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    Interview: Carlos Rivera
    Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

    HostIndex.com had an opportunity to conduct an interview with Carlos Rivera, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at iNNERHOST, Inc. Here's what we learned....

    HostIndex.com: You've just finished the fourth phase of your expansion at your Miami hosting center. What did that entail?

    Carlos Rivera: Well, when you look in terms of infrastructure, we just moved into a new building last year which has three different floors. It’s a Category 5 building, which means that it can resist winds up to 165 MPH, which would be a Category 5 hurricane…

    HostIndex.com: Would that be like an Andrew?

    Carlos Rivera: Exactly, the same as an Andrew. It can also resist impact of flying objects up to 45MHP. So when you come here, what you’re going to see is a building, which, from a physical standpoint, is like a fortress against Mother Nature. On top of that we laid out a security environment in the building which goes from physical security coming into the building, i.e. we have guards on our single entry and then that’s followed up by video security and biometric access to some of our most sensitive areas. We also have our video connected to motion detection sensors, which means that our cameras will follow you throughout the building if you are actively moving into our building.

    In addition, as you know, Florida is as flat as a pancake, so part of the issues you have in Florida is flooding when there’s a lot of rain. This building is about 17 feet above sea level, so when we had all of the torrential rains back in December, we were about the only building that was dry in the whole neighborhood. That, in addition to the fact that we have multiple generators and multiple UPS units allows us to be operational for a significant amount of time even if we had no power in here. We can actually be up and running for 11 days just with the diesel tanks that we have at this facility, plus the generators. When I say operational, it’s not only our data center, but I can run all the lights and all the air conditioning. I can actually have my people live here very comfortably as we maintain the services to our customers.

    We’re very conscious of our whole infrastructure security. Just to give you an idea, we’re on the same electrical grid as the Miami Airport, which means that if by any chance we lose power, we will come back up as soon as the grid that supplies the electricity to the International Airport. That doesn’t mean we’ll come up at the same time as the airport, but we’ll be one of the first buildings to actually come back into electrical power after a storm or any other natural disaster.

    We took a significant amount of time looking for a building. We have dual OC-48’s coming into this facility from two different points, so if we lose one of our OC-48’s, we still have connectivity. We own our own ring so that connection to our backbone of Internet access allows us to do load balancing for our customers. So in terms of latency reduction, we’ve been very successful. We’ve brought customers into this facility that at one time had been in facilities overseas and now they see the advantage of coming and hosting with us here at iNNERHOST.

    HostIndex.com: You were founded in 1998. What market opportunities led you to start iNNERHOST?

    Carlos Rivera: iNNERHOST really is the merge of two ideas. Two companies were doing business independently. One was a hardware assembly and exporting company and the other company was an ISP provider company. They were doing business in the sense that the hardware was providing some services to the ISP and the ISP was providing some consulting to the hardware company, and during those conversations they truly say the opportunity of the whole hosting and infrastructure development that was coming about in that time. So they merged the two companies and that was really the genesis of iNNERHOST as a company.


    HostIndex.com: Those were the trends when started in ’98. There was a market there for opportunities. Are those the trends that you’re still capitalizing on?

    Carlos Rivera: Yes. We look at the business in two areas. We truly believe that hosting is not a real estate business. There are a significant amount of companies that have gone out and invested millions of dollars in constructing buildings and brick and mortar infrastructure. We truly believe that hosting is more of a business proposition.

    It’s a combination of technology and also connectivity, and if you’re able to provide those three factors; infrastructure, connectivity and technology, and do it at a business proposition that’s attractive to developers and enterprise-type customers, then you truly have a true solution. The point that I want to make is that even though hosting is technology, in reality it's a business proposition to the customer.

    HostIndex.com: You’ve just announced a new customer, Santander BanCorp, which is the holding company of Banco Santander Puerto Rico, one of the leading financial institutions in Puerto. How did that come about?

