After years as the world's largest dedicated hosting company, The Planet has repositioned itself to emphasize managed hosting services. The new Planet Northstar services promises "enterprise-class managed hosting for businesses of all sizes."
The Planet becomes the latest dedicated server specialist to add managed hosting services, which offer higher profit margins and stickier customer relationships. It follows the lead of Layered Technologies, which recently acquired FastServers.net primarily for its suite of managed services.
The new push into managed hosting also allows The Planet to diversify beyond dedicated hosting, which is under threat from cloud hosting and utility computing models that offer the prospect of more flexible, scalable hosting platforms. It remains to be seen if The Planet's recent data center outage complicates the push into managed hosting, in which exceptional uptime and strong service-level agreements (SLAs) are crucial to gaining enterprise business.
The Planet has rebranded its traditional dedicated hosting business as Planet Alpha, and redesigned its entire web site with a distinctly Web2.0 visual look. The new homepage offers entry paths for Alpha, the Northstar managed hosting, and corporate information.
The Planet's managed hosting offerings feature three architecture offerings:
- Scalable Hosting for Web 2.0 and software as a service (SaaS) application hosting
- High Availability Hosting featuring load balancing and clustering for additional redundancy.
- Hosted IT Infrastructure plans for companies interested in outsourcing their core IT infrastructure.
The Planet's move up the value chain comes two years after investment firm GI Partners purchased a controlling interest in The Planet and EV1Servers, two of the industry's largest dedicated hosting specialists. The acquisitions were followed by a six-month transition in which CEO Doug Erwin and his new management team merged the two brands. Last year the company moved into new headquarters in Houston.