A visit to pair Networks'
office on the South Side is like walking into the science fiction imagination.
Beyond the door, the temperature is kept at computer-cool. A soft humming sound resonates the from the walls. Tiny blinking lights illuminate the darkness beyond where the monster-sized machine lives and breathes.
Welcome to the industrially-chic world of the region's wildly successful data center, a web-hosting company that has sustainably sailed under the local radar for the last 16 years.
Beyond the offices and architecture are a lot of people--60 of them--working around the clock on a 35-hour European work week, many biking in from the nearby bike path.
pair offers web hosting services to businesses, bloggers, artists, musicians, educational institutions and non-profits both here and around the world. If you're an environmentalist, chances are they are already hosting your web site. The company's carbon-neutral policy has attracted clients from Bike Pittsburgh to Treehugger, GASP and Leilani Munter, aka Carbon Free Girl and one of the top female race car drivers in the world who has partnered with pair to help spread the word about environmental stewardship.
And there are celebrities: President Obama back in his senatorial days, singer Tori Amos, environmental bloggers.
"Our customers select us," explains Tim Gaichas, executive vice president of business development. "We tend to attract similar minds. We've never had to do any traditional advertising."
The company was started by Kevin Martin, CEO, in 1996 with a partial T-1 line and a small family loan. Today pair boasts one of the biggest networks in the region, with multiple GigE connections to five diverse backbone providers. The firm also only uses open source software, which gives pair the ability to use high quality software at no cost, and make changes and improvements as the company grows.
The biggest news, however, is pair's expansion. pair is building the world's greenest web-hosting facility among the red rocks in the desert near Las Vegas, Nevada. The platinum-LEED center will provide the ultimate in energy efficiency through solar roof panels, radiant cooling and heating, a co-generation plant on-site, natural light and an interior space that is completely reconfigurable.
"As a data center, we're doing something that no one has ever done before," says Gaichas. "We're convincing people that data centers can run on very little energy."
Pittsburgh will remain the corporate headquarters. pair is hiring for the Pittsburgh office in the coming year; four to six will be hired for the Las Vegas center.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tim Gaichas, pair Networks