February was another excellent month for web hosting - plenty going on! It was a month when HostSearch joined forces with other industry leaders to support ITEI - take a look at this month's interviews for more! It was also a month when a survey suggested green issues no longer dominate data center managers in an environment where people have to save costs. Yes, there is a drive for efficiency, but it's driven by immediate need rather than moral concerns for the planet's well being. Odd thing is that efficiency drives are likely to have a very positive impact on the environment, and it makes you wonder whether this financial crisis is actually driven by Mother Earth herself in a bid to restore balance! Of course, efficiency drives are one well to help in times of financial downturn, but there are other things to do as well. Memset MD Kate Craig-Wood offered web hosts advice on how to survive the economic downturn in February, and she should know a thing or two on the topic.
In a more traditional mind set, Microsoft showed it is just as good as it's web hosting customers when it comes to offering a decent promotion. In February Microsoft became a serious hosting option with a free domain name and hosting offer - not just for the mom and pop hosts these types of promotions... now mega-corporations are getting in the act!
Being Super Bowl month, we can't get away without mentioning that promotion machine, Go Daddy. Its Super Bowl commercial was the "most-watched" and according to some (AdWeek critic Barb Lippert) "lower than Go Daddy's usual low." Well, as Oscar Wilde once said: "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about". However, in a decision designed to "shake the advertising community to its core", Domain.com said "No" to Super Bowl ads. True to their word, the entire Super Bowl took place with a complete absence of Domain.com advertising! Amazing stuff!
Also, kudos to voice and broadband Internet provider Cbeyond in February for shutting down "Wife-beaters.com" - a website dedicated to men who beat their wives and feel violence is a virtue in a man. The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step, and Cbeyond have done that... Let's hope others follow and help turn the Internet into what it should be.
Good to see Rackspace had better Q4 results than expected - great to know that hosts are weathering the financial storm. Things might not be as bad as they seem - there were plenty of people expanding in February. MarbleHost.com introduced multiple data center hosting, Webfusion opened a new UK data center, Netcetera addressed London's lack of server space, Teraco opened South Africa's first vendor neutral data center, and Hosted Solutions opened a new office to meet customer demand. Also good to see awards awarded and milestones met in February! Hosted Solutions CEO was named 'Business Leader of the Year' and UltraQuantix was accredited to the Better Business Bureau.
February also saw the Cloud continue to grow, but not without problems. 3Tera, Inc. announced general availability of release 2.4 of its AppLogic Cloud Computing Platform, Right Servers said it would launch new grid hosting services, leveraging AppLogic, and Netcetera offered a Cloud computing option. However, the first 'storm' as far as the Cloud is concerned - Platform-as-a-Service provider Coghead closed down leaving a large number of customers high and dry!
Good to see plenty of partnerships forming in February and plenty of contracts won, too. Network Redux was chosen to host a browser-based game platform, Spiderhost and Smart City formed a partnership, Leaseweb became a VMware partner, and Aplus.net partnered with PRWeb. Infrenion partnered with Bitmoov, HostMySite.com and Applicure partnered on dotDefender, and Warecorp announced it would provide Soapblox hosting and development services. In addition, NaviSite partnered with EdgeCast Networks, Webdatamation partnered with Sitecore, Helix Development joined the R1Soft hosting partner program, R1Soft and Hostway extended its partnership,
British web host Xtraordinary hosting provided Lodger Footwear with Magento Hosting Services.
Also, good to see that despite survey results, people were still keen on green. ServInt met its green goals for 2008, Fasthosts launched a green initiative, and the German Environment Ministry mentioned EvoSwitch as an example of an energy-efficient data center. Also, changes in the world of domains. Easyspace launched an 'indefinite reduction' on domain names, .ME domains met a major milestone with 200,000 now registered, and Easyspace launched the .TEL domain name extension.
Of course, to stay ahead of the curve, many companies enhanced their offerings in February. UK2 Group launched a VPS.NET beta trial, Gigenet offered R1Soft Continuous Data Protection (CDP), as did Layered Technologies, ReliableSite deployed Juniper hardware firewalls to boost security, The Planet added ecarlist to its dedicated hosting platform, Fasthosts offered a free reseller account, NaviSite expanded its dedicated hosting offerings with a Parallels Plesk Panel 9.0 and Parallels Plesk Billing 6.0 Bundle, and online website builder provider Webeden.co.uk integrated Google Maps into its offerings. In addition, many host brought in new products to stay ahead of the pack. KickAssVPS.com was first to roll out Windows Server 2008 VPS hosting, Fpweb.net offered SharePoint design and development services, NetHosted launched UK VPS hosting, Newtek Technology Services introduced TechExec for Resellers, HostMySite.com offered a VIP Personalized Service, and managed hosting provider Fpweb.net offered Blackberry services for shared Exchange hosting. In addition, Flexihostings.net launched a new website and 100% uptime guarantee, and Limestone Networks announced new Intel Xeon-based servers. Finally, the lifeblood of web hosting, although fewer than usual, there were also plenty of promotions in February. Flexihostings decided to lower its profit margins, Host Color announced a promotion for Valentine's Day, Surpass Hosting marketed its third annual 'One Love One-Dollar' promotion, and The Planet announced promotions for hosting resellers.
As we said, another decent month in web hosting!!!