Our Platforms team: the backbone of your web hosting
Behind the scenes at Combell, numerous teams are pulling out all the stops to keep your services running smoothly. And one of these teams is in charge of our platforms. The protection provided by Combell Shield or the user-friendliness of our Managed WordPress: all the features that you can enjoy on our web hosting have been imagined and developed by our Platforms team. This is why we have decided to take a closer look at it, together with Chief Technology Officer and Platforms team lead Wesley!
What exactly does your Platforms team do, Wesley?
Wesley: "We are in charge of Combell's 'mass hosting'. In other words, the general services that you can order off the shelf on our website. This is in contrast to our managed hosting, which is handled by our colleagues from System Management.
For all the customers who use those turnkey services, we first determine what an ideal package should be, and then build all the features from scratch. Because we build everything here ourselves, which is quite a unique feat. Even our control panel is entirely self-built. Our development team, with which we collaborate closely, is responsible for this. The advantage of having everything under our control is that we can directly use customer feedback to put together an even better package."
"We are thus constantly thinking up new features, developing them and keeping them running smoothly. All the tools or additional features that a customer can change with a simple click in the Combell control panel are developed by us."
Building web hosting to suit the needs of one particular customer is not that difficult. But for hundreds of thousands of customers, that is another matter.
Wesley, CTO an Platforms team lead
"So, Platforms provides one big Lego box with all kinds of features. These features are then bundled into packages, which you can purchase as a Combell customer. The purpose of that 'box of bricks'? To make everyone happy with what we are building."
Which feature are you most proud of?
"All of them! (laughs) But our Combell Shield has definitely been a real achievement. That is the feature that guarantees both security and stability for our web hosting customers. Considering how many customers we host without any problems, I think we can be justifiably proud of that particular feature!"
"Our Managed WordPress, which allows us to help WordPress customers even more by taking updates and security measures off their hands, is also a wonderful tool."
"Security, scalability and performance"
Designing features and keeping them running, that must be quite a challenge, huh?
"That is absolutely right! A platform or tool should not work well for just one customer, but for all customers – and there are hundreds of thousands of them! And even though this is fortunately not the case, we must always bear in mind that every customer can potentially be a hacker. This means that our products must always be optimally protected."
"It is essential to us that no customer can access the data of any other customer, and that no customer suffers any inconvenience because of any other customer. Because, of course, as a Combell customer, you do not want your website to go offline because some crook on the same server is using his hosting to do some bad things. Of course, this crook will always be kicked out straight away!"
"Security and performance is therefore very important, but scalability is also essential. All our developments must be able to continue to scale. Because building web hosting to suit the needs of one particular customer is not that difficult. But for hundreds of thousands of customers, that is another matter: you have to build something that you know will work for years to come, no matter how many new customers you get."
"We are also going to strengthen our collaboration with the foreign branches of our team.blue group. That makes it even more challenging to develop features. Because all of a sudden you have to take into account more than a million users!"
"Our team members have to deal with a wide variety of issues that can affect networks, development, storage... In order to make a decent product, it has to be well designed, but it also has to be right in every possible way!"
"In order to do that as well as possible, the Platforms team is a DevOps team. That means we will develop things (with Developers), but we will also take care of the day-to-day management (the Operations) of our server farm."
"Because although developers can design things, they still have to deploy them, back them up, monitor them, you name it... The project is then passed on to DevOps, who will continue to work on the new feature to ensure that it can run without a hitch. And then you also have Linux engineers, who manage the technical platform on which everything runs."
"DevOps is a way of thinking, which involves keeping in mind the entire development process and management of what you are developing. One of the basic ideas is that if you have to do something more than twice, then you have to automate it. This is something we often like to do in our private lives as well (laughs)."
One thing is for sure: you will find the most diverse profiles in the Platforms team. Two of those colleagues are Brecht & Ike. But are they really that different? We took a moment to listen to what they had to say about this, in 'Who is better at...? (read more below the video)
What is the profile of the ideal Platforms team member?
"Our team is made up of people who like to have a broad knowledge and want to know everything, but we also have colleagues who prefer to focus on a particular area of expertise. In our team, we need both profiles – and that is what I pay attention to when I interview applicants."
"The greatest common factor among our employees is their technical and analytical expertise. But a Platforms team member also has a healthy dose of autonomy: you have to be able to be a bit of a smart cookie and be willing to learn."
"People who can bring their own ideas to the table are also very welcome here: their input will be highly valued. Because there is no point in recruiting experts and then not using their skills and constantly pushing your own ideas."
Our colleagues have a great deal to contribute. After all, there is no point in recruiting experts if you keep pushing your own ideas.
Wesley, Platforms team lead
Why is the Platforms team ideal for talented IT professionals?
"We are a company that invests heavily in infrastructure. By working with the finest and newest equipment, IT professionals are given a next-level playground, as it were, where they can have a blast."
"But our work is also enormously satisfying in terms of content. Our work has a major impact on a very large number of customers: when you come up with a cool feature, many people will be able to use it and enjoy it. An estimated 60% of Belgian websites are hosted by Combell, which is quite impressive!"
"In addition, there is the variety of the job: you will not easily get bored working here. There is so much to discover and learn! And if you have a preference for a particular technique, you can also progress and specialise in that."
At Combell, you can grow vertically (to senior level), but also horizontally, across different teams. Brecht is living proof of this: after 13 years working with the Combell Support team, he made the switch to the Platforms team!
Do you recognise yourself in this profile? Join the Platforms team!
At Combell, we are constantly expanding, and we may well need someone like you. Are you technically inclined, independent and eager to develop the best possible tools? If so, you could be our new Platforms collaborator!
Are you into other things? Then we might have another job that will suit you best. Check out all our jobs below!