense dialogue – the hosting provider should work as an advisor and must dare to speak up and don’t be afraid to say what you think. Important to also announce when you think that things will not work
    • Close cooperation – proximity to customers is everything to work toward the same goal: our goal is to ensure that customers succeed!

We wish all our customers who have been nominated good luck tonight at the Top 100 Awards! Thanks for your cooperation!

baselogo_2_graa_slogan

 

Getting the right features

Working as a technician at a solution and hosting provider means that I often need to ask customers what parts of Windows they use. As soon as we meet a new customer we need to understand what parts of Windows they are using and what parts we need to setup in the customers environment in our datacenters.

The old way of doing this is by simply asking the customer. That’s fine but it tends to lead to copy & pasted lists of various pieces of information that really doesn’t make sense for our techies.

If we encounter customers that use Windows Server 2008 R2 it’s super easy. We can then use the power of the shell (PowerShell!) to inventory exactly what roles and features they have installed in their servers. We can ask the customer to run this in their environment:

Import-Module ServerManager
Get-WindowsFeature | Where { $_.Installed } Export-CliXml .\$env.COMPUTERNAME-windows.xml

We then ask the customer to send back the XML file. At our end we can now import the information we need:

$features = Import-CliXml computername-windows.xml

Once we have done that we can exactly see which features they have enabled on their servers.

A day in the life of a Technical Account Manager

Basefarm is of course constantly on the look out for new talents to join our company, both technical and non-technical.
I’m personally working as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) for Linux customers in Sweden, and thought some of you might find it interesting to read about what it is we do. First of all, let me explain a little bit about what a TAM is.

The role

On our website, you can find the following information:

“As a systems consultant at Basefarm you will be responsible for application management on the Linux platforms for our customers. That means handling monitoring, maintenance, optimization and troubleshooting of applications and OS. The focus is often on the Java-based solutions. We work with open source products, including JBoss, Resin, Tomcat, and php applications sush as wordpress, joomla and drupal. As a systems consultant, you can become a Technical Account Manager for some of the largest and most complex internet sites in Sweden. This means very varied assignments and a fast pace. You will naturally have a close, regular contact with your customers and you are responsible for both further development and maintenance of your customers technology platforms. This requires proactivity and that you and your customers is at the forefront of technology. In your role as a Technical Account Manager you are a key for business success!”

That text, albeit very true, does in my personal opinion boil down to two specific things; that a TAM is someone who is very customer oriented and has a deep wish to constantly evolve and learn new things. These two traits are the key to your success as a TAM. Basically, your days will more than often revolve around these two, because you have a very deep level of cooperation with your customers, and often they will come with a new application or system that you might not have heard about in the past. In our field, personally having previous knowledge is most often not the most important thing, as there will always be applications that almost nobody has heard of. What’s important is that you are able to learn the new things being tossed at you!

The challenge

I work a lot with media companies, who are always on the bleeding edge when it comes to software and technology they use. The applications they want to run are vast, and constantly changing. What you learned today might not be used tomorrow. Due to this, it’s impossible to know everything beforehand. Nobody can know everything, but what’s important is being able to quickly learn as well as adapt to this new technology which they present to you. The same goes with setting up new customers, and this is also one of the tasks I enjoy the most as it offers such a diversity. No new customer is the same, which means there’s always something new to learn!

That said, we do have a very diverse and large team at Basefarm, and there will without doubt be a few people who has worked with the new application your customer has provided you with. This means what the knowledge you’ll need is always around the corner or at most a phone call away (if the knowledge resides in our Norwegian office), and everyone is always more than happy to take a moment to assist you. It is however important to keep in mind that it will be your task to quickly learn this new application, as you will be responsible over it in your customer’s environment.

Can’t be prepared for what’s going to come your way

Customer contact is, as I said, just as important. Each day, you will be speaking with different people at the customer’s which you are TAM for. These conversations can range from anything from presenting ideas on how to improve their current platform, having customer meetings, hosting workshops or discussing issues with developers. I find this very interesting, and also extremely important in order to keep the platform well managed for monitoring and similar tasks.

The job as a Technical Account Manager can be both very challenging and rewarding, mainly because your scope is so big. You will for example work with pre-sale customer meetings, designing customer platforms, be part of implementing that platform, and then also have the on-going responsibility of making sure that the technical platform works as great as it can be. You will also take part of on-going meetings with your customers regarding the technical platform and your suggestions for the future.

In the end, what I like most about the position is that you can’t always be prepared for what’s going to come your way. There are usually no guide lines for how to solve something beforehand, and you have a very close connection to the customer on a day to day basis. Being able to take on new platforms and applications that you have not worked with in the past is a big requirement, as this happens very often. If you feel this challange sounds fun and interesting, send us a mail at rekrytering-se@basefarm.se !

For more information about positions available in Sweden, please visit https://www.basefarm.com/sv/jobb/

Year 2011

Now it’s just some few days left of this year and if we look back, it’s really been an eventful year. Here are some highlights from 2011:

  • 2011 was the year of expansion

Today we are approximately 260 employees and we’re still recruiting. Want to work with us?

  • 2011 was the year of acquisitions

This year we acquired Webdeal in Norway and Bluedome in Holland. This will strengthen our position in Northern Europe and has increased our Basefarm family with almost 40 new employees (only the acquisitions included).

  • 2011 was the year of new products

We launched hybrid hosting to our service offering. Hybrid hosting makes it possible to combine a traditional operating platform with modern public cloud services. Learn more about our service hybrid hosting.

  • 2011 was the year of exploring new market segments

We’ve had a breakthrough in the bank and finance market in Norway and within public sector in Sweden.

  • 2011 was the year of investing for the future

We are building a new colocation center in Norway

  • 2011 was the year of certifications

Basefarm was the first hosting provider in Norway and Sweden to be PCI DSS certificated. In Holland we have also been certificated according to ISO 27001.

  • 2011 was the year of customer satisfaction

We’ve got several new customers in 2011. To mention some of them: Avito (Europe’s largest website), Schipol, Viasat and Kirkerådet (a council for the Norwegian Church). In addition, we have renewed confidence to several customers.

We look forward to a new exciting year in 2012. This year’s christmas present goes to unicef (see christmas card below). We want to thank all our friends for a great year in 2011 by wishing Merry christmas and happy new year!

 

Basefarm has it’s own blog!

Now Basefarm has it’s own company blog! Our blog Above the clouds will be a corporate blog for the entire Basefarm Group, which means that employees from all Basefarm countries will blog. I’m Elin who write this very first blog post and have pull the strings to make this blog real. The blog will mostly include tech blog posts because of our passion for technology and we want to use the blog as a platform where we share our knowledge and expertise with you. But the blog will also be an important platform where we show you what is going on in the company and how it’s like to work at Basefarm. Well, the blog will be a place for all of you that are interested in Basefarm.

The blog is called Above the clouds because we wanted to have a blog name that is associated with our business, but at the same time we wanted the blog name to stand for our personal opinions inside Basefarm. Therefore, we concluded that the blog would be called Above the clouds. The name is a combination of both our business and opinions – our range of services with cloud services (cloud), while the expression above the clouds represents philosophy, own opinions and thoughts that often come up in blog posts.

We hope you will follow our blog where we will share our thoughts and ideas from the world of technology, above the clouds.