Breadth of Expertise Defines ASP Start-up

By Amy Helen Johnson, Computerworld |  Software

Internet guru at technical book retailer Books24x7.com Inc. in Norwood, Mass., didn't have any hope of meeting the company's two-month deadline for launching a subscription-based e-commerce site with the five other engineers on hand.

Instead of making a swift -- and probably reckless -- personnel expansion, he opted for SiteHarbor, a Web site hosting and consulting service from NaviSite Inc. "They provided me with a lot of engineering expertise that we didn't have in-house," Warren says.

NaviSite is a "ping, power and pipe" managed-service provider with staff consultants and secure data centers in Andover, Mass., and San Jose [Technology, May 29]. CEO Joel B. Rosen says the company's key differentiator lies in its ability to provide more than the baseline locked-cabinet service of an equipment co- location service provider.

One-Stop Shopping

NaviSite rents Web applications and supports sophisticated technologies and processes such as database systems fail-over and e-commerce management. It also hosts events that have one-time peak-capacity needs and consults on scalable site development.

NaviSite Inc.

Location: 400 Minuteman Road, Andover, Mass. 01810

Telephone: (888) 298-8222

Web: www.navisite.com

The technology: Web site hosting and application service

Why it's worth watching: The company offers a wide range of application hosting services, providing one-stop shopping to its customers.

Company officer: Joel B. Rosen, CEO

Milestones: February 1997: Spun off from parent company, Andover, Mass.-based CMGI Inc. October 1999: Initial public offering (IPO) January 2000: Opened two data centers

Employees: 300; 80% annual growth predicted

Burn money: Raised $77 million in its IPO

Services/pricing: SiteHarbor hosting services; price is negotiable

Customers: Books24x7.com Inc., Dress Barn Inc. and AltaVista Co.

Partners: Microsoft Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Oracle Corp., Akamai Technologies Inc. and others

Red flags for IT: NaviSite has many competitors, so shop around before you buy. Sooner or later, the market will shake out. Will NaviSite's approach give it the edge it needs?

The full-service model was what attracted Warren. In addition to cost, level-of-service guarantees and geographical proximity, he made his decision based on the breadth of services offered.

NaviSite is one-stop shopping, he says. The types of expertise Warren tapped included help setting up a Cisco LocalDirector load-balancing appliance and general advice on using SQL databases.

But Warren acknowledges that if he was in a larger company with more internal skills and less reliance on outside experts, he might not have gone with NaviSite.

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