Posts Tagged 'Hostingcon'

July 30, 2012

Don't Stop Believing (in Hosting)

If 80's movies have taught me anything, it's that any good story needs to have a video montage with Journey playing in the background. With that in mind, I'll start this blog post with a glimpse of HostingCon 2012:

HostingCon brings the hosting industry together every year, and the conference winds up being surprisingly similar to classic 80's "coming of age" movies:

  • "Geeks" are among the main characters.
  • There's always a "funny guy."
  • At some point, the geeks attend a party.
  • The characters learn more about themselves and others over the course of the movie.
  • As the credits roll, everyone is inspired ... Ready to take on the world.

With that in mind, HostingCon 2012 in Boston was a veritable John Hughes flick. There was no shortage of geeks, we hung out with one of the funniest people in the country, we threw a massive party, and we learned a ton. Without a doubt, attendees returned home with their intensity and enthusiasm cranked up to eleven (another 80's reference).

The expo hall was abuzz with activity — albeit after a lull in the morning following the aptly named "Host Me All Night Long" party — and we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with current partners and customers while meeting and speaking with soon-to-be partners and customers. While running a highly competitive Server Challenge, we were still able to dive deeper into partnerships, the build v. buy decision, branding, and launching a product when attendees visited our booth after hearing from our team in conference sessions and panels, and those conversations are what keep us coming back to HostingCon every year.

As a "veteran" of the hosting industry (assuming seven years of experience qualifies me), I've learned a great deal about the dynamics of the hosting industry from events like HostingCon over the years. On one hand, many of the attendees are "competitors," and on the other hand, we're all trying to make the industry better (since "a rising tide lifts all boats"). As a great example, look at the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2C), a trade association of companies with the shared goal and purpose of representing the industry in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

As it turns out, that unity flew out the door when attendees stood face-to-rack with the Server Challenge, though. Unlike our experiences at more general "technology" conferences, the components in our competition needed no introduction, and participants were particularly driven to best their peers ... not only for the iPad, but for the pride of owning the Server Challenge title at HostingCon:

  1. Darin Goldman - 0:59.28
  2. Devon Hillard - 1:01.58
  3. Ijan Kruizinga - 1:01.83
  4. Jon Basha - 1:03.02
  5. Sean Whitley - 1:03.06

As you saw in the video, Darin Goldman had the luxury of not needing his second attempt on the final day of the conference to secure a victory, but we were glad he let us record his "Breakfast Club" fist-pump to share with the world.

Fist Pump

Don't stop believing (in hosting).

-@khazard

P.S. I recorded the first few minutes of Ralphie May's set, but the adult language-ness of the content makes it a little more difficult to share with the world.

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June 29, 2012

We're Shipping Up to Boston - HostingCon 2012

It's that time of year again ... HostingCon is upon us, and we're faced with an interesting challenge: Go even bigger and badder in Boston than we did at HostingCon 2011 in San Diego. And that's a tall order.

Given the fact that we've already sponsored and participated in dozens of conferences around the world this year, you might be surprised to learn that we've still got a surprises in our bag of tricks. Without giving too much away, I thought I'd share a few of the SoftLayer-specific highlights you make note of if you're planning your HostingCon itinerary.

Conference Sessions

Want some hosting insight from the executive management team of one of the largest privately held hosting providers in the world? You might want to add these sessions to your calendar:

Partnerships Done Right
Lance Crosby, CEO
9:00am – Monday, July 16
Management Track

As more "non-traditional" hosters (telcos, cable companies & VARs) enter the cloud services market finding the right partner is a must. The opportunity is huge but this isn’t a situation where a rising tide will float all boats. Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer will explain how, in order to be successful, you’ll need to understand the following: 1) Building for Internet Scale, 2) Think platform first, and 3) How to automate. The session will include discussion of how SoftLayer leverages partners to drive business growth.

