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igor-seletsky-cloud-linuxIn this interview B10WH.com presents Igor Seletsky, CEO of CloudLinux. Igor has created a fantastic software automation product, an OS that helps web hosting companies and SaaS provides to optimize resource usage on their servers and to prepare for the Cloud. I can even say that CloudLinux saves smaller hosting providers from fierce competition of larger corporate hosters. I’m not saying superlatives about Igor or about his company’s software. Ask anyone and you’d find out that CloudLinux (CL) is a very popular hosting automation solution. But this is not the reason to feature Igot at B10WH. I wanted to speak to him because I knew he was a great guy and our readers would like meeting him. Here he is!

Tell me how did you come up with the idea to create CloudLinux?

I knew about the problem facing Shared Hosting companies for years. I had developed H-Sphere since 1997, and one of the most critical issues was always single customer affecting all other customers. Yet, we never had a good approach to deal with it. Nor did any of our competitors. So, after few years of not doing software for hosting industry, I took a look at what is going on – and noticed that this problem is still not addressed by anyone. I researched it a bit, and figured out that I have an elegant solution for it. Hence  – CloudLinux.

Did you develop H-Sphere alone? I remember it was quite popular at the time! Can you share with B10WH.com readers how many of you worked on the H-Sphere project?

I started PSOFT (the company behind h-sphere) with a partner back in 1997. In 2005, when it was sold to Comodo, the company had 60+ people, most of them working on H-Sphere, or providing tech support for h-sphere.

OK. I’m curious why didn’t you continue developing web hosting control panels? Was it because you needed to work on something innovative which would resolve any particular technical issue in Shared Hosting industry?

I felt the need to expand the sales/marketing expertise, as well as technical team to compete with cPanel & Parallels. That was the main reason for selling company to Comodo. I thought there is enough control panels on the market, and didn’t want to do something that was already done.

Are you saying you are not tempted to add a hosting control panel as add-on product to CloudLinux in the future?

Not at all. I don’t think there is a need on the market for another control panel. cPanel and Parallels are doing quite a good job, and people who don’t like either of those have a choice of ISPManager, DirectAdmin, InterWorx, HostingController, WebMin, and probably few others that I haven’t heard about.

Which control panels are compatible with CloudLinux?

All that I listed above, and probably some others. Anything that works on CentOS, will work on CloudLinux. We also have quite a few people running CloudLinux with their own, home grown solutions.

Please now explain CloudLinux for dummies! What does it do? What makes it valuable and important for server administrators?

Back in 2010 we asked hosting companies to list top 3 reasons for server downtime. Single customer causing server downtime was the number one reason. Such incidence cause downtime more often then hardware or software failures, security issues, software updates or any other reasons. What CloudLinux does – it prevents ability of customer to cause such downtime. We effectively limit CPU & memory usage of the customer, so if customer starts to overload server – limits will be applied, and customer’s site will be limited (and will be slow or down). Yet, all other sites on the server will not notice any issues.

It is funny. When you say – “We effectively limit CPU & memory usage of the customer, so if customer starts to overload server – limits will be applied, and customer’s site will be limited” – this sounds exactly whata customers do not want. but it is actually more important for site owners, than for web hosts… because CloudLinux keeps the servers up and running and those hosted on them should be happy about it  Isn’t it like that?

Yes, and no. Imagine you have a server with 500 users. One of them causing downtime. 499 of those users really want that solution.

Actually, that extra one customer also want that solution, because when his site brings down the server, the downtime affects him as well. Of course some customers are limited at the moment when they just start slowing down the server, or just hit the limit. Yet, because we provide exact metrics, and show how much CPU was used, and when – most of them are accepting it, and hosts use such data to upsell heavy customers to VPS solutions.

Do you think that hosting providers who use CloudLinux should advertise it to customers and to say things like “Powered by CloudLinux”? Are you working to make CloudLinux popular to all site owners or you need it to be recognizable on an enterprise level only?

Many hosts already advertise CloudLinux as a way to show higher stability. And many resellers recognize CloudLinux as a stability factor, and only want to be placed on servers with CloudLinux.

Hmm… that’s great. This means that ClouLinux reached a level of reputation which is making it something like a standard in the Linux hosting market?

I believe so. Lots of people recognize the name now, especially among cPanel hosts.

