web hosting media

Germany’s United Internet bought web hosting company Strato, owned by Deutsche Telekom. According to the reports in the press, United Internet paid for around €600 million ($629 million) in cash. It takes on 2 million customer contracts and approximately €130 million in annual revenue. This another step toward consolidation of the European web hosting market. The company already owns popular web hosting, domain registration and online service brands 1 & 1, FastHosts, InternetX, Sedo, Web.de, GMX, Mail.com, etc.

Ralph Dommermuth, Chief Executive of United Internet explained that the acquisition of Strato will make possible for his company to expand its position on the “European hosting and Cloud application business”. He also added that such deal “drives the consolidation of a market which is currently still strongly fragmented”.

The deal is backed by a private equity group Warburg Pincus, which values Strato at 12.4 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. According to experts this valuation is in line with the with the multiple that American web host Godaddy paid to acquire Host Europe Group (HEG).

United Internet has also been interested to buy HEG, but eventually switched to the Strato deal. According Reuters the equity group Warburg plans to inject additional €50 million into the business applications holding as part of the Strato deal. United Internet’s owns popular web hosting provider 1&1, which is among the biggest in Europe and within the last 5 years has significantly grown its business in the Unites States.

What Are Stato’s New Owner’s Expectations?

United Internet hopes that it will be able to attract small and medium German businesses to as clients by selling them various services – from websites, e-commerce solutions, CRM apps, security services and etc. The company is also looking forward to continue its web hosting acquisition business in order to consolidate the European It Hosting market and to.

Is European Web Hosting Industry Going The American Way?

More or less, “yes” as private equity firms and other type of investment ventures poor money to web hosting in order to increase “market consolidation”, which actually means to increase the market share for some big web hosting providers and to reduce the market significance of medium and small business IT hosting and Service providers. Investment funds and financial capital groups applies formula which multiplies the value of each business based on its size and customer base.

The bigger the entity is, the better chance financial groups have to launch IPO and to sell overestimated  shared on the stock exchange. Such approach to business proves to be profitable in a short run. However, when it comes to technology part of the business to the IT infrastructure services and Cloud service delivery, it possesses certain risk. It is all about decision making. After such acquisitions, the decisions are made by CTO’s and professionals who usually have a little to do with the management of IT businesses and processes. The investors and stockholders are always eager to return on their investments. As a result of that the companies increase pricing and the IT management is very often pushed to change the procedures and to impose restrictions and service terms which would make customers to increase their IT spendings.

In European Union, a single market on paper, that comprises of 28 national markets, 28 national languages and various business standards and cultures, it’s very costly and sometimes virtually impossible to apply common procedures and organizational standards which would create a successful universal IT service model. So it is very likely that any “consolidation” of the European web hosting industry to be just a short-lived and unsuccessful attempt to apply the American business practices into the European business environment.

The United Internet’s website does not differentiate from the finest traditions of corporate culture – to produce self-sufficient structures which are focused mostly on bragging about their own success. “With its clear focus on the growth markets internet access and cloud computing, United Internet is ideally placed to benefit from the expected market growth”, says the company’s website.

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.

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.

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.

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.