Steadfast Blog

Chicago, IL (PRESS RELEASE) July 20, 2011 – Steadfast Networks, a Chicago-based dedicated server hosting and colocation services specialist, today announced that its state-of-the-art data centers in Chicago and New York have successfully completed an SSAE 16 audit, marking the company’s ongoing commitment to secure and highly redundant hosting. These data centers at 725 S Wells and 350 E Cermak in Chicago and 121 Varick in New York City are among the first to achieve SSAE 16 compliancy and, by meeting with this new standard of data management and storage, Steadfast is giving customers the assurance they need to win larger contracts and increase revenue.

SSAE16 Audited

“We are extremely happy to have completed this recent third-party audit,” says Karl Zimmerman, CEO of Steadfast Networks. “We have always focused our resources on giving our customers the standards of security they require in all of our policies and procedures, so this SSAE 16 audit was treated as a matter of priority. Now, we are pleased to be one of the first SSAE 16 compliant data center facilities in the USA, giving every one of our clients the confidence to attract new customers.”

Outlined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16 became effective on June 15th 2011, effectively superseding the auditing standard outlined by SAS 70. The new auditing protocol sets a standard for data redundancy, network security, and the reliability of data access, all of which are checked and tested by an external third-party auditing expert. Essentially, SSAE 16 holds businesses accountable for their service claims and compliance can only be certified if stringent service quality standards are met. Steadfast Networks is the first data center operator within Chicago to achieve SSAE 16 compliance, identifying it as a market leader at the forefront of new developments within the web hosting industry.

“We worked to make sure that, as soon as SSAE 16 came into effect, we were already nearing the end of our audit process, empowering our customers to do more business and make more money,” says Zimmerman. “From cloud hosting services to managed colocation hosting, every one of our customers can benefit from being hosted within a SSAE 16 audited facility, regardless of their hosting plan. Now, our customers can actively use SSAE 16 compliant hosting as a key selling point for their business infrastructure, without increasing their own audit load.”

Publically traded or public companies who use any managed hosting services or colocated hosting are often obligated to audit their service infrastructure, in order to provide shareholders and investors with assurances of service continuity and the effective management of mission critical systems. Equally, businesses that do not necessarily require SSAE 16 auditing can benefit from the comfort of knowing that their own IT network is protected by policies and procedures that keep the safe handling of data in mind. SSAE 16 can be a vital element of a successful Request for Proposal (RFP) response or quote for business - but the process of auditing can be time-consuming and expensive, prohibiting many organizations from achieving certified status. By working to become SSAE 16 compliant so soon after the standard became effective, Steadfast Networks is giving all of the businesses that depend on its facilities the best chance to secure new work and increase their customer base.

“At Steadfast Networks, we understand the importance of third-party reassurance when it comes to safeguards for hosted data,” says Zimmerman. “Knowing that your data is adequately protected and accessible helps to keep your business running and to attract new clients. That is why we have treated SSAE 16 with such priority, and that is why we will continue to strive for operational excellence and compliance across our data centers in the future. We love it when customers grow with us and aim to remove every barrier that could prevent that.”

By implementing SSAE 16 compliance, Steadfast Networks is defining itself as a key figure within the web hosting service industry, very much at the forefront of this ever-changing business. Steadfast
Networks complements its highly customizable service range with state-of-the-art facilities and, as the demands of customers change and evolves, so too will the data centers that Steadfast own and operate. Customers interested in learning more about Steadfast Networks or their industry-leading Chicago data center facilities are encouraged to visit steadfast.net.

About Steadfast Networks

Established in 1998, Chicago based hosting company Steadfast Networks, delivers high quality, powerful servers through robust dedicated server hosting, colocated server hosting, virtualized servers including a new cloud platform, and an impressive choice of managed colocation services. Steadfast's award-winning services and dedicated support staff help customers from all over the world 24/7/365. Customers can choose basic hosting or a customized, fully managed dedicated server hosting solution, managed colocation solutions, or a cloud hosting solution that can be scaled up and down over time. Steadfast Networks offers 100% carbon neutral hosting services as an environment-friendly
provider.

To learn more about Steadfast Networks, visit http://www.steadfast.net.

I was reading this article at Data Center Knowledge, one of my favorite blogs for keeping up on changes and news in the industry, and I was thinking I should write a blog article to detail our outlook on some of the same topics.

