Hosted Solutions Expands Managed Services Agreement With Belk to Ensure a Secure, Reliable Online Experience for Belk.com Customers

Jan 11, 2010, 08:30 ET from Hosted Solutions

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Hosted Solutions, the East Coast's premier provider of IT infrastructure as a service (IaaS), today announced it has reached an agreement to significantly expand its roster of managed IT services to Belk, the nation's largest privately-owned mainline department store company.

Belk originally became a client of Hosted Solutions late last year, signing a contract for hosting and managed services to support the company's updated e-commerce website. The new agreement encompasses several new and expanded e-commerce services for Belk, including database administration and the co-location of its credit and debit card environments.

As part of the agreement, Hosted Solutions will provide IT services to enhance Belk's gift card program. As part of its business continuity strategy, Belk is co-locating a new IBM Power System server, storage, and SAN fabric that will provide enhanced backup to its primary IT system and critical business functions.

Since the re-launch of Belk.com a year ago, traffic to the site has increased. The company contracted with Hosted Solutions to help it build an even more robust and secure website. Hosted Solutions' team of "Hi-Touch" experts designed and implemented a comprehensive solution in just two months, expanding Belk's production environment by 50 percent and substantially increasing the website's e-commerce capacity as it continues to grow. Hosted Solutions also provided IT backup services for the e-commerce system through use of its five SAS-70, Type II data centers for an increased level of reliability and protection.

"As a result of our relationship with Hosted Solutions, our systems are more secure and our e-commerce site is more robust than ever before," said Roddy Kerr, Belk Executive Vice President and CIO. "We've seen our online sales and traffic increase and anticipate that trend to continue. We want to ensure that our infrastructure can easily handle spikes in traffic and create a consistent user experience for our customers. We value our partnership with Hosted Solutions since it allows us to focus on our core business of serving customers."

Belk is also deploying Hosted Solutions' Stratus Trusted Cloud(TM) product to help strengthen its back end IT infrastructure processes such as search indexing, search, and outbound email processing.

"We take great pride in our relationship with Belk," said Rich Lee, Hosted Solutions' Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Given the bond that Belk has built with its customers, it can't afford to have any issues, from a site performance or security perspective that would place that bond in jeopardy. Knowing that, our team of solution architects custom-designed a system, meeting Belk's requirements." Lee noted that more than 80 percent of Hosted Solutions' customers, like Belk, host their production environments with his firm, providing solid evidence of the higher level of service Hosted Solutions has provided for almost a decade.

Working with Hosted Solutions, Belk has access to a full range of industry-leading IT services, including data protection, information security and virtualization. Hosted Solutions also provides Belk with products from market-leading vendors such as Cisco, EMC, VMware, Oracle, Checkpoint and more.

"We are relying on Hosted Solutions to handle portions of our business-critical functions that require state-of-the-art infrastructure and support," Kerr said. "Using its services has enabled us to better control our IT capital budget and keep our IT operating expenses at a predictable level."

About Hosted Solutions

Based in Raleigh, NC, Hosted Solutions is the East Coast's premier provider of IT infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Its high quality Data Center and Managed Hosting services, including its exclusive Stratus Trusted Cloud(TM) offering, maintain and protect customers' mission-critical IT systems and applications, enabling them to reduce operating costs, lower the risk of downtime, focus on core competencies, and achieve their top business objectives. The company operates SAS 70 Type II Certified facilities in Boston MA, Charlotte NC, Raleigh NC, and Cary NC, providing best-of-breed data center operations with hardened physical infrastructure, the highest level of security, and a complete managed services portfolio. Winner of the prestigious 2009 Channel Insider "Bull's Eye MSP of the Year" award, Hosted Solutions is backed by Boston-based private equity firm ABRY Partners. For more information, please visit www.hostedsolutions.com.

About Belk, Inc.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. is the largest privately owned mainline department store company in the United States with more than 300 stores in 16 southern states. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Customers can now enjoy a greatly expanded merchandise assortment, a bold new design and lots of exciting features on Belk.com to make online shopping at Belk easy and enjoyable.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Belk, Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see the section captioned "This Report Contains Forward-Looking Statements" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009 and in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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