by Adam Bogobowicz, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Parallels
Lifestyle hosting is where many of the great hosting companies began. The first few customers were managed from the kitchen table; hosting begins as a hobby to express creativity and business acumen. For many this is also where hosting stays and has the most appeal. A lifestyle choice.
But for some this is just the beginning to life-long growth and the first step into building a business that can feed a family, pay for college, and maybe build a family legacy.
For both the lifestyle hosters and those who want to keep growing, single-server-panel technology is the definitive starting point. It is easy to setup, available on both Linux and Windows, has a simple user interface and management console and in most cases stays up-to-date with latest technology like support for IPV6 and services beyond shared hosting.
For lifestyle hosters this is all that is needed - the ultimate solution. For professional hosters it works well with the first few hundred customers. It then becomes the biggest obstacle to growth and the hoster’s worst enemy.
Key to growing at the ~ 1k user level is personal time. At this stage in the development of the hosting business money is still short and demands on the personal time of an owner become extremely high. Growth requires focus on customer acquisition but this time is simply not available, eaten away by the administrative tasks of managing multiple servers. When you are running a hosting business with 5+ servers, your day is spend on logging and re-logging; managing mail software n-times over; patching OS and apps; restoring data, and managing AV software.
The result is frustration, and slow or no-growth and in some cases the demise of hosting business when owners overreach and overstretch. This should not and need not happen. And the single-server-panel is to blame.
A solution to that problem is a hosting infrastructure that can grow with the needs of a hosting business, scale without creating administrative overhead with each server added, and be open to new services module.
Parallels Plesk Automation is a brand new solution that tackles this problem. It leverages learnings from the early multi-server solutions like Parallels Business Automation Standard, Parallels expand and Parallels H-Sphere products and combines it with the enterprise class architecture of Parallels Automation and the usability of Parallels Plesk Panel technology. The result is a multi-server hosting solution that easily scales from one server to one hundred, reduces administration overhead by providing administration of the complete hosting infrastructure from the single pane of glass, improves security of the system by creating a new level of isolation between the nodes, and drives performance of the system up with node optimization.
For professional hosters this means breaking “the glass ceiling” of single-server hosting. With low administration, the owner of a growing hosting business can devote more time to customer acquisition and will finally break through the 1000 customer barrier. For larger hosters, it means deep optimization of infrastructure and new wave of growth. A consistent code base from the single server Plesk Panel through Plesk Automation all the way to a telco-ready Parallels Automation ensures not only unblocked growth potential but also an opportunity for a smooth exit strategy if the owner chooses to sell and a business needs to be integrated into a larger provider infrastructure.
Rapidly growing consumption of cloud services by small businesses creates plenty of space for a professional hosting business to succeed and grow. With Parallels Plesk Automation, they now have a platform to base that growth on.