I agree whole-heartedly with Duke Skarda, the chief technology officer at SoftLayer, who said, “I think dedicated hosting will continue to grow. A lot of people tell us that it won’t. If you go back 5 or 6 years in the hosting industry, people thought shared hosting was going to disappear as well. It’s done nothing but continue to grow, even as the other options have grown along with it. I don’t think dedicated is going anywhere.”

In addition, we have had many people come to us asking if our business model is out of date since, as the article addresses, "Some cloud enthusiasts would have you believe that cloud services are reducing the need for data centers. In fact, the opposite is true – the growth of the cloud boosts business for providers of colocation and wholesale data center services."

What IS "the cloud"?

Much of the confusion comes from the use of the term "cloud" as it is one term that means many things. To consumers it generally just means "the Internet" or "data centers" as with products such as iCloud or "cloud" software like SalesForce, you're simply taking data or software you would normally keep locally and making it globally accessible over the Internet. For us, and companies like us, this is a great thing as it is actually creating more demand as more and more things are being put into data centers. Next, you have the "cloud" as it applies to developers, start-ups, and small-medium business which is a scalable and flexible infrastructure, such as our cloud services and Amazon Web Services.

Now that we have that defined, we'll be referencing the second, the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

So how does "the cloud" actually affect everything?

First of all, virtualization, in the form of Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Virtual machines (VM) has been around for a long time, as this timeline shows, but has really hit stride in the past ~8 years. Over that time the shared hosting business has only increased, as is shown by GoDaddy (largely a shared hosting company at this point) selling for $2+ billion when it was valued at half that just a year ago, while many predicted its doom. Instead of failing, the shared hosting industry picked up things from virtualization technologies, allowing them to keep their businesses largely unchanged, but still taking advantages of the new technology. Some shared hosting businesses have changed to virtualization based platforms, while others are using more "hybrid" configurations such as CloudLinux. These are the same virtualization technologies now driving "the cloud" so not much has changed there, and this industry is familiar with changes like these.

Almost all businesses in the technology sector, and all the well-run companies, are able to grow and evolve, to move with the shifting technologies. To most of these companies, even if they aren't involved in "cloud" platforms it is a period of excitement for them. As new technologies come out, the new "bleeding edge" companies get to try them out, but those will eventually trickle down to the market as a whole. While these companies are still defined as a "shared hosting," "VPS," or "Dedicated server" company, they will be taking advantage of and possibly using many of the tools the "cloud" movement brings along, just as the shared hosting industry has already grown and changed. Most of these infrastructure "cloud" services are based on or around the latest virtualization platforms, such as VMWare or Xen, so the tools being made to build "the cloud" are going to also help the VPS hosts already built around these platforms making the transitions even easier this time around.

Simply put, it is all going to be an organic natural change as a part of the general growth of a technology company; it is not a game changer. Just like the growth of virtualization technologies we've already been going through over the past decade, new companies will come and go and existing companies are going to grow and change. This change isn't tremendous, and with this change comes opportunity for new companies to grow and old companies to fail, but that is always the case in the ever changing world of technology. This is why the great Warren Buffett refuses to invest in technology companies, having had an early chance to invest in Intel, and I can't really blame him, running a technology company means you're always changing. What "the cloud" will do is lead more people to store more data in data centers and make more information available in more places, but that is the direction everything was going anyway, the term "the cloud" is just putting a name on it. Yes, I am saying "cloud" is a meaningless buzz word, which is why I've been putting it in quotes, as it is nothing different than what people in this industry has been doing for years and is part of a natural evolution.

So is "the cloud" for everyone?

Unlike most cloud providers, we'll tell you outright that the "cloud" isn't for everyone, even though many will say it is. Our Cloud Platform is a significant upgrade for shared hosting or VPS customers, and since we're offering our cloud services at a similar price point is why we dropped our VPS and shared hosting services, as it provides much more reliability and scalability, since you aren't tied to a single piece of hardware. At this stage, the issue is that it is simply more expensive if you need a lot of resources, as you're paying for the flexibility and scalability while you aren't getting the "bulk discounts" you'd get with dedicated servers or colocation. For our dedicated server and colocation customers, cloud solutions can be significantly more expensive. We've had many customers, such as Tynt, move to our dedicated and colocation services off of cloud services, such as Amazon EC2 for significant cost savings (of around 60%). Of course, we expect these prices to be driven down at some point with the decreasing costs of technology, but at least for now these options are very important.

