Server Stimulus: The Planet Eyes Job Growth

In an effort to boost job growth, The Planet is offering up to 500 free dedicated servers to developers working on new applications in a program known as "Sand Castle."

Can a bunch of used servers help stimulate the economy? The Planet is determined to find out. The Houston-based managed hosting provider is offering up to 500 free dedicated servers to developers working on new applications and projects.

The program, known as Sand Castle, was conceived by Chairman and CEO Doug Erwin of The Planet. The company has a stockpile of recycled servers that are no longer being used by its dedicated and managed hosting customers, but still have useful life. To qualify for a free server, developers need to outline their vision for a software application or Web-based design service, and produce a new domain within six months of acceptance into the program.

Erwin said he was motivated to act by projections of a "jobless recovery" and data suggesting the actual employment rate was closer to 17 percent than 10 percent once you include jobless workers who are living off severances or have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

"I'm taking the challenge to try and find ways that The Planet can create jobs," said Erwin. “With eight data centers, we’re in a position to offer a single server to 500 individuals who want to start their own businesses. These 500 servers could create 500 jobs, and then we’ll have taken one small step to pay it forward and be part of the solution."

The Sand Castle program will use Dell servers equipped with Dual Xeon processors, a 146GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, 10Mb per second of unmetered bandwidth, and loaded with the CentOS 5 operating system. Current customers of The Planet are not eligible.

Erwin acknowledges that the program could yield benefits for The Planet. "If I help create a company, and they turn around and rent a server from, then we both win," said Erwin, who said the Sand Castle program will include future phases to offer additional technology and training.

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