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Remote and Local Data Protection with Rapid Systems Recovery

March 7th, 2012

Over the next few weeks, Hosting.com will BETA launch our Enterprise Backup solution to provide remote and local data protection and rapid disaster recovery.  We are excited to announce this flexible, innovative solution and help our customers feel confident their critical information is always there.

I encourage you to take a look at the product summary below and our website to learn more.

Summary: The Enterprise Backup solution provides local backup from the Newark, Louisville, Denver, and Irvine data centers and also provides remote backup from all other Hosting.com data centers or customer premises. Users are in complete control of system restores, file downloads, and historical data through the Hosting.com Customer Portal making recovery simple and information easily accessible.

If you’d like to discuss your backup needs in further detail, please feel free to email or call me.

Regards,

Derek Leslie
Product Manager | Hosting.com | Denver
Office
: (720) 389-3815
DLeslie@Hosting.com
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Ensure Your Web Application is Always Available

January 13th, 2012

We recently released Remote Synthetic Transaction Monitoring (Remote STM) – a key web application and performance monitoring capability – to ensure your web solutions are always available. We recognize that application availability is critical to your business and your bottom line.

A single hiccup with a web application can result in lost sales, customer dissatisfaction and a damaged reputation. Remote Synthetic Transaction Monitoring replicates and monitors an end user’s actions when they visit your web-accessible application. Steps are defined to monitor areas that are important and can impact the bottom line, such as the shopping cart section of an e-commerce site.

Additional validation can be performed to ensure content a user is supposed to see by design, is served to that user. Automated alerts are emailed to your administrators if any of these monitoring checks are violated.

Remote STM is an ideal fit for ANY customer who has a website, such as retail, auction, and community collaboration sites, as well as sites requiring a log in procedure. The service is a cost effective way to monitor web content and prevent disruption to your end user experience and business.

Key Benefits

  • Identify Issues Before Your Customers
    Prevent downtime and preserve customer loyalty.
  • Replicate and Monitor Your End User’s Actions
    Flexibility to monitor different areas of your site and to be alerted when an issue arises.
  • Affordable Monthly Price
    Your applications are monitored for less than a traditional in-house solution.
  • Remote Monitoring
    Provides availability monitoring outside of the hosted datacenter.

Features

  • Define monitoring with up to 10 steps
  • Monitor intervals available in 2 or 5 minutes
  • Receive email alerts if site becomes unavailable or performance degrades
  • Customer Portal access to real time availability and performance metrics
  • Ideal for monitoring e-commerce and SaaS applications

For more information, visit the Remote Synthetic Transaction Monitoring product page.



Another exciting year

December 17th, 2011

From: Adam C. Greenfield (Senior Product Manager)

Every year around this time I find myself reflecting on what has going on this year and I wanted to share some of my thoughts. As always, technology has continued to evolve rapidly in some very exciting ways. Very importantly to me, I see so many people using this technology to solve business problems in ways we couldn’t have imagined 12 months ago.

While the term “cloud” has been diluted to include everything from scalable infrastructure services to on-line photo editing many businesses took steps to leverage these technologies to provide value to their organizations and end users. Every day businesses find the balance between delivering on their core values and using innovative technology and services to do so more efficiently than ever before.

One of our big focuses for this year has been delivering highly resilient services to keep our customers businesses running smoothly. Availability continues to be a top focus and many of our behind the scenes efforts (in both process and technology) have kept that in the front of our minds. This year brought our Critical Availability Service to the forefront offering expertise, best practices, and advice to customers looking to protect their systems as well as a world class Service Level Agreement protecting your application end to end.

This year we started down another related path as well. We invested heavily in providing new recovery services that extended application availability improvements beyond single facilities. We’ve worked in close co-operation with our key technology partners to build a menu of services to provide application redundancy between physical locations. Today it is easier than ever for a Hosting.com customer to have their application protected and running in two of our facilities thousands of miles apart.

Another exciting addition to our services is that we have several new offerings targeted at protecting workload from outside production sites to our facilities. New technology has made it possible to maintain levels of protection that had previously only been realistic for the very largest organizations.

As I look to the next year, we are looking at making substantial investments in our existing platforms. Refining, improving, and responding to the feedback we get from our customers to make our services even better. I’ll close by saying thank you to our customers; we appreciate the trust you place in us to keep your critical applications running every day. We also appreciate the feedback you provide and look forward to a very exciting 2012!



Customer Portal Enhancements

October 26th, 2011

Hosting.com Engineering group is always looking for improvements on the overall experience and user satisfaction. Based on your feedback we are happy to present some of the new changes to our Customer Portal (https://customer.hosting.com).

Clean Design


Customer Invoice Detail View

The new Portal design is simpler and direct. The information is organized to provide a logical order and easy ability to navigate, making it fast to find what you are looking for. Some new design elements like colors, typography, consistence and cross-browser compatibility were also considered to provide a more user friendly experience.