What is Steadfast's solution to this problem?

Our focus is on flexibility, so what we want people to do is get a "hybrid cloud" solution. This is a solution that allows our customers to use the Steadfast Cloud Platform (SCP) for the things the cloud is perfect for, developers, start-ups with constantly changing needs, or companies which don't need their own dedicated hardware clusters (a cluster would be needed to match the redundancy). Then, when those companies grow and stabilize or for larger companies that already have stable needs, they can easily use (with an easy transition) to our dedicated hosting or colocation platforms. In addition, you can use all of these services together utilizing common VLANs (sharing firewalls, networks, VPNs, bandwidth commitments, etc.) and our high-speed internal network. This brings the flexibility and scalability of the cloud to the enterprise, where you can use your existing dedicated infrastructure, which will be much less expensive long term, while still having the ability to turn-up SCP instances almost instantly for the immediate flexibility and scalability.

As an example, we've already had a colocation customer contact us frantically saying they needed to have 12 servers up before the end of the month, a couple weeks away. They didn't have the capital expenditure approved internally yet and their vendor was saying it would be at least a 2 week lead time; there was no way they could get that done in time. We offered them the ability to setup these systems immediately on the SCP, allowing them to meet their deadline using their existing network infrastructure, and still allowing them to easily transition the project to their existing colocation configuration down the road. What we're offering is overall flexibility, simplifying your overall IT infrastructure needs, by providing a full array of services and backing them with an array of managed services and 24/7 phone and email support.

Conclusion

The "cloud" is useful, but not a game changer, that is moving more data and software to central data centers away from the desktop. This can serve as a great problem to IT managers, CIOs, and to owners of companies, as many can't afford their own IT management. You don't want to fall behind, you want to take advantage of these new applications, but you don't have the capital to expand your IT staff or build out new data center facilities of your own. Here at Steadfast this is exactly the type of problem we help to solve, the IT infrastructure problems you hate are the core to our business. Contact us and we'll help you develop a "hybrid cloud." Instead of making you figure everything out yourself, like Amazon or many other cloud providers will do, we have 24/7 phone and email support, always ready and happy to help you figure everything out. We will fit you with the solution that fits you, as we offer the full array if managed IT infrastructure services not just "the cloud" and be able to help you technically on the support side with our full array of managed services and managed colocation.

We're prepared for the future of IT infrastructure. If you're not, don't panic. We're here to help.

Karl Zimmerman
President - Steadfast Networks

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) June 22, 2011 - Steadfast Networks, a Chicago-based hosting provider specializing in dedicated server hosting and colocation services, today announced a range of managed colocation solutions to complement their existing line of colocated hosting solutions. Available in their flagship Chicago data centers at 350 E Cermak and 725 S Wells, Steadfast’s selection of comprehensive colocation management services is a highly adaptable addition to their already successful hosting services, which marks the next step in the evolution of colocation hosting services.

“Our popular selection of colocated hosting services already gives businesses the chance to house their own hardware within professional enterprise-grade facilities,” says Karl Zimmerman, CEO of Steadfast Networks. “We understand that customers are looking for the management services available with a dedicated server. Now, with this new range of colocation plus solutions, our experienced staff can provide expert management for Chicago colocated systems.”

Currently, Steadfast Networks is a market leader in colocated hosting with facilities available in Chicago and New York. With a 100% network uptime service level agreement, fully redundant data centers and a wide array of traditional carrier or Ethernet connectivity options, businesses worldwide enjoy the use of carefully controlled facilities to house their IT infrastructures. An unmanaged colocation solution requires a great deal of technical expertise, with all hardware and software operations left in the hands of the business. Steadfast Networks’ new managed colocation hosting solutions allow businesses to concentrate their resources on other aspects of operations, with assurance that expert data center technicians are handling aspects of technical management.

“We could not be happier with our managed server hosting at Steadfast,” says Steven Beasley, Director of Digital Media at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. “They answer tickets quicker than anyone, guarantee fantastic uptime and connectivity, and helped us with migrating our site. Add to that DDoS protection and other managed functions, Steadfast consistently goes above and beyond. We are able to just worry about what we host, they take care of everything else. We are hugely impressed.”

