Online insurance network Kanetix has selected Q9 Networks Inc. to help it add bandwidth, but will maintain ties with the ailing WorldCom.

“”We’ve been growing fairly rapidly,

so this expansion will give us more bandwidth. We’ve got some additional servers that we’re adding to our overall configuration. So we’re going to have the ability to handle more traffic,”” said Kanetix co-founder George Small.

The Kanetix Web site is a comparison guide for potential insurance buyers, and adds services and partner insurance companies on a routine basis. Most recently, Toronto-based Kanetix added Industrial Alliance Auto and Home Insurance to its Quebec group.

“”Our service has been very well received and we’ve been on quite a steep growth curve since the day we started the company (in 1999). It’s not that we’ve had a spike (in traffic) but it’s a curve we’re just trying to keep up with,”” said Small.

As a pure-play dot-com, continuous service is “”our lifeblood,”” said Small — hence the decision to use both WorldCom and Q9 as hosters. “”We haven’t moved to Q9; it’s just prudent to have more than one provider of ISP services. It’s just a smart thing to do. Basically we’re going to add that capacity at Q9.””

It’s an unusual circumstance, noted Yankee Group in Canada analyst Mark Quigley. Most customers tend to pick one hosting company, but there could be benefits attached to using two. “”If there’s a catastrophe in one location, presumably you can just go back to the ghosted second location. Other than that, I’m not sure why it would be done,”” he said. “”From a redundancy point of view, perhaps it makes sense. That was certainly something that was illustrated on 9/11.””

Q9 CEO Osama Arafat said he rarely encounters customers that use two hosts but is confident he can wean Kanetix off WorldCom. “”I think in this case they probably felt a bit nervous and wanted to hedge their bets and use two different providers at this point to make sure they’re protected.””

He has seen other WorldCom customers migrate to Toronto-based Q9 — some in search of a more stable provider — but the company doesn’t stand out for Arafat. “”We’ve had several other customers come from other telcos and service providers as well.””

That may be because it’s difficult for large companies to extricate themselves from their hosting partners, said Quigley. “”SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) can migrate much faster from one hoster to another. (Larger companies) have a long sales cycle and would have needs that would typically be much more complicated.””


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