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Anonymity Is Okay At Hazi.ro -- Interview With @FlorinMarian

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Welcome to Low End Box’s interview with well known, new Provider, @FlorinMarian! Thanks to @Wicked for suggesting this interview!

Hey Florin!

Greetings from Mexico! 🏜️

How does it feel to be already famous here on the Low End? How did it all get started?

Hello, my dears!

It all started last spring when together with two other close colleagues (first year in computer science) we decided that it was worth focusing on a business in the IT sector, each of us being skilled at something: Florin with DevOps , Radu with the design and source code in C ++ / Python and Teodor a big fan of web technology development.

On LET, everything took off when we managed to find the perfect server that before seemed just an illusion: 1U size, powerful processors and many 3.5″ HDDs (12).

From BlackFriday we managed to come in front of LET users with an unbeatable offer: plenty of RAID10 storage space, 3rd generation processors and DDR4 ECC RAM. That’s where the explosion happened! We found out that in the middle of the night we had over 80 paid orders in less than an hour.

Want to share a little about your business, what you’ve been doing, plus what’s new and upcoming?

Our business survived initially and developed exponentially later based on two solid principles: we recognized in front of customers when we didn’t know something and at the same time we kept people informed when there were problems involving unavailability of services already paid.

We are currently focused on buying new servers (both from the performance range and from the storage range) to add to the Cloud in the current datacenter but we are in talks with 3 other internet providers to see which bandwidth is guaranteed to move servers to our own location.

A new location could be available in about 3 months at the earliest, but the big gain would be to relax from the restrictions of using Torrent on our network.

Sorry, I don’t understand “which bandwidth is guaranteed to move servers to our own location.”

At the moment, the offers of the three internet providers without guaranteed bandwidth are up to 1Gbps each, but we are interested to see what their offer is on the guaranteed bandwidth side.

Without a minimum of 3 Gbps (guaranteed) we will not venture to host the servers in our own location.

Do you have a special deal to offer our readers? :)

Definitely yes. However, we prefer to have our stocks ready before announcing future offers in clear order to get people to prepare their wallets.

As we have already shown on several occasions, our goal is to get rid of unused server resources as soon as possible, as this leads to the acquisition of new servers and, consequently, to the growth of our business.

Do you know @Wicked? :)

Honestly, I don’t remember when and under what conditions I talked to him, but I know for a fact that he was one of the customers happy with our Black Friday offer, and he was always ready to work with us, just waiting for a sign that we want the same thing. We thank him from the bottom of his heart, it’s not worth the money itself as much as the pleasant thought of seeing that someone is ready to exploit your potential that we just need to develop.

Do you have a photo of yourself that we could use?

Photo of Florin

What’s your schedule days, nights, and weekends?

My program is a very busy one with the faculty in physical format, a consulting contract as DevOp at another IT company where I have to work 40 hours / week and in addition to these there are also tickets from HAZI.ro clients.

From Monday to Thursday I work online 8 hours a day and I go to college physically in the meantime and on Friday I don’t have any classes at college but I work from the office.

The secret is that I fall asleep between 11:30 pm and 2:30 am and always wake up at 5:35 am Monday through Friday. On the weekends I usually go out with friends, study the market to see what I could come up with at HAZI.ro and do homework for college.

Wow! Lots of energy and hard work! :)

To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought that you could have your own business, a job 8 hours a day and college at the same time and have more time and be happy. People who had a full-time job and went to college in parallel seemed to me heroes, not to mention the development of their own business in parallel. I think a famous saying fits me “something is impossible until someone comes who doesn’t know it’s impossible and does it”.

What advice do you have for people who want to start as providers?

Things are pretty simple. Ideally, you should also have a lot of money to invest in, as well as solid knowledge related to this business. If you have only one of the two features, the chances of growth increase but are limited, but if you miss both features, failure is guaranteed.

What advice do you have for people who want to rent a VPS or a dedicated server?

If you have any questions about the service you intend to purchase, please contact the seller to clarify the features that interest you. Remember: if the seller responds with difficulty even when you intend to put money in his pockets, rest assured that he will do the same or worse when you run into problems.

How do you think the free servers from Oracle will affect the Low End?

No, this is definitely not going to happen. First of all, there are many users who want to remain anonymous and Oracle does not offer them this chance. If we were scared every time the big companies came up with a new product, then we small ones would no longer exist but the reality proves that we are growing, we are not on the verge of extinction.

80 paid orders arriving in less than an hour sounds like a lot for a new team! How did you handle that flood of orders?

