Content Unlikely to Move to Local Servers

MANILA (03/13/2000) - Even with local co-location houses available, a number of companies are keen on keeping their Web sites hosted or co-located abroad because of bandwidth limitations here.

Local companies interviewed by Computerworld Philippines said that bandwidth and costs remain big issues here, but admitted that it is still possible for them to eventually move their Web sites to local server farms.

One of the more popular local sites, The Philippine Daily Inquirer's Web site, is being hosted from the U.S., said Bobby Gantuanco, the company's assistant department head for IT.

He said that access is generally faster if the site is hosted from there. Local hosts or co-location facilities still can't handle the Web traffic, especially for a popular site like theirs, he said, noting that the Inquirer generates some 850,000 hits per day.

Philmusic.com, a multi-awarded music site, has been hosted since 1996 with Digiweb, a hosting company in Virginia, said site developer Jim Ayson.

Ayson said he's been happy with Digiweb's service because their connection to the Internet is a fast T3 pipe. This is cheaper than if he gets the same service here, he added.

Designet Inc., an international Web development company, has all of its sites located in Norway, where its mother company is based. The company develops and maintains sites like Erap.com and Weathernews Philippines, among others.

Leo Ilagan, the company's vice president, said that speed is still limited in the country and there is still no local service provider that can provide the bandwidth that they need.

Web Philippines, on the other hand, has sites co-located locally and abroad.

Butch Maceda, the company's vice president, said that sites that generate a lot of Web traffic are hosted abroad, while low traffic sites are co-located with Moscom Internet, one of the earliest co-location houses in the country.

"Bandwidth is cheaper in the U.S. because you can connect to a facility with a T3 connection whose cost is comparable to a local facility with only a T1 line," Maceda said.

Willy Gan, chief executive officer of Moscom, explained that speed is not always the issue when companies decide to co-locate abroad.

"Co-location decision depends on who your target audience is. If your target is foreigners, then it's faster and probably cheaper to co-locate abroad. However, it isn't always cheaper. If you co-locate at a large facility like Abovenet or Exodus, it will cost about US$2,500 (a month) per rack of space," Gan said.

"If your audience is local Philippine eyeballs, then you should co-locate locally," he added.

Bandwidth seems to be the most common requirement that local companies look at before they even consider moving their content.

Inquirer's Gantuangco, for instance, said that it would only consider moving its servers here if the country had broadband pipes like those in Hong Kong and Japan.

Another feature that's crucial is network resiliency. One advantage of the U.S. providers, Gantuangco said, is that they have the big players like AOL, UUNet, MCIWorld who have resilient networks.

Maceda of Web Philippines added that aside from speed, security, power, backup provisions and ventilation are also important. The facility should also host the right number of sites so that the network won't be congested.

Gan, for his part, said anyone can put up co-location facilities here, but the costs are high.

"Ultimately, you need the large network reach to make your facility viable and attractive to companies who want to co- locate," he said.

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