Designed with flexibility in mind, the choice of managed colocation hosting services now available from Steadfast Networks ranges from a simple backup and restore service to a comprehensive, catch-all solution for full server management. This includes System Administration for repetitive daily tasks and troubleshooting, regular Backups, Proactive Response Server Monitoring and Physical Hardware Assistance, including storage space for spare hardware. Additionally, Steadfast Networks now offers Managed Colocation for Networking Equipment, with configuration and log backups alongside continual maintenance and monitoring. Steadfast Networks is also pleased to offer these services as individual products or combined together for a discounted cost, ensuring that companies can take advantage of the colocation management they require without paying for surplus services.

“At Steadfast Networks, we have always been committed to outstanding customer service as the key element of everything we do,” says Zimmerman. “We actively reach out to our customers and understand that no two businesses are the same. That is why we have worked to develop a range of managed colocation solutions that cover very specific elements of server management, as opposed to one flat-rate offering. Companies can get the management they need, without paying for things they do not need. We are proud to provide this incredibly flexible colocation management service at a price that is surprisingly affordable.”

After years of success with quality colocation hosting services, this impressive new choice of managed colocation solutions marks the next step in Steadfast Networks’ ongoing focus on colocated hosting with unrivalled customer service levels. With affordable colocation management now available, companies can leave their infrastructure in the hands of the experts while concentrating their attention on business growth and generating revenue.

Customers interested in learning more about Steadfast Networks or colocation management services are encouraged to visit steadfast.net.

About Steadfast Networks

Established in 1998, Chicago based hosting company Steadfast Networks, delivers high quality, powerful servers through reliable dedicated server hosting, colocation server hosting, virtual private servers, shared web hosting, dedicated game server hosting, cloud hosting and a newly launched choice of managed colocation services. Steadfast's award-winning services and dedicated support staff help customers from all over the world 24/7/365. Customers can choose basic hosting or a customized, fully managed dedicated server hosting solution, managed colocation solutions, or a cloud hosting solution that can be scaled up and down over time. Steadfast Networks offers 100% carbon neutral hosting services as an environment-friendly provider.

To learn more about Steadfast Networks, visit http://www.steadfast.net.

To our valued VPS clients,

We here at Steadfast Networks are very pleased to share with you some exciting news! This week we have launched a powerful new cloud hosting solution, the Steadfast Cloud Platform (http://steadfast.net/services/cloud.php). Part of this great news is we would like to reward you, our loyal customer, with $60 in free account credit just for signing up. You can sign up at https://manage.steadfast.net/order/?form_id=62 . This limited time offer expires 07/07/11. Important: To get the credit, simply email sales@steadfast.net with your old and new account information.

This news directly impacts your current VPS service with us because this platform has replaced our previous VPS product line. We feel that the new features and benefits of the Steadfast Cloud Platform will greatly enhance our customer’s experience and provide rock solid foundation from which to grow on. Customers will now have a more affordable, customizable, secure, and reliable solution for their virtual hosting needs. As part of transition to cloud virtualization we will be requiring all customers to migrate off the current platform within the next 6 months.

The Steadfast Cloud Platform offers all the major strengths of deploying your applications ‘in the cloud’, with the attractive ability to instantly increase or decrease your allocated system resources at any time. With this new service, we are able to provide a reliable cloud hosting solution that scales all the way from hobbyists to enterprise-grade solutions.

The Steadfast Cloud Platform is a carbon neutral platform that comprises of Xen virtual machines utilizing the OnApp platform. These virtual machines allow us to install isolated operating systems on shared hardware. Operating systems for a number of accounts are installed on the same physical machine, but function completely independently. In practice, this means that we can offer remarkably secure cloud hosting solutions at a surprisingly competitive price. The Steadfast Cloud Platform provides you with the unparalleled benefits of cloud hosting – namely uptime and scalability – without incurring large overheads
.
We would like to encourage you to get further acquainted with the new platform by visiting our website at http://steadfast.net/services/cloud.php . Be sure to check out the benefits, infrastructure, and software pages on the left hand side of the webpage for even more detailed information. You can also find additional technical information by visiting our knowledge base at http://steadfast.net/support/kb/c15 .

If you have any questions about this email, our new Cloud Platform, or this special offer please let us know by contacting us over the phone, by email, or in live chat. Thank you for your time and continued support, without it we would wouldn't be where we are today!

