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Sep
02

Can you Outgrow Dedicated Hosting?

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Today’s topic comes from a reader who wrote, can you outgrow dedicated hosting? At first glance I was going to say no, since colocation is like a sidegrade, not really and upgrade or a downgrade it simply is.

But that wouldn’t really answer the question (well it would but not the spirit of the question). So here goes.

Although you really can’t outgrow dedicated hosting you can outgrow a dedicated host or a dedicated hosting server.

Perhaps you have a fairly complicated web site, but not a lot of traffic. Your site is on a single, mid-grade server and it is doing fairly well. A year down the road your site gets famous and has a ton of traffic. The traffic on this complicated site begins to bog down the server, so what do you do? Well chances are you will probably move from a single server to multiple servers. Since you have multiple servers you might need some other dedicated hardware. If you host provides all of this that is fantastic. But if you current host does not then you may need to either see if you can make your site less complicated or see about moving to a host who can provide what you need.

In this example you have outgrown your server and your host, but not outgrown dedicated hosting.

On the same note you could possible switch to a cloud or grid hosting situation, but again dedicated hosting is still a good reliable option.

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May
01

The Death of Microsoft Tablets?

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After recently learning of the demise of Hewlett Packard’s Slate tablet due to issues with Windows 7, Microsoft has now confirmed that production of the Courier tablet has also been killed.

“At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It’s in Microsoft’s DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity,” said Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft.  “The ‘Courier’ project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings.”

Expected late this year, Courier was built in the shape of a book with two 7-inch screens, a built-in camera and Wi-Fi. The device also was said to support a variety of user inputs such as touching, handwriting and drawing.

Although this set back may end up benefiting Microsoft and Windows OS tablets in the long run, for now it seems that Microsoft is dead before ever entering the tablet wars.

Writer’s Bio: Derek Morris is Senior Editor of Vectorwire.com, source for the latest graphic design, web design, web hosting, and technology news and articles.

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Jan
06

Ramblings on moving a company

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Before the holidays I managed to interview Haralds Jass, CEO of dedicated server hosting company Superb Hosting, on the moving of their corporate headquarters to Honolulu, Hawaii. That interview will be out at Web Host Magazine next week Wednesday.

The interview was fairly informative and a few points caught my interest. Two points in particular actually. Considerations of the labor pool of the location and the impact the location’s stress level has on the company’s employees.

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Here is an assumption you can take to the bank, the percentage of SMBs that buy new IT equipment, both hardware and software, will be far less than their enterprise level equivalents. This is business class 101 and the assumption pretty much holds water 99% of the time. This assumption is so bullet proof in fact that most hardware and software vendors assume it as they prep products for the market.

So when I see whole studies that proof this point again and again, regardless of the current economy, I sort of wonder if those companies who do such studies are having a slow week or perhaps getting ready for a new video game or movie release.

Actually that is overly harsh, those sort of studies are needed if only to reinforce that up is in fact up, down is in fact down, and that SMBs don’t spend a great deal of money updating on the latest and greatest gear (preferring to spend their money on frivolous things like salaries).

What bothers me about such studies is when people report it as if its an incredible find. I just got through reading a number of blogs on the CDW IT Monitor study. CDW of course is a fairly large wholesale computer seller. The report concluded, surprise surprise, that SMBs are planning to spend less than other company types (such as enterprise or government agencies).

Another thing some people do not consider when it comes to equipment purchasing is tax breaks. The average enterprise level company will spend quite a bit on equipment in order to incur large tax breaks to offset their earnings. SMBs are in a delicate situation in that they need to balance salaries, company expansion, and miscellaneous overhead costs to the need to buy new equipment. Often times new equipment takes a back seat. So CDW IT Monitor, SMBs not buying new equipment, but will maintain their current infrastructure. Big whoop.

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There are a lot of definitions of efficiency, but I think my personal favorite is,” the ratio of output to input in any system.” If what you get is close to the amount of what you put in its efficient.

Energy efficiency is therefore the ratio between the amount of work produced and the amount of energy needed. When it comes to data centers there are a few extra incentives.

The most obvious is power is money. Not only does power cost, but the cost of power is rising and has been doing so for years. I remember an interview I did was Superb Hosting’s CEO Haralds Jass. This was a while ago, early 2000s I believe and back then he said the biggest problem will be power… and he was right.

The second incentive may not be obvious but it is self-evident to those who operate large amounts of IT equipment; the need to produce more work is also escalating.

I already have an article in the works for WebHostMagazine.com on the best practices of energy reduction.. and its quite lengthy; I have been meaning to make it smaller but I just don’t have it in me… so I won’t go over that here. But there is one thing I want to talk about that I only seen 1 other writer talk about (A great piece of work by Lex Coors at DataCenter Journal entitled Data Center Efficiency – It’s in the Design) and that is customer support.

I am going to take customer support a little further however. Virtualization is a great technology to have, but what happens when you have to deal with dedicated server customers? They are not necessarily going to want to share their server with others and although some may have multiple websites on their server, they may not be open to the idea of virtualization the server up (they might think its too much of a hassle, etc). One of the main problems with energy use is under use by servers. Four idling servers are using up power that could probably be better served doing something else. A web server that only serves one site running, on average, three hours of intense resource use then goes to something like 20% system resources the other 21 hours is a waste.

Packet Power mentioned charging for power like you would bandwidth. A good idea but it too is missing something; the customer service end. If you want to fully realize not just less power waste and still have happy customers, I think power should be a sellable metric and I think this opens up the way for power usage consulting. Technical support teams will have to learn how to implement best practices for power usage and servers and, more importantly, pass this on to the user. Now you might say, if I am charging my customers for power, would I not want them to use as much as possible? True you might want to do that but remember that you may not be charging them for all the power their system uses. For instance you probably won’t be able to figure out exactly how much power it costs to cool that one server or the total power loss from the central power bay to the server. Also you can gain more money or good pr by offering your customers a means to talk to technicians who can squeeze high performance yields out of every ounce of energy.

When it comes to the best practices in saving power, in the Web Host industry, it is not about making sure your house is in order… its about making sure your house and your customer’s is in order.

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