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Outsourced Hosting


The acquisition of Compaq by Hewlett-Packard (HP) is a huge gamble. To forecast how the dice will land, HostingTech assembled a formidable round table of industry handicappers. HostingTech asked Thomas Lah, lead author of the new book, "The Sirens' Song: Building Professional Services at a Product Company"; Chris Bogan, CEO of Best Practices; Mike Coffield, senior vice president of Nuclio; and Lee Le Clair, CIO of Ephibian, for their opinions on the deal.

HostingTech asked them about the future prospects of the new HP/Compaq, what steps the company will need to take to ensure their survival, and what the ramifications of the deal are for the other companies in the market space.

The experts sound less than optimistic about a merged HP/Compaq's future. At the very least, Le Clair says, "the world will be looking over their shoulders and judging every step of the way."


Pepsi is using Britney and broadband to can the competition online. This month's About Page delves into the soda wars and Britney Spears' online marketability. The only thing scanty about Pepsi's Web presence is the pop star's clothing. While does not push technological envelopes, the site does e-tailing, streaming media, and all its own online content delivery.

While a popular online destination, Clifford Lopez, director of technology for Pepsi's hosting company, Tribal DDB, says that the behind the scenes action for is "all pretty standard stuff. We're not doing things very exotically."

Does it ever seem like getting useful results from a search engine is like finding a needle in the haystack, in the dark, with one hand tied behind your back? If so, it is unsurprising, given that one estimate says that search engines return the top five best results roughly 35 percent of the time.

Clearly, new search methods are needed, that allow for greater accuracy and the increased presence online of data in more formats (video, audio, etc.) that can't be neatly tagged and pigeon-holed.


By combining networking, caches, storage, and load balancing into one system, Cereva's Internet Storage System could be the foundation of utility computing. In the face of "virtual blackouts," companies are seeking solutions that will keep them online and available.

The Internet Storage System is not yet available, as it is still in the beta testing stage, however HostingTech got the inside scoop from Peter Kirwan, former CTO and vice president of strategy at Navisite. Before resigning from Navisite, Kirwan oversaw the company's usage of the Cereva product. Kirwan says, "This is the first product that can deliver storage as a service with less engineering time, very high uptime, with shared infrastructure, massive scalability, so we can oversubscribe."

HostingTech takes three popular server automation tools for a test-drive. Our review of control panels included Plesk's Server Administrator, Dark ORB's Cpanel/Web Host Manager combination, and Ensim's WEBppliance.

The Plesk product provides the best combination of speed and simplicity; DarkORB's combined solution offers many nifty features and is easy to use; Ensim's offering has a clean layout and interface, but is almost unbearably slow, although Ensim says that the new version will address this.

The WebBox 1000 can host 200 virtual websites and only hogs up one rack unit of your server farm. HostingTech gives you an inside look at the latest product from UVNetworks. The 64-bit Sun technology-based Internet server appliance targets service providers, Web designers, hosting companies, and small-to-medium enterprises.

Included in our review is data on everything from its hardware, security, system monitoring, to virtual domain support.

Scalant and its COO, Jack Kister, might have a surprise for the industry with their ultradense application server. Even in a sluggish economy, Kister sees room for optimism, saying, "We view this slack period in the industry as a great opportunity to be building a company and to be ready to go strong into the market, as the economy begins to pick up. Time is on our side."

Kister's focus is on finding out which potential clients are doing well, and selling them on Scalant's line of servers, rather than taking a broad approach. Only time will tell how well his approach succeeds.

Law & Policy

Shopping for an Internet Datacenter? Know the ins and outs of the deal. What exactly does "Carrier Class Datacenter" mean? What are the main points to be negotiated in a contract? Here are the main points to be considered when looking for an online home for your business or website.

International Browser

Transplanting call centers and technical support operations to Third-World countries has its pros and cons for the company — and the local employees.

Companies transplanting operations overseas to places like the Philippines can benefit from inexpensive, English-speaking labor; modern electronic and communication infrastructures; and tax incentives from local governments. Employees may receive higher wages than the local average and have opportunities for further training than they would otherwise have access to.

On the other hand, if American managers are insensitive to local cultural nuances, productivity may not be maximized; the political and economic climate is often uncertain. Local employees may be treated as second-class citizens and prevented from advancing at a pace commensurate with their abilities, training, and seniority.

If handled well, moving operations overseas can be an effective cost savings strategy for American companies, but it must be handled with sensitivity to the local environment and people.


Comic book artist Peter Bagge has been called "edgy" and "irreverent" for as long as words like that meant something. He is best known as the author of Hate, a postmodern comic book about the travails of a group of twenty-somethings.

HostingTech did a Q&A with the acerbic artist and received some insight on his fetish-like affection for bubblegum music, baseball, and the online adventures of his own artwork.