And hosters that don't yet offer a complete suite of managed services are scrambling to provide them. For example:
Exodus, the industry leader known for its collocation services, is talking up its list of managed services. "We offered monitoring right from the day the company started collocation services in 1996," says Prabakar Sundarrajan, vice president of technology. "We have been expanding on it ever since. It's really second nature to the business."
Verio plans to open seven to 10 new data centers this year to offer more sophisticated services to customers. These centers will feature shared, dedicated and collocation hosting as well as managed services. Verio, which focuses on small to midsize businesses, is now part of NTT Communications, a Japanese telecommunications company and ISP. "What we find is more and more customers are looking for very sophisticated telco/data centers," says Doug Schneider, president of Web services at Verio. "NTT allows us to invest in the business at a much greater rate than we could have in the past."
GlobalCenter, the Web-hosting arm of Global Crossing, plans to add a variety of managed services in the next six to 12 months, says Derek Chang, co-chief operating officer and chief financial officer. "You'll see a breadth and depth of products that will position us to serve our customers' complex needs," Chang says.
In September, Exodus placed a bid to buy GlobalCenter in a $6.9 billion stock deal. GlobalCenter will increase Exodus' customer base and data center locations more than it will give Exodus additional high-end managed services, Giga's Yaffe says.
- In early September, WorldCom bought Intermedia for $6 billion because of its 55% majority stake in Digex. WorldCom wants to add Digex's managed services to UUNET's ISP business.
Ultimately, hosters want to be seen as another utility that provides on-demand services. The idea is that you'll be able to call your hoster to order more storage, for example, and have it available in less than one hour.
"We are all looking at how we can deliver certain parts of the hosting service in a utility approach," says Mitch Ferro, director of hosting products for UUNET. The company is developing on-demand services for things such as storage and Web servers, which it plans to unveil in the next six months. "It will get our customers to market much more quickly, but also our customers can scale their sites much more quickly," he says.