HOSTSEARCH: Dustin, thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to talk with you today.
DUSTIN WRIGHT: My pleasure :-)
HOSTSEARCH: First of all, how did you come up with the Mac Mini World business model? There aren't many Mac web hosting providers out there.
DUSTIN WRIGHT: I first discovered the enormous potential of the mac mini after using it as a media center in my house. I started using it to backup computers remotely, store files, and develop applications all while streaming music and video to my television. The mini always seemed to just work. The best part of the mini as a media center is the lack of noise. This in part comes from Apple being an industry leader in eco-friendly computers.
Another major reason to use a mac mini is power consumption. I came to find out that the mac mini only uses 11W when ideal, making it one of the most energy efficient computers on the market. Having worked in the data center business for over 12 years, power consumption is a real concern.
This got me thinking... How many corporations are hosting relatively small sites, mail, and databases using 1100W Quad Xeon servers? How many can be converted over use the mac mini platform?
HOSTSEARCH: Why Mac Mini, not Mac OS X Server?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: I think its important to take a moment and differentiate between Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server. The biggest differences are the application which come pre-installed, not the core OS. Both core operating systems is still based on the rock solid UNIX platform. The mac mini originally came with only the standard OS X software, which left users to do some customizations between rolling a hosted solution out.
This all changed when Apple released the "mac mini server", which features redudant hard drives and an unlimited license copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server. Since then -- mac mini world only sells the mac mini server for dedicated hosting customers. We still accept the normal mac mini with our co-location service.
Apple sells a high-end server called "XServe" which, while extremely powerful, is complete overkill for most applications. Now that the mac mini server comes with redundant disks and the server operating system we believe the it makes the mini makes more sense for most customers. Infact many customers are now converting from older XServe systems to the new Mac Mini Server platform.
HOSTSEARCH: What do people do if they want to put their Mac Mini on your data center?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: Our process is both personal and simple. You fill out the sign-up form on our website and someone will immediately contact you to work out shipping logistics. If you select to purchase a mini, or rent a dedicated server we'll provision the unit within 72 hours and e-mail you security credentials. We love new customers and make every effort to customers setup as soon as possible.
HOSTSEARCH: What is your primary market, dedicated server or co-location?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: We tend to sell more dedicated servers then co-location. This is a result of our aggressive dedicated server pricing which helps us stand out from the competition.
HOSTSEARCH: What level of support do you provide?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: Mac Mini World is offers unmanaged servers which means users are expected to maintain their own solution. Thanks to Apple's fantastic user interface, most customers do no need our support. In the event you need a mac expert, we offer very reasonable support rates.
HOSTSEARCH: How does the maintenance of Mac servers differ from Windows and UNIX?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: Knock on wood, but we have not experienced a single hardware related failure in our first year of business. Other resources are reporting hundred unit + deployments with almost no failure rate in 5 years. I believe this high reliability can be attributed to the physical design of the mini and the quality of components used by Apple. In an environment of 50 UNIX / Windows beige box servers I lost 8 hard disks in a single month. Software updates & data backups are handled by the operating system making many administrative tasks automatic and transparent.
HOSTSEARCH: Do you have a plan to expand the coverage of your products and services beyond Mac Mini?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: Yes, we intend to offer Apple time capsule hosting in the near future.
HOSTSEARCH: What can we expect to see from Mac Mini World in 2010?
DUSTIN WRIGHT: We have big plans and are hoping 2010 will be a break out year for Mac Mini World. We're beginning to develop a new website and intend to open a new data center within the next six months. We expect roll-out time capsule hosting in the near future as well. Our goal with the new data center will be to experiment with green and off-the-grid hosting solutions.
HOSTSEARCH: It's a great opportunity talking with you today Dustin. We hope to talk with you again soon.
DUSTIN WRIGHT: Anytime!