Being the first post, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the history of the company, what I’ve learned, and why I am making the decisions I am with making InnoScale what it is. Believe it or not, there are still customers here that have been here for all 12 long years so this post is especially for them.
Things sure have changed since our first 4U rack-mount servers back in 1999, which were Dual Pentium III 500’s with floppy drives, full size cdrom’s, and of course a tape drive. But, what good would this be without pictures of one of the original servers. Well, here you go!
Back in 1999, we advertised hosting packages with a whopping 35MB Disk Space, 1GB of transfers, 1 POP3 Email box, and the CGI-BIN was a premium package. All of that for $4.95/mo! Which at the time, was not a bad deal. We had 10Mbps links for our servers, ran the FreeBSD operating system, and had no commercially available control panel’s. Let me tell you, servicing customers and running this business was not easy. Everything was done manually, and software was flaky, no.. unreliable to say the least. The web was young and the industry immature. No one really knew where things were going, or how to do them. Peoples needs at the time were very basic as well since the Internet was not a primary medium for small business. Back then, we went door to door trying to convince businesses why they needed a website and custom Email addresses at their own domain name only to find out they didn’t even have Internet access, or they didn’t want to be the first guy on the block with a website as it seemed to risky, time consuming, and complicated.
During the 12+ years between then and now, many things have changed. We’ve adopted countless software, hardware, and network technologies to improve business and service to our customers. The web hosting business has gone from 5MB storage limits for $50/mo, to unlimited hosting packages for as little as $1/year, and I’ve seen everything in between. The web hosting industry became diluted with sub-par services, confusing and downright misleading advertising, over-industrialized processing, and little transparency from the provider. This is a dangerous combination and had left the consumer throwing their hands up in the air not knowing how to make an informed decision when choosing a host. What matters to a customer? Unfortunately for them it tends to be the same thing lacking across many hosting companies still today. The most common shortcomings I hear from people about the industry are non-responsive or unhelpful customer service, unreliable services, poor technology, no backups, and confusing or out of date information. The things that I see are poor business management skills, flawed business plans, sub-par engineering and design of the infrastructure, general lack of experience, and the most common being a combination of either a low quality Data Center, network, hardware, software, and security policies. The lack of transparency with a hosting company made it difficult for a consumer to understand the true workings of that company being as they will never actually see where their content is being hosted, how it’s being hosted, or much about the qualifications of the people or infrastructure involved with the company.
For many years, this has caused my focus to be shifted towards high-end hosting solutions for customers needing Co-Location, and Managed Hosting services. It was simply easier for a customer to understand and respect a high-quality level of service and support with this level of hosting due to the nature of the involvement with the customer. While we’ve never stopped participating in the shared hosting industry since the beginning, the frustrations we’ve encountered through the years was enough to make shared hosting the bread and butter of the business, where the meat and potato’s was now in high-end hosting services. However, more recently there has been a shift in the industry and the over industrialized, sub-par services and lack of transparency are now being separated once again. Although there are still more hosting companies in the market today, customers are more aware than ever, and are able to make more informed decisions. Many tools have become available for a consumer to research a provider prior to doing business with them, and are no longer just simply relying on the claims and promises a host publishes on their website.