I have met with the executives of many web hosting providers who have deployed CloudLinux and are happy about it. My personal opinion is that CloudLinux is going to become or even has become a standard in web hosting industry and this is not a compliment, because I meant it. I know all customers are important and that you might not want to point attention to any particular hosting provider, but I’m curious who was the first hosting provider to buy and deploy CloudLinux?

We had several running it at pretty much the same time. uk2 was one of the first ones.

This is interesting. Does CloudLinux fit to their OneApp Cloud platform? Is it integrated with it?

Sure. OnApp comes with CloudLinux template, and lots of hosts who use OnApp, also use CloudLinux

You now, when I do these interviews, my objective always is to show to the B10WH.com readers, who’s behind the technology. So let’s talk about you. Are you graduated in computer science and how important was your education for your today’s business?

I was doing CS degree, but I never graduated. I started PSOFT instead. The education was pretty important, as it gave me enough knowledge to understand underlying technology.

It is funny. I know many fine professionals in this industry who are either top executives or owners of popular brands and did not have time to graduate because put all their energy in business! What does your wife says about that?

My wife just completed her Phd, and thinks it is a total disgrace that I left college :)

You know, the smart people who do PHd’s and the university professors should always remember that there is a real business that support in academics and the universities.

I think it was a mistake on my part to abandon college. It wasn’t the best decision for sure.

You told me once you have 3 kids. On which side of the technology business do you see them – as consumers or as professionals?

I will let them decide!

Someone might say it is irresponsible not to guide your kids ;) but the truth is that you are probably a very good father, if you want them to choose by themselves. Most parents don’t do this?

I don’t know, but I think it would be irresponsible to decide for them. It is their life, and they should have a chance to make their choices. Of course they still have to get college education, and I will have some troubles explaining them why it is a must have.

How far will you go with CloudLinux. Which direction is it going to go. Will you develop it more like an OS (Os itself) or it will be an application for the Red Hat family operating systems. Or you are going to try building any kind of one-stop automation solution for hosting providers (excluding the control panels, as fas as you said you are not doing control panels anymore)?

CloudLinux is an OS, it is a fork of RHEL, but we plan to keep it as close to RHEL as possible. The goal is to make it the best OS for Shared Hosting companies and we are concentrating solely on that.

Can anyone install it as stand-alone OS on a server or they need to have a RHEL OS installed on the server first?

Anyone can install it from the disk (we provide ISO image), though majority of people have pre-installed CentOS, and convert instead.

We are speaking a week prior to World Hosting Days conference in Germany. What do you expect from this event. And where CloudLinux is more popular by the way? Is it in the United States and Canada, in Europe or Asia?

CloudLinux is most popular in US, UK, followed by Asia and Eastern Europe. We don’t have lots of penetration in Germany and other western European countries, as that market is prefers Debian & Suse – which makes it more difficult for them to switch to CL.

WHD looks very exciting this year. It sounds like it is going to be biggest hosting event ever, and we are looking forward to meet our existing and future customers.

Thank you very much for your time Igor. I’m speaking to you in 2011 and I hope that when we’re doing the next interview CloudLinux will be even bigger and the OS will become a true standard in Shared Hosting.

martin-adreev-vp-operations-host-color“We do not consider “Cheap” as an option even in our marketing campaigns”, explains Martin Andreev a VP of Operations of HostColor.com, a well-known middle-sized web hosting provider. He adds that his company can not be found in any Search engine by keywords like “cheap hosting” or “cheap web hosting”. The company he runs has been around for more than 12 years and it’s managing team has been part of the rapidly changing web hosting industry. We are speaking to Martin about Host Color’s business and about his view about hosting industry’s developments.

Hi Martin, good to have you here. If you have to describe Host Color with a few words, what would you say? Is it a “Shared Hosting provider”, is it a “cheap hosting provider” or anything else?

It is my pleasure to do this interview for B10WH. Thank you for the opportunity. Speaking about Host Color I would say just “Quality Web Hosting”. It could be also “Shared Hosting”, “cPanel Hosting” or “Quality Dedicated Hosting”, but not “cheap”. I don’t understand “cheap” as “low in price”. In web hosting “cheap” does not refer to the price. It refers to unreliable. I know that many people would disagree with me, but just take a look any of those “cheap hosting” offerings. They are not based on the stability of the hardware systems, redundancy of the network or on how does the hosting company’s support work. All they say to customer is “you can get it cheap”. And “cheap” means a lack of standards. Cheap means that someone got a budget server or even a desktop computer with one hard drive and put a few hundreds of virtual hosting accounts on it. This is exactly what any reputable web hosting company must not do!

