Sunday, March 26, 2006


I'm moderating a panel on Virtual Private Servers (VPS) at ISPCON in Baltimore in May. Jon Price and Denise Miller from the Golden Group lined up quite an impressive group for the session. We'll have (in alphabetical order)...

* Barbara Branaman from XO/Concentric Hosting (offers proprietary VPS solution)
* Christian Dawson from ServInt (offers Virtuozzo)
* Harry Hollines from Verio (offers proprietary VPS solution)
* Ted Smith from Peer1 (does not offer VPS solutions)

I have mixed feelings about VPSes... On one hand, server virtualization (whereby one physical web server is sub-divided into multiple isolated, independently operating virtual environments) maximizes efficiency and scalability; the benefits are indisputable. Still, during my time at EV1Servers ("EV1"), I had a somewhat challenging experience with SWSoft's Virtuozzo (the market leading software that powered 300,000 virtual environments as of the end of 2005).

In late 2004, EV1 rolled out a beta program where 100 resellers each received a free web server with free Virtuozzo licenses. A small number of companies generated significant end user interest and immediately deployed additional servers. At the same time, both EV1's and many resellers' technical staff found the Virtuozzo learning curve steeper than expected. In fact, quite a few customers abandoned their free servers because the project distracted their team from existing business.

I'm curious to hear how VPSes fit into our panelists' business plans. Is it making its way towards revolutionizing multi-user data centers? Will it render the individual web server obsolete as a unit or sale? Or will falling hardware prices undermine its relevance? Join us and find out!


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