If you look at the hosting industry, there are thousands of hosting companies. I've seen most new hosting companies start small, and typically start with a linux or freeBSD based hosting offering. The question as to why more small hosting companies don't launch initial offerings on a Windows platform has been a hot topic of discussion among the hosting team here at Microsoft for a long time. So the hosting team has gone and taken feedback from the field and from some small hosters as to why this is, and one of the key pieces of feedback has been that the barrier to entry has been too high. We've got a great solution which provides architectural guidance, best practices, sample scripts, and implementation guidelines. The full implementation of this solution creates a high capacity, high scale, highly available hosting platform, but also requires a large number of servers to fulfill all of these requirements. However, many people have wanted to implement windows based hosting without having to invest so much into the infrastructure, as they want to start small, yet have the ability to grow the platform as the customer base grows.

With that feedback in mind, I'm excited to announce that as part of the Solution for Windows Based Hosting version 4.0, the solutions team has introduced two new scenarios for basic web hosting.  One is a single server option that is locally managed and the other is centrally managed option using 3-5 servers.  Both are designed to help a web hoster get a Windows offer up quickly, allowing to scale up as the need arises. You can download this guidance at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F06A9826-F4CE-47CC-BF77-2869BBC4F679&displaylang=en.

I'm interested to see some feedback if this new guidance will help those of you looking to start a smaller scale windows-based hosting platform.