HOSTSEARCH: Richard, thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to talk with you today. Can you please tell us briefly about your background?
RICHARD LINGSCH: I started my career with the IT Consulting division of Deloitte and Touche. The work was an intense and compressed laboratory for learning about business and technology. The experience gave me insight into the many challenges faced by large enterprises in their efforts to use information technology effectively.
HOSTSEARCH: Can you tell us a bit about the history of eApps Hosting?
RICHARD LINGSCH: eApps Hosting was founded in 1986 as Strategic Systems Consulting, Inc. by myself and two associates at Deloitte and Touche. We performed the same consulting services as before, except the business card had our company name on it. By 1991 I bought out my two partners and moved the company into doing software development in addition to management consulting projects. We were swept up in the Dot Com boom of the late 1990s and when the bottom fell out, turned to our fledgling web hosting operation. The eApps.com Hosting division was started in 1996 primarily because we couldn’t find a suitable hosting provider for the high end applications that we were developing. At the nadir of the crash we decided to take a fork in the road. We discontinued our consulting and development operation and put all of our energy into building a hosting business. Within a few short years we had over 5,000 customers and were known for our application hosting expertise.
HOSTSEARCH: It's interesting that eApps Hosting has been in the web hosting business for such a long time. What were the factors that made eApps successful in this industry?
RICHARD LINGSCH: In 1996 most hosting providers were doing “web page” hosting. We were doing “web application” hosting and did everything we could to provide an outstanding service for web developers, primarily Java developers. The developers really appreciated our approach. The word got out and they found us from all over the world. Today, in addition to our strong US market we have customers in over 125 countries with a strong presence in Canada, UK, India, Brazil, Australia, and are probably the largest web hosting provider for the country of Nigeria. We have expanded beyond Java hosting and now support all of the primary programming environments for Linux and Windows, but even now our application focus is a differentiator.
HOSTSEARCH: Could you give us an overview of eApps Hosting's services?
RICHARD LINGSCH: Our flagship offering is our Virtual Machine in the Cloud service. This is a Xen virtual machine running on the OnApp cloud management system. We believe that our approach provides the best of both worlds - VPS and Cloud. Using the eApps Create-a-Cloud® tool, our customers can create their own allocation of computing resources for the VM, and adjust them easily at any time with immediate effect. Customers have a known, recurring bill - no surprises at the end of the month. The Cloud platform is extremely reliable and offers outstanding performance. We bundle in an excellent control panel, ISPmanager, and provide easy access to a library of applications for which we provide an extra level of free support, including Tomcat, JBoss, GlassFish, Liferay Portal, and popular database and CMS applications. For higher end needs we also offer economical load balancing and VPN services.
HOSTSEARCH: As your company supports JBoss 7 Java Application Server runs on the CentOS 6 operating system, what are the advantages to the customers using this service?
RICHARD LINGSCH: Our relationship with JBoss goes way back. JBoss.org was founded in our home town of Atlanta. We provided hosting services to them in the early days and had a relationship with the founder and other leaders of JBoss.org prior to the sale of their business to Red Hat. Prior to JBoss 7, we were somewhat disappointed with the application server. They seemed to lose their way a bit. However, with JBoss 7, they are clearly back. The latest version is powerful, lean and fast. We are hearing a lot of good things about it and are excited to see them regain their form. As for CentOS 6, of course it is the open source deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This is a solid, mission grade OS.
HOSTSEARCH: eApps Hosting had just opened the Richmond, VA Data Center for Cloud Hosting. Can you please tell us more about this?
RICHARD LINGSCH: Our data center partner is Quality Technology Services, Inc., the third largest data center operator in the US. We started with them in 2005 and have had an excellent relationship. Their growth over the years is quite impressive. It made sense for us to open our next location in a QTS data center. QTS’s Richmond facility is an amazing world class data center. We need the space for expansion, but also have other plans. With the opening of this location we can now offer off site data storage, hosting recovery, and load balancing services that require a separate physical location.
HOSTSEARCH: As the president of eApps Hosting, how do you see web hosting trend going?
RICHARD LINGSCH: This industry makes your head spin, but that’s what is exciting about it. We all know about the major trends - industry consolidation and the growing power of big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others. But our industry represents capitalism at its finest. The big players can achieve economies of scale but anyone can compete with the right tools and approach to service. We are very excited to be associated with some vendors, the primary one being OnApp, that not only give us the tools to compete but have a pricing model that allows us to match our expenses to revenues. With great technologies, motivated staff, favorable cost structures, and a customer first business approach we can compete with the big boys. I actually fear government interference more than big competitors. The recent trend toward more regulation of the Internet and efforts to make hosting providers responsible for their customer’s content is a real threat to our industry. I don’t plan to retire any time soon and just hope to get past that stage when governments intensify their efforts to “help” users of the Internet.
HOSTSEARCH: What technology do you think has a big impact on hosting industry today?
RICHARD LINGSCH: Well, Cloud seems to be just another name for the Internet so we can go past that one. There is a lot going on in the areas of security, reliability, and maintaining service levels. These are all important. But what fascinates me are the “game changer” things. OnApp’s CDN service is an example. CDN was primarily a big game - big providers and big buyers. The business model just wasn’t there for small players to buy and sell CDN. OnApp’s CDN federation changes that. This opens an entire new market and is a great example of Austrian-American economist Schumpeter’s “creative destruction,” which is going on continuously in our industry. OnApp is also attempting the same thing with their cheap, incremental mass storage system. Large scale SANs are obscenely expensive and complex and OnApp is trying to change the rules of the game. This is one to watch also.
HOSTSEARCH: What can eApps Hosting customers expect in 2012? Do you have a plan for any new lines of services?
RICHARD LINGSCH: We have two major initiatives underway. The first is a more powerful and economical backup service using R1Soft’s Continuous Data Protection (CDP) software. The second is our entry into CDN services. Both of these projects are well underway. In the future we expect to offer private cloud services and possibly a usage based Cloud service similar to AWS but we have enough on our plate at the moment.
HOSTSEARCH: Well, we look forward to see your success in the coming years. Thanks again for giving us an opportunity to talk with you today.
RICHARD LINGSCH: My pleasure, and on behalf of every one at eApps Hosting I thank you for the opportunity to offer my thoughts.