B10WH

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thomas-strohe-world-hosting-daysThis is B10WH’s second in interview with Mr. Thomas Strohe, the man behind WordHosting Days show. Last year he has spoken to Dimitar to tell B10WH.com readers that “Everything Is More In WebHostingDay 2010“. This year we have contacted Mr. Strohe to ask him what to expect from the completely rebranded WordHosting Days event which is expected to welcome 4,000 participants.

Tell me is the World Hosting Days 2011 the biggest challenge for the WHD team? It looks you have grown a lot in 2010?

Our WorldHostingDays 2011 in Europa-Park will – again – be the world’s biggest hosting event. The event has grown a lot and it is one of our goals that people will once more say about our event that it is one of the best organized shows that they ever have been attending.

Do you expect more participants than WHD 2010 and is the exhibition area called hosting.FAIR bigger than last year?

While the attendance grew from 2,000 visitors in 2009 to more than 2,800 visitors in 2010, we already right now have more than 3,500 people that registered for our event in a few weeks. The exhibition area will not only be way bigger in terms of square meters, but also regarding the number of partners having a booth. In 2010 we had about 60 partners at our hosting.FAIR area, this year about 100 partners will be having a booth in that area.

Do you know any new software platforms and technologies which will debut during the WHD 2011?

All of our partners present their latest developments and future plans, of course. The attendees can discuss these either personally at the fair or hear about them in the talks and sessions. I am not aware of any special debuts at the moment, but you never know what the companies will pull out of their hats during WHD. It often occurs that this is only decided on short notice before the show starts.

I have an impression that WorldHostingDays is changing to become more an event where a larger corporations rather than middle-sized companies are presented. Please tell me do you still have space for companies which are not of large size?

Your impression is not correct. At WHD 2011 you will – of course – see the Microsofts and Parallels again, but we had the biggest growth not at the bigger partnership levels. The biggest growth clearly was at the basic gold partnership level – we will have more than 60 gold partners at WorldHostingDays 2011.

When you look at the agenda you can say “It is a another Cloudy conference”. I have seen keynotes titled “From Webhosting to Cloud Computing, Are You Ready for The Transformation”. One like this would be held in 2009 or 2010. What do you think, why the word “Cloud” is a keyword for the most keynotes as they are announced?

As long as there is no other really new big thing in the industry, the Cloud will probably remain the major buzzword at such conferences. And there is still potential in fact, because there are many companies and also private users left who don’t use the cloud by today. So all the hosting companies will try to make it even more attractive and add functionalities and security and convenience and so on.

Who’s new in WHD 2011? Who are the speakers that we will see for the first time and which are exhibitors which debut at the 2011 event?

Not only companies like Dell, NetApp, OnApp or Symantec but also companies like Flexiant, Kryptos, NovaStor, Telemax or Veeam will be partners of WHD for the first time. As I already said, we are really growing with partners of completely different company sizes.

Volker Smid (General Manager at HP), Paul van Brouwershaven (CTO at Networking4All) and Tobias Wann (Managing Director at VeriSign) are just some of our partners that will speak in our main.FORUM for the first time.

People who organize World Hosting Days has significant experience in hosting industry. Can you say that the Cloud computing trend changes the hosting hosting industry in favor of the larger corporate players?

I don’t think so. Every small hoster can offer cloud services to their customers, so they also profit from the hype that is mainly produced by larger companies in their huge advertising companies.

In my last year’s interview with Thomas Strohe I asked “Is the North American web hosting industry more innovative than the European one?” He said “No”. Did you see a major change in the European Hosting market (as far as we could use such definition) within the last year? Please also tell me how did the German hosting industry itself change within the last 12 months?

The one thing that comes to my mind is that they pay much attention to children’s protection today. As useful as the Internet has become and as much as it improves our life, you must not forget that there are also many threats for underage persons waiting there. Now hosting companies in Germany tend to include some web filters in their offers in order to protect the children.

Is there anything that we are missing up to this point that should be announced prior of World Hosting Days. Like the Cloud computing camp for example. Did you incorporated that one in WHD 2011 as you did last year?

We will have a new social event on the second evening. It is going to be a typical German party with much beer, nice food and good music. Kind of like the famous Oktoberfest.

Tell me about the Asian event named WHD.asia. Is it different from the European conference and what is its main focus?

Similar to our main event, WHD.asia will consist of different components. There will be talks delivered by industry experts, which will give you a deeper insight into certain aspects and topics of the hosting business. Secondly, our hosting.FAIR will offer everybody just the right forum to present their products and services. Last but not least, there will be social events like the ConneXion party in the evening, where you can follow up on business conversations, make some good deals or just have some nice food before you travel back home.

No matter if you are already represented on the Asian market or still need to enter it: WHD.asia is the perfect opportunity to get in contact with important industry colleagues from Asian companies. With WHD.asia we want to encourage European and US companies to introduce them to the Asian hosting community, or to tighten their connections to local companies, respectively. On the other hand, we also would like to invite Asian companies to take part and give them a forum to meet interesting business prospects. We are happy that big players of the Asian hosting market like Directi already seized the chance and will be a partner of WHD.asia.

What are your expectations of the WHD 2011 and of the changed brand “World Hosting Days”. Are you planning to organize an American event as well?

