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Softlayer, ZipServers, and Parallels Join Together For Complete Hosting Automation

Softlayer, ZipServers, and Parallels Join Together For Complete Hosting Automation
June 09
00:43 2011

SoftLayer® automates server delivery services for small businesses and web hosting enabled by Parallels control panels and virtualization software.

Based in Dallas, TX and founded in 2005, SoftLayer® Technologies is one of the largest infrastructure services companies catering to the cloud and dedicated hosting industry. SoftLayer provides a wide selection of dedicated, virtualized and cloud servers. Their target customers are shared hosting providers, virtual private server providers, web designers, web developers, IT professionals and small businesses. With Parallels software and licensing key automation implemented, SoftLayer’s customers are able to easily manage their servers remotely without the need for extended support services.


In a complex and price sensitive industry such as datacenter services, it’s critical to drive down costs aggressively – especially variable costs. Hardware capabilities are constantly improving which requires investment, and costs for electricity and bandwidth vary widely. That is why SoftLayer adopted as a founding principle to be built from the ground up with automation of systems and services. This is critical to reducing support costs.

SoftLayer also understands the importance of enabling customers to automate their services as a direct benefit to those customers. “Our customers need automation to help manage their business and IT environments,” said James McDowell, Marketing Manager, SoftLayer.

For customers such as ZipServers this translates into a need to easily scale their business and to serve their customers shared web hosting plans and virtual private servers in a completely automated format.

“Automation was a big problem,” said Charles Nix, Director of Marketing at ZipServers.

SoftLayer partnered with Parallels because of its equally strong commitment to the principle of full-service automation software. The SoftLayer solution deployed with Parallels software centers on the software licensing key automation that SoftLayer has been provided through Parallels Partner Program. By leveraging APIs for the keying system and introducing deployment software of their own design, SoftLayer has been able to fully automate server creation with Parallels software on board.

The software then enables SoftLayer’s customers a complete self-service experience and even creates the possibility of building entire businesses on top of it. “Parallels provides software that supports our objective of providing our customers the tools they need to automate their businesses,” said SoftLayer’s McDowell. ZipServers has done just this. ZipServers acquired their Parallels Business Automation Standard billing system directly from Parallels, who installed the software and then trained the ZipServers staff. Once the billing was in place, ZipServers was able to easily turn on the SoftLayer servers they needed to operate their hosting business.

“For a small company like ZipServers, it is difficult to create attractive offerings that are easy to market,” said ZipServers’ Nix. “We had to automate so we chose Parallels.” In order to market services to web designers and small to medium-sized web hosting companies, ZipServers relies on SoftLayer’s dedicated servers bundled with Parallels Business Automation Standard (PBAS), Parallels Virtuozzo Containers (PVC), and Parallels Plesk Panel.

Zipservers’ customers are now able to go to an online order form, purchase a shared hosting or virtual private server, and then use Parallels Plesk Panel or Parallels Virtuozzo Containers to manage the resource on the server. Parallels Plesk Panel even provides an application storefront with both free and commercial apps that can be installed with a single click by even the most novice user.

“We currently utilize SoftLayer’s hardware and network infrastructure as the backbone of our offerings,” said ZipServers’ Nix. “They provide the base for our systems. We in turn provide managed services, VPS, and shared products SoftLayer does not offer. In addition, we have given our clients the ability to use the SoftLayer private network to manage their VPS, bare metal, or shared hosting platforms.”

“Using Parallels Business Automation Standard, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, and Parallels Plesk Panel products allows us to setup and deploy customer hosting accounts almost instantly, which in turn allows them to better run their businesses and also help their clients,” said ZipServers’ Nix. “Parallels is a key component to our success and with SoftLayer also supporting Parallels products, it’s a win-win situation.”

SoftLayer’s systems together with Parallels software gives ZipServers the automation and provisioning they need along with software products their end users can use to effectively manage their websites. Not only do they save time and money, Parallels and SoftLayer give ZipServers a fully featured suite of products and quality of service they can use to remain competitive in the web hosting industry.

“We expect that we will be able to provide the infrastructure to more and more customers that rely on Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Virtuozzo Containers tools as well as Plesk Panel control panel,” said SoftLayer’s McDowell. “As a company committed to automating everything we do, Parallels is a perfect fit for SoftLayer and its customers.”

Business Situation
SoftLayer offers on-demand data center and dedicated server hosting services to customers like ZipServers, who offer VPS, shared hosting, and bare metal solutions. For both ZipServers and SoftLayer, the process of deploying accounts needed to be automated to save time and, ultimately, reduce costs.

SoftLayer instantly deploys servers along with Parallels Virtuozzo Containers and Parallels Plesk Panel. The Parallels solution enables SoftLayer customer ZipServers to decrease time spent on manual administration of new accounts and helps the hosting company provide better customer service with easy-to-use website management software. Parallels Plesk Panel gives customers the tools they need to easily configure their websites and manage their hosting accounts, reducing the volume of calls to customer support.

“Parallels is a key component to our success and with SoftLayer also supporting Parallels products, it’s a win-win situation.” — Charles Nix, Director of Marketing, ZipServers

• Saved time by automating the provision of accounts.
• Improved customer support by offering a powerful yet easy to use control panel.
• Saved money and remained competitive through offering increased services while reducing expenses.

Services Used
• Parallels Business Automation Standard
• Parallels Virtuozzo Containers
• Parallels Plesk Panel

“Parallels provides software that gives our customers the tools they need to automate their businesses.” — James McDowell, Marketing Manager, SoftLayer

About Author

FindMyHost Editor

FindMyHost Editor

The 'Web Hosting Blog' at was established to provide the web hosting industry with the very latest in news, technology, interviews, event information and more. About Launched in January 2001 to protect Web Host Consumers and Web Developers from making the wrong choice when choosing a Web host. showcases a selection of web hosting companies who have undergone our Approved Host program testing and provides reviews from customers.

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