On Monday and Tuesday of this week I was privilege to spend some time in Baltimore Maryland at the downtown location of EdgeWeb Hosting (EWH) - a hosting and data center services company owned and managed by Vlad Friedman. EWH specializes in ColdFusion hosting (although they have many other services by now). I've known Vlad for years through some mutual customers and through an email list on which we are both active participants, but I had never met him in person. Since I was doing some "emergency consulting" for a mutual customer I needed spend a day or two on site at EWH. Vlad was kind enough to show me around his data center and give me the "inside scoop" on the data center business.
The EdgeWeb data center is in a massive facility in the heart of Baltimore. EWH has redundant everything - including redundant power from separate substations, 4 way redundant UPS, and impressive cooling. The entire infrastructure has been recently designed from the ground up with the care and planning of a master craftsman. Vlad is understandably proud of the center and the staff he has assembled. I don't remember all the things he showed me but his networking topology uses the latest and greatest adaptive routing and his security setup (intrusion detection, audit control and the like) is state-of-the-art. I have visited a fair number of data centers but I was really impressed.
I was able to meet some of the EWH staff as well. His DBA and I spent some time gabbing about the differences between MSSQL 05 and MSSQL 08. His operations director is one of those IT pros who know exactly the questions that need asking. But I already knew that EWH has good staff. We have worked with his hosting support staff for years. We have a number of high profile customers hosted at EWH and we have always given the support staff high marks for their knowledge, practical know-how and alacrity. There is a reason they are often voted best in class for hosting and data center services.
On Tuesday evening Vlad took me to G & M restaurant for the best crab cakes I've ever had (and I am a crab cake lover). We had a great time telling our stories and filling up on crab and shrimp cocktail. As I told Vlad, it was the best meal I've had in many months - and of course a geek like the Muse thrives on conversations about hacking, retro computers, security vulnerabilities, and the business of IT. As is often the case when I meet someone who has built a thriving business I was able to glean many pearls of practical wisdom and advice that I hope will serve me well.
So here's a big thanks to Vlad and to EWH as well as a hearty recommendation. I hope they have a long run at the top of the hosting food chain.