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    Interview with Drew Erra
    CEO, GlassPath

    By Staff Writer


    We recently caught up with Drew Erra at GlassPath, a fast-growing provider of high-end hosting solutions. Here's the inside scoop on their operations:

    HostIndex.com: To better context this interview, would you be able to briefly describe the history of GlassPath and your respective areas of web hosting focus? Are you familiar with how the name GlassPath was derived?

    Drew Erra: The name GlassPath alludes to our redundant fiber optic connections to the Internet. In essence, our connectivity to the Internet is a glass path.

    HostIndex.com: An interesting element of your company's server offerings is that they are grouped by end-user, e.g. healthcare or developer or business. What was the reasoning behind separating out your dedicated server channels and how has the market response been?

    Drew Erra: Initially we grouped our offerings by end-users in order to help our potential customers identify packages that would best suit them. The response was good, but we think we can better serve future visitors to our site by breaking them out by products. We are in the process of breaking out our offerings based on product. These products will be:

    Managed Dedicated Servers
    Content Delivery Networks
    Microsoft Exchange 2000 Hosting

    GlassPath is a Microsoft-Partner and provides a broad spectrum of Windows 2000/NT hosting. Is the Windows environment a specialization of GlassPath? What is the level of technical support and assistance that GlassPath provides Windows developers.

    1. We view Microsoft as a major strategic hosting platform for our customers. We insure that our internal engineers are trained & certified on Microsoft technologies.

    2. For Developers support, we provide capacity testing, stress testing, regression testing as value added services. We work closely with developer to maintain and and troubleshoot development environments prior to production hosting.

    HostIndex.com: Your company recently offered discounts to California site operators who wanted to escape the "rolling blackouts." Was this a successful promotion? Does GlassPath have any similar promotions coming in the near future?

    Drew Erra: It was a very successful promotion and we anticipate offering it again this summer as the power situation in California "heats up" so to speak. Just yesterday, Yahoo went down due to power outages in California at an Exodus data center. Between the power issues and the seismic risk California presents, it makes one wonder why there is such a large concentration of data center space in California. I certainly wouldn't want my servers in California.

    HostIndex.com: Databases are critical for web storage and interactive websites. However, these databases are often difficult to host while maintaining fault tolerance. How does GlassPath address database hosting? Are there any specific areas of expertise and how is database support worked into your managed hosting offerings?

    Drew Erra: We provide several database offerings ranging from single stand alone databases to highly redundant clustered databases. We have oracle and sql server support engineers on staff to consult and provide support services.

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    HostIndex.com: GlassPath operates in a uniquely secure environment, i.e. a former bank vault. How did you accomplish building a data center in this environment and how has it contributed to the uniqueness and quality of service that you provide?

    Drew Erra: When searching for a site for our data center we stumbled upon a former Federal Reserve Building. We toured their vault but it was too big for our needs (30,000 square feet). As our search progressed, we found the former distribution vault for a regional bank that had been acquired by a larger national bank and had been vacant for 7 years. It was the perfect size and we immediately started negotiating for the space.

    Building out the vault was a very involved process. For example we had to hire a coring contractor just to drill holes for our fiber, electric, and systems, etc. Being that the vault is encapsulated by 24-inch thick concrete reinforced with steel plates and rebar, this was no small task. Each of the holes took 2 hours to drill and used 2 titanium drill bits per hole. In the end though, all the pain we went through in the construction phase has paid off. Our local customers that visit the data center are extremely impressed with the security of being in such a fortified structure.

    Aesthetically, walking into the vault is a tremendous selling point because it augments GlassPath's focus on securing the Internet through our 8-layer security model. It adds tremendous value to our offering by reinforcing GlassPath's security model. We don't offer any colocation services, so only authorized GlassPath Technicians are allowed in the data center, which adds a layer of physical security not available anywhere else by limiting access.

    Having our data center in a vault is perfect for GlassPath, because it epitomizes what GlassPath is all about------SECURITY!!!

    HostIndex.com: Thank you for sharing your time with us here at HostIndex.com.







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