WHIR Networking Event Austin Attracts Best of Local Hosting Industry

WHIR Networking Event Austin Attracts Best of Local Hosting Industry

WHIR Networking Events made its first stop of 2017 in one of our favorite cities: Austin, TX!

The event had a solid turnout and was a great way for attendees to spend a few hours on a Thursday night, mingling with like-minded industry folks and talking shop in a casual environment. Thanks to our sponsors we were able to provide complimentary food and drinks, and give away some fantastic prizes.

Here are the winners:

  • Lenovo gave away a Yoga Tab 3 Pro toRichard Hernandez of Sokorro
  • Samsung gave away a Galaxy S7 Phone to Kevin Hazard of Hazard Investments
  • OnRamp gave away an Apple Watch to Pooja Goel of DPR Construction
  • Digital Realty gave away a Yeti Hopper Flip 12 cooler to Jay Newman of Hostway
  • Apricity Recruitment gave away a Google Home to Keith Watson of Eaton

If you’re in the Phoenix area, make sure to RSVP to our next event in Scottsdale, AZ, at Bottled Blonde on Mar. 16, 2017. And bring a business card if you want to be entered the prize draw!

If you are interested in sponsoring our Phoenix event, or any of our other events coming up throughout the year, please get in touch.

Source: TheWHIR

4 Winners and 3 Losers in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for IaaS

4 Winners and 3 Losers in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for IaaS

Gartner has released the results of its Magic Quadrant for Infrastructure as a Service for 2016. The winners in the public cloud space are innovating and adding new features rapidly, while the losers are falling further and further behind. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the report.

SEE ALSO: For Gartner, Two Cloud Providers Stand Out from the Pack

Winner: Amazon Web Services

AWS is the clear leader in the IaaS space with “a diverse customer base and the broadest range of use cases.” Its partner ecosystem combined with its training and certification programs “makes it easier to adopt and operate AWS in a best-practice fashion,” Gartner says.

Gartner notes that optimal use of AWS may require professional services, and recommends the use of third-party cost management tools to keep track of cloud expenses. Of course, all of this is good news for the latest crop of cloud service providers who are positioning their services around providing better support for AWS.

Winner: Microsoft

Microsoft Azure is considered one of the big three IaaS providers right now. Gartner says Microsoft’s strengths include integrated IaaS and PaaS components that “operate and feel like a unified whole”, rapid addition of new features and services, and becoming more open – including its support of Red Hat earlier this year.

And Gartner isn’t the only one that recognizes Azure’s mass appeal: other recent research has predicted that adoption of Azure by CIOs could surpass AWS by 2019.

Like AWS, successful implementation of Azure relies on customers forming relationships with partners. But Gartner says that while Microsoft “has been aggressively recruiting managed service and professional services partners… many of these partners lack extensive experience with the Azure platform, which can compromise the quality of the solutions they deliver to customers.”

But it’s not necessarily the fault of the partners; Gartner says that “CMP vendors and MSPs report challenges in working with Azure, particularly in the areas of API reliability and secure authentication, which are slowing their ability to deliver solutions.”

Winner: Google

Google’s capabilities in the IaaS space rely heavily on its own experience running the back-end of its behemoth search engine. In other words, Google allows other companies to “run like Google” which makes it the top contender for cloud-native use cases and applications.

But Google is lacking in key areas that could prevent it from further adoption with established organizations and startups; namely, “user management suitable for large organizations, granular and customizable role-based access control (RBAC), complex network topologies equivalent to those in enterprise data centers, and software licensing via a marketplace and license-portability agreement.”

Unlike AWS and Microsoft, who have been fairly supportive of partners, Google has focused more on delivering its cloud services direct, even pushing some MSPs to vow to never work with the company.

Winner: Rackspace

With roots in OpenStack cloud, Rackspace has worked to be more technology-neutral, and shifted away from this to embrace “its roots as ‘a company of experts,’” offering managed AWS support and other managed services for third-party clouds. Rackspace is also strong when it comes to private cloud offerings.

What has held Rackspace back? According to Gartner, it has not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation of the market leaders.

Gartner also hinted that Rackspace could become an acquisition target – which was at least partially confirmed this week as reports surfaced that it is close to a deal with private equity firm Apollo.

