Archive for conference

The 2nd day of Hostingcon saw the opening of the Exhibit Hall. This year’s Exhibit Hall is nearly the double the size of the previous year’s hall. However, both halls had the same amount of exhibitors. This translated to many vendors having bigger booths, more walking space, and a larger network lounge and presentation section. Unfortunately, many exhibitors were complaining about the lack of foot traffic. However, if they saw how good the sessions were today I think they would understand why the exhibit hall received few passersby.

Zane Adam from Microsoft began the day with two keynote speeches; one on virtualization and adding software and services to customer plans. The second keynote was a round table that included Antonio Piraino from Tier1, Stephen Cho from Google, Daniel Burton from Salesforce.com, and Emil Sayegh from Rackspace’s Cloud Hosting company Mosso.

My own day began with interviews and therefore I was unable to attend either, However, I do know that the “ban” on Microsoft keynotes by Linux hosts continued this year and that the round table provided some good, if not generalized information.

Day 2 was especially difficult when it came to choosing sessions. The first time slot in fact had four well written and presented sessions. If I were to choose it would have to be a toss up between 20 Ways to Outsmart Your Competitors by Adam Eisner of Tucows and the Accepting Credit Card and PCI/DSS Compliance round table with Curtis R. Curtis moderating.

The second session was calmer with more specialized sessions giving attendees several areas to choose from. Those who use email marketing definitely should have sat in on Jeff Rohrs’ (ExactTarget) Get More From Email Marketing. While those who offer domain name services should have attended It’s No Longer IPv4, Meet IPv6 by Richard Jimmerson of ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers). Lastly, to go with the conference’s theme, Bob Angus of VeriSign presented Selling Premium Services to Cost-conscious Customers.

From this point on the clouds took over. Not just indoors in the conference halls, but outside as well. Though the thunderstorm did not hit, it was beginning to build. Indoors, the individual sessions, the general session, and even the evening’s big networking party all brought cloud computing to mind.

For the non-cloud conscious “Launch Your Product Like a Pro” from NaviSite’s William Toll and Sunmeet Sabharwal.

Figuring out which session to visit at the end of the day was yet another tough decision. All four were extremely good with a star stellar cast of speakers. Gillian Muessig (SEOmoz) delivered High Impact Email, Search, and Social Media Marketing. Neil Daswani from startup Dasient presented Stop Web-based Malware Attacks. Rafael Laguna de la Vera from Open-Xchange discussed messaging through a cloud platform with Driving Cloud Computing with Open Source Messaging. Lastly, Growing Your Business: Getting Upside in a Down Economy from Chris West of CDGcommerce.

With the final general session coming to a close, attendees began shuffling to various places for networking opportunities. For myself, I went to the Microsoft/Parallels Networking Event and had a blast. Afterward I went for a brief stretch of the legs along the Potomac waterfront then headed to bed for another long day. Even with the calmness of the exhibit hall and attendees settling into a rhythm, the rolling clouds in the sky above was a portent for the final day of Hostingcon 2009.

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I got a chance to interview Jack Zubarev, President Service Provider Division of Parallels, and he told me that if you are loosing money or if your company is failing, the cloud is not going to fix the problem. I found this statement to be very satisfying because of how true it is. If your company is not doing well then you really should find ways of fixing that before you make a leap into a different technology. But that is a different article.

Touring the exhibit hall this year was a lot different than last year’s Parallels Summit. The Hall was far bigger and more open. You did not have to walk through it to get to the other areas, although you could, it wasn’t essential. When I first arrived to check out the hall, I thought the foot traffic was a lot less than the previous year, however as the day wore on the number of people on the floor greatly increased. After talking to various vendors, many echoed those sentiments.

From the exhibit hall it looks like the companies to follow this year are CloudMark (more on them in a separate post), keepit, Open-Xchange, SmarterTools, and Sarito (makers of Horde Skins plus).