“Cheap” is not an option for Host Color. Nothing is cheap and  we do not do cheap. We do “low cost”, Quality Shared Hosting, VPS and Dedicated servers. Hope that this answers your question, despite that I would not use such words to describe Host Color’s business.

What would you say then?

It is on our website. We say we do “Web hosting about people, not about websites”.

How important is Shared Hosting in your customer portfolio?

It is quite important. Our company entered into the web hosting market as Shared Hosting provider in 2000. I wasn’t named Host Color at that time, however. HostColor.com was registered in January 2002. We started with dedicated servers hosted in what was RackShack, at the time, a company based out of Houston, Texas, that doesn’t exist anymore (It entered to mergers to become part of ThePlanet). What I know from those who founded Host Color that it wasn’t a reliable dedicated server provider so we moved quickly to set up our own IT hosting infrastructure in South Bend, Indiana.

Why Indiana? It doesn’t sound like a popular location for a web hosting provider?

It is very good however! We are very close to Chicago (the ping time is 4.5 ms) and the location works great for all American customers, no matter they are from East coast, West coast or live in the central states. It is great location for Canadian customers as well. The RTT (Editor’s note: Round-trip time) is low for Europe and Asia as well.

You claim to offer redundant network. Which provider do you have?

We are connected to Level3, Cogent and to Internap through a local ISP. We are also working to add two more provide or quality bandwidth in Q1 – Q3 of 2013. One would provide access to European peering to our customers, while the other one would shorten the RTT to Asia. We are also using a few smaller IP bandwidth providers which operate in Midwestern U.S.. Our network is reliable and we guarantee 100% network uptime in our Service Level Agreement. Most of our Shared and Dedicated servers customers are currently enjoying more than 1300 days up-time. However I should say that there is more to be done and we are working on it.

I saw that Host Color manages customers’ accounts with a control panel named NextColor. I wasn’t able to find anyone else to using that one. Tell me more about it. Is it a proprietary technology?

Yes. We developed it in 2003 – 2004 and it was one of the best server automation software on the market at the time. However we decided not to release a commercial distribution and to use it in-house only. This wasn’t the best decision for other control panel itself, because we did not work hard to update it the way commercial hosting automation panels are updated. So in 2010 we have decided to migrate all customers of ours to cPanel/WHM. We still have a few thousands of customers on NextColor, but we decided to migrate to cPanel. I know that we have plans to rebrand our control panel and to release a commercial version, but this would happen in 2013 – 2014.

Why? Do you say your control panel isn’t good enough?

I don not say that! It is an excellent web server automation software. It is stable, secure and easy to use. However we are not a software producer. We are a web host and we decided to focus in providing high quality web hosting, not in developing a hosting automation product. We are spending on improving the network, on testing and then implementing the best hosting automation standards and to continue providing the best possible customer support. These are very different from software development.

There is one more thing. We have seen that cPanel has become truly great software automation product within the last few years. Most web hosts abandoned the server management systems they used to use to migrate to cPanel. If we didn’t migrate our customers to cPanel we’d loose value.

How would any hosting provider loose value if they use Plesk or any other control panel, not cPanel for example?

cPanel has become the most popular server automation standard in Linux hosting. Having Enkompass they are now a player in the Windows hosting market as well. Plesk is also good, we offer it to VPS customers hosted on the Parallels Virtuozzo Containers virtualization platform. However we use cPanel/WHM for Shared hosting. It is indisputably the best automation product for Shared and Reseller Hosting, which means that it is the same for managing a stand-alone dedicated servers. I have a good news for our customers as well. We have begun offering cPanel Cloud Hosting.

Isn’t it something that any web hosting provider already does?

Not really! Take a look at Cloud hosting offerings announced by different providers and you will that they are Virtual Private Servers delivered from any Cloud computing platform. What we do is a High Availability cPanel based virtual hosting. This means that we offer Shared Hosting accounts hosted on a Cloud. We have a cluster of servers, which feature load-balancing and High Availability and the accounts of our Shared Hosting customers reside on top of the cluster. It is an excellent service, because our customers save money and time on software licensing and on virtual private server management. We use a technology called SingleOS Linux Cloud to automate cPanel Cloud management and provisioning of virtual hosting accounts on the cloud. It is a new technology and we were one of the first to implement it.