Loser: VMware

While Gartner acknowledges that VMware is the market share leader in virtualization, vCloud Air has “limited appeal to the business managers and application development leaders who are typically the key decision makers for cloud IaaS sourcing.”

“VMware is no longer significantly expanding the geographic footprint of vCloud Air, nor investing in the engineering necessary to expand its feature set beyond basic cloud IaaS,” Gartner says.

Loser: NTT Communications

Thought NTT Communications (NTT Com) has a strong presence in Asia-Pacific – a challenging market for many IaaS providers – its basic cloud IaaS offering is not enough to set it apart from its competitors.

Gartner says it is “missing capabilities that would make it attractive to enterprise IT operations organizations” – which could be somewhat addressed by its CSB portal that includes its offerings and third-party clouds, expected to launch this year.

Loser: Fujitsu

Gartner says that Fujitsu’s cloud IaaS capabilities “lag significantly behind those of the market leaders” and “it will continue to need to aggressively invest in acquiring and building technology in order to be competitive in this market.”

Source: TheWHIR

As Rackspace Mulls Private Equity, We Ask: Why Do Public Companies Go Private?

As Rackspace Mulls Private Equity, We Ask: Why Do Public Companies Go Private?

On Thursday news broke that managed cloud services provider Rackspace is in advanced talks with a private equity firm. If the deal goes through, Rackspace will be the latest tech company to go private after being a publicly traded company, following Solarwinds, Dell, and others before it.

IPOs have not been kind to tech companies this year, and the slowdown is hitting investment banks hard. According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle this week, revenue for U.S. investment banks dropped 20 percent year-over-year to $16.1 billion in the first half of 2016. Investment banks’ IPO revenue fell 58 percent from $1.1 billion in the first half of 2015 to $450 million in the first half of 2016.

This trend, according to Bulger Partners managing director Doug Melsheimer, in an interview with Fortune, is not too surprising “given how much everyone complains about the burden of being a public company and how much money is swirling around the private equity landscape.”

We asked Structure Research founder and managing director Philbert Shih to provide some insight into why a company that is already public would want to go private.

“There are obvious financial benefits for management and shareholders given that a buyout typically involves a very healthy premium on the current stock price,” Shih says. “One of the primary benefits of going private is to focus on a long-term strategy and spend less time meeting quarterly expectations and complex regulatory and compliance requirements. This is a unique point in Rackspace’s history and going private will allow it to execute on some of the big decisions it has made – i.e. the shift to a managed third party cloud model – without the pressure from shareholders to hit numbers and continually drive immediate value.”

For firms like Solarwinds, going private is the best choice for future growth of the company. Solarwinds CEO Kevin Thompson told NetworkWorld earlier this year: “It is never an easy decision to go private because it’s a change in the strategy and course you were on, and ultimately you need to get 100 percent alignment with your board and your management team.”

Source: TheWHIR

Rackspace in Acquisition Talks with Private Equity Firm: Report

Rackspace in Acquisition Talks with Private Equity Firm: Report

UPDATE, 08/05/16: Sources tell Fortune that Apollo is the interested private equity buyer.

News that Rackspace could be sold to a private equity firm this week from the Wall Street Journal has pushed its shares up 16.91 percent to $31.03 in after hours trading on Thursday. The San Antonio-based cloud company is in advanced talks with one or more private equity firms that places the value of the company around $4 billion, according to a report by Barron’s blog

If the headline sounds familiar, it’s because almost exactly two years ago, reports indicated that Rackspace was exploring the option of taking the company private. It hired Morgan Stanley to help it explore its M&A options at the time, but nothing ever came of it.

Over the past two years under a new CEO, Rackspace has expanded its portfolio to include support and managed services for some of the most popular public clouds, including AWS. This strategy has helped it appeal to new customers and extend its reach beyond web hosting.

According to a report by Market Realist earlier this week, “Rackspace’s increased customer signing from AWS is an encouraging sign, considering Amazon rules the cloud space with a 31 percent market share. Moreover, its deal with Microsoft’s Azure is also beneficial for the company, as Microsoft is rapidly making its presence felt in the cloud space.”

Source: TheWHIR

DreamHost Works to Restore Email Services After Prolonged Outage

DreamHost Works to Restore Email Services After Prolonged Outage

Los Angeles-based web hosting provider DreamHost is continuing to resolve an issue with its email services that started on Monday when it noticed “extremely high loads on [its] homiemail-sub5 and homiemail-sub3 email clusters.” As of this morning, there was still no estimate into when all services would be fully restored.

