SmarterTools at Parallels Hosting Summit 2009

Parallels organized another successful Summit with a near record number of attendees. SmarterTools exhibited at the Parallels Summit 2009 and had the opportunity to meet many Summit participants.

Hosted Services (SaaS) and More

Most of the attendees were interested about the upcoming release of SmarterTrack 4.x, SmarterTools Hosted Services, and our new Hosted Affiliate program.

New features planned for SmarterTrack 4.x include an integrated survey system, multi-lingual support, a tabbed Portal, agent to agent chat, support for multiple brands, and more. To get a sneak peak at SmarterTrack 4.x, participate in the SmarterTrack 4.x BETA test.

Earlier this year, SmarterTools unveiled plans to offer select products as a hosted service (SaaS), with Hosted SmarterTrack being the first such service. In preparation for the launch of Hosted SmarterTrack, SmarterTools enhanced its infrastructure to include a Tier 3 data center. Limited spaces are available for the Hosted SmarterTrack BETA. For more information, visit the Free Hosted Trial page.

With the addition of hosted services (SaaS) to SmarterTools’ offerings, a new partner program for Hosted Affiliates was created. This partner option provides companies with the opportunity to earn recurring revenue while adding up to $750 in value to their current shared, dedicated, and VPS offerings. For more information on how your company can maximize its earnings with SmarterTools Hosted Services, visit the Promoting Hosted Services page.

Plesk and SmarterMail Partnership Announced

Many Summit participants were also excited to hear that SmarterTools and Parallels have joined forces to provide Parallels Plesk Panel for Windows customers with free access to SmarterMail Lite, a specially-developed version of the SmarterMail mail server that provides unlimited email accounts and domains at no additional cost when used in conjunction with upcoming versions of the Parallels Plesk Panel for Windows. See the SmarterMail Lite and Plesk Panel Flyer for more details.

Hosting Success Presentation Attracts a Crowd

On the final day of the Summit, Jeff Hardy, vice president of business operation for SmarterTools, gave a presentation to a packed audience called “A Roadmap for Hosting Success in Challenging Times: SmarterTools and Parallels (PDF).” Jeff discussed finding value and maintaining price in hosting environments; the new Plesk 9.0 initiative with SmarterMail to increase value and lower email costs for hosting companies; bundling software and services to increase customer acquisitions without increasing costs; using business intelligence to develop efficiencies and drive success; and more.

Additional material detailing the use of customer service and sales departments to create effective business intelligence can be found in the presentation “Customer Service and its Discontents: How to Turn an Overhead Expense into the Most Powerful Tool in Your Business Arsenal (PDF).”

And the Winner of the SmarterTools Scooter Giveaway is…

At the end of his presentation, Jeff announced the winner of the SmarterTools Scooter Giveaway. We heard that our friend Takeshi Eto from Discount ASP was only one number away from winning (as was ZipServers) and that Liam Eagle at The WHIR blogged about the presentation and scooter giveaway.

In the end though, it was Andy Ridinger of Mural Consulting who was selected in a random drawing as the winner of the SmarterTools Scooter Giveaway. Congratulations again, Andy! We hope you enjoy your new scooter.

The Parallels Summit is Over.

Time to Plan for WebhostingDay.

All in all, the Summit was a great success. Thanks again to Parallels for hosting another great event. We’re looking forward to returning next year. In the meantime, the SmarterTools team is preparing for WebhostingDay in Germany March 18-20. If you are also planning on attending this event, please let us know.

Parallels Plesk 9 Launch Party: View from miX in Las Vegas

Soaring high into the sky atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, miX has one of the most outstanding views of the Strip.

This post was written by Tiffany D., a marketing and technical communications specialist for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.

Choosing a Data Center Solution: Features & Benefits of Colocation

SmarterTools recently completed its transition to a new data center in the Phoenix area. The addition of the Tier 3 data  center was integral for the upcoming launch of our hosted services (such as our Hosted SmarterTrack customer service software) and will help us support increased demand for our software.

