Posted on 30.12.2019

The year 2019 at UpCloud in retrospect


The year 2019 has certainly been eventful and we hope you’ve had as a great time along the way as we have. With another amazing year quickly coming to close, we wanted to again take a moment to review what we’ve accomplished over the course of the year. In this end-of-year retrospect, we’ll have a look back at what we had planned for the year and the highlights of the goals we reached.

Private Cloud

We have long recognised the growing infrastructure needs of striving businesses and set out to offer tailor-made solutions to unique requirements. Private Cloud was one of our larger projects for the year and we were excited to launch the new offering in late July. The introduction of Private Cloud brought the flexibility of the cloud infrastructure in an enterprise-grade service. Those with the needs could achieve better than hosted bare-metal performance with complete control of the cloud environment.

Private Cloud has been hugely successful among SMEs and large businesses with highly specific infrastructure needs. The best part is the ability to join an existing public cloud with that of the private or migrate entire services. Find out more at the launch announcement and get in contact to claim your own private corner of the cloud.

Software-defined networking

Undoubtedly the main event of the year was the launch of our long-awaited network upgrade to SDN. After extensive development and testing, we finally launched Software-defined networking in October to much fanfare!

SDN is a major step in futureproofing our network by moving away from old rigid routes and configurations. It enables dynamic, programmatically created networking by decoupling the network configuration from the physical infrastructure. The new approach brings a lot of flexibility in the configuration of your cloud infrastructure. SDN is already available at almost every zone with FI-Hel1 coming in early 2020.

While SDN itself is not directly a user-orientated product, it enables many other features. Using SDN, you can already create new dynamic private networks and configure transferable floating IP addresses. Much more is also in development and you can expect to see features such as gateway and VPN services as well as multi-cloud connectivity and easy to use load balancing services. Read more at the SDN announcement or dive right in with our tutorials on how to configure SDN Private networks and floating IP addresses.

Object storage coming soon!

While some cloud providers only offer ephemeral storage as standard, we’ve built our infrastructure to offer block storage by default. Naturally, the next logical step was to develop object storage which would utilise the same technologies that make MaxIOPS storage so blazingly fast!

Object storage arranges the blocks of data that make up a file together in a single data object. This approach provides a flat file-space which offers exciting possibilities for data analytics. Object storage is a great option for unstructured data like music, image, and video files as well as backup files, database dumps, and log files. Easily handle large data sets such as pharmaceutical or financial data using object storage. It really is the ideal storage solution for big data.

We have been working hard developing our object storage through the year. We are taking great effort to make sure object storage will be exactly as we’ve envisioned and will be launching it when it’s ready. Although object storage didn’t quite make the cut during 2019, you can expect more news about object storage quite soon!

Distributed management architecture

In addition to the new features and products launched this year, we also made some major architectural upgrades to our cloud infrastructure. As a large part of the responsiveness of any service comes down to the latency created by the physical distance between control and target. Therefore, we decided to bring our system operational intelligence closer to the actual server infrastructure with the new distributed management architecture.

Although our European locations have already enjoyed fast actions across the board, our data centres in Asia and America have not benefited from quite the same low latency. By diverging from the old centralised cloud provisioning system, we’ve managed to greatly reduce the operational latency to speed up deployments in all of our data centres.

The highest standard

The happiest users never need to contact support when everything runs smoothly without a hiccup. But in the case something does go wrong, we are always ready to help! We pride ourselves as providing class-leading support and user satisfaction certainly speaks well for our efforts. Our teams at four locations around the world work tirelessly to offer a lifeline 24/7, throughout the year.

Conversation ratings overall year 2019

The volume of communications is ever-growing as we see new visitors and new users sign up every day. As our userbase grows, of course, the need for support also increases. The challenge then becomes maintaining the high overall satisfaction rating among our users. The numbers show the results of our hard work with the satisfaction rating almost 90% which we believe is partly thanks to our amazing median response times of under 2 minutes!

Security overview

In May, Intel published yet a new class of vulnerabilities which are related to the already over year-old speculative execution attacks. The Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) hardware vulnerabilities were found independently by multiple teams and are affecting most modern Intel CPUs. The vulnerabilities in this discovery were named ZombieLoad, RIDL, and Fallout, each of which takes advantage of the speculative execution attacks to allow attackers to leak private data across arbitrary security boundaries on a victim system.

We learned of the vulnerabilities as they were published and immediately began working on mitigation methods. All CPU microcode updates were installed along with other mitigation strategies recommended by Intel for operating systems and hypervisor software.

Fortunately, like with the previous speculative execution vulnerabilities, there is no way to make targeted attacks against specific data or virtual machine. This is due to the guest servers having no way to choose which physical CPU core they use. We are also actively working to prevent malicious use of our services which includes attempts to exploit any vulnerabilities. Therefore, we are confident in saying these vulnerabilities have not been exploited on our infrastructure. To stay secure, we highly recommend all our users to keep their cloud servers up to date on security updates provider for your operating system vendor.

Amazing community

Community engagement has had a strong focus for us this past year and the reception has been amazing! Events, conferences, meetups, workshops, there certainly is no shortage of interesting opportunities across the industry. We are happy to have had the chance to attend and sponsor many different kinds of events. Over the course of the past year, we’ve taken part in almost 5 times as many events as the year before. It has been great meeting with all the enthusiasts from beginner developers to experts in your fields. We’ll definitely continue to actively participate in the industry communities the coming year as well!

Earlier in the year, we were also celebrating the second anniversary of UpCloud Singapore with a party to commemorate the occasion. Singapore has been very welcoming and we decided to really settle in with a permanent location. After a lot of work, we opened a brand new office for our growing team! A big thank you to all our great users and everyone who has helped us get started in Singapore!

UpCloud team in Langkawi

Cheers for the year 2019 and stay tuned for future announcements on some exciting news coming in early 2020!

Team UpCloud

Janne Ruostemaa


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