On its status page on Tuesday, DreamHost informed customers that it had to perform “additional emergency maintenance on two of [its] mail filer systems on the homiemail-sub5 mail cluster of servers.” At the time, it was anticipated to only impact some customers for a “few hours” but the issue lasted days for many customers.

DreamHost has provided a statement to The WHIR by email on Friday:

On July 25th we discovered one of our email clusters was not performing properly, and we tracked it down to a pair of problematic file servers. When dealing with critical data like email we have to be abundantly cautious, so we removed access to those file servers to troubleshoot. This caused some customers to be unable to receive email, but we were still accepting it and no data was lost. All inbound emails have continued to be received by our system. The impact at the peak was about 4.5% of all mailboxes, and at this time over 85% of those affected have already had service fully restored.

We are continuing to work toward the complete resolution of this issue while being especially cautious about individual data and email needs. Looking forward, development of a next gen email cluster that eliminates this sort of issue altogether has already been underway for over a year, and we expect to see that go into production in the next couple of months.

As always with a web hosting outage, customers took their frustrations to Twitter.

The WHIR will update this post once services are fully restored.

Source: TheWHIR

HostingCon 2016: The Silk Road Takedown, and Why Hosts Should Know their Local FBI Agent

HostingCon 2016: The Silk Road Takedown, and Why Hosts Should Know their Local FBI Agent

Remember the basics when it comes to security, and take your local law enforcement out for lunch. These are two strategies that will help service providers’ deal with the increasing security risks and immediate threats to their businesses, according to industry experts who spoke at HostingCon this week.

It is critical to get to know your local law enforcement before there is an issue and they show up at your data center with a search warrant. Doing so can help them understand your business better, and what your policies are, Jane Shih, assistant general counsel, Endurance International Group said in a panel on Tuesday.

“The best way to not have FBI come in and take a whole rack of servers is education,” David Snead, general counsel of cPanel said in agreement.

Jay Sudowski, CEO of Handy Networks, says that providing education for staff is also important so that in the event that FBI does come knocking, they are prepared for what to do.

So who are these FBI agents and what are they like? The HostingCon audience got a peek behind the curtains of what FBI sees in capturing some of the world’s most wanted cyber targets – including hackers behind LulzSec and Anonymous. Chris Tarbell, former FBI agent involved in the Silk Road bust, spoke on Tuesday on his career in the FBI where he started in computer evidence and international terrorism before becoming involved in cybercrime.

These early career stints were imperative in learning where the evidence is stored on a computer and how to find things, as well as the importance of log information, he says.

In 2010, Anonymous started to be on the FBI’s radar more after its Operation Payback, where the hacking group launched massive DDoS attacks against payment providers like Visa, PayPal and MasterCard after they cut off support to WikiLeaks.

Around the same time, HBGary Federal sought to deanonymize the hacking group, only for Anonymous to hack CEO Aaron Barr’s email and within 20 minutes, shut down his entire online life, Tarbel says. Shortly after that Barr was forced to resign, in one of many examples of the true cost of cybercrime.

In 2011, another hacking group, called LulzSec, started to make headlines for its attacks on targets such as Sony, Fox, and the CIA.

Tarbell descibes getting a tip from another hacker – a kid in New Jersey who said he knew Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu, the leader of LulzSec. He only knew that he lived in New York but that was enough for the FBI.

“We dug through all the logs, we found one IP address that was in New York: it was Hector,” he says.

Once they were able to track him down in his apartment, Sabu spent two hours trying to convince the FBI that he didn’t know anything about computers. He eventually agreed to become an informant for the FBI to teach them all about how groups like LulzSec hack.

With Sabu’s help, the FBI was able to arrest Jeremy Hammond, one of the FBI’s most-wanted cybercriminals, who used TOR to protect his identity, and the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht aka Dread Pirate Roberts in 2013. Silk Road was a $1.2 billion website that operated on TOR, used bitcoins so money couldn’t be traced. The online marketplace offered hacking services, murders for hire and drugs. Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.

So what advice does Tarbell have for hosting providers when it comes to security? Bring it back to the basics. The number of hacks that happen because users use the same password across multiple sites is staggering. Doing simple tweaks can help prevent an organization or hosting end-user from being a hacker’s next target.