This year’s Summit also included many schools and universities in attendance. Some showed up to cut costs (there even was a specific conference session on this called Virtualization Super Story: Oregon City School District Cuts IT Budget 60%) while others came in order to look for software and hardware for their IT classes. Hopefully, more academics will come out next year so they can see where the future of the Web Hosting industry is headed.

Although the tone of this Parallels Summit was focused on Cloud computing, I think there are a few more important lessons that can be learned from this Summit:

  • Know your customers
  • Understand your market
  • Due to the economy, look for acquisition opportunities.

Especially the last one. With the global economy slowing down, now is a great time to buy out the smaller companies. Combine this with understanding your market and knowing what you customers need, 2009 can be a very profitable year.

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Feb
03

Parallels Day 1: Press Rooms and the Cloud

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The Press Room made my cry. It was the single most beautiful thing I have seen in my 10 years of covering the Web host industry. Coffee, snacks, water, power sockets in the long table, coffee, comfy chairs, coffee, and did I mention comfy chairs? Journalist heaven, but I digress.

After a healthy breakfast (which sadly, did not include self-service coffee, but that’s probably a good thing) everyone went to the main room for a whirlwind three speaker set: John Eng, Serguei Beloussou, and Morris Miller. This set started off with video testimonials, a trend popularized by FastServers some two years ago. My hat is off to the folks at FastServers.

The Summit boasts some healthy statistics:

  • 1000 + attendees
  • 100+ ISVs
  • 50 sessions
  • And Serguei backed by a laser light show!

These stats are nice, but lets put them into perspective. Last year there were 500+ attendees, 20+ ISVs, less sessions, and more important, no laser light show.

The word on everyone’s lips for this Summit is Cloud Hosting and what it means to the future of Web Hosting. I think Serguei said it best when he said, “The problem with the cloud is that it is… cloudy.”

Which sadly, is very true. Many definitions of cloud hosting has been floating around for years. What is interesting is the concept of cloud hosting has been around since the first electronic computers. Back then it was a local concept, mainframe and terminals connecting to the mainframe. Single computer attached to a lot of local computers. With the Internet we are going back to this primitive setup, because well it works. Only now we have many computers interconnected with smart terminals (our computers and Internet ready devices). The Internet has grown to the point of being able to handle the traffic involved with this mass scale setup and the future for it looks bright indeed. Cloud hosting is not just about hosting sites, it’s about promoting services, increasing stability, and reducing overhead costs based on need not on some theoretical amount of resources that a user may or may not need.

However, while the debate continues as to how or what Cloud Hosting is let me leave you with a few statistics from Parallels.

  • In 2008, Cloud Hosting expenditures took up 4% of IT budgets around the world.
  • In 2010, it is estimated that this will grow to 9% of all IT budgets.
  • This is a 26 billion dollar increase.

The question remains, will you make the move or will you stand still?

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In a departure form Parallel Summits of the past, 2009’s Summit is taking place in sunny Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

Monday was called Day 0 by event organizers for the fact that it was a day to unwind before the conference sessions and speeches.

The day started with an invite only golf tournament. Though scores of all participants clearly show that none of us will be quitting our day jobs, fun was had by all. The course was dry and the sun was out in full, which was a good departure from the snow and cold temperatures I have had to endure for the bulk of this winter.

Not long after everyone got back, registration was opened and Parallels set a new all time attendance record.

This year’s Parallels Summit official kicked off at 7pm on the dance/drinking floor of Mandalay Bay’s Eyecandy lounge. Intel and Microsoft sponsored the event and picked up the tab at the bar. In two hours, the attendees rang up a $5,000+ bar tab. Not too shabby considering the long lines for drinks.

After the party I found myself in good company, being invited by Parallels to the Blue Man Group Show at the Venetian. A fun time was had by all, but sadly no one from my group was chosen to perform alongside the blue faced trio.

Day 1 of Parallel’s Summit is now moments away and judging by the hefty bag worth of press releases I can already see it will be a busy year.

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