Exodus Purchases ServiceMetrics

How much is it worth to Exodus to offer more sophisticated service level guarantees for Web hosting?At least $280 million.

How much is it worth to Exodus to offer more sophisticated service level guarantees for Web hosting?

At least $280 million. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Web hoster announced today at the ISPCON trade show in San Jose that it has acquired Service Metrics, a closely held Internet measurement firm. The 60-employee, Denver-based firm offers the same kind of services as some of the better known Web performance measurement firms like Keynote Systems. The all-stock transaction is expected to close later this year.

"Our customers have indicated that what they really want to know is how their customers see their Web sites performing," said Ellen Hancock, president and chief executive of Exodus. "Many of our customers and competitors are using Keynote to get this kind of information, but we did not want to license this kind of technology."

Exodus wants to own Service Metrics because of an extensive network of probes the firm has deployed across the Internet to come up with statistically accurate information about the performance of individual Web sites. Thomas Higley, president and CEO of Service Metrics, said the company has 120 data collection centers around the world.

In essence, Exodus wants to use Service Metrics' network to give end users and Web hosting customers more visibility into the performance of Web sites hosted by Exodus. This will be a paid service. "Free is a bad word," Hancock said.

While Exodus' acquisition gives the Web hoster an unparalleled tool to offer such services, other carriers in the space are tackling this same task via partnerships.

Global Crossing's GlobalCenter division is expected to announce later this week an alliance with Keynote Systems and five other specialized companies, all part of a new service that already has been internally deployed, but has not been made public yet.

"Simply put, this is a window that would allow a customer to monitor the performance of the entire network including all network elements, and control some service elements directly," said Jason Schaffer, Global Crossing's director of product management.

Part of the service will be offered for free, and part would be metered, Schaffer said.