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Why is there a stakepool VRITS?  I own a relatively considerable amount of ADA and first looked into delegating my stake to a stakepool. Then I saw questions and remarks coming by from persons who were trying to set up a stakepool. This made clear to me that most stakepool operators don’t have the necessary system administration and devops skills. How could I delegate my stake to a stakepool while I didn’t know which skill level the operator has? How would those operators be able to design a stakepool that is secure and up and running most of the time? The only way to delegate my stake to a stakepool that I can rely on was by creating my own private stakepool. However with the amount of ADA that I’m holding, running a private stakepool isn’t feasible. Therefore the decision was made to make the stakepool public with a low fee and minimum costs.

Who is the person behind stakepool VRITS? My name is Theo van Raaij,  I’m 54 years old, live in Holland and am a computer hobbyist since 1980. In 1984 I started working as a programmer. After my time in military service I started a career at the Dutch Railroads and after a couple of years continued my career a the Dutch Railway Pension fund. In 1992 I started a successful business in the IT with the mission to sell computers for an affordable price. Because of a divorce I was forced to shutdown my business 16 months later. In 1995 I returned to the IT industry as a system administrator. Since then I had many different roles in many fields of IT expertise and am a so called generalist. In 2009 I started the company VRITS. VRITS was the sole reseller and qualified service partner for the Benelux of BlueArc’s high-speed NAS and SAN solution. Furthermore VRITS was the distributor and reseller for SMS gateways of TalariaX. VRITS also provided IT consultancy to several companies. In 2011 the company was deactivated because of my second divorce. In 2014 I started my job at Twinfield International as a Senior IT Datacenter Consultant. The company is a full daughter of Wolters Kluwer. In 2016 Wolters Kluwer decided that Twinfield would only be used for branding and all personnel continued their career at Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting Europe. In 2017 I shutdown VRITS because I didn’t perform any activities within it anymore. Those of you who like to see all my working experience are invited to check my LinkedIn profile.

Why did you choose the name VRITS? My employer only allows people to have a company and perform tasks for that company with an additional agreement. I have that additional agreement already in place, because I owned a company named VRITS and wanted to continue that company at that time.

Will you shutdown the stakepool VRITS when you get divorced? Currently I’m not married, but I do have a girlfriend with whom I want to marry in the near future. As I have learned from my previous mistakes my girlfriend will have to sign a prenuptial agreement to keep VRITS safe and out of reach of her if she would decide to divorce me. VRITS will therefore not be shutdown again in the case of a divorce.

Do you only communicate in English? All posts on this website and the Facebook group will be in English. However when you have any questions, you can communicate with me in Dutch, German and Thai language also.

Why should we delegate our stake to stakepool VRITS? Because you want a stakepool that is up and running almost all the time (all the time is impossible), operated by an IT professional who knows what he is doing and charges a reasonable fee.

Technical details

Pool infrastructure:
All servers are virtual machines. The total infrastructure consists of 1 VPN server, 1 Management & Monitoring server, 2 Cardano relays and 2 Cardano block-producers (1 in standby mode). The Cardano nodes have 4GB of RAM each, 2 CPU’s (Intel Skylake 3Ghz) and 128GB NVMe SSD. The other servers are running on the same kind of CPU’s and the same kind of storage, however their memory, number of CPU’s and amount of storage have been scaled according to their functionality. The servers can be easily upgraded to a higher plan providing more CPU’s and memory if necessary. All servers are running on Centos 8 and have been hardened according to best practices. All servers are protected by their built-in firewalls (Operating System level), protected by firewalls (Cloud provider level). The Cardano relays are furthermore protected by a DDOS mitigation service. The Cardano relays allows incoming traffic from the internet on the port where the Cardano-node service is running. The VPN server allows traffic from a limited amount of static IP’s after I have changed the firewall rule set (Just In Time principle). The Management & Monitoring server allows traffic from a limited amount of static IP’s to provide Live views on how the environment is doing. All other traffic is running over a private network. Only the keys that are necessary are kept on the Cardano block-producing nodes. The Management & Monitoring server sends me alerts by email and SMS. The VPN server tests the Management & Monitoring server on availability and sends alerts by email and SMS. A Talariax Entera at my home office analyzes the syslogs which are continuously being send to him and alerts me by SMS and email if necessary. The Cloud provider that I have chosen maintains a large network worldwide with several 10Gbps fiber internet connections per datacenter divided over 2 or more Telco’s.

Pool redundancy:
Snapshots of the Cardano nodes are being made every 4 hours whilst the 2 latest snapshots are being kept. Each Cardano node syncs her block-chain every minute to additional SSD-based Block storage. Snapshots are taken every month of all other servers. Disaster recovery has been tested a couple of times and gave me a RTO (recovery time objective) of 1 hour and a RPO (recovery point objective) of 5 minutes.
The relay nodes and block producing nodes are spread over 2 different datacenters within Europe. This should give the stakepool an availability of 99,95% because the stakepool would still be up and running even when 2 servers are down at the same time.

About

This site is all about the Stakepool VRITS.
Why it exists, who is behind it and how it is secured, maintained and monitored.

Contact

You can follow me on Twitter, contact me by Telegram and email or join the Facebook group VRITS to keep yourself informed about Stakepool VRITS by using the social contact buttons on the bottom.