I’m skeptical when it comes to Cloud computing. Nowadays everyone is speaking about it and most providers claims to have it. At the same time it requires a huge investment to build a Cloud computing hosting service? So how could a small or a middle-size d hosting company afford to own a cloud computing infrastructure ?

Well, the major providers want consumers to think that they are the ones who could build and operate a stable Cloud computing hosting infrastructure. However the reality is different. It requires an investment to build a Cloud infrastructure, but it is not a mission impossible. I’d say that any company would start with an investment of $50,000 and to scale its Cloud infrastructure up, depending on the growth rates.

Host Color Cloud is not a monster infrastructure. It is growing and the growth rate depends on customers’ demand. So if anyone says that Cloud computing is a privilege for a companies of large scale like Amazon, RackSpace, etc. then you know one’s opinion is biased. You can see a that more and more web hosting providers adopt some kind of Cloud computing technologies. You can see a growing number of Cloud enablers. So without claiming to be an expert, I can say that we see a lot of competition in the Cloud Hosting market. It is not a competition of corporations however.

Let’s get back to Host Color’s business? How do you see your company in the today’s very competitive hosting market? What do you do to attract customers? I didn’t see much of an advertising for Host Color, compared to some other hosting providers.

We have our own sales and marketing channels and they work good for us. We do not heavily advertise our Shared Hosting, because we do not do “unlimited” disc space and unlimited everything Shared Hosting. We are working to get customers who need stable and customized web hosting environment, which means VPS and Dedicated servers. In the Shared hosting niche we recommend and are trying to attract web designers and developers who are using specific content management systems like MODx, CMS Made Simple, TextPattern, bEvolution, Drupal, Joomla, Typo3. This is not something other do not do, but we have a tradition in supporting different Open Source CMS.

Do you do any Affiliate program?

Yes we do and we offer good payout rates, because unlike Shared Hosting providers Host Color is a popular for its Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Hosting services. But we don’t do crazy, unrealistic commissions on Shared hosting like $100 or $120 per sale. Our standard affiliate commission is 25% of the sale amount. The lowest commission is $11.97 for Blog Hosting plan. The highest one is a $199.75 per a sale of Dedicated Hosting Power, purchased on monthly contract. However we have customers who buy dedicated hosting services on annual basis, which means that an affiliate could make $1,437 if they refer a customer, who buys a Dedicated Power, dedicated server.

Would you sale Host Color if any bigger web host makes an offer?

I don’t know. This is not my responsibility. Owners must decide on any such offerings. What I know from them is that we would never sell our customers. I have seen a lot of statements like “We buy customers” or “Sell your customers”. It is ridiculous! Host Color has more than 10 years of  business history in the web hosting industry. Our brand and our reputation bring business. So I presume that the company would consider any buyout offering, only if it accounts Host Color’s brand reputation and business history, not just our annual revenue.

Thank you very much for this interview Martin.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for your  time and your business. I’m glad to be one of the hosting industry professionals featured at B10WH.

zvonimir-gembec-plus-hrI met Zvonimir Gember during the European hosting conference and trade show WebhostingDay 2010. I went out for a smoke (bad habit, but excellent way to socialize) and met Aaron Philips of cPanel and started chatting. Zvonimir (leader of Croatian hosting provider – Plus.hr) was there and joined us. We had great time together and since then we are in touch. And here he is in an interview for B10WH.com.

been in touch  People around the world know something about Croatia, especially those who watch CNN. A lot of commercial about Croatian tourism is going on there. But your country has many other things to offer. I know this because I’ve been there twice. You have a fast growing IT hosting industry. I remember that when we met during the Webhosting Day 2010 you told me there are about 10 well-established hosting providers and another 10 which can be considered as contenders on the Croatian market. I was surprised because Croatia isn’t that big. So my first questions is:

Do you serve Croatian website owners only? I saw the Plus.hr has a Croatian version only?

Yes, until recently we do serve only Croatian market, but very soon we will start to offer hosting services to whole region.

Tell me are there any differences between Croatian and other hosting markets in Europe in terms of the features and applications people use?

In fact, there is no difference, Croatian customers mostly use same applications and features like customers in Europe.

Which is the most popular Linux control panel in Croatia?

cPanel definitely, but we also offer dotNetPanel (now WebsitePanel), and there is some Plesk offer, but, so far we are not offering it.

