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Case study

How DataPacket’s custom solutions propel Mullvad VPN’s security commitment

In the competitive world of virtual private networks (VPNs), Mullvad stands out not just for its speed but for its unwavering dedication to security and user privacy. This level of commitment requires specific server configurations and a robust network capable of maintaining high speeds without compromising data integrity. DataPacket met these needs, enabling Mullvad to maintain their standards and effectively scale their operations to meet increasing customer demand.

Mullvad VPN
The client:mullvad vpn

Mullvad is a Swedish-based, independently-owned VPN provider that prioritizes security and privacy above all else. Established in response to Sweden’s FRA law in 2009 , Mullvad is renowned for its radical transparency and unique security measures, such as a no-logging policy, requiring no personal information for sign-up, and accepting payments in Bitcoin or cash. To underscore this, Mullvad was recognized as the best VPN service by the New York Times in 2023.

The challenge:

Securing robust and agile VPN services

Mullvad’s stringent requirements for their servers stem from their security-first approach. Richard, an operations manager at Mullvad, explains, IPMI is very insecure. Thus, we require a setup that maintains control using IPMI, necessitating a specific server to manage the IPMI. We connect to that server via a VPN, and from there connect to the IPMI of the other servers, thus the IPMI interface are never exposed to public IPs. This high-level control and security need, combined with the demand for high-performance infrastructure and competitive pricing, led Mullvad to seek out DataPacket.

The solution:

Tailored IPMI management servers and high-capacity network expansion

This distinctive setup required a management server connected to several VPN servers, none of which are directly accessible from the internet for management tasks. They maintain a relatively small number of servers at each location yet manage them with high efficiency, achieving a more effective distribution of users across these servers. This configuration is a crucial part of Mullvad’s security strategy, designed to mitigate risks and ensure service integrity. DataPacket and Mullvad worked closely together to deploy servers that matched these specific requirements.

01

Customization and technical expertise

The setup required precise, hands-on adjustments made on-site by DataPacket’s technical staff stationed in each city. Simon Rybisar, COO at DataPacket, elaborated on the implementation process: It was challenging to meet Mullvad’s exacting specifications. However, we fine-tuned the process and successfully rolled out this setup across all requested locations worldwide

Standard hardware setups for Mullvad include CPUs with a Trusted Platform Module, and a 10 Gbps uplink.

02

High-performance network

A key requirement for Mullvad was upgrading from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps servers to boost their service performance. Our objective is for anyone to access our services within 10 milliseconds, and we are steadily advancing towards this goal, Richard explains. DataPacket met this need by providing essential 10 GE connectivity across all locations.

03

24/7 support

To expedite response times and resolve issues promptly, Mullvad was provided with a private Slack channel. We appreciate being able to interact directly with technical staff, support, and sales all in one place, which streamlines the process of addressing concerns and managing server deployments, notes Richard.

04

Competitive pricing and simplified administration

Having a provider with ~50 locations worldwide not only reduces Mullvad’s administrative burden by allowing them to consolidate their operations under a single provider but also enhances their ability to maintain a small, agile operations team. Simon elaborates on the economic benefits:

As a major infrastructure provider for VPN businesses, we understand the importance of long-term cost optimization. By knowing each customer’s specific needs and tailoring the offer accordingly, we can always find an economically sound solution. Since DataPacket has more than 25 000 servers worldwide, we understand that using larger chassis with multiple blade servers help us lower the operation costs for us and, therefore, also for our customers.

The result:

Fostering partnership and strategic expansion

Mullvad currently operates 145 of DataPacket’s servers across 38 locations spanning Europe, Asia, the Americas, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, with pre-ordered servers for four additional locations. We aim to add a new location every two months, sometimes even more frequently. This strategic expansion is crucial for our VPN customers, notes Simon.

The partnership has also deepened the relational bonds with Mullvad personally visiting their partners. It gives a much better connection and a better relationship. Meeting the team in person has significantly strengthened our collaboration, ensuring that our relationship extends beyond that of typical clients and partners, adds Eric, an Operations staff at Mullvad.

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