Navigation


Primary and secondary navigation

The site navigation is now simpler, clear and consistent to maximize engagement. Its pleasant design allows users to identify the current information and provide context. The primary navigation grouping has now fewer options to help users to find information more intuitively and it’s always available for quick access.

Performance

One of the Portal biggest changes is the improved usage of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), a file responsible for the look and formatting that helps reduce the size of the HTML pages and speed up the loading time. Another advantage of the CSS file is that is downloaded just once by the user’s browser reducing the bandwidth requirements ensuring faster pages.

Feedback

As always, your feedback drove our efforts, we are always looking for feedback to continue making improvements so please let us know what you think about the new look of our portal.



Hosting.com Recovery Solutions – Featuring Cloud Replication

August 29th, 2011

During VMworld next week in Las Vegas, we will be revealing our upcoming VMware SRM 5-based solution, Cloud Replication.  Cloud Replication will be the first SRM 5 replication solution offered by a hosting services provider for continuous offsite application availability and disaster protection.  The data replication service meets the needs of customers seeking a solution for offsite disaster recovery, while providing cost-effective business continuity and application recovery.

Whether replicating applications from your internal data center to Hosting.com or replicating from Hosting.com data center to another, VMware and Hosting.com have engineered a winning combination to preserve your mission-critical application’s availability.

Cloud Replication protects organizations from data loss resulting from clinical disasters, such as a server failure or human error, and catastrophic disasters that can bring a company to a complete standstill. Hosting.com enables automated virtual machine replication of your virtualized environments from on-premise or from a Hosting.com datacenter to a Hosting.com datacenter recovery site. You can easily customize their replication and recovery settings in the Hosting.com Customer Portal by selecting individual virtual machines and the target Hosting.com recovery datacenter.

This marks a significant leap forward for our customers who need to protect on-premise virtual environments with reduced infrastructure investment and increased functionality.  Cloud Replication provides you with self-service functionality via the Customer Portal and an automated recovery solution that continues to utilize your existing infrastructure.  Better yet, you can control cost and exposure to disaster by individually selecting what level of protection (RPO) best serves your organization.

Cloud Replication delivers unprecedented control and flexibility to IT managers responsible for critical systems recovery at the time of a declared disaster. Administrators manage the failover and failback using the Customer Portal – a centralized location for disaster management.

How it Works

Your site and the Hosting.com recovery site stay in sync through reliable data replication as facilitated by VMware’s Site Recovery Manager. Using SRM, the virtual servers are continuously protected using RPO specific replication to the Hosting.com recovery site so that the VMs system state is identical at both sites. During a recovery, SRM shuts down the VMs at the primary site in precise order based on your priority selections and the corresponding VMs are brought online at the Hosting.com site in the same priority order.

The recovery Hosting.com environment provides you with a secure and remote copy of your data and applica­tions, and in the event of a clinical or catastrophic disaster, the ability to bring systems back online in less than 1 hour.

Non-disruptive Testing

Cloud Replication allows you to perform simulated non-disruptive and non-load bearing recoveries to your production environment as well as delivering graphical insight into the health of both the production environment and the recovery environment. When your server environment changes, you can easily make adjustments in the Customer Portal and re-validate your recovery plan without affecting the remaining production servers.

Architecture Diagram

More Information

Hosting.com presented a preview of the Cloud Replication solution during a webinar on August 24, 2011 titled, Maximizing VMware SRM and the Hosting.com Cloud. The webinar discussed enabling a cost-effective DR plan by combining the automation and cloud management capabilities provided through VMware with the inherent availability and redundancy offered through the Hosting.com cloud. Access the rebroadcast at: http://www.hosting.com/company/events/cloud-replication-webinar.



Hosting.com Recovery Solutions – Featuring SAN2SAN Replication

August 24th, 2011

Hosting.com recently launched our SAN2SAN Replication recovery solution – providing continuous replication between your on-premise SAN environment to an identical SAN environment at a Hosting.com Datacenter.

SAN2SAN Replication is a fully managed service offering which leverages Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and Continuous Remote Replication (CRR) using EMC RecoverPoint.  What this means is your data will be securely and intelligently replicated to a world-class, geographically-dispersed Hosting.com datacenter while maintaining data consistency, also known as write order fidelity.

Hosting.com also leverages VMware Site Recovery Manager for orchestration.  In the event of a disaster or outage, with the click of a button, your mission-critical Virtual Machine guests will failover to a Hosting.com Datacenter with a guaranteed Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of four hours or less.

Traditionally, testing of disaster recovery plans was expensive and time-consuming.  And without testing, data integrity and application availability is a major risk.  According to Gartner, the cost of a full disaster recovery test with a tape-based system can cost $100,000 or more for each execution. SAN2SAN Replication includes quarterly failover testing to guarantee that in the event of a live failover, your mission-critical applications will be available and functional, giving you peace of mind.