Do Croatian site owners prefer to use any well-established standards such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc to organize their web sites or prefer custom build CMS?

There is lot of custom CMS solutions, but, WordPress and Joomla is most widely used CMS solutions.

Which hosting hosting platform is more popular in Croatia – Windows hosting or Linux Os based services?

Linux with cPanel, but around 30% of our hosting customers prefer Windows hosting.

Tell me about the domains you host. What percentage of your customers use .HR and which domain names except the general TLDs (com, net, org) are popular in Croatia? Is the .EU popular?

Around 40% of is .HR, and yes, .EU is popular, we register a lot of .EU domains.

What about .ME? You used to be in the same country with Montenegro 18 years ago. Does that make .ME domain attractive for Croatian site owners or the only thing that is catchy for them is that this extension is associated with “ME”?

.ME domains are more attractive to international, English speaking customers, then Croatian, we offer it, but there is no big demand for it.

I have seen that you are offering a reasonable amount of disc space with all Shared Hosting plans in Plus.hr. Is the overselling approach of offering “Unlimited Disk Space” and “Unlimited Bandwidth” popular in Croatia?

No, we as a leader in the Croatian market do not believe in term “Unlimited”. We are trying to offer “hosting that works”(TM) :-) and our customers recognized it. We have lo of migrations form other web hosters that offer huge amount of storage with unlimited features with extreme low prices to us, only because our hosting and support works.

I have seen you are doing Xen VPS. What are the advantages of Xen virtualization? Did you test and compare any other virtualization technologies to Xen?

Yes, we are testing Virtuozzo because it offers much denser packing of virtual machines on physical machine, and is mature product, with all tools you can imagine. So far, we a trilled with it.

Are you planning to launch any other language versions and to expand the customer portfolio in other countries?

Yes, during summer, we will have multilingual site. English for start, and maybe more in future.

What are the business priorities of Plus.hr – to expand in Shared Hosting, in VPS or in Dedicated Hosting?

Since our flagship product is shared hosting, we will continue to offer it. We will also work on reliability and features of shared hosting portfolio, we also offer dedicated servers, managed and unmanaged, and VPS servers with much affordable prices.

stuart-melling34SP.com is a Manchester, United Kingdom based website hosting company that has been around for almost a decade. In that time founding partners Daniel Foster and Stuart Melling have built a web hosting brand based on exceptional customer support and solid hosting plans at affordable prices. The following is an interview conducted with one of the founders, Mr. Stuart Melling regarding where the company has been, and what is planned for the future.

What is the origin of 34SP.com? How was the company idea launched?

We started almost 10 years ago. Myself and the company’s technical director started 34SP.com straight out of university, frustrated with the lack of suitable hosting for projects we undertook during our studies. We wanted to create something powerful, reliable and most importantly affordable. I like to think our tenth year in business highlights we weren’t the only ones who needed such a service.

What is the most exciting thing to you about being in the web hosting and Internet services business at this time?

I think the whole industry is exciting by it’s very nature. It would be hard to pick any one element. It is a fast paced environment where you cannot rest on your laurels, not for one moment. There is so much pressure competitively, that you rarely find yourself standing still. I like that challenge.

How is 34SP.com different than other hosting providers?

Quite quickly after the business began to build momentum, the mainstay of our efforts started to focus on customer support. That might sound a little cliched, but we live and breath customer service. Our marketing expenses are quite small for the industry. We thrive on customer referrals. Therefore, every decision we take is motivated by customer satisfaction. That theme runs through every department of our business. Call us up on the phone right now and I guarantee you a refreshing support or sales experience. You will speak to someone engaging, understanding and skilled.

What sorts of things interest you outside of work?

Outside of work? What does that mean? Well, when I do have a few microseconds break away from the office, it’s usually only as far away as the kitchen. I’m a complete foodie so I love to cook. The last year I’ve been really keen on Thai cooking and all the aromatic ingredients like kaffir lime, lemongrass and basil. I’m a dab hand if I do say so myself.

What have you learned over the past decade of business that will impact how you manage the company in the future?

In one word, people. Whether it’s a client or a staff member. Hosting is really a people business for me, the technical aspect I find increasingly less important (although I’m sure my technical colleagues would disagree!). I’m far less interested in storage arrays and buzzwords like cloud hosting. The people who make up our business is where I focus. If you listen to the people who actually use your services, and treat the people who support those customers – I think you really develop a win-win environment where everyone succeeds.