Best Regards,
The Steadfast Networks Team

Steadfast Networks, a highly experienced web hosting company, launches a highly customizable cloud hosting solution as the Steadfast Cloud Platform.

Chicago, IL (PRESS RELEASE) June 6, 2011 – Steadfast Networks, a leading Chicago-based hosting provider specializing in colocation services and dedicated server hosting, announced today their powerful new cloud hosting solution, the Steadfast Cloud Platform. This highly customizable cloud platform service offers all the major strengths of deploying your applications “in the cloud,” with the attractive ability to instantly increase or decrease your allocated system resources at any time.

“Everybody here at Steadfast Networks is incredibly proud to finally offer the Steadfast Cloud Platform to the industry,” says Karl Zimmerman, CEO of Steadfast Networks. “We understand that our customers need the flexibility of cloud hosting with the control of dedicated hardware. With this new service, we are able to provide a reliable cloud hosting solution that scales all the way from hobbyists to enterprise-grade solutions.”

The Steadfast Cloud Platform utilizes Xen-based Virtual Machines utilizing the OnApp platform to offer a completely isolated operating system you can use to run your business, be it cloud web hosting for your online presence, software development, or running applications. These Virtual Machines are highly secure, and the cloud hosting service offered by Steadfast offers allocated system resources of 500mhz CPU and 512MB RAM on each Virtual Machine as a starting point. But as businesses grow and their demand for hardware power fluctuates, customers can effortlessly increase the resources on their Virtual Machine, or add more VMs with their own custom specification. Whether customers are looking to run VMs as a private network for internal use, as a public network for web hosting and application deployment, or as part of an existing dedicated server or colocation system, Steadfast Networks is committed to providing unrivalled flexibility with how businesses use the Steadfast Cloud Platform.

“In essence, we are today launching a hybrid platform, allowing customers to use Virtual Machines within a public or private cloud and as part of an existing dedicated server or colocation solution. We provide businesses with a range of options to tailor the cloud hosting solution they have been looking for, fully compatible with their existing network setup,” says Zimmerman. “In addition, we offer a large, diverse range of software and a simple, hassle-free resource allocation process, which gives our customers the control over their servers that they have been craving. We are not in the business of charging people for what they don’t use, or might only use for one hour a month – our mission here is simply to give people what they want, when they want it.”

The result is a cloud platform that is highly customizable in an instant. As the requirements of hosted businesses change and develop over time, they can easily add additional hardware resources to their account, which can be deployed as new Virtual Machines or added to the spec of a Virtual Machine that is already in use. This allows customers to divide up the service they are paying for in a way that suits their individual needs, as opposed to a catch-all solution, where a hosting provider has attempted to second-guess what customers might be looking for. The Steadfast Cloud Platform embraces the concept of cloud web hosting in its truest form – hardware resources and software options available on demand, to be increased and decreased as necessary and only paid for if and when they are used.

“We firmly believe that the Steadfast Cloud Platform is the customizable solution that the industry has been looking for,” says Zimmerman. “With our hourly billing process, we are able to offer a product that we are extremely proud of at a price point that is extremely competitive. We hope that this gives customers the freedom to expand their network scale without dramatically increasing their overhead and try new ways of conducting their business without the risk of wasted resources.”

With the Steadfast Cloud Platform, Steadfast Networks has managed to create a cloud hosting solution that lets customers engineer the solution that they want to use instead of preconfigured cloud hosting solutions often found in the market. It is a product that, with such versatile scalability and flexibility, suits businesses of all sizes and encourages companies to grow their businesses to new levels of success. Customers interested in learning more about Steadfast Networks or the Steadfast Cloud Platform, are encouraged to visit steadfast.net.

About Steadfast Networks

Established in 1998, Chicago based hosting company Steadfast Networks, delivers high quality, powerful servers through reliable dedicated server hosting, colocation server hosting, virtual private servers, shared web hosting, dedicated game server hosting and a newly launched cloud platform. Steadfast's award-winning services and dedicated support staff help customers from all over the world 24/7/365. Customers can choose basic hosting or a customized, fully managed dedicated server hosting solution, or a cloud hosting solution that can be scaled up and down over time. Steadfast Networks offers 100% carbon neutral hosting services as an environment-friendly provider.

To learn more about Steadfast Networks, visit http://www.steadfast.net.

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