    Carlos Rivera: It came about for the same reason that most of our other customers come about. Technology is great, but technology is very expensive. A lot of people were forced to invest in technology that was not part of their core business because they wanted to keep abreast and they wanted to keep on the bleeding edge in terms of the services they were providing to their customer base.

    Now they realize those were dollars, and those were assets, that they were putting in non-core competency. A bank - their business is not about having servers and having connectivity. The bank is about the ability to provide banks, the ability to have their customers to have anywhere-access, to have fund transfers and all that. As a result of that they were forced to do millions and millions of dollars in investment in hardware and development.

    Now what they are realizing is they want to keep that advantage, but there’s another model that allows them to do it, and do it more efficiently, and that’s the whole hosting model. That’s people like iNNERHOST, who come in and say, “I will provide you with the security. I will provide you with the hardware. I will provide you with the ability to host your application at my facility so your point-of-entry from a cost standpoint is much more attractive to keep up with technology.

    And by the way, you don’t have to worry anymore about licensing compliance. You don’t have to worry anymore about every two years having to refresh your equipment. You don’ t have to worry about having an administrator that remembers that a service patch that would actually fix a security flaw that maybe your application had, needed to be installed. Because we’re doing that for you.” And what that does, is that it actually frees your IT budget for the period of time that you’re doing business with iNNERHOST.

    HostIndex.com: You provide complex managed hosting and application solutions for companies large and small who want to outsource their IT needs. How does a company’s size affect the service they require, and how do you customize your offerings to each individual company?

    Carlos Rivera: We truly believe there is not a given solution that matches all customers. So our approach to business is consultative selling. Our sales force and our technical professionals really work hand-in-hand with our customers to truly understand what is the application, or what is the target audience for these services. Based on that, and based on how redundant they want the services to be, if they require load balancing, if they require full tolerance, then we develop a technology model that allows them to truly bring those services to their customer base.

    When you say small to big companies, we have signed some significant partnership alliances, specifically in Latin America with companies such as Telefónica de España, which is one of the largest telephone companies in the world, because they recognize the quality of service and complex management that we can bring to the table that they don’t have the ability to do. They have the connectivity. They have the data centers, but they understand that they cannot do what we do.

    We also signed a deal with a company in Venezuela called CANTV, which is a combination of a couple of partners. One of them is Verizon, one of them is Telefónica de España, and one of them is a local Venezuelan company. They are the largest telco in Venezuela and again they truly understand the value-added that we bring, when we bring our business proposition which is basic technology. We also signed another deal in the Dominican Republic with a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon a company called CODETEL for the same reasons. So you’re starting to see that not only enterprise-type companies are starting to understand and accept the value-add that iNNERHOST as a company brings to their infrastructure.

    HostIndex.com: You have recognized the surge in Internet use in Latin America, and are providing services to such partners as Clarus and CODETEL in the Dominican Republic. How much more room does the Latin American and Caribbean hosting markets have to grow?

    Carlos Rivera: As I’m sure you’re aware, technology lags at least 12 to 24 months in terms of deployment into Latin America. We made a strategic decision to truly focus in Latin America early in the inception of the company, and I think that is allowing us to solidify the position of a pioneer.

    Is there room for growth in Latin America? I think there is significant room for growth. If you look at the Internet usage in Latin America vs. the US or Europe it’s significant in comparison, so the way it’s been approached is through connectivity companies trying to bring not only the business community, but also the user, to embrace the Internet and to use it in all kinds of applications. That’s why you see the hosting companies starting to flourish down there.

    There are still models that are being used where you have companies that have gone down there and spent millions and millions of dollars building brick and mortar. My question to that is: Why would you do that when you have huge telcos that have already done that investment and that are willing bring partners like iNNERHOST into the equation? So we took what we truly believe is the smartest route, the most efficient route, and we find those partners that are looking for the partners and the technology that nobody else can offer. The way we do this is, they have the buildings and the infrastructure, so we deploy our IT infrastructure into their locations and then we provide the services.

    Which means that it doesn’t take us 12 months to build the buildings and put in our servers and be ready. We just take this ability to develop the partnerships and deploy the platforms that are already preconfigured to go in and offer the hosting services.