Are there any new products or developments that 34SP.com is currently working on?

Our product range continually evolves. We are seeing big growth inn our virtual servers and VPS range. As we grow, so do our long term customers, who are increasingly looking for hosting solutions more powerful than standard shared hosting. Thankfully we have been developing and refining our VPS plans for a couple of years now. As our clients grow, we have the perfect road map for them to keep on growing without worrying about server uptime, or resources.

About 34SP.com

34SP.com offers professional website hosting services for cost conscious web developers, designers and small businesses. The 34SP.com team of technical experts offers industry leading support and service coupled with a money back guarantee to ensure client satisfaction. Website hosting services offered include: reseller hosting, UK web hosting and dedicated servers. The company is headquartered in central Manchester, England.

Thomas Strohe of Intergenia: Everything Is More In WebHostingDay 2010

Posted by hosttycoon On February - 8 - 2010

thomas-stroheLast year was my first one at the WebhostingDay. I have made and interview with Kirsten Nothbaum of WHD team titled “WebhostingDay Brings Together The Brightest In The Industry” and went to the show after that. Some pictures from WebhostingDay have been published here after the conference. One year later I’m planing to go to WHD 2010 which takes place in the same Phantasialand near Cologne again. The 2010 event is focused on cloud computing and I have an increased expectations to learn some new things about the emerging cloud hosting industry, that I don’t know… I think it wouldn’t be hard ;)

The last year’s WHD was well organized and anyone who I met there said very kind word about the team behind the show. It is worth to attend. A month and a half before the show B10WH.com speaks to Thomas Strohe, the man behind the event. Take 10 minutes of your time to read our interview with him.

Hi Thomas, let me ask you first what is the difference between last year’s WebhostingDay and WHD 2010? Will you welcome more participants this year, is there a growing commercial interest, or any new sessions?

Of course, we hope that at least as many attendees as last year will sing up. And regarding current numbers, it looks more than promising (registration is still possible until March 4th). With regard to official WebhostingDay partners – these are the companies having talks or/and exhibiting at the fair – and media partners we could already achieve an increase as compared to 2009. Now there are almost 80 partners altogether, while there were about 60 of them last year. Therefore, we will have a completely redesigned fair area, more keynotes and more rooms for the so-called hosting.SESSIONs.

Has the cloud computing trend changed the agenda of this year’s WebhostingDay, if you compare it to 2009 even? Last year “cloud computing” was more a “magic phrase” than and something tangible. When you are looking at this year’s WHD, at the sponsors and participants, can you say that we have made a step ahead in process of moving to the clouds?

Yes, even last year the cloud was a very popular topic, which will be the case again this year. A great number of talks and sessions carry the word cloud in their title or it is at least mentioned in the abstract. Many of the presented solutions are designed for cloud computing or cloud hosting. Moreover, CloudCamp, a bar camp with experts from the cloud sector will be held again in the framework of WebhostingDay.

Please tell the readers of B10WH.com more about the WHD sessions. Which ones do you find most interesting, and which one was harder to organize? Who of the industry’s “marterminds” was harder to bring to speak at WHD?

In fact nobody had to be convinced to speak at WebhostingDay. The event is highly appreciated, and we even had to call off some potential speakers due to a lack of free speaking slots. But this was necessary, you know, as the schedule would have blown otherwise. However, panel discussions have now been added to the agenda, which allow for multiple speakers at a time to discuss current topics. These are probably very interesting for the audience, since different points of view are presented.

A part from IT giants like Microsoft and Intel last year Parallels looked like the one of the most important partners of WHD? Who is staring this year?

We are glad that we were able to enthuse those big players like Microsoft, Parallels, Intel, AMD, HP and Fujitsu for WebhostingDay again. But also the smaller businesses are very valuable partners for us, which either want to establish themselves or their products on the German market, or come from Europe and want to gain new customers from America or Asia by this means. The combination of “old hands” and newbies is what makes the event more diverting and interesting for visitors.

Do you have any partners who joined WHD for the first time this year?

Yes, there are several partners who have joined for the first time, e.g. GateSecure, who will be presenting a web filter, Genotec, an ISP from Switzerland, and STULZ, who work on data center cooling solutions, to name but a few.

On the website you say that WebHostingDay 2010 is “the most important web hosting event in the world”? Is the WHD really the biggest and most important event in web hosting industry? Do you compete for the top spot with HostingCon… or the WHD is focused mostly on the European web hosting markets?

