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  1. Technology
August 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

A study of internet services in Europe and the United States has found that while organizations are generally happy with their internet service providers, web hosts gets much lower marks. ISPs consistently scored 4.0 or more out of a possible 5, while web hosting rated at 3.4 and application hosting at 3.6. Buyers of both web and application hosting services said they were concerned about capacity issues, particularly bandwidth and whether or not their hosts could scale. This finding was confirmed when survey respondents were asked to name credible providers of high-quality corporate internet services. Scalable, big-bandwidth telcos were the clear winners, with AT&T, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom well ahead of the pack. A Dallas company has correctly diagnosed the prevailing unhappiness with the web hosting services that are available today. The only trouble is that its cure might be worse the disease. As its name suggests, NT Access offers its web hosting services only on Microsoft’s Windows NT. Matthew Brown is up-front about the rationale behind that unorthodox server software decision. It’s all about marketability, he said, NT’s a buzzword now and it seems like a lot of people want to jump on the bandwagon. Brown believes that the average internet user nowadays is accustomed to Windows, and that Unix scares them. Surely that only matters on the desktop, though? Without back-office Unix applications like BIND, DNS and TCP/IP, there would be no internet. Brown points out that FTP applications expose users to the Unix file system. He contends that mom and pop operations can’t cope with even that level of exposure. With NT on the backbone, they get to keep the user interface they’re most familiar with. NT Access says it has tackled NT’s comparative inability to scale by making everything in the operation redundant. When a customer hosts a site with us they’re not on one server, they’re on two, Brown says, this was an extremely expensive start-up but we wanted to do it right. Brown also says his company isn’t bothered by delays in Microsoft’s schedule for shipping NT 5. We’re not even testing it yet. We’re not even planning to test it. How about the known Y2K problems in NT 4 ( none drastic, it’s true, but all fiddly? Other people in management are dealing with that, says Brown. I’m trusting them.

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