It was a logical step for our company, but not one that was taken lightly. We realize that many of our customers use our software and services for mission-critical tasks, so the security of their information and the availability of our software and services are paramount.

8 Tips for Choosing a Data Center Solution

Choosing the best data center to house our servers and associated infrastructure wasn’t a snap decision. We researched several data center solutions, finally settling on ours after numerous on-site visits and discussions with the data center staff regarding the features and benefits of their colocation services. Based on our experience, we can offer the following tips for choosing a reliable data center:

Make sure a potential data center site is fully redundant

At a minimum, you should look for primary backup solutions for all critical components—power, fire suppression, HVAC, etc.—as well as secondary backup solutions in case a primary backup fails. For example, our data center power feed is fed by conditioned UPS electricity, with redundant feeds from two independent substations and multiple on-premise backup generators. In addition, there are 27,000 gallons of reserve diesel fuel on site. Our data center cooling systems also feature welded, bidirectional piping for redundancy and maintenance, and an additional 32,000 gallon backup water storage facility is located on site.

Make sure a potential data center has abundant and affordable telecommunications infrastructure

Our data center provides network neutral access to major telecommunications carriers and Internet backbones, meaning that we benefit from direct access to local, national, international, wireline, wireless, private, public, research, dark fiber, and other networks. As a result, our data center ensures 99.999% uptime and our customers benefit from reliable access to their data.

Benefit from guaranteed reliability and uptime with service-level agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are an important tool for maintaining quality of service because they can guarantee power service, temperature stability, and network uptime. Since most data centers offer SLAs as part of their contracts, it’s worthwhile to ask for and evaluate the terms of the SLA. According to Nemertes Research, SLAs are critical to data center services, and IT executives cite SLAs as the third-most important criterion in selecting a service provider for data center outsourcing. Our SLA guarantees five nines reliability.data-center-safety-security

Evaluate the safety and security features of a potential data center

Building security is extremely important, so you’ll want to look for a data center that offers quality security systems and/or guards on duty 24/7. Our data center utilizes advanced security technologies such as digital video, electronic access control, fingerprint recognition, and retinal scans.

Minimize the risk of natural and man-made threats by researching the locations under consideration for your data center

Our new data center operates in an area that is widely acknowledged to be free of natural disasters or “mega city” political risks, greatly reducing the risk of disruption due to natural or man-made disasters. For those looking for a data center solution in the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency lists natural disasters by state and by year dating back to 1953.

Make sure a potential data center has plans in place for growth

Because it’s unlikely that your business will stay the same size it is today, asking about the scalability of a potential data center is a good idea. You don’t want to find out six months from now that the data center mounted your server in its last rack space. Our data center is dedicated to meeting our comprehensive, long-term business needs and provides flexible and expandable data center space as needed.

Pay attention to data center business risks

Remember that data centers are real estate. Based upon square footage, a data center may be some of the most expensive real estate in the world, but all of the same rules apply. Have options in place to extend your lease at a fixed, predictable cost. You do not want to have to choose between substantial rent increases and expensive migrations at the end of the year. Also, make sure that you have an escape clause with defined costs in case the data center fails to meet your needs in the future due to unforeseen circumstances. Finally, watch the insurance requirements: Make sure that you know what the liabilities of the data center are and what falls squarely on you, and update your insurance policies accordingly.

Talk to the data center staff

If you’re struggling to choose between two data centers, talking to the staff may help you select the winner. Ultimately, your satisfaction depends not only on the building and its technology but also on the quality, culture, and experience of the people operating the facility.

The Choice is Clear

The best data center facilities provide flexibility in terms of scalability, connectivity and monitoring options; fail-safe security; a redundant, quality infrastructure with 99.999% reliability; and knowledgeable technical, monitoring, and support staff dedicated to meeting customer requirements from installation to ongoing operations. Whether you’re looking for a data center solution for colocation or disaster recovery, the choice will be easy if a potential data center successfully meets these requirements.

This post was written by Tiffany D., a marketing and technical communications specialist for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.

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