While small businesses can get by with small Web hosts, large enterprises need the resources of large, multilocation Web hosts to keep their EAs (enterprise architectures) humming smoothly. An enterprise is typically distributed geographically, and it may well want parts of its Web business physically located near the corresponding parts of its bricks-and-mortar business. That's one reason to choose a large Web host with multiple data centers.
Another reason is the critical need for business continuity at large enterprises. A localized outage or regional disaster in one place should not shut down a global operation. Large Web hosts can quickly switch an enterprise's Web business to unaffected datacenters.
Customer service is another reason enterprises choose large Web hosts. Given their many Web operations, enterprises naturally have lots of questions and technical support needs. A Web host with a large customer service department is better able to handle the volume and sophistication of an enterprise's customer service needs.
Technological leadership is yet another reason to go with a large Web host. The latest server technology, facilities management techniques, security measures and "green" initiatives generally appear first at the big datacenters.
Enterprises can realize economies of scale by buying Web hosting services in high volume, but only if their Web host can handle the volume. With all that in mind, here are 8 of the largest Web hosting companies for enterprises:
1. Verio: Since 1996, Verio has been a leader in Web hosting. The company's global IP network is managed from a NOC (Network Operations Center) in Dallas. The company has nearly two dozen U.S. locations and presences in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and major Asian markets. As a subsidiary of Japanese giant NTT Communications, Verio's financial strength and stability are indubitable.
2. The Planet: The Planet serves more than 14.5 million Web sites from its six datacenters in Dallas and Houston, representing more than 25,000 businesses. Forty percent of The Planet's customers are located outside of North America. The company manages a total of 167,000 square feet of datacenter floorage, with another 86,000 square-foot colocation datacenter scheduled to open in May 2009. The Planet has 130-plus gigabits per second of transit network capacity to seven Tier 1 backbone networks and more than 500 employees.
3. Hostway Global Web Solutions: Launched in 1998, Hostway boasts more than 600,000 customers worldwide. It manages more than 250,000 square feet of datacenter space in 11 locations. Failsafe connectivity is assured by multiple OC-48, OC-12, and GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) connections to the Tier 1 Internet backbone providers. Hostway's better-known clients include Sony Music, JVC, Coca-Cola, McGraw-Hill, Bank of Montreal, Tribune Co., Hershey's Food Corp., Campbell Food, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Walt Disney Co., Infinity Broadcasting and Fox News.
4. 1&1 Internet: Since entering the U.S. market in 2004, 1&1 has become one of the top 10 Web hosting firms with nearly 8 million customers. The company has won dozens of "editor's pick" and "best of" awards for its economical Unix and Windows Web hosting services. Seven datacenters house more than 55,000 servers connected to a 30 Gbps private backbone network. The company has locations in Austria, France, Germany, the Philippines, Romania, Spain, the U.K. and Pennsylvania.
5. Rackspace: Founded in 1998 and based in San Antonio, Tex., Rackspace delivers enterprise-level managed services to more than 31,000 customers in eight datacenters worldwide. (Three datacenters are in Texas; another three in the U.K.; one is in Virginia; and one is in Hong Kong). Rackspace is a Microsoft Gold-Certified Hosting Partner and a Red Hat (Linux) Premier Hosting Partner. There are more than 2,000 employees (called "Rackers") around the world.
6. Glowhost: Founded in 2002, Glowhost hosts "tens of thousands of Web sites of all sizes" in the GNAX datacenter located on the Atlanta Internet Exchange, which means that servers are fed upstream and downstream from multiple Tier 1 network providers at the same time. Glowhost has won several "fastest growing" and "top 10" Web hosting awards from industry analysts. The company offers a monthly 99.9 percent uptime guarantee and a 60-day no-questions money-back guarantee to new customers.
7. Hosted Solutions: Specializing in managed Web hosting services, Hosted Solutions maintains and protects mission-critical, back-office IT systems and applications, enabling enterprises to reduce operating costs, lower risk of downtime, focus on core competencies and achieve business objectives. The company also offers dedicated and colocation hosting services. Five colocation datacenters are located Massachusetts and North Carolina.
8. ServerCentral: ServerCentral is a "managed data center solution provider" based in Chicago specializing in bandwidth-intensive colocation applications. ServerCentral's global footprint includes the DuPont Fabros CH1 datacenter facility in Elk Grove Village, Ill. The DF-CH1 datacenter provides ServerCentral the flexibility to facilitate high-density private cabinets and cages. ServerCentral's diverse-path fiber ring provides reliable and redundant connections to the company's backbone network. Other datacenters are located worldwide. Private cabinets are available for your equipment as well as cages. Prices for half-cabinets start at $849 per month. Full cabinets start at $1,599 per month.
For more information on Web hosting, visit the Hosting and Bandwidth Resource Center.
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