DMG Radio, the owner of the Nova FM and Vega FM radio stations, has moved to a rolling month-by-month hosting contract with Bulletproof Networks after being unsatisfied with the longer deals offered by Australia's larger providers.
DMG Radio signed up to Bulletproof as part of a broader revitalisation of its web presence that also saw its streaming services shifted from Hostworks to Akamai.
According to several sites on the internet, DMG Radio was previously a customer of Bluecentral Hosting.
DMG Digital Director Tony Mittelmark said that the radio giant was looking for a service provider that offered flexibility and took responsibility for the reliability of its service.
The DMG radio sites will now be hosted Bulletproof's "dedicated VM Hosting platform" - which runs on the VMware ESX hypervisor (virtualisation layer), on Sun Microsystems servers and on a Sun fibre-channel connected SAN (storage area network).
Lorenzo Modesto, chief operating officer at Bulletproof Networks, said it was "dedicated" in the sense that resources are tightly controlled and that the service is fully managed, as opposed to "dedicated" in the sense of being restricted to one customer per box.
Moving to month-to-month
In a rare situation for a mission-critical site, the radio station's online presence will be hosted with Bulletproof on a rolling month-to-month basis rather than a long contract.
"This is a gigantic difference between this and the way other hosting companies do it," Mittelmark told iTnews. "Bulletproof is in effect saying, if our service sucks, you get out of this agreement.
"That is very, very attractive. You absolutely do not want to be locked into a contract if your service provider turns out to suffer from excess downtime or total incompetence. These guys saw a gap in the market - the poor service levels - and are addressing it."
Mittelmark said that many hosting companies in Australia are offering SLA's [service level agreements] that are "absolutely insufficient."
Mittelmark said that while the Nova FM or Vega FM web sites have never suffered downtime, other sites under his remit have seen some "pretty considerable" periods of outages. And very rarely has any Australian hosting provider offered reasonable compensation.
"Two hours of downtime is unbelievable," he said. "Twenty-four hours is suicide. Maybe I am being unrealistic, but 24 hours of downtime to me should equate to 12 months of remuneration."
Most hosting providers in Australia base their services on contracts that are "written to protect a hosting company from ever having to refund money under any scenario," he said.
"But I say that if you want to provide a mission-critical service, you have to be more responsible than that," he said. "The requirement of a high-end web site is not 'set and forget' - it should be a service - your hosting provider should be Scotty in the engine-room of the Enterprise."
Mittelmark said that in instances of downtime, "there is a constant fight over whether it is your issue or theirs."
He said that even when the provider acknowledges that it is at fault for an outage - a rarity - that acknowledgement is soon retracted when the customer seeks compensation.
While several large providers in the United States are also offering hosting a rolling monthly basis, Mittelmark does not expect the larger hosting companies in the Australian market to follow Bulletproof's lead.
"[Larger hosting companies] have invested heavily in legacy infrastructure," he said. "Without guarantees of income [from long contracts], they won't survive."