    HostIndex.com: Where do you see other markets emerging that you could capitalize on in the future?

    Carlos Rivera: When you look at our mission statement, we always refer to the Americas, and that means from Canada all the way down to Argentina and Chile, We truly believe that the way the technology is emerging, there are a lot of significant opportunities still to be had in the US, Canada and South America, even though we are getting customers by referrals in Asia and Europe, because we’re a global company.

    We have customers around the world. We have customers in India, we have customers in Japan, we have customers in Russia, and we have customers in the Philippines. So we’re a global company. But we are laser-focused. When we go hunting, we don’t go hunting with a shotgun, we go hunting with a very precision-type rifle, and we are embracing that with the technology that we‘re bring on board. We want to make sure our platform in the Americas is solid before we start expanding into other continents beyond that.

    HostIndex.com: You talked about a laser focus. Because you offer your services in Spanish and Portuguese as well as English, would you go into ethnic communities, for example the Portuguese community in New York City and target them as possible customers? Are you that fine with your laser approach?

    Carlos Rivera: Yes we are. As a matter of fact, what we’re finding quite interesting is that we have companies in the US that might have ethnical roots in some of the countries in Latin America that are trying to expand their business into the countries where their founders started. At the same time, you have companies in Latin America who are trying to penetrate markets in the US. We are the perfect bridge.

    Our building, our NOC, our IT infrastructure in Miami makes it the perfect entrance for that traffic to flow from south to north, and north to south. So we’re getting a lot of interest and we’re focusing on creating those bridges for those companies. And it applies to all different types of industries - from airline companies to communication companies to consulting companies that are able to use our technology to bridge the continental divide to bring the most efficient way of using their assets. They all need hosting, and when you look at hosting, what it is, is just a more efficient business proposal to keep on the bleeding edge of technology.

    HostIndex.com: Last year iNNERHOST received expansion capital from a group of investors led by Spire Capital Partners, L.P., a $250 million private equity fund. How have you used those funds?

    Carlos Rivera: Part of that we used for the first phase of our expansion. You have to understand; we do not consider ourselves a dot-com company. We consider ourselves an infrastructure company - a very conservative infrastructure company. This company has been profitable since its creation and utilizes some of those dollars for expansion that occurs in two things and two things only; the quality of people that we’re bringing into our organization and the facility that we have created here in Miami. But being smart business people, we also know that what is being created here is research.

    So, we’re fully funded. We don’t need to have anymore capital infusions for us to be able to accomplish our strategic plan to be able to get our presence in Latin America and expand our technology into North America.

    HostIndex.com: Is it the caliber of the people at iNNERHOST that has made the company the global player that it is?

    Carlos Rivera: That is correct. We are a firm believer that it’s not a matter of quantity. It’s a matter of quality. It’s quality in the people that we bring in. It’s quality in the services that we provide. It’s quality in the infrastructure that we create. And it’s quality in the partners that we bring into this relationship.

    HostIndex.com: Do you have any plans to build any other data centers besides your 100,000 sq/ft facility in Miami?

    Carlos Rivera: When you say building, you have to be very careful with that because every time we create a partnership, we to a degree, acquire a data center. When you do business with companies like Verizon and Telefónica de España and you look at their facilities, what we found and what we do very carefully is we look for partners that truly believe in the level of excellence that we do.

    That infrastructure is there - the routers, the racks, because they are using that for the connectivity. What we’re doing is coming in and saying, “Partner, I have the hardware, I have the technology, and I have the people. I’ll use your facility.” That provides us with two things: Immediate penetration into the market because I don’t need to build; and it also provides me the ability to sell through their distribution arms, through their sales force. And it provides the opportunity to truly deploy quickly and rapidly without having to invest significant dollars in brick and mortar.

    When you look at iNNERHOST, you’re talking about a company that is a solid company, a quality company and it’s a sound business model, business plan company.

    HostIndex.com: Thank you for sharing your time with us here at HostIndex.com; the web's LARGEST hosting directory.



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