Posted on 9.12.2020

Eetu Ritvanen: I enjoy the freedom in managing my work time

UpCloud System Administrator Eetu Ritvanen

Our System Administrator Eetu has been with UpCloud for four years. Initially, he joined the company in the position of a Customer Support Engineer. He helped to build the foundations for the Support team and UpCloud’s customer support as we know it today.

How were your beginnings in UpCloud?

I joined the company in November 2016. It was the time when our own in-house customer support department started to shape. About two years later, I moved to the Operations team under our founder and CTO Joel. There, I’m working as a System Administrator. And starting from 2021, I’m joining UpCloud Singapore to take the lead with developing local infrastructure operations team.

What is it that you currently do?

Basically, I break stuff, and I fix stuff. I am one of those Operations team members whose responsibility is to make sure that our new data centres get built by our high standards, and everything runs smoothly across our existing data centres as well. I am also administrating infrastructure on the operating system side, so I’m not a full-time hardware guy.

How does setting up a new data centre look like?

There are a lot of things. After we decide where we want to go, our network engineers start their work. A significant part of preparations consists of network arrangements such as IP transit deals, peering agreements and dark fibre / WDM orders. All of our data centres are interconnected, and we have tens of thousands of kilometres of fibre capacity leased for us.

When the network is in place, it’s data centre engineers’ turn to make their magic. They do the rack mounting and cabling according to our plan, and thanks to the standardised hardware, it’s rather easy and quick to expand to new markets. When we have finalised the initial setup and verified the physical aspects, we can finish the software installations mostly remotely.

And finally, when the new data centre is ready, we do the silent launch to our people for final tests and after some time, we announce it to the rest of the world.

We have many new data centres coming up. The most recent addition was Warsaw. Is there anything new users can find in them?

We have launched three new data centres this year, in New York, Madrid and Warsaw. All of them are with the EPYC nodes only. That means that there’s only AMD powered hardware there. We’re also continuously upgrading our other data centres with the EPYC processors, as the old hardware comes to end of life.

How did UpCloud’s customer support change since you’ve joined the team?

When I started, I thought that we would try to keep the customer support only in Finland, as daytime, evening and night shifts. But already then, our CEO Antti introduced us the idea of the ˈfollow the sunˈ principle. So we hired the UK and the Singapore teams after the foundation was laid, and later on, the Seattle team joined. Like this, we can provide support to users anywhere in the world very fast. Also, people from various backgrounds help us understand local customers’ issues better, so the local presence is crucial. I haven’t heard of any other company doing customer support like that in their beginnings.

Besides that, what differentiates our support is also that we give it as a free service. Sometimes, when I try to contact customer support in various companies, it’s difficult to find their contact details. Our support is very easily reachable.

What would be your dream job if you weren’t a System Administrator?

I have no idea. Maybe a professional snowboarder, even though I’m far from it. It’s really hard to practice in Helsinki, so I’m glad that I get to travel abroad, which is also cheaper than to travel to northern Finland. Just last February, I went to snowboard in Japan. Hokkaido area is one of the best places in the world for snowboarding with the best powder in the world.

What do you like about your current position?

One of my favourite things about it is travelling around the world, which I miss very much now. I also like to play with the hardware a lot. That was one of the reasons why I joined the Operations team in the first place. I even gave up my office desk when I moved from Support to Operations. Now when I come to the office, I mostly work in our Sea Lounge.

UpCloud gives me a lot of freedom. I can pretty much work on any hours I want and don’t necessarily have to wake up at 7 am if I don’t want to.

Did the company change a lot since you started?

Yeah, the company has changed quite a bit. I think I was employee number 12, and now we are already close to 100 people. So, of course, we had to bring all these small processes. What I appreciate is that when we grow, all the different cultures are welcome here. This open and multicultural atmosphere was present already when I joined.

It’s nice to see that UpCloud attracts so many tech-minded people. Even though we have people who are not so tech-savvy, they are still really interested in the product we sell.

Would you like to work with Eetu? Choose from our open positions.

Barbora Mervaala

Social Media and Content Specialist at UpCloud. Passionate about writing stories about inspiring people and companies.

  1. Employee #12, Thank You

    Simon Fearby

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