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Superb Internet moves to SMB managed hosting (by Philbert Shih of Tier1)

Enterprise and Mass-Market Hosting

Superb Internet is a hoster with a long history in shared and dedicated hosting. Although Superb was founded and based in Vancouver, Canada, Superb's datacenters are located in the US (northern Virginia and Seattle) and a new, second headquarters was recently set up in Hawaii. It is now home to most of the senior and mid-management team.

Superb has always had a balance between shared and dedicated hosting, but the company has trended toward dedicated hosting and its facilities are now home to approximately 15,000 dedicated servers. Management estimates that dedicated servers bring in about 70% of total revenues, with shared hosting filling the other 30%. Superb has created a healthy business serving the self-managed dedicated server market but the company is now looking to move up-market and has launched a new managed hosting business.

Details
Managed hosting will be available in two flavors for all new and existing customers. Managed services will be offered on an à la carte basis, and the offerings are already built into the shopping cart interface, allowing users to easily select which managed services options they want, along with the server specifications and datacenter location, when they buy a server online. Customers can also directly buy a fully managed server, which comes with managed backup services, managed firewall, proactive server monitoring, patches, updates, OS hardening and security services. Customers will also have access to a dedicated technical account manager, who will be responsible for understanding and becoming familiar with the customer's infrastructure. There are tiered levels of support but customers will automatically be given 24/7/365 live telephone support and tickets are escalated through the system. Managed services will be available from the OS level and down. Superb will not manage the application layer, although that is in the works along with some kind of cloud infrastructure product.

T1R take
Superb's managed hosting offering will fit squarely in the SMB market, putting it in competition directly with the likes of The Planet, Layered Technologies, Verio, Hostway and Peer 1, to name a few. The company has a large base of customers, many which have been asking for managed services, and that will provide it with some immediate opportunity and will help get the ball rolling. And with some more marketing exposure, Superb should be able to generate some business directly on its storefront. As mentioned above, Superb has an attractive and easy-to-use purchasing interface that should facilitate on-demand purchases.

Superb joins Codero (formerly Aplus.net) as dedicated hosters now moving squarely into the SMB managed hosting space. This speaks to the demand in the market for more complex infrastructure and inevitably, this will mean that customers will need assistance and support – opening the doors for hosters to step in and deliver added value to customers. While the cloud is all the rage, and is an important emerging opportunity to be sure, the growing complexity and scale of infrastructure requirements ensures that hosters will be have plenty of managed hosting market opportunity to go after in the SMB space. For Superb, this was a crucial move, as it needed a migration path to support growing customers. The move into managed hosting is a departure point for the company and will require not only resources, but also a shift in culture. Fortunately for the company, it has some experience with the higher-touch needs of customers (as mentioned above) and this should help it adjust.

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great article!

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