We changed the name from WebhostingDay to WorldHostingDays, or WHD respectively, in order to account for the show’s substantial development and growth. Moreover, the new name is intended to imply that WHD’s topics cover more than pure web hosting. Complementary industry sectors were already addressed in the past and became more and more important in the course of time.

With WorldHostingDays 2011 we want to set a milestone for hosting events – and I am very confident that we will achieve that goal!

Presently, there are no plans for an event in the USA, but there will be WHD.local at ten European locations in autumn 2011.

web-hosting-day-cologne-2209We are going to WebhostingDay, next week so I decided to send an email to Kirsten Nothbaum of PlusServer, one of the organizers of the show.  According to the German hosts of the conference, this year participants can expect to see about 50 well-known companies as exhibitors. “People will be able to listen to interesting talks and learn many new things which currently affect the industry”, said Kirsten. Here is the whole interview.

Hi Kirsten, good to meet you. How much time does it take to organize an event like WebHostingday? Is it a huge effort?

Hi Dimitar. Yes, it definitely is. Actually, we already started shortly after the last WebhostingDay to make plans for the next one, and about mid 2008 we began with gaining partners and preparing all necessary information for them. At the same time we started to draw the attention of potential visitors to the event. Considering that we organize everything alongside our core business (Intergenia AG is a supplier of professional web hosting and server solutions), we can be proud of what we accomplished so far.

Please explain for those that never heard of WHD… What is WebhostingDay – more are trade show or an event where anyone can come to share knowledge and to learn something about the hosting industry trends?

Web Hosting Day is both: a gathering for the international web hosting industry including a hosting trade fair with about 50 well-known companies as exhibitors. People can listen to interesting talks and learn many new things which currently affect the industry. And during the exciting social events, the attendees can form and maintain relationships with colleagues from the hosting sector.

… you’ve been organizing WHD for the fifth consecutive year. Which one the the last four was the best?

This is hard to say. Every year had its own special challenges and it was always a success to gain more partners and visitors from year to year. This was partially possible because of the good impression the event made on the former partners and visitors, who told other people about it, who then registered in the next year.

Why a comercial provider like Integenia AG decided to organize a industry show. Isn’t it waste of time for you guys. You would make more money if you are focused in producing and selling web hosting services only.

Well, you may call us enthusiasts if you like. We do not organize the show for the sake of making money. It is our intention to bring together the brightest minds of the industry for the benefit of all web hosting professionals, so that they can exchange about experiences, news, challenges and solutions. You see, it is crucial for our sector to interact and network with other companies, and WebhostingDay gives an ideal opportunity for it.

Do you have a funny story from any of the last events to tell?

Sorry, I cannot think of one at the moment.

OK. WHD will pay attention to cloud computing, as any other con that takes place in 2009. Do you expect a cloud hosting software producers to present their platforms during the show?

Yes, we have many experts and early adopters of cloud computing coming together at the CloudCamp, which takes place on March 19 parallel to WebhostingDay. Moreover, there will be some interesting talks dealing with the topic of cloud computing. For example, Serguei Belloussov, CEO of Parallels, will help to clear the foggy realm of cloud computing for service providers and businesses.

Let me ask you another question… Is it now time for web host and data storage providers to invest in new cloud generation (cluster and grid hosting) platforms? And don’t you think that the economic slowdown would make businesses cautious about new technology investments?

That question will certainly be discussed during WebhostingDay within the scope of the main.FORUM or CloudCamp. Companies, who are currently wondering about investing or not, should come and get some answers from the experts.

I’ve been on Parallels Summit in Vegas and the company’s CEO Serguei Bellousov gave a very interesting speech about the perspectives in IT market and web hosting in particular. What do you expect him to talk about at WHT?

He will talk about “The Next Generation of Optimized Computing”, focussing on cloud computing and how businesses can take advantage of it.

Which day of WHD do you expect to be the most interesting one? What does anyone must not miss?

Both days are fully packed with talks and sessions about different topics, so it is difficult to say which one to prefer. If somebody only wants to come for one day (which for the stated reason we cannot recommend), it depends on the attendee’s main focus of interest which day would suit him best. People should not miss the opportunity, however, to join the great ConneXion party on March 19 in the evening, where everybody comes together to celebrate and have fun.

I’ve seen there are some promising social events! A very important question about them. Do you offer, or at least is there around a something like “You drink, we drive” service ;) I’m asking you this on behalf those who missed to book a hotel, next to the event… like me :) … and will need a drive from Cologne to come to the conference…

We offered a shuttle service to Cologne last year, but for whatever reason it was not made use of so much by the attendees. Therefore, we do not offer something similar this time, and people will have to take taxis (or if they prefer, public transport in the mornings) if they want to go to Cologne and back.

And finally one serious question. There are many people who are coming to the event from overseas. What do they have to see in Cologne, besides the Cathedral. Are there any sightseens, which people should go to see?

They have to visit one of the famous brewpubs, of course, where the traditional Cologne beer called Koelsch is served. Additionally, typical Cologne specialities can be eaten there. And, for instance, they may want to visit the parent house of 4711, the famous Eau de Cologne. It is a beautiful old building and souvenirs for the family can be bought there.