DataReturn Turns Up Buzz Meter

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-05-14

Web hoster DataReturn will announce a new high-reliability service with Microsoft this week, amid hoopla interpreted by many as a way to raise DataReturns profile, possibly leading to a partnership or an acquisition.

The Texas Web hoster is adding services based on Microsoft software and its own know-how, which DataReturn CEO Sunny Vanderbeck said will set a new standard for application performance reliability.

"When you see Microsoft talk about five nines [99.999 percent] reliability in its latest campaign, we are the company that would deliver on that promise," Vanderbeck said. DataReturn specializes in managed hosting on Microsofts platform.

DataReturn is trying to generate buzz that some industry participants see as heralding a new set of acquisitions, as communications carriers and consultancies shop for managed service providers and hosters.

Cable & Wireless is widely viewed as trolling the U.S. market for a good hosting asset. The British giant has a large-scale application service provider project in partnership with Microsoft and Compaq Computer that would benefit from DataReturns Microsoft-based services.

However, DataReturns long-term bandwidth and colocation contracts with Level 3 Communications may be an obstacle to such an alliance, analysts said. DataReturn does not own any data centers or network assets.

DataReturns bandwidth commitments are not unusual: Phone companies are finding that large players in the managed hosting space are often locked into long-term bandwidth contracts, meaning less potential revenue for carrier partners.

Bandwidth issues may make service providers such as DataReturn turn to a new set of partners — big consulting firms. They are increasingly interested in the space, as evidenced by a recent Accenture-Loudcloud pact.

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