In the event of a failover, Hosting.com will continue to protect your data at a Hosting.com tertiary recovery site — your mission-critical data and application are always protected.

SAN2SAN Replication Product Demonstration

EMC and Hosting.com hosted a webinar on August 3, 2011 titled, Recovering Enterprise Solutions in the Cloud. The webinar discussed how customers achieve their RTO (recover time objective) and RPO (recover point objective) with remote replication and cloud recovery services and featured a SAN2SAN Replication product review.  Access the rebroadcast at: http://www.hosting.com/company/events/recovering-enterprise-solutions-in-the-cloud-achieve-your-rto-and-rpo-with-remote-replication–cloud-draas–.



Evaluating Your Disaster Preparedness

August 19th, 2011

Historically, business continuity solutions have required companies to own multiple datacenters, employ highly technical support and maintenance staff, and spend up to 50% of your total IT budget to guarantee an always on infrastructure.

The cloud makes BCDR services accessible to more companies than ever, primarily due to the high availability inherent to cloud environments and the cost effectiveness of extending existing, on-premise infrastructures across multiple datacenters for failover and redundancy. Flexibility and scalability have for a long time been a limitation of physical infrastructure builds, while cloud environments allow for rapid scale, flexibility and control.

Application Recovery Considerations

When you are analyzing the availability and recovery of your mission-critical applications, consider the following list of highly-likely clinical disasters. Clinical disasters are three times more likely to occur than a catastrophic disaster and customers are significantly less understanding of outages due to a preventable, clinical disaster.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes

These can be natural or man-made, catastrophic or clinical. No matter the scenario, you must plan for such contingencies to avoid disastrous downtime. The best offense is a good defense.

Machines and hardware fail

It’s true. Software breaks and components fail. Eliminating single points of failure in the IT infrastructure is the only way to ensure that a failure doesn’t interrupt service or cause data loss.

Humans are not perfect

They make mistakes and sometimes do it on purpose. Even the most cautious can forget a step in an important process causing disastrous results.

Customer retention is costly, and re-acquisition is devastatingly expensive.

It takes a lot to earn customers’ trust, and after an IT disaster like loss of data or an extended outage in service, trust quickly evaporates.

12 Factors to Evaluate Your Preparedness

  1. Have you determined your total cost of downtime for mission-critical applications?
  2. Do you have a current Business Impact Analysis (BIA)/Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)?
  3. Are critical processes included in the document?
  4. Do you have an off-site location for recovery?
  5. Has your company determined and agreed to the level of service provided while in recovery-mode?
  6. Have responsibilities for immediately following, and continuing through reestablishing normal operations been assigned to staff and management?
  7. Have you identified the hardware and software required to recover mission-critical applications and/or functions?
  8. Is a current copy of your DRP maintained off-site?
  9. Do all users of the DRP have access to a current copy at the time of a disaster?
  10. Is a communication plan (with multiple communication channels) included in your DRP?
  11. Does the DRP include a Training, Testing and Exercise (TT&E) plan?
  12. Has your team determined that DRP and TT&E have met all requirements to provide reasonable assurance?

Considering these twelve factors, does your organization have an adequate disaster recovery plan in place?

Hosting.com takes a consultative approach in assisting you with disaster preparedness. We also recognize that you require an affordable and reliable BCDR solution to meet your budgetary and business requirements. Contact us today (888-894-4678) to schedule a disaster recovery evaluation with one of our specialist.



Misconceptions of Disaster Recovery

August 12th, 2011

As you face an increasing burden to meet government regulations, create uninterrupted user experiences, and safeguard against malicious attacks, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) planning is near the forefront of IT strategy and budget. Many organizations have a plan in place for disaster recovery but many factors could impact the effectiveness of an existing plan – is the plan updated each time a new system is brought online; has the plan been tested for recovery and failover; does the plan prioritize mission-critical applications.

Disaster Planning Statistics

  • According to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington DC, “93% of companies that lost their datacenter for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses without data management for this same period filed for bankruptcy immediately.”
  • The IMF reduced Japan’s economic growth forecast to 1.4 percent this year from 1.6 percent as a result of the nuclear crisis.
  • According to the Ponemon Institute, the probability of an unplanned datacenter outage over a period of 24 months is 95%.

There is a serious disconnect in the way organizations plan for outages – mostly due to 3 common misconceptions regarding disaster recovery.

DR Misconception #1: Most Disasters are Caused by Catastrophic Events

When companies do conduct disaster planning, 90% of business continuity budgets are targeted at catastrophic disasters rather than the more frequently occurring clinical events which include malicious attacks, viruses and more commonly human error. Millions of dollars of quantifiable losses occur due to clinical events.

