Web Hosting Interview - LeaseWeb August 2010

Web Hosting Interview - LeaseWeb August 2010

Con Zwinkels, managing director of LeaseWeb

HostSearch interviewed Con Zwinkels, managing director of LeaseWeb - an international hosting provider based in The Netherlands with more than 30,000 servers online.

  • HOSTSEARCH: Mr. Zwinkels, thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk with you today. HostSearch and LeaseWeb are about the same age. How did you start LeaseWeb back in 1997? I remembered there were only a couple of hundred hosting companies at that time.
    CON ZWINKELS: I started the company together with my business partner Laurens Rosenthal. We began our hosting service offerings in 1997 having just one server available. Of course, at that time, the hosting market was not as crowded as it is today. Over the following years, the amount of LeaseWeb servers in the market increased drastically. This is because we chose to be on top of the hosting value chain, in a wholesale position, with resellers needing our services to serve multiple clients.

    To be successful as a wholesale hosting provider you definitely need to have a high quality network in place, with superior uptime and plenty of bandwidth available. This ensures clients are always able to expand their web environments at any time, even when they have sudden peaks in their internet traffic. That is why we have invested heavily in a network of our own from the beginning and we reinvested every dime we earned to make sure the network would be of extreme top quality.

    At this moment our clients still profit from those early investments, with a truly worldwide network; a superb uptime of 99.999 percent; and more than 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) of bandwidth or more than one trillion bits per second available, with lots of overcapacity. Ongoing investments in our network give LeaseWeb clients a guarantee for high availability hosting in the future.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What have been your successful records from then (1997) until now (2010)?
    CON ZWINKELS: Our most successful record has been the set-up, back in 2000, of our top quality hosting network, with a very redundant architecture and superb uptime. Many clients really appreciate our architectural achievements.

    Another milestone within LeaseWeb history has been the acquisition of a very large carbon neutral data center environment of our own, based in the Amsterdam area. With these investments, LeaseWeb clients have a guarantee that they can always expand their IT infrastructure, such as data center space and/or energy intensive high density hosting solutions.

    Overall, since 1997 we managed to grow our organization year on year with spectacular growth figures. Having our superb price/quality ratio as a unique selling point, we managed to boost the amount of dedicated servers in our network to more than 30,000, having more than 1 Tbps of bandwidth available. To make sure the strong growth of our organization would happen in a thoroughly structured manner, we have been implementing several standards and procedures. These include ISO 27001 certification for information security and ISO 9001 for quality management systems. These standards have been officially audited by external auditing professionals.

    It's good to see that our successful records are also recognised as such by the outside world. LeaseWeb, as part of Ocom Group, has been listed twice already in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50. Also, our hosting network has been tested by independent organizations, as well as by many clients with web environments, which are mission critical to their business operations. These LeaseWeb clients all recognise and appreciate the superb uptime of our network, with a long term average of 99.999 percent. The proof of our success is also in the names of our clients, with well-known enterprises and internet oriented brands like Heineken, Wikipedia, Starbucks, Kaspersky Lab, Twenga, GarageTV, Internethaber.com, Akilli.tv, and Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
  • HOSTSEARCH: LeaseWeb has an R&D team within its organization. How important is 'innovation' to LeaseWeb?
    CON ZWINKELS: Innovation is the key to the LeaseWeb proposition of having and maintaining a superb price/quality ratio for our hosting services. To deliver first class hosting at very competitive prices, our products and processes really have to be organized in the best possible manner.  We all know energy costs have become an increasingly major factor in hosting. That's why we are forced to take action on this. Considering the size of our server park, the slightest reduction in energy use would allow us to obtain significant cost savings for our clients. With lots of reselling clients relying on the quality and pricing of our services, R&D and therefore 'innovation' is an integral part of our efforts and value proposition in the market.
  • HOSTSEARCH: You've put lots of R&D efforts into green hosting. Can you please tell us more about it?
    CON ZWINKELS: Our R&D investments into innovative technologies have enabled us to achieve energy savings of up to 50 percent. Thanks to further investments in an extremely energy-efficient dedicated server environment, in collaboration with Dell and Microsoft, we will be able to increase these saving figures to up to 90 percent in the future.

    Our extremely energy efficient dedicated server environment is currently in the beta stage. This innovative server set-up includes a cooling solution that uses Free Cooling (cooling with outside air) and Cold Aisle Containment (separating hot and cold air). Although these ways of cooling are not new, but our design of the total solution is a very different approach from what is common in the market. Traditional cooling methods, utilized by most data centers are very energy wasteful. With our approach, cooling equipment and data center environmental control systems are specifically designed to utilize the minimum energy necessary to provide required equipment cooling. We have also chosen extremely energy-efficient server equipment for this R&D project that has been specifically programmed and tuned to the cooling system. The result is a dedicated server environment that allows the compressor to remain fully switched off throughout the whole year, providing an optimal Free Cooling environment.
  • HOSTSEARCH: With servers in several data centers, what does LeaseWeb do to solve energy issues within the data center environment?
    CON ZWINKELS: We do not own all of the data center space we have available. In some data centers we have been renting private suites to serve our clients. In the past we have informed and helped some of these data centers to make energy saving investments in order to meet our high standards for energy-efficiency. However, the data center space we do own is extremely energy efficient due to our R&D investments.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What does cloud computing mean to LeaseWeb?
    CON ZWINKELS: We first concentrated on the development of virtualization products based on VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen and Virtuozzo. In the meantime, numerous LeaseWeb customers have successfully implemented a virtual hosting solution within our data center environments, with very flexible and scalable hosting solutions as a result. Cloud computing is a very important technology to LeaseWeb and its customers. It will increase the availability and scalability of hosting environments.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What proposition and/or plans does LeaseWeb have itself?
    CON ZWINKELS: We currently have a VMware based private cloud solution available. We plan to expand our offerings in the near future. I think a public cloud offering will ultimately be part of our proposition and facilitate our web hosting offerings. For now, however, we will stick to offering private cloud solutions only.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What can we expect from LeaseWeb in 2011?
    CON ZWINKELS: We will expand our already broad hosting product portfolio with new offerings based on client expectations and requests. High-bandwidth customers will profit from our brand new CDN offering. We expect to see the results of our international acquisition efforts, with the LeaseWeb brand expanded throughout the world by the acquisition of other hosting organizations. We are very critical buyers, however, and we are looking for likeminded companies.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Mr. Zwinkels, we look forward to seeing your success.
    CON ZWINKELS: Thanks for your interest in us. You will certainly notice the results of LeaseWeb's further success in the market, on a global scale.

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