What would you pay for Web peace of mind?

One of the innovative companies I happened on at NetWorld+Interop recently was Bodacion Technologies LLC, a Web server maker that says its boxes are so secure they don’t require virus and firewall protection.

The company started life as Virtual Media in 1995, running hosted servers for companies with Web businesses. But unplanned maintenance on the firm’s 40 servers was killing it, says Rick Beattie, Bodacion vice-president of business development.

So the company set out to build a secure, reliable server. And it was so pleased with the result – the Hydra – it refocused the business to sell the server and changed the company name to Bodacion.

The reason Hydra is so reliable and secure is because it doesn’t have an operating system: it’s based on a real-time, embedded architecture. There is nothing to hack into or take control of.

Stripping everything else away leaves a system that is said to virtually eliminate crashing. Bodacion says the meantime between software failure is longer than the average human life. Streamlining also vastly improves performance. The company claims its single-processor server rivals the performance of eight, dual-processor Sun boxes.

To further reduce vulnerability, Bodacion limits what you can run on the Hydra. The box comes with a homegrown Web server (HTTP 1.1-compliant) that you upload content to using FTP. And you can support dynamic Web content by porting existing Java apps to the Hydra’s built-in Java Virtual Machine (which supports the Servlet 2.2 and JSP 1.1 specifications) or build them anew with the company’s Genesis object-oriented programming language.

For security – session IDs, customer IDs and the like – the Hydra uses an advanced random number generator that spits out alphanumeric characters the firm calls Bodacions. Any mathematical sequence will generate patterns. The question is, how discernable are the patterns? Bodacions only repeat every 80 to 100 years, the company says.

Mix all this together and you get a high-performance, highly reliable box that is immune to viruses and practically hacker-proof. Regarding the latter, Bodacion says it has been running its corporate Web site on a Hydra outside of its firewall since last August without incident.

How much is this peace of mind worth? A single Hydra will set you back US$89,950. Seems high on first blush, but Beattie suggests calculating the ROI based on how much business you expect to lose because of server downtime this year.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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