Hostway: Bridging the Microsoft-Cloud Computing Gap

April 12, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Robin Wilding

Chicago’s own Hostway has bridged the gap between Microsoft, cloud computing and open source software—while providing previously unavailable enterprise-grade toolsets to the small to medium business space. Hostway’s new software FlexCloud uses software powerhouse Microsoft’s WebMatrix developing tools to create a flexible cloud-based toolset for small to medium businesses to use to create advanced functioning websites.

Hostway solidified their relationship with Microsoft recently when they were named a Gold Certified Partner from Microsoft, a solid step for the Chicago-born company.  This new suite of tools for developers incorporates Microsoft’s enterprise technology into a cloud computing solution, a solution that is hosted by Hostway.

FlexCloud software is expected to save over $2 million annually by cutting IT deployment and maintenance costs.  Hostway was able to shave 1,000 man hours off of their server deployment times by using Microsoft’s enterprise level data center software Hyper-V, and they are now passing this technology gain on to small- and medium-sized businesses that would never be able to deploy services of that grade on their own.  This new technology allows companies to arrive to market sooner with new and innovative web solutions previously unavailable the non-enterprise space.

Cloud computing has become the biggest trend in IT and the hosting market is expected to balloon over the next decade. Hostway’s FlexCloud capitalizes on the upcoming cloud trend by giving small to medium businesses an enterprise-class toolset, on a hosted platform. Never before has this business space had access to enterprise software from Microsoft and been able to host it in datacenters far away.

In addition to being hosted, FlexCloud is a scalable solution that can grow or shrink with the needs of today’s businesses. FlexCloud offers up not only Microsoft’s WebMatrix as a toolset, but also the tools available by many of today’s open source applications. Since Microsoft is not known for developing platforms for open source software (free software based on published source code) the invention of FlexCloud has done wonders by creating a platform that integrates both Microsoft’s enterprise-grade tools with the tools available for free by many open source companies.

With WebMatrix and FlexCloud companies can install the software in minutes and begin developing high-quality software based on pre-installed images including WordPress, DotNetNuke, and Joomla!.  Todd Benjamin, VP of Enterprise Hosting for Hostway believes that “users can create server instances from their own or our pre-published library of images, significantly reducing the time, effort, and cost to launch fully-functional applications in the cloud.”

The use of FlexCloud with WebMatrix will streamline the coding, testing, and deployment processes—enabling Hostway customers to create web projects on demand. The ability to host the software and projects on Hostway servers means that clients can delete, update and create new projects as necessary, without any constraints from physical resources.

FlexCloud’s hosted solutions are guaranteed 100% uptime due to the data center redundancy available through Hostway, with their load-balancing work flows, and their hosted storage solutions. The reliability of their services ensures that all Hostway customers will receive reliable access to their information, along with an enterprise-grade toolset to build with.
To make web management easier for smaller companies unaccustomed to dealing with resource-consuming web design FlexCloud gives users a simple dashboard with which they can manage multiple cloud-based projects hosted by Hostway.

Hostway Corporation provides hosting services to over 2 million customers, which includes over 600,000 websites.  They also employ over 700 people, most of who are in the Chicago area. Their 250,000 square foot data center allows them to host all their customers’ information virtually, with on-demand access and 100% uptime due to roll-over contingencies. The successful Chicago company currently boasts over 11,000 servers, with 200 to 400 new servers being added monthly.

Hostway recently earned their IT-world stripes when they were awarded the coveted Gold Certified Partner from Microsoft. Their newest FlexCloud software is based on Microsoft’s Hyper-V Datacenter software for cloud computing solutions, Microsoft’s top-of-the-line product for state of the art data centers.

Hostway’s decision to employ Hyper-V was a calculated one as the company can now host both Windows and Linux based software and applications—something becoming increasingly important in today’s mixed developing world.

Hostway’s success with this project lies in that they are able to give their customers corporate enterprise level functionalities that require no on-site hardware. Hostway’s pricing model gives Robin Hood-like access with their pricing model, as it is flexible and incorporates an automatic price protection guarantee. For anyone unfamiliar with the cloud pricing model, this is essentially pay as you go pricing for high-reliability enterprise-class services.

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