TeleWest is to move its shared Web hosting service from Microsoft's IIS to Web servers from UK-based Zeus Technology. The company has been using Zeus for the Web services to Blueyonder broadband customers, and will migrate the rest of its Web services to Zeus over the next few months, according to Zeus.
Zeus' push for new customers is centred on version 4.0 of its Web server (reviewed here). It is also capitalising on fears of the insecurity of Microsoft's IIS server to sell Zeus as a load balancing firewall for IIS server farms. Load balancing has been brought out as an add-on to Zeus 4.0, letting them act as a firewall, repelling DOS attacks by examining all requests and spotting ones which are repeated too often.
Since Microsoft is apparently rewriting IIS to make it more resilient, a project which may take two years, the company will have to come to terms with users wanting a faster solution to the Web server's problems, and accept that its customers may use Zeus, at least as a firewall, said Andrew Parker, Zeus' vice president of corporate strategy.
Zeus will, of course, use these boxes as a toe-hold to expand into Microsoft sites. Once a site has a Zeus server as a firewall, it can move content across to that machine as required, and expand it to a cluster without any downtime, said Parker.
Other users of Zeus include Demon, UUnet and eBay, the last of which changed from an NT/IIS server farm to a cluster of Sun boxes running Zeus. "They installed equivalent-powered servers and found that utilisation went from 70 percent on IIS to 30 percent on Zeus," said Parker. Other major telcos which had bad experiences with the Nimda worm are testing Zeus firewalls, said Parker.
Zeus claims to have three percent of the worldwide Web server market, and around 800,000 sites, but these figures could be unreliable, as Parker acknowledged. Any IIS site using one Zeus server as a front end will show up in statistics collected by the leading collector for Web server statistics, Netcraft, as running entirely on Zeus. So Zeus' push to gain entry into Microsoft sites could appear to gain results rather quickly.
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