One of the things that often differentiate small and medium size businesses from their larger brethren is the amount of money they spend on the latest datacenter technologies. Keeping your datacenter up and running through serious outages is traditionally an expensive proposition, even when you outsource services to providers to take advantage of existing infrastructures. And for companies that outsource their web hosting and network applications, but don't want to move to a nebulous cloud provider, perhaps because they need to know exactly where their data will reside, the cost is often quite significant.
But 1&1 web hosting has taken a completely different approach to the issue of keeping your website and applications available. Their Dual Hosting program puts customers who are willing to use their shared hosting services into an environment where their services and data are replicated between two geographically separate sites, over a 200+ Gb connection. Data backup is also performed to a remote site, adding an additional level of data security, but the primary capability is a rapid failover between sites, with downtime of under 120 seconds if the primary site goes down.
The infrastructure includes server clusters on both ends, independent from the multi-site redundancy. Front ending the operation at each datacenter are about 1000 blade servers from IBM (quad core Xenon CPUs with 12 GB RAM per blade) and almost 150 expandable storage units, currently configured with 20 TB in SAS drives per unit. All internal connections are redundant, as well.
This service is currently only available to 1&1's shard hosting customers; they have not yet rolled this out for dedicated server customers as, I believe, the economics of supporting dedicated servers in this configuration don't fit 1&1's pricing model or current SMB business strategy.
And while they have cheaper, starter plans, the cost for 1&1's dual-hosted, full blown business hosting package is $9.99/month. For a small business looking for reliable hosting services or a developer looking for a secure location to build Windows or Linux hosted applications this might be the best deal currently out there. 1&1 had a few bumps in the road in their early years of moving into the US market (the company is based in Germany) but it appears that they have made a significant effort to address previous issues with reliability and customer service, and currently boast over 10 million hosted accounts worldwide.