A Canadian Web hosting company is letting customers build Web sites running both Windows and Linux applications at the same time.

Customers will manage use a single account to manage Windows and Linux applications running on separate server grids, said Thomas Savundra, president of Toronto-based Netfirms firm. This is the first time customers have been able to use both Windows and Linux applications and code through a single Web hosting account, he claimed.

"We've traditionally been a Linux host, but a lot of developers were starting to feel enclosed," Savundra said. "They may want to run an application or develop functionality using Windows technology but not get a separate account or web site."

In particular, Savundra said there has been demand for ASP.Net 2.0, the update to Microsoft's Web application development platform that was released in November 2005, from Web developers who were formerly exclusively loyal to the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache Web server, MySQL database and PHP programming languages).

Many developers are motivated by their own clients, who may be primarily Windows shops, said Savundra, although some are developers who have started to run open-source applications on top of Windows.

Netfirms, which said it hosts 1.2 million Web sites, built a cluster server that connects its Windows 2003 Server grid and its Linux grid seamlessly to its customers, Savundra said. The cluster server was certified by Microsoft, but Netfirms otherwise got no assistance or funding from Microsoft, Savundra said.

Customers can subscribe to plans at Netfirms that start at US$14.95 per month for a Web site with 150 Gbyte of disk support.