February 20, 2003
Colo on eBay
Is an online auction an effective way to sell colocation services? A small number of providers are selling colo through eBay, an effort that prompted some surprise last week on the ISP-Colo mailing list. "Wow, I've seen it all now," said one poster. In fact, while selling colo through online auctions may be unconventional, at least one recognized firm, Hurricane Electric, has been doing it for more than two years. Other companies who have recently sold colocation space on eBay include ValueTech, and RaQport.
"It's a new channel," said Benny Ng, director of marketing for Hurricane Electric, which has been providing online services since 1994. "Why not exploit it? Being a company that has been in business for over 9 years and profitable for every quarter, its a given that you have to be smart about the way you do things. If there is another channel that we see appropriate, we'll use that one too."
Hurricane is currently offering space in its new data center facility in Fremont, Calif.
Auctions can be structured with a reserve price to control a seller's downside pricing risk. Some colo sellers, such as RaQport, forego the auction process and use eBay's online store program to offer products at a "Buy it Now" price.
Does it work? "I like to think that those who use eBay are 'educated' buyers," noted one ISP-Colo participant who had sold through eBay. "When we did it, we didn't get bargain basement (pricing). The clients pay on time and don't really bother us."
February 13, 2003
C&W In Spotlight
Lost in the flurry of headlines about a possible takeover bid for Cable & Wireless was renewed speculation about the fate of the company's US operations. The management changes at C&W and confusion about the interest of Hong Kong's PCCW have dominated the media coverage in recent weeks. But a story Sunday in The Guardian raised the prospect that the company's chairman has decided to revisit the November restructuring of the C&W Global unit.
According to the Guardian story, C&W's new chairman Richard Lapthorne is exploring the dismantling of C&W Global. "It is clear that he has already thrown out the reorganization plan that the board agreed at the end of last year," one analyst told the paper.
If you work for or with Cable & Wireless, you're probably used to reading worrisome rumors in the British financial press. Much of the speculation in the UK papers prior to the November retrenchment proved to be exagerrated. Not that those cuts weren't painful - the company decided to close 12 US data centers acquired from Exodus, and lay off 12,500 workers - but early reports had C&W exiting the US altogether.
Now those rumors are back, along with all the other rumors about potential bidders and potential CEOs. Stirred together, it's an interesting mix. Just take it with a grain of salt.
February 06, 2003
The Availability.com web site has just released a special feature on high-availability data centers. It includes research and articles from The Uptime Institute, Rackspace, IBM, EMC, Hitachi and the Availability.com staff. There's a lot of info and advice on best practices, particularly regarding cooling and efficient environment management within a data center. If you're involved in planning, designing or operating data centers, this package is worth a look.
February 05, 2003
No Money Down
I'm not sure if Carleton Sheets ever bought a data center. But current industry conditions have made it possible for providers in some markets to expand without paying cash for facilities. An example is ZooLink, a Vancouver, British Columbia hosting company that has acquired two finished Internet data centers by assuming the leases, with no cash changing hands.
This week ZooLink announced the acquisition of a former PSINet data center in Vancouver, which follows a similar deal last fall for a data center in Calgary. Both centers are less than 10,000 square feet, according to Zoolink's Samatha Haynes, who said that in each case the company paid no cash, but assumed the lease. ZooLink had always offered hosting, but began focusing on opportunities in the data center sector early in 2002.
"We are executing our acquisition strategy and meeting our goals in the time frame we have set," said Ali Shawkat, ZooLinks President & CEO. "We will continue to expand aggressively into the colocation marketplace while providing a growing suite of managed services to our customers, concurrent with the implementation of our new business model.
ZooLink started in 1998 focused on the wireless sector, and now offers wired and wireless broadband Internet services, managed Web-hosting services and managed data center services. The company says it has developed a franchise approach that seeks to " identify, acquire, convert and operate Intelligent Data Centers to transform them into profitable business units in Canada and the US."