Since the company was founded, i3D.net has gone through many transitions. Our company grew from a small internet service company to the global managed hosting provider it is today. This timeline depicts not only our past, but gives an insight into our highlights and our memorable moments with many more to come.
At the age of 18, Stijn Koster started i3d.nl; an abbreviation that stood for ‘Innovatieve Informatie Internet Diensten’ (innovative information internet services). The core activities of i3d.nl were CMS, web design and hosting. During these first two years’ time was divided between his education and the starting company.
In 2003 a server was placed in a datacenter in Rotterdam to service his small customer base. This server contained webhosting and mail services but it included some game servers. These were for private use back then but they turned out to become quite popular.
In 2004 Stijn decided to change his business model. i3D.nl started to offer game servers to a wider audience from its new website. The single game server quickly changed into multiple game servers. The server components were ordered from different vendors and assembled by either Stijn or Stefan. Once assembled they were brought to the datacenter by public transport or by foot.
The customer base increased to the point that i3D.nl was the biggest game server provider in the Benelux this year. One of our biggest customers was our current Director of Operations Rick Sloot. He would join i3D.nl later that year. 2005 was the year when ranked game servers made an uprising; a game changer in the video game industry that commoditized very quickly in the entire video game industry. Back then it was brand new and the main reason why games as Battlefield 2 became such a success. After lots of effort and man hours i3d.nl managed to get a license for offering official ranked game servers. This resulted in us providing around 50% of the Battlefield 2 game servers in the world making us the biggest provider. It was at this point that the decision was made to change the name from i3D.nl to i3D.net. All three staff members worked either from home or from one of the datacenters. On the ground because there were no desks or chairs available in the datacenters. We did, however had a big customer base that was growing impatient. New server capacity was sold instantly and new customers sometimes had to wait days before their service was delivered. The three guys could not handle the work load anymore. Luckily; besides EA, other game publishers started to notice i3D.net.
In the summer of 2006 Rick moved to Rotterdam and Stijn quit his education so they could fully focus on the fast growth of the company. i3D.net managed to sign a new deal with a large game publisher; THQ. This game publisher is not in business any more. THQ had a big game studio in New York named Kaos Studios. Kaos was looking for a hosting provider in Europe for London and Paris. Back then we had servers in Frankfurt and Rotterdam already. Stijn contacted one of our competitors with the pitch: “if you guys do London; we will do Paris so we can sign this deal together” A brilliant move that impressed the potential customer. And so it happened that i3D.net became the first hosting provider for Microsoft Xbox360. The company from London seized to exist soon after. 2006 was the year in which i3D.net opened an office in the Rotterdam city center.
Early 2007 i3D.net hired the 4th staff member. He took over 1st line support from Rick so he could focus more on colocation. This was the year in which a lot got professionalized for our customers. Our control panel got extended with a ticketing system and automatic installs and deployments became available.
I3D.net hired two extra staff members in 2008. One to cover all design and marketing aspects. The other was hired for technical work. The workload was extremely high back then because the company kept growing. In 2008 two other job openings were placed for 1st line support and for a network engineer. In 2008 i3D.net signed ID Software. At this moment the childhood heroes that created Doom, Commander Keen and Quake became our customers. A memorable moment.
Because of the company growth Stijn was looking at the possibilities to open its own datacenter. After several conversations with Richard Boogaard from TCN he decided not to continue with a project developer but to build a datacenter with Richard himself. Richard had a track record in the datacenter industry and worked for APC and a generator supplier. Their joint expertise resulted in SmartDC. The choice was made soon after to start at the former Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam. SmartDC started with 3 suites and a powerhouse. On October 29th 2009 i3D.net moved all its servers from the third-party datacenters in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. With the opening of SmartDC and therewith the use of our own network i3D.net secured its independency and it has not been dependent on suppliers ever since.
In 2010 Stefan Ideler became our main network engineer. Stefan, the CTO of i3D.net became Brocade Distinguished Architect this year making him one of 300 BDA’s in the world. Stefan is part of the world’s best Brocade architects. More new people were hired for Accounting, Support, and lots of technical employees. SmartDC expanded with two new suites. Each suite contained 32 racks.
i3D.net ranked 22nd in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50.
Stijn start, together with his American business partner MyinternetServices, the company Gameblocks. Gameblocks hired a lot of brilliant programmers from the terminated game publisher THQ and they make innovative software like the anti-cheat software FairFight. FairFight has become the standard anti-cheat software in online AAA games. All big games have this software to keep cheaters out. 2012 is also the year in which SmartDC builds the eye catcher suite for i3D.net. on top of that, 2012 was the year in which we ranked 18th in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50. And we won the FD-gazellen award for the regions Zuid-Holland and Zeeland; two provinces in The Netherlands.
The long-awaited new website goes live and the i3D.net house style changes with it as well. The color red starts to become part of i3D.net’s Identity. i3D.net ranks 30th in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 and lands an 181st position in the Deloitte’s Technology fast 500 EMEA as one of the fastest growing tech companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa combined. We also rank 3rd in the FD-gazellen awards for the region Zuid-Holland and Zeeland.
2014 is marked by i3D.net’s ten-year anniversary. By now our network has more than 340Gbit capacity, do we have providers like Level3, Colt, BT, Eurofiber, EUNetworks, Tele2, NL-IX, NTT and KPN physically in house in our datacenter and do we have more than 300 racks filled by colocation customers. Since this year we also have own dark fibers running towards Amsterdam allowing us to scale up to an additional 400Gbit capacity without the interference of any supplier. This year we host even bigger games than the year before on PC, Xbox and Playstation like Battlefield 4. Every year our list of hosted games is extended by EA, ID Software, Square Enix or other game publishers. Often these companies place orders between 200 and 2000 new servers at once; allowing us to grow in fast pace. In 2014 i3D.net established more focus on graphic design and marketing. Our house style as well as our website are modernized. The online ordering process gets improved drastically and our logo is adjusted. Since 2014 we position ourselves in the market as i3D.net with the sub slogan “Performance Hosting”
In 2015 i3D.net launches Red Cloud; The enterprise cloud solution based on Microsoft Azure Pack. The departments continue to grow. In this year i3D.net has more than 35 employees resulting in us growing out of our office space. Our game publisher dashboard undergoes a big development sprint to provide the game publishers with the latest technology and data for new hosted titles like Star Wars Battlefont, Need for Speed 16 and the Division. The total amount of physical servers reached the 11.000 spread across 16 locations worldwide.