I think someone who's both good at design, writing and at the technical nuances of load balancing and multi server setups are a rare breed andy.
But you can most likely hire someone to design such a thing.
There are certainly people on rentacoder.com and similar sites which have track records in such work since as you say it's fairly specialised, better to have someone who does it everyday build the perfect solution?
Coincidentally I was surfing around this morning and came across a company called Akamai Technologies. Amazing that I've never heard of them before. They have clients including NBA, Adobe, Verizon, Fox interactive, Myspace, US Dept of Defense, NASDAQ, and Logitech etc.
Apparently they serve up as much as 20 percent of all web traffic. I have read news briefs where they own 8,000 servers and floor space allocated at co-location centers in 55 countries around the world.
Their acceleration and hosting services were developed and are the brainchild of guys from MIT and are based in Cambridge.
As I understand it they transparently mirror everything that a clients site serves up, but all the content is served to the web audience from the Akamai servers for performance and reliability purposes.
Not aware of the competition, and not sure either if this equates with your level 1 description (Hobo needs) but thought I'd pass it along anyway.
Thank you Eric.
We have two strategies, one is to find big sites like MySpace.com and track down their server. Strangely we can do searches on Google images for load balancing and find others. This datacenter map make it even easier.
We are learing toward Boston or New York for ease of flying to these two locations.
There is a huge problem with support as many hosting companies are telephone based for support, and not good web based. The smaller companies give better Control Panels than the bigger and better support.
We do a few test emails, check response times and how well they answer, or not answer as is normal. Normally a question is answered with another question.
Support is extremely important, however we now see it as really not provide at the upper levels. More they keep the box running. They deal with large corportations who have IT depts.