Source: TheWHIR

ServerHub Brings Sixth Global Location Online in New York

ServerHub Brings Sixth Global Location Online in New York

ServerHub has announced on Monday at HostingCon Global 2016 that it has launched its sixth global data center this week, in New York City, marking its first true east coast location.

According to ServerHub CEO John Brancela, the new location provides financial services customers with low latency to the New York market, and came highly requested by customers.

“We now have services in Chicago that we’ve been offering customers, and it’s been highly successful but it’s still not a true east coast location,” Brancela says.

Lance Crosby Comes Out of Stealth with New Developer-Centric Cloud Security Venture

Lance Crosby Comes Out of Stealth with New Developer-Centric Cloud Security Venture

Almost exactly one year after Lance Crosby, SoftLayer founder and 20-year hosting industry veteran took the stage at HostingCon Global in San Diego, he is back with a new company that answers the question on many minds in the hosting industry since he left IBM last February – just what will Crosby do next?

The answer is StackPath – a Security-as-a-Service company that launched on Monday with a significant investment from Abry Partners. According to the company’s announcement, the funding will be used for M&A, and infrastructure and services development.

“The genesis is to create a developer-centric security platform that’s going to be API-driven, and going to allow developers and DevOps to actually integrate security into their applications as they are building it,” Stackpath CEO and chairman Crosby tells the WHIR. “They can make the calls and apply the security policy themselves, and they won’t necessarily have to involve the security team anymore.”

Security that meets needs of cloud

So what does this mean? According to Crosby, StackPath will initially include “some web facing services; content delivery, DDoS protection, VPN services, and a web application firewall.” The developer-centric security platform will get smarter over time, and by the end of the year will include secure compute, storage and DNS, with plans to release new security services every month for the next several years.

The idea for StackPath came to Crosby as he observed serious flaws in cloud security – even at the level of Fortune 500 companies, who spent a fortune on security products they never deployed. Traditional security modded for cloud environments just doesn’t meet the level of scale and automation required.

“After being acquired by IBM I spent the last two years seeing the shortcomings of cloud security,” Crosby says. “We had some security products at SoftLayer but we called them bolt-on; [we] took more traditional firewalls, load balancers and things like that and converted them to cloud but there was nothing that was truly, highly scalable and automated that would work.”

“That’s where the concept came from. I saw companies like Netflix, big banks, and firms that were spinning up literally tens of thousands of virtual machines a day and there were no real security products that would follow that level of automation and scale.”

Developers drive security engine

In last year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for managed security services, the research firm identified IBM, Dell SecureWorks, Symantec, and Verizon as leaders in the space.

Crosby says StackPath’s global threat intelligence engine across 35 points-of-presence will be available to customers who can integrate the security within their applications via APIs, differentiating it from other security companies.

“We believe we’re going to create a whole new generation of security firms who are going to use this platform to build new widgets on top that we never dreamed about,” Crosby says. “When people ask me what that’s going to be I tell them that I didn’t know in 2005 that Facebook, Tumblr, WhatsApp, and Yelp, and all the other companies that built on top of cloud were ever going to create new verticals and new industries and I think we’re going to see the same thing here.”

StackPath’s technology will not be built from scratch – the company acquired MaxCDN, Fireblade and Cloak to build out its CDN, Web Access Firewall, and VPN, respectively. The company said that its DDoS mitigation technology also includes “an impressive array of IP.”

Crosby tells us that he drew from his past relationships in the cloud space to build a team including COO and president Andrew Higginbotham, who previously led CenturyLink’s Cloud and Managed Services Business, and CFO Kim Sheehy, who prior to joining StackPath served as CFO of CyrusOne. He recruited others from his background at IBM/SoftLayer, Google, and Amazon, as well.

Crosby’s hosting past will also serve StackPath well in its initial stage where it will be targeting internet-centered companies and more traditional hosting companies. Hosting providers will be able to sell the security services offered by StackPath and white-label the platform. Eventually the platform will be available directly to developers.

“We’re flying in the face of the way security has always been implemented and handled and managed and I think a lot of the traditional firms will have a lot of resistance. We’re going to automate a lot of things that people have done historically, but that’s also what drives us,”he says.

Source: TheWHIR