Building Boom in Web Data Centers

Bank of America's lights go out, E-commerce grows by leaps and bounds, and more. StaffFebruary 20, 2001

And Now There Are 10

Web hoster Exodus Communications opened its tenth Silicon Valley data center. But the company isn’t going to sit around and let itself get sandbagged by the California electricity crisis. It built an electrical substation to serve the facility and other data centers it has planned for Santa Clara, Calif., and surrounding cities.

In its news release announcing the new site, Exodus cited a report from market research firm International Data Corp. that forecasts that the market for Web hosting will grow from $1.9 billion in 1999 to $24.8 billion by 2004. Exodus already has 5.2 million square feet devoted to its data centers, and it expects to increase capacity to approximately 6.7 million square feet worldwide by year end.

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This Program Has Been Interrupted

If Exodus has any electricity to spare, maybe it can lend some to Bank of America. Network connection problems slowed Bank of America’s online banking service to a crawl on Friday, its fourth-straight day of sporadic outages and slow service, according to reports on both CBS MarketWatch and Cnet News.

The site slowdown affected only California customers on Friday. But on Thursday, there was an hour-long outage that affected bank customers nationwide. California customers faced similar difficulties accessing the site Tuesday and Wednesday. The bank blamed the Thursday and Friday outages on problems with its own network and not the California electricity crisis.

Funny. The banking industry spent 20 years convincing customers to bank on line. Now that they’ve got them hooked, the sites keep crashing. What’s that old saying about the best laid plans?

Point, Click, and Pay

Bank of America’s online banking sites may be a big disappointment, but that didn’t stop U.S. consumers from increasing their online shopping between October and December by a 36 percent, according to a report from the Commerce Department’s Economics & Statistics Administration.

The Commerce Department said online purchases surged to $8.7 billion in the fourth quarter from third-quarter levels, outstripping the 5.4 percent gain in total retail sales during the traditional holiday shopping season. The fourth quarter marked the first time online sales accounted for more than 1 percent of total retail sales, although the margin was less than a hair’s breadth. Online purchases amounted to 1.01 percent of a total of $856.2 billion in retail sales.

Total E-commerce sales reached $25.8 billion for 2000, the first full year Commerce compiled such data. The statistics were based on a survey of 12,000 retailers.

Bits and Bytes

  • And The Winner Is. . . Don’t wait for next month’s Oscars. Trade weekly eWeek announced the winners of its Excellence Awards, and in the finance and accounting arena the top nods went to Great Plains Software’s Great Plains 6.0, Comshare Inc.’s MPC 4.0, and Outlooksoft Corp.’s Everest. Why Everest? Because it’s there.
  • Computer Associates received a patent for its ARCserve data protection software for network and server storage systems.
  • Qualcomm released two processors for wireless handsets, one for transmitting data on the Wireless Code Division Multiple Access standard and one for receiving it.