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LinuxPlanet: Infocrossing and S/390 Linux: An ASP's Story

Feb 28, 2001, 15:15 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Scott Courtney)

"They keep their computers in cages at Infocrossing, like a gigantic prison for miscreant microchips. The cages aren't to keep the computers in, though, but to keep intruders out. Infocrossing, Incorporated, headquartered in Leonia, New Jersey, is in the Application Service Provider (ASP) hosting business. With a strong background in traditional mainframe environments, IBM's System/390 architecture was a natural choice for Infocrossing as they started branching out into the Linux hosting business."

"Application Service Providers, for those not familiar with the term, are companies that offer application software to clients on a centrally-located (and centrally-managed) host. The idea is that businesses gain the benefit of running sophisticated applications while avoiding the cost of deploying the needed hardware and software in-house. In the days before the Internet, such arrangements were common and were built using mainframe computers and remote timesharing connections. It was in this environment that Infocrossing was born, over twenty years ago. Now the Internet -- and virtual private networks (VPNs) that exploit its ubiquity -- give companies like Infocrossing a new way to bring their services to customers. At the same time, ASPs are creating new opportunities for mainframe systems, especially now that Linux is a reality at the high end."

"Tom Laudati, Senior Vice President for Enterprise Engineering at Infocrossing, says that the company brought mainframe lessons into a distributed world, unlike some companies which moved in the other direction. "All the disciplines we learned as far as backup and recovery and implementing new pieces of software to make sure they work with your other software, we've learned over the past twenty-five years. When you put that PC on the desktop, this all goes out the window." They realized that distributed infrastructures, such as intranets, weren't being managed adequately for mission-critical business needs, and decided this gap represented an opportunity. Over time, Infocrossing started offering managed hosting of UNIX and NT systems, and eventually they branched out to provide colocation facilities as well."

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