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HostingCon 2009: Top 5 Must See Companies

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HostingCon this year was the biggest one yet, which has become a cliché since each subsequent HostingCon is bigger than the previous. Regardless, this year saw attendance up between 10% and 15% from 2008 and with it an increase in service providers and new technologies. If you didn’t make the conference or if you did but did not manage to see everything, I have composed the top 5 must see companies.

OpenSRS – If any company at HostingCon knew how to channel Twitter it was OpenSRS. After mining through every single twitter in the #HostingCon channel we found that of the top 20 key terms OpenSRS was the ONLY company that everyone seemed to be talking about. It’s easy to see why too since the OpenSRS booth was one of the most colorful and interesting and had some of the best bells and whistles at the show. Interest however would not end at the whirring noises and pretty lights of the booth, since OpenSRS does offer one of the most comprehensive email reselling service networks in the world. So OpenSRS, visit for the Service Guy, stay for the content.

Cloudmark, Inc. – Cloudmark is one of the biggest names is spam prevention. Earlier this year, Cloudmark released their in the cloud spam filter system called CloudFilter. Since then, Cloudmark has been making a push into the hosting space. CloudFilter has been on my Top 10 technologies for 2009 and its only going to get more popular as the months go by. CloudFilter boasts 98% plus accuracy and scrubs email before it reaches the mail server reducing the impact of spam on a Host’s infrastructure. Cloudmark’s CloudFilter is a powerful tool and can be applied in just about every form of hosting.

Dasient – One of the two new faces in this Top 5 list, Dasient provides Web Anti-Malware services, which identify, quarantine, filter, or even help remove depending on what service set you purchase. At its lowest level of service, Dasient gives web developers the ability to determine if their sites have been blacklisted due to malware intrusion. In the middle tier of service, Dasient gives blacklist monitoring as well as alerting the web developer if they malware on their site and how to solve the matter. At the higher end, Dasient will do all the other stuff previously mentioned, but will automatically quarantine malicious code and filter out malware before the pages are served providing bulletproof protection. Dasient’s service can compliment any Host’s feature list and they work alongside the Host to aid in the incorporation of Dasient’s services, seamlessly.

KEMP Technologies, Inc – In their sophomore year at HostingCon, KEMP has come a long way to add better features to their load balancers. KEMP load balancers have three things going for them. They all cover the same functions as the other, more popular, load balancers and in some places do it a lot better; they cost a lot less across the board; and use less power. It’s no wonder that KEMP has been so successful with Web Hosts. All the power for a lot less.

Packet Power – The amount of power used by devices inside a data center is not just something that only Green Hosts need be concerned over. Anyone who owns their own servers should be energy conscious. Over the past few years, electrical costs and the energy needs of servers and attached devices has been climbing.  Reduction of the usage and overall price tag of monthly energy costs have been scrutinized but companies are hard pressed to find the proper tools to test if their energy cutting techniques are actually working at the device level. Packet Power solves this problem by giving users the power usage figures of every device you choose. Packet Power is easy to use and can tell Web Administrators where the problems are and if power usage policies are working.

Categories : Conferences
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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, 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.

Categories : Conferences
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Web security is a very important part of Web development. We have software and hardware security solutions that cover everything from email to servers, databases, policy changes, and more. But is everything covered?

Do we have a womb to tomb product line for every part of a Web site? Prior to yesterday I could say yes, but I would also have to say with equal measure, no. Let me explain.

In the second half of 2008, 57,000 phishing attacks that target specific brands or organizations were launched from some 30,000 sites.  Of these sites, only around 5,500 were from phishing sites. Roughly 81% of the attacks came from legitimate sites that had been hijacked by phishing schemes.

To put this in even greater perspective, VeriSign recently released a report stating that 88% of US web users can’t identify phishing sites.

To help combat this, browsers, search engines, and security companies have been creating blacklists to prevent people from getting infected. So this of course is where I say there was a tool to secure this part of the daisy chain. However, if you are one of those legitimate sites that got blacklisted… well it doesn’t help, really, does it?

What’s more, those who find that there sites were blacklisted by Google (and by FireFox through proxy) can see a huge loss of traffic.

So the solution to the problem is to blacklist the site and keep users from getting infected but does little to help web developers. What is a web dev to do?

A new security company, Dasient has an answer. Well three answers.

  • Free Blacklist finding tool
  • Premium Monitoring Service
  • Quarantining Service

The first two can be found at their web site, the last is currently in private beta.

The Blacklist tool is fairly straight forward. Put your URL into the online tool, or sign up for alerts and monitoring, and Dasient checks your site to see if it was blacklisted. This is a free service and I don’t see why you wouldn’t. The alternatives can be loss of all trust, loss of traffic, and in the end, loss of money.

The second tool is a monitoring service that crawls your site and looks for malware content such as iframe and javascript. It then gives your a report that tells you what pages are (if any) infected and what is the code being used so you can remove it. I will talk more of this later once I have had a chance to fully explore it.

The last one is an interesting service and I think it will really make a splash at this year’s HostingCon.

I have more information on these services so stay tuned!

Categories : In the News
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