Interview Series: Bas van Kampen

Some interesting opinions from our next participant in the Lead Engineer Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!



Full Name: Bas van Kampen
Company: Interconnect Services B.V.
Certifications: MCSA2008 / VCP3 / VCP4 / VCP-DCV 5.5 / VCAP-DCA 5.5
Twitter: @basvk




Who is Bas van Kampen?

I’m a Lead Engineer at Interconnect Services, mainly responsible for Cloud, Storage and Datacenters. I’ve been working for Interconnect for almost 11 years. I’ve had several positions within our company including; Support Engineer, Developer, System Engineer and Manager IT Operations.


Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

Interconnect Services is an ISP in the south of the Netherlands with privately owned datacenters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Eindhoven. Interconnect has four product categories; Cloud, Connectivity, Datacenter and Hosted Telecom. We deliver our services to small and midsize companies and also large multinationals in the telecom, high-tech and financial sector.


Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

For our cloud infrastructure we use IBM/Lenovo Servers (x Series), IBM Storage (San Volume Controller, Flashsystem 840, Storewiz V7000 and SAN48B fiberchannel switches), HDS Storage (AMS2100). For our network we use the Juniper product range (SRX series firewalls, EX series, QFX series and MX series routers). For backup we use the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager product range. All the IBM products named above are known as IBM Spectrum Storage since March 2015.

Our cloud infrastructure is spread over our two datacenters and is running VMware vSphere 5.5. We have several clusters with a total of 1400+ cores, 15+ TB ram and 1+ PB storage. We are running 1000+ virtual machines. Most of the servers have fiberchannel for SAN connectivity and 10 Gb networking, some legacy hosts use iSCSI. All of our servers are fully redundant connected to network, storage and power.


What is the main purpose for this IT platform?

On this platform we host our own services (webhosting, mailbox hosting) and we deliver an IaaS product to our customers.


What was the main requirement on which you designed this environment and how did you comply to it?

The design was a “simple” scalable environment with (almost) the same building blocks (servers and storage) so we can grow with the demands of our customers (we can simply order more of the same). I thinks our current environment still complies to this requirements.


If you had the chance to design and build this environment all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?

Maybe, the only thing I would change are the servers, now we use 1U pizza boxes, on the scale we operate now I think blades would be better. Also I would use IBM San Volume Controllers from the start.


What are new developments or solutions which caught your eye and why?

Hyper Converged Virtualization solutions (such as Nutanix and EVO:RAIL) and opensource based virtualization solutions (such as Openstack and Docker). The first because I think the solutions are very interesting, especially the management software they use, everyone can now manage a virtualization solution (which is bad for our jobs).

The second one because now every major vendor is developing Openstack and/or Docker(like) solutions (i.e. VMware Photon, VMware Integrated Openstack, Microsoft Nano and Hyper-V Containers) so I’m very curious what this will bring in the future.


What are your thoughts on applying these on your own environment?

Hyper Converged Virtualization doesn’t meet our demands for flexibility, it’s nice for smaller enterprise environments but not for large scale multi data center solutions. I think Openstack and Docker are things that we can use in our environment in the next years.


How do you see IT change in the next 5 years?

Everything will become virtualized and applications and services will become hardware independent and outsourced. The customer wants to know where his data is, so they will host it with local cloud providers and datacenters and they demand better service levels for data storage (live data and backups).


How do you think this will translate to your current working environment?

More work and more focus on data lifetime management.


Do you leverage knowledge from IT communities or events in your daily work? If so, what are sources you use often?

I use a lot of online sources for my daily work, but events cost a lot of time so I don’t attend all of them (except VMworld). I read a lot of blogs and use twitter to stay in touch with the latest developments on Virtualization and of Storage.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!!

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My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I'm also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.
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