Originally Published: Friday, 12 October 2001 Author: The Staff of Linux.com
Published to: develop_articles/Development Articles Page: 1/3 - [Printable]

Automating Linux with Alabanza: An Interview with Founder Tom Cunningham

A strong focus on Linux and a solid position as an established, profit-making enterprise make Alabanza a most interesting part of the Linux community. Linux.com asked some tough questions of founder Tom Cunningham to take a close look at his success. We found a story that might inspire self-taught and professional Linux users world over.

Background   Page 1 of 3  >>

This month is October 2001, some ten years from the dawn of Linux. Today some people just make money with Linux, using it not so much as part of a political decision and more because the software is just better in so many ways than any other practical alternatives. The kernel of tomorrow is not limited to any one community, rather Linux is making its way into society in an unprecedented manner, and often in ways computer illiterate folk are unawares of. Linux.com believes these "plain old" developers are possible next heros of the Linux revolution.

One such company is Alabanza; A firm supporter of Linux who take every chance to pass on the benefits of the system through their community involvement and customer marketing. For hosting companies and those that supply them, Linux has been nothing short of a gift from the heavens.

Tom Cunningham, credited with founding the term "hosting automation", founded Alabanza in 1995 and today the company has more than 500 customers, managing nearly a quarter of a million Web sites in 50 countries who depend on Alabanza for hosting automation software solutions. A well-established, profitable company, Alabanza revenues in 2001 will reach $15 million.

A strong focus on Linux and a solid position as an established, profit-making enterprise make Alabanza a most interesting part of the Linux community.

Linux.com asked some tough questions of founder Tom Cunningham and took a look at his success. We found a story that might inspire self-taught and professional Linux users world over.

Background

Linux.com: Are you the founder of Alabanza and how long have you guys been around?

Tom Cunningham: I founded Alabanza in 1995.

Linux.com: Who else is on the team?

Tom Cunningham: Paul Zohorsky is the president and responsible for overseeing partnership initiatives, establishing a full-service software consulting practice and assisting with day-to-day operations.

Albert Calvin is our Chief Technology Officer. 'Cal', as he is known, is a former Air Force cryptographer. He also developed Alabanzas Automated Web Hosting Software Suite.

Linux.com: Where are you physically based and how big are you today?

Tom Cunningham: Our offices are located in downtown Baltimore, MD. We recently reacquired a support center from VA Linux and moved 20 employees from Ohio to Baltimore. That brings our total to 80.

Linux.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your Linux-based software specifically - how can it help the Web developer the most?

Tom Cunningham: The hosting of small business web sites is only profitable if done in high volume with large amounts of automated processes. Our software helps developers, ISPs, and Telcos host SME web sites cost effectively, with reduced support and enhanced products and services. The result is a great profit center for our clients.

Linux.com: OK, so where did the name Alabanza come from?

Tom Cunningham: It's Spanish for 'praise.' When we founded the company we were providing service to a number of Catholic organizations. The name seemed appropriate then and it stuck.

Linux.com: When did you personally get involved with Linux?

Tom Cunningham: In 1996 when the company moved from CD-ROM development with Macromedia on Macintosh to Web Site development with PHP/MySQL on Linux.

Linux.com: What were you doing before Alabanza and why did you switch to forming start-ups?

Tom Cunningham: Prior to starting Alabanza I developed instructional software and freelanced as a software designer.

Linux.com: What do you like best about creating a new business?

Tom Cunningham: I enjoy most the relationships I have built with coworkers. The sense of team and community that comes about. Its also fun to be involved in a new industry.

Linux.com: What's the next step for Alabanza technologically?

Tom Cunningham: We're working now to build even more robustness and redundancy in our product offering. A big part of that is compatibility with some of the established databases that are now running on Linux.





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