William Toll - Marketing Pro in Boston and Berlin

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Tag: #ParallelsCloud

Part II Parallels Cloud Summit 2012 What I Want to Learn and Chat About

This post was originally published on theWHIR: http://www.thewhir.com/blog/part-ii-parallels-summit-2012-what-i-want-to-learn-and-chat-about

Last week I published Part I of my goals for my participation at the Parallels Cloud Summit next week in Orlando.  It’s always a great event and this year promises to be the best yet, in terms of keynotes and the quality of the attendees.  The Web Hosting ecosystem is attracting a large amount of attention during the transition to cloud.  Last week I covered the Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting spaces.  This week it’s Cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and E-commerce.

 

Cloud IaaS

 

The market for Public, Private, Hybrid IaaS solutions are growing and scaling rapidly.  Yes, Amazon has massive lift in their wings, but Hosting.com, SoftLayer, GoGrid, Rackspace,  SingleHop, BlueLock, iNetU, etc.  are all growing just fine.  Again, 2012 will be a year of services. Services that make the cloud and the applications hosted on it, more integrated, more secure and more useful. Companies that focus on services are killing it.  For example, I think about the success that FireHost is having with their cloud and the security services they offer like log management and two-factor authentication. The market for Cloud Computing in the SMB will continue to grow rapidly for a few years. It will also remain somewhat fragmented.  This McKinsey article sums up the fragmentation nicely.

 

Cloud – PaaS

PaaS platforms are undoubtedly maturing at a rapid pace.  While they are to date rather removed from the traditional “Web Hosting” ecosystem, I suspect that will change a lot in 2012. We have one our ecosystem’s own, Microsoft, gaining some momentum and broadening the appeal of Azure. Other leaders in PaaS including, Jelastic’s Java platform, VMware’s cloud foundry, AppHarbor, Salesforce.com’s Heroku should all be watched closely by hosting providers. At the Parallels event, I am interested in learning about hosters that are embracing the PaaS offerings and building products that incorporate PaaS features or integrate directly with platforms like Azure.  There is a big opportunity to partner with these rapidly growing and developer friendly platforms.

 Cloud – SaaS

Email and collaboration solutions paved the way for SaaS as some of the earliest offerings.  Countless offerings have been built on the Parallels platform.  In 2012 we are now in an age where multiple SaaS applications are being integrated.  If you are Salesforce.com and need to integrate a new SaaS app, you can simply buy another SaaS app provider.  If you are a SaaS company with a point solution, 2012 will be an opportunity to add features or integrate with other SaaS applications.

 

2012 will provide plenty of examples of one SaaS app integrating with another.  Companies like Backupify exemplify this trend and are built on it—but what about the hosting ecosystem of SaaS application providers? I think applications from companies like MyHosting.com, Apptix, AppRiver, VARDynamics and Fpweb.net could be a spring board into other applications and business processes.  Sure, email archiving and security have been a part of these offerings for years, but in 2012 we will see more CRM platforms and BI tools become integrated.  As I observe HubSpot, Marketo, ZenDesk, and the dozens of other SaaS apps that are taking the SMB space by storm, I wonder: will these offerings join the hosting and Parallels ecosystems?

I am excited to hear that Parallels will be announcing additional applications at the Summit this year and will be sharing their vision for where APS (Application Packaging Standard) is going.  There are so many great SaaS applications beyond email, collaboration, website building and marketing automation.  Examples include MailChimp, UserVoice, Get Satisfaction. One area of great interest to me, and of great confusion for most SMBs is how to leverage SaaS solutions for Social Media. There are numerous Facebook page builders, Facebook app builders, Social Media management tools and reporting tools available.  I can imagine a hoster adding services to their portfolio of offerings like GaggleAMP or Sprout Social.

 E-commerce:

E-commerce is exploding.  This last holiday season set records almost every day from Black Friday to the last day of shipping before the holiday.  We have gone from having a handful of shopping cart platforms like Miva, Pinnacle Cart, ShopSite and Magento to having a growing list of rapidly growing full service e-commerce offerings from companies like Volusion, Shopify, ProStores and BigCommerce.  E-commerce hosting is where all the worlds collide: hosting, shopping cart applications, security services,  3rd party-add on applications and more.  After this holiday season, I would be interested in hearing from hosters that are seeing growth in their e-commerce offerings.

 In Summary:

I am very much looking forward to the Parallels Summit and the opportunity to continue these conversations with fellow attendees.  I’ll be at the event with the Yottaa team, and we are eager to meet our existing hosting partners like Jess Coburn, CEO of the Windows Cloud Hosting company, Applied Innovations as well as new potential partners.

 

What about you?  What do you want to learn and chat about at Parallels Summit?  Comment below to tweet @utollwi.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

#ParallelsCloud Summit – What I Want To Discuss and Learn

This post was originally published on theWHIR http://www.thewhir.com/blog/parallels-summit-2012-what-i-want-to-learn-and-chat-about-part-i

 

Wow! another year has passed and the hosting industry is not just surviving in the face of the Cloud, but finding its firm foundation at the center of it.
Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Cloud – all of these hosting markets are in transition, and many of the hosting providers that are leading the charge will be at the Parallels Summit.

Shared Web Hosting

Let’s start with Shared hosting, a market I’ve been passionate about since my employment at great companines like ValueWeb – Affinity, (aka HostWay), NaviSite and Verio.  Shared hosting has been and always will be the bread and butter (read: the profit center) for the big hosts.  Even large enterprise hosting providers realize this, as evidenced by last year’s re-birth of HostMySite by Hosting.com.

Beyond the continuation of the Endurance International roll-up strategy and the Vistaprint acquisition of Webs.com, what makes me most excited about the shared space are apps. We are in an app economy. Almost any “How to start your small business” article says to “get a website and start a blog,” and many of these articles mention WordPress, Drupal and others.  With Parallels Plesk Panel and Parallels Business Automation making it simpler to role out niche application-based hosting plans, why are so many hosts reluctant to follow this strategy?

The real key for shared hosts is to leverage their strategic position with small businesses to help those customers not just have a website or a blog, but have a successful one. Today’s “content marketing” and social media marketing strategies are all about driving visitors to websites with valuable, shareable content.  That means getting the buyers to your site, getting them to learn from your site, and getting them to interact with your site. In other words, getting them to trust your company enough to buy not just hosting, but the whole suite of services.

If I were a shared hosting business leader today, here’s what I would ask my team: “what are we doing to make our customers successful”? What additional services can we offer that will not just increase revenue and decrease churn, but genuinely make our customers successful?” Have you seen the current TV commercials for Web.com, Network Solutions, and Intuit, the message is all about the apps and services, it’s not just web hosting. Several vendors can help shared hosters help their customers be more successful. Examples include Mobile website enablement services from Unity Mobile or website acceleration services from Yottaa, my employer, spring to mind.

VPS + Dedicated

Having worked at a large enterprise managed hosting provider (NaviSite) where the average customer spent thousands of dollars per month (and some hundreds of thousands) I am closely following the slowing of growth in “un-managed hosting.”  Unmanaged dedicated and VPS plans had their place in a pre-cloud world and are still great foundations for other businesses, like hosting companies.  But we have to admit that the majority of today’s new applications and new startups are architected for, and deployed on, public clouds of the IaaS and PaaS types.  I want to learn from and talk with dedicated hosting providers and their plans for new revenue streams and customer retention.

In part II I’ll share my thoughts on what I want to learn at the Parallels Summit 2012 in regards to Cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and Ecommerce hosting segments.  In the meantime, leave some comments below on what you want to learn and talk about at the Parallels Summit 2012!

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