Some of you might enjoy learning how eSecureData.com started. As one of the leaders in the Dedicated Server industry, it’s hard now to imagine how tiny we once were, but that’s exactly how it was. It’s a bit of an unlikely story, but I’ll be happy to relate it, anyway.
In 2005, I was in medical software when the company I worked for experienced some financial problems. I was working long hours there and was mentally exhausted. The end was almost a relief. Still, I’ve never been rich and I had to make sure Reggie stayed fed, so I spent some time considering my options. I had a couple of choices: I could try to rebuild my consulting/software-contracting business with new clients, or I could do something totally new.
The truth is, I despised software contracting. I was the product and I could only sell myself so thin. When you’re the product, you can sell your days, your evenings, your weekends and your nights, but eventually, you run out of time to sell and early in the cycle, you learn that you will never have a life.
At the same time, I had rented dedicated servers for years for my own use. I was one of the earliest customers of Yahoo Servers when they were trying that, and I’ve rented from a half dozen other companies around the world since. I even rented one of those ugly purple Cobalt Dedicated Servers from Sun back in the day. None of them were worth anything, and they all charged ridiculous prices for support I didn’t need.
I decided to try my hand at dedicated servers.
First, we hosted at another data center. I rented a cage and deployed some dedicated servers and waited for the world to beat a path to our door. Nobody knocked. I tweaked the offerings, refined things, offered new services, but nothing mattered. No takers. Then, I decided, I’m going to find the price at which people are willing to buy. Doesn’t matter what that price is. If it’s $10/mo, I want to know that. I cut prices by $10/mo until people started to buy, and I still remember like yesterday, that mark was $79/mo at that point in our history. It seemed that, at $79 for a P4 2.4 with a 100gb HD and 512mb of RAM (these were great specs for the day), people were willing to overlook that we were new and were willing to hit the buy button.
Things moved fast. My sister got involved, making it a bit of a family business, although she’s in Toronto so her involvement is remote. We quickly outgrew the cage we were renting, and moved to a bigger cage at another data center, but the next real breakthrough came when I was driving through Surrey one day. I saw this huge, beautiful and largely empty skyscraper, Central City. I wondered why such a building would be empty, and I called the number. It seems the building had been built for ICBC, our insurance company, and the newly elected government of the day had refused to let them occupy it. “Too lavish,” was the complaint, although I’ve been assured there were a lot of politics in play to nobody’s surprise. I don’t know or care.
By the time I actually got through to someone who could talk to me, the building had been leased fully to lawyers, accountants and other such companies. Simon Fraser University had purchased the first seven floors and were operating their technical college there. It was a vibrant, exciting place to be, full of bright young students and youthful energy. Still, they had no use at all for the many millions of dollars of data center equipment that were there, including huge diesel generators, a giant battery room, and multiple cross connects right on the Internet backbone.
The short version is, I told them that I couldn’t pay them millions, but I might be able to make them some pennies back on the dollars they invested. We moved in in November of 2006 and have never looked back.
We were tiny then, with just a few racks and about a hundred dedicated servers in total. Now the data center, huge though it is, is nearly full of dedicated servers in useful production and we’re looking for more space elsewhere. I’m hopeful we will have something operational by mid 2012.
Along the way, we’ve led in so many ways, including our my.esecuredata.com dedicated server management system and our unique DDOS protection systems. This year should bring us some real movement in the area of KVM/IP dedicated servers. I’m hopeful we’ll reach the point soon where all servers we deploy have full-time KVM/IP units. In addition, our cloud systems are evolving and improving, and we’re looking to have a world-beating offering there within the year.
It’s been an amazing ride, but the journey has just begun.