Build vs Buy: Operations & Billing Automation
Nathan Day, Chief Scientist (+ Panel)
9:00am – Tuesday, July 17
Technology Track

The finance, operations and administrative back office of a hosting company can be a complex animal. Some hosts have dedicated software development teams to build in-house solutions, others opt to buy as much as they can from 3rd party vendors. Hear three different approaches to tackling the problem, and learn how your product line can determine the optimal mix of open source, home grown and off-the-shelf solutions.

Finding Your Story: Branding and Positioning in the Hosting Industry
Simon West, CMO
2:00pm – Tuesday, July 17
Sales & Marketing Track

In a crowded marketplace it's critical to establish a clear position and identity in the minds of your customers and prospects. SoftLayer CMO Simon West will discuss best practices for defining and articulating your brand position, illustrating with specific examples drawn from his experience in building some of the industry's most notable brands.

Build, Launch, Sell: Strategies for Launching a Product in the Hosting Business
George Karidis, CSO (+ Panel)
3:00pm – Tuesday, July 17
Management Track

Introducing value-added services around basic hosting can be the strategy that turns a hosting business into a winning venture for the host, and a truly valuable service for the customer. In this interactive session, a panel of product management experts from the hosting business will cover best practices for building (or integrating), launching and selling a new product to your customers, helping you to develop processes, procedures and strategies for seeing a new product launch through from start to finish.

The SoftLayer Booth: #413

When you step into the expo hall at the John B. Hynes Convention Center, you're going to see SoftLayer. In our 20' x 30' space at booth 413, we'll have a few of your favorite SLayers available to answer any and all of your questions about what's new and what's next for SoftLayer ... And to pass out some always-popular SoftLayer swag.

SoftLayer Booth

By popular demand, the Server Challenge will be making its return to HostingCon, and if last year is any indication, the competition will be fierce. The pride of besting all HostingCon attendees in reassembling a server rack is arguably as valuable as the New iPad the winner receives. Though your pride doesn't have a Retina Display.

Host Me All Night Long

Following the phenomenal success of "Geeks Gone Wild" last year (headlined by The Dan Band), we knew we had our work cut out for us when it came to planning a party for HostingCon in Boston. We've teamed up with cPanel and comcure to put together "Host Me All Night Long" at Royale Boston on Monday, July 16.

Host Me All Night Long

One of my favorite comedians, Ralphie May, is going hit the stage at 8pm, and you won't want to miss a second of his set. Following Ralphie, Yellow Brick Road is bringing their award-winning Classic Rock tribute skills from Las Vegas to keep the night going. Given the name of the party, you shouldn't be surprised when a little AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long" is played.

Like last year, the attendance is strictly limited, and when the number of tickets available at http://hostingconparty.com/ reaches zero, you're out of luck. Even if you're our best customer ever, you need a ticket to get in the door, so register while you can! If you show a little extra SoftLayer love on Twitter or Facebook, send me a link to it (khazard@softlayer.com), and I might be able to hook you up with a VIP code to get you priority access and into the VIP section at the venue.

Like the Dropkick Murphys, we're "shipping up to Boston," and we hope to see you there!

-@khazard

September 15, 2011

PHIL’s DC: HostingCon

HostingCon 2011 in San Diego may have been a huge success for SoftLayer, but I walked away with a different experience following my intense pursuit of building the PHIL's DC brand. Apparently, the hosting industry wants to see my data center succeed before they believe it, and I think it's really just fear rearing its ugly head. People are afraid of what they don't understand, so the uninitiated would probably be terrified as they try to learn what I'm doing.

In an effort to help some of the bigger names in the hosting industry get in on the ground floor of PHIL's DC, I took a stroll down the HostingCon aisles. Vendors like Parallels and cPanel were obvious choices to discuss business partnerships, and I was sure TheWHIR wanted the scoop on the next big thing in hosting, so I made sure to give them all a chance to speak with me. The documentary film team I hired (the guy I met outside the San Diego Convention Center who said he'd follow me with a camera for $3.50/hour) recorded our interactions for posterity's sake:

I'd like send shouts out to thank Candice Rodriguez from TheWHIR, Aaron Phillips from cPanel and John McCarrick from Parallels for agreeing to let us film our organic interactions. They've further inspired me to build a data center that will make these apparent "snubs" and "rejections" a thing of the past. To Summer and Natalie at the SoftLayer booth: Please stop making fun of my Server Challenge attempt every time you see me at the office ... I think I had something in my eye when I was competing, so it wasn't a fair measure of my skillz.

