The Planet: Web Hosting Meets Managed Services

The Planet: Web Hosting Meets Managed Services

The Planet
Imagine managing 14.1 million web sites, 57,000 Dell servers and the second largest number of Red Hat hosting licenses in the country.

Those are just a few of the jaw-dropping figures I heard while speaking with Carl Meadows, senior manager at The Planet -- a large managed hosting provider in Houston. More than a co-location company, The Planet is moving its six data centers toward software as a service (SaaS) and a range of managed services across Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows Server.

To get a feel for The Planet's managed services strategy, check out the company's Planet Northstar brand. The initiative includes managed security, monitoring, backup and storage, among other options.

Over time, I expect The Planet to both compete and cooperate with VARs and MSPs. Over the next few months, the company expects to launch SaaS intiatives around Microsoft Exchange and other mainstream applications. There are strong indications that The Planet's partners will be able to resell and re-brand those SaaS applications as their own.

Yesterday was my first chat with Meadows. But it reinforced my belief that data center providers are on a collision course with small managed service providers.

Consider the situation here at MSPmentor's parent -- Nine Lives Media Inc.: Our Web sites are our business. We depend on a hosting partner to manage, secure and back-up those systems all for a flat monthly fee. It's the first and most important bill we pay every month.

We don't have the need -- yet -- for a managed service provider that provides remote desktop support and related on-site services. But when we do have a need for those services, I wonder who come calling: A local VAR or our existing hosting partner?

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