The chart below details the causes of disasters – a clinical disaster is 3 times more likely to occur than a catastrophic disaster. In fact, 50% of outages turn out to be power or plumbing related.

Most Disasters are Caused by Catastrophic Events

DR Misconception #2: Direct Costs Constitute Most Outage Costs

During a short analysis time period, direct costs will prove to be substantial affecting productivity, direct revenue and the costs of executing a recovery. Our long-term research shows that a company’s indirect costs are more greatly affected by an outage – in fact, 2/3 of the overall costs of an outage are indirect in nature (see chart below). Examples of indirect costs include corporate reputation, future sales, SLA and compliance payouts, fines, and data loss. In particular to the loss of data, a company has to evaluate the value of the data, the recoverability and the time it will take to conduct the data recovery.

Direct Costs Constitute Most Outage Costs

DR Misconception #3: All Disaster Recovery Plans are Created Equal

Certainly for anyone that has been in the disaster recovery planning business for a significant amount of time knows that the history of this industry says that you need to have a recovery plan for the entire organization application and business footprint.

We’ve found through our research and as indicated in the Forrester chart below, that the efforts of executing a recovery plan are spread equally across all three classes of applications – a mission-critical application has the same focus as a non-critical application. That type of planning is flawed – mission-critical, or bet-the-business applications, warrant a higher degree of focus and a more aggressive disaster recovery plan than a typical application.

With regards to testing, the costs associated with testing result in organizations conducting less tests and less testing substantially increases the data integrity risks. Gartner research shows that almost 50% of all tape restores fail – when an organization reduces their testing the likelihood of capturing failure is also reduced. Many organizations never perform a recovery from a test. This disregard for testing poses significant risks for companies using traditional recovery methods for their disaster recovery planning.

All Disaster Recovery Plans are Created Equal

Considering these three misconceptions, does your organization have an adequate disaster recovery plan in place? Our next blog post will assist you in evaluating your disaster preparedness – stay tuned.

Hosting.com takes a consultative approach in assisting you with disaster preparedness. We also recognize that you require affordable and reliable BCDR solution to meet your budgetary and business requirements. We offer recovery solutions at a fraction of the cost compared to in-house and hot-site solutions with varying options of recovery time and recovery point objectives. View the Hosting.com Recovery Solutions.

Join our Cloud Replication Webinar on August 24 to learn how you can enable a cost-effective DR plan by combining the automation capabilities and simplistic replication provided through VMware with the inherent availability and redundancy offered through the Hosting.com Cloud.



New Features In The Hosting.com Customer Portal

May 3rd, 2011

Hosting.com is always striving to improve the customer experience through not only our support, but also our industry-leading Customer Portal. Our portal empowers the customer to control and manage their environment through a feature-rich “single pane of glass” management console. And, we’re constantly adding new features and enhancements.

This week we released some new features into the Customer Portal for virtual machines.   The first is the ability to manage running services and set their startup status.  This gives our customers the ability to manage all the services on all of their virtual machines in real-time without having to login to the machine.  For instance, if a customer needs to stop or restart a service, they can do all this through the portal, which can save time.  And, as always, a customer can assign/delegate roles within the portal to other members of their staff to perform actions like restarting services, as well as other administrative tasks.

The second new feature that has been added is the improvement of scheduling virtual machine operations.  Operations can now be performed on a set schedule, based on time, date, and frequency. Additionally, a single operation can be performed on multiple  VMs at the same time. Customers can set a recurrence of VM operations such as Park VM, UnPark VM, Restart OS, Shutdown OS, Start VM, Stop VM, and Restart VM on multiple VMs at once.  This can be helpful for many tasks.  For example, a customer can schedule an operation to automatically Park/UnPark VMs based on peak traffic times and seasonal spikes without having to worry about manual intervention.

All of these features put more control into the hands of the customer and help enhance the overall customer experience.

To view the enhancements first hand please view the two videos below. To see more customer portal features go to http://www.hosting.com/portaldemos.

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Cloud Enterprise Now Available in Irvine

April 21st, 2011

Recently our operations team successfully launched our Cloud Enterprise architecture in our fourth geographic location. The engineering teams then worked in conjunction with operations to ensure all customer portal functionality is now available for our clients.

If you have not had the opportunity to review any information on our Cloud Enterprise product or our Irvine data center, I would encourage you to view some of the links below. In addition I would encourage you to review our Portal demos so that you can start to understand some of the automation and self service technology that we provide.

We are excited to announce this new availability as many of our disaster recovery related clients have been asking for more geographic flexibility.

Website:
http://www.hosting.com/services/platform-services/cloud/
http://www.hosting.com/services/platform-services/cloud/enterprise
http://www.hosting.com/technology/datacenters/irvine
http://www.hosting.com/portaldemos