Oh, and if you didn't get a chance to attend our "Geeks Gone Wild" party at HostingCon, you'd probably be interested in seeing video from The Dan Band's performance of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," cPanel posted it here: http://www.vimeo.com/28160105 (NSFW language, The Dan Band take artistic license with profanity)

-PHIL

August 19, 2011

SoftLayer at HostingCon 2011

In my "HostingCon, Here We Come!" blog post, I promised that SoftLayer would be Bigger, Better and Badder at HostingCon 2011, and we made some pretty ambitious plans to be sure that was the case: Six conference panels and speaking sessions, SoftLayer's biggest expo hall presence ever, in-booth presentations about everything from Portal 4 to Social Media, our infamous Server Challenge, and the biggest party in HostingCon history ... Heck, we even let PHIL attend to do some "research" for PHIL's DC. We pulled out all the stops.

Now that the dust has settled and the sunburns have started to heal, I can share a glimpse into SoftLayer's HostingCon experience with anyone who wasn't able to make it to San Diego last week.

HostingCon Expo Hall

When you walked onto the conference floor, you saw SoftLayer, and if you managed to miss our 20'x40' two-story booth or the commotion around it, you were probably in the wrong hall. Each person on our team had a chance to speak with hundreds of attendees, and at the end of every conversation, we gave some swag as parting gifts: Switch balls, foam rockets and limited-edition "Robot" T-shirts:

Robot Shirt

Our in-booth theater was the venue where Marc Jones showed off the private beta of our new Flex Images for dedicated servers, Jeff Reinis talked about how customers can take advantage of our international expansion, Stephen Johnson gave a tour of Portal 4, Kevin Hazard shared some tips and tricks to managing social media, and Phil Jackson dove into the API.

Take a virtual stroll around the conference center with us:

And as you can tell from the pictures, the Server Challenge was a big hit.

The Server Challenge

If you bring a cabinet of servers to a conference full of server geeks, you're going to get some attention. Challenge them to a hardware competition, and you'll be inundated with attendee traffic. If you aren't familiar with the in-booth activity, Kevin's blog about the Server Challenge at OSCON is a perfect place to get your crash course. If you already know all about it (and if you've competed in it), you'll be even more interested in seeing some of the action from the show floor:

At 3:07 in that video, you can see the eventual winner of the HostingCon Server Challenge complete a run on Day 1. His iPad 2-winning time was 1:01.77, and he beat some pretty stiff competition for the title of Server Challenge Champ.

Geeks Gone Wild

Put SoftLayer, cPanel and Resell.biz in a room, and you have a party. Add free drinks, a thousand of our closest friends, The Dan Band and a legendary venue, and you've got yourself the biggest party in HostingCon history:

If you took part in any or all of the above shenanigans, thank you! We owe a great deal of our success at HostingCon to you. Once everyone finally catches up on the sleep they missed last week, we'll get the wheels turning to figure out a way to go even bigger next year in Boston ... Speaking of which, does anyone know where I can get a boat that was in the Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773?

-@gkdog

July 8, 2011

HostingCon, Here We Come!

On August 8, the hosting world will converge on the San Diego Convention Center for HostingCon 2011. I'd say that SoftLayer will "be there with bells on," but a better way to put it would be that we'll "be there with megaphones." There are times to blend in and participate, and there are times when you follow Winston Churchill's advice:

"If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack."

This year, SoftLayer will be Bigger, Better and Badder in the conference sessions, on the expo hall floor and at the biggest HostingCon party ever.