All processes were already automated in terms of payments and service delivery. We only had problems with the increased traffic from that hour which led to manual validation of some of the payments as our site had come to request the resolution of the Captcha including the callback which validated the payment status.

What could your customers do to make your life easier?

I would like all my clients to use SSH keys for authentication or passwords of increased difficulty so that there are no more cases of VMs that end up scanning the IPs of other IT companies, without their will. We also have clients who try to use our services in an abusive way but end up being denied access to our services, being left without money but also without services, faster than they could imagine.

You mentioned attempts to abuse your services. Are you willing to share a bit about what types of abuse attempts you experience? Is there any pattern to these abuse attempts?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to generalize the abuses, but I can talk a little about them. It often happens that some customers with services, even on the first day after activation or even after a few months, suddenly start sending brute force SSH attacks to other large providers.

The last two abuses were resounding because someone paid for a one-year service and soon began scanning the ports of other servers.

Another raised so much that he deposited several hundred euros into his account, being very excited about our services, receiving quite a few Cloud resources.

Even before honoring his order, I insistently asked him to tell me if he wanted to do something illegal, that I would catch him anyway and I would not return the money in case of abuse.

The man thanked me for being honest but said that I would have no problem with his activities. 3 days later I received a notification from the datacenter that the XYZ (of this client) IPs were actually IP spoofing.

Any chance you have handy a link to the LET ad that brought 80 paid customers in an hour? I’d love to take a look back at that ad, and I bet our readers also would be very interested to look.

Proof of orders (a graph is much more intuitive, I guess):

Hazi.ro Order Graph

Sorry, it’s not that I wanted proof. I believe you! I was just wondering what specs were so attractive that you got such a flood of orders? If you don’t have the ad’s link handy, maybe I can search for the ad. . . .

The attractive offer was this:

1 vCPU 3.50 – 3.70GHz (shared)
1GB DDR4 ECC 2133MHz
20GB SSD RAID10 or 160GB SAS
5TB / mo @ 1Gbps
6 euro / year

Wow! 80 x €6 = €480. That’s for a year. So, break even for a server would be €480 / 12 = €40 per month.

Looks like either you got that server for less that €40/month. Or else there was more on the server than the 80 VPSes. Or else it wasn’t profitable, but it got you started.

Want to share about that original server? About the costs and customer loads on your new, upcoming servers?

Our server has initially 128GB RAM and 16TB storage but in about 2 months (I don’t remember) we upgraded our node to 256GB RAM and 44TB SAS + 2TB NVMe :smile:
We pay about 83 eur/mo.

A new server will be around 2-4.5K we’re still thinking about next steps but we have 12 K eur to invest. It is profitable looking at current statistics.

You mentioned that “there are many users who want to remain anonymous.” How does hazi.ro help users remain anonymous?

Yes, we help them remain anonymous as long as they do not become suspicious on what our monitoring systems report.

Yes, but may I please ask how you help with anonymity? I am guessing not requiring government ID verification for opening accounts, not requiring cell number, allowing orders via VPN, accepting crypto? All of these? Something more? :)

Related to anonymity, yes. We do not validate phone numbers, we do not consider it suspicious that a customer has the name “Hazi User” or that he lives in Beijing, Canada. We also accept cryptocurrencies.

By the way, what does “hazi” mean?

Hazi is just my family name, nothing else ^.^

Right now I can’t think of any more questions to ask you. :) Is there anything else you want to talk about / share with our readers?

No, I think that’s enough information to write a good article. Thank you !

Thank you, Florin! It’s been a pleasure working with you on this interview! I really appreciate your prompt and courteous replies to my questions! Best wishes for the continued success of your business!

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for sitting down for an interview, @FlorinMarian. An interesting read.

    I am glad to see that LowEndBox/LowEndTalk has been such a positive for your company.

    March 22, 2022 @ 10:38 am | Reply
  2. friend:

    @Wow! 80 x €6 = €480. That’s for a year. So, break even for a server would be €480 / 12 = €40 per month.

    This is hazi.ro : https://www.listafirme.ro/hfm-srl-33878025/
    24883 RON last year = 5557 USD => 5557 USD / 12 month = 463 USD

    March 25, 2022 @ 2:48 am | Reply
  3. Thank you for conducting such an interesting interview. This interview provided me with a wealth of information.

    April 7, 2022 @ 1:29 am | Reply
  4. After reading his schedule I was overwhelmed! Simply wow, quite an interesting interview as well. Thank you for this!

    August 29, 2022 @ 8:29 am | Reply
  5. Thanks for sharing, so good

    August 29, 2022 @ 10:20 am | Reply
  6. This is very inspiring!

    September 2, 2022 @ 4:52 am | Reply

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