Looking at the numbers of visitors and exhibitors, WebhostingDay really is the world’s largest web hosting event. And even if the majority comes from Europe today, we can detect a clear development to more and more international audience. By the way, we do not see HostingCon as a rival, but both events as having a friendly coexistence.

As an organizer of a major industry event you receive a lot of insight information which helps you to better understand the market’s developments. Let me ask you is the North American web hosting industry more innovative than the European markets… if we look at the cloud computing we will see that most cloud hosting providers we can find on the market are American?

I don’t think that North-American web hosting companies are more innovative than European companies. But the continent as a whole gets more attention due to giants like Google or Amazon. The potential of the cloud has been recognized in Europe, of course, and many companies begun developing very specialized solutions for B2B purposes. As many innovations are not targeting the end user, they are not talked about so much in the public. When visiting WebhostingDay you will be able to meet many of those companies and solutions.

How do use see the German hosting market from a cloud computing perspective? Are the German businesses more skeptical or enthusiastic when it comes to cloud computing and cloud hosting infrastructures?

Basically, German companies are open-minded for this topic, but it will probably take some time until a majority of companies has changed their infrastructure respectively. Especially in times of uncertain economic situations, people will likely wait and see until new things are tried and tested before investing into them.

I hope you can answer a question from a provider’s perspective. What do you think would happen with the “good old server” within the next year? Do you see many people who used to use physical dedicated servers to migrate to virtual machines?

As far as the respective offers are attractive regarding price and performance I see potential indeed. We have been offering virtually dedicated servers ourselves with one of our brands for many years now, which have gained more and more approval over the years. If the performance of these systems can meet the highest professional demands in future, it is likely that many people will choose this alternative in order to save some cost.

There has been a lot of talk about the financial crisis. It has become the most used “word” and probably the most used explanation of anyone’s business failure within the last 2 years… Is the current financial situation in Europe and Germany hitting the web hosting sector?

Luckily, the hosting industry has suffered quite little from the crisis so far. That is because server-based applications are used in every modern company for daily work, so that they cannot really cut down on them. Of course it happened here and there that some clients broke away because they became insolvent, but generally speaking it did not hurt the industry so badly.

Now I have a question about the WHD 2010. I’m curious why don’t you change the place or the time when WHD takes place? It is always in Phantasialand, which is OK, but if you decide to host the event between May and September there shall be much more fun for the attendees?

We are very satisfied with Phantasialand as conference venue, because it offers, for instance, a central location in Germany that can be reached easily from everywhere. Additionally, it has the equipment we need and we have made good experiences in working together with their team. Regarding the time, it is quite close to CeBIT, which attracts many visitors from abroad. That way they get the chance to combine both events in one journey. And if we made it in summer, the theme park would normally be open to the public and it would be impossible to close it for the event without causing unnecessary cost.

Did you get yourself in any funny situations during the last year’s WHD or through the years. Something related to the organization, any mistakes taht you would share today?

There are always some minor mishaps, of course, which cannot be avoided even by the best organization. This begins with the weather – in 2008 our signposts in the park were blown down by the strong wind – and continues in technics, e.g. when one of our presentation notebooks falls down in the lecture room and has to be replaced quickly. But apart from that we have been spared from greater disasters so far. No speaker that became ill shortly before the event or complete power outage etc. Let’s hope it remains that way!

I’m sure that every entrepreneur has a story to tell about who did they get down to their business. Please tell me yours!

I founded my first company when I was only 15 years old and sort of operated it from my room. I had the idea to start the company when I detected a market gap in Germany in the area of dedicated hosting. It was an advantageous time for the IT sector and the company was able to grow quickly. Together with the brothers Jochen and Christoph Berger I founded Intergenia a few years later.

What did make you to organize WebhostingDay. You would have a successful business without being involved in this venue. Does it help you to stay connected to others in web hosting industry and do you learn anything from being part of it?

That’s right, even without being organizers of a hosting event we would have been equally successful as a company. But we actually had in mind then that by exchanging views between industry colleagues many valuable synergies could develop from which all involved parties could profit. Even if it would only mean to get to know each other better, which makes business easier in the follow-up. There had just been no such forum in Europe before. I wanted to close this gap.

Thank you very much for taking some of your time to talk for B10WH. See you in Cologne.