Conference Sessions
We're honored to have SoftLayer employees speaking in six different sessions at HostingCon 2011:

Social Media/Branding Panel
Kevin Hazard, Social Media Ninja
9:00am – Monday, August 8
Marketing + Sales Track
The Power of Innovation
Nathan Day, Chief Scientist
9:00am – Monday, August 8
Business Development Track
Build vs. Buy: The CTO's Dilemma
Duke Skarda, CTO
10:00am – Monday, August 8
Technology + Operations Track
Small Business & Big Government: Public Policy and the Hosting Industry
Suzy Fulton, General Counsel
10:00am – Monday, August 8
Business Development Track
Clearing Up the Cloud: Hosting Providers Share Strategies for Competing in a Crowded Cloud Market
George Karidis, Chief Strategy Officer
2:00pm – Tuesday, August 9
Emerging Trends Track
How the Big Buyers Look At Acquisitions
Lance Crosby, CEO
3:00pm – Tuesday, August 9
Business Development Track

Over the next few weeks, you can keep an eye on the HostingCon Blog for more information about these sessions. To kick off the fun over there, they posted a preview to my session: "Setting Cloud Expectations Before Creating Cloud Strategy"

Expo
When you're not learning from one of our SLayers in the conference sessions above, we hope you'll swing by Booth #421 in the Expo Hall to chat with our team, get some SoftLayer swag and try your hand at the infamous Server Challenge. We'll have live video coverage of all of the action at our booth, and given the geek credentials of HostingCon attendees, we're expecting record-breaking times ... so start studying and training now to give yourself the best possible chance to win the iPad 2 we're bringing for the Server Challenge Champion!

HostingCon Party
Since you've read so attentively to this point about the 'work' side of HostingCon, it's time for some 'play.' At 9pm on August 9, SoftLayer, cPanel and Resell.biz will hosting the biggest HostingCon Party in history. 1000 lucky attendees will come together at 4th & B for networking, food, drink and THE DAN BAND!

Attendance will be strictly limited, and you watch the tickets dwindle before the event sells out at http://hostingconparty.com. SoftLayer customers, leave a comment on this blog or contact us via Twitter (@SoftLayer) and we'll hook you up with a promo code that comps your registration ... But remember, even if you're our best customer ever, you need a ticket to get in the door, so please register while you can!

Yes, Mr. Churchill, SoftLayer is bringing the pile driver to San Diego.

-@gkdog

October 5, 2010

Why Does SoftLayer Rock????

So this blog may be a tad bit delayed, seeing that it is about HostingCon, but better late than never. Right?? During HostingCon, at the SoftLayer Happy Hour, we filmed customers, random followers, and employees to see Why SoftLayer Rocks. Here are the responses we got….

Why Does SoftLayer Rock? Because……

"I get 100% uptime with them and they make sure all my servers are up"

"They offer the best cloud storage in the business"

"They are the ambassadors of the industry and help our business grow"

"My server has never gone down"

Now the most common responses were from the random guests at the Happy Hour. Go figure!

"Cause they throw great parties"

"When you mix alcohol and weapons that could potentially poke an eye out (SoftLayer Rockets)….It’s always in good fun" But… I think the best responses came from the employees….

"Because it is the best company to ever exist" Why is that? "The automation, technology, innovation, and the COO" –Sam Fleitman

"Cause we have a butt ton of cool customers" – Steve Kinman

"The bald guy makes a lot of very cool people happy" –Sean Charnock

There are many reasons Why SoftLayer Rocks and we could ask everyone and will get a different answer. Now if you ask an employee most likely they will eventually mention in their statement "because of me". Here is why I think SoftLayer rocks….

SoftLayer is one of the fastest growing private companies (Inc 500/5000). SoftLayer offers customers everything at their fingers tips, especially now with the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android mobile apps. Besides everything that SoftLayer offers to customers, they are extremely good to their employees. Oh and another reason Why SoftLayer Rocks ‘because of ME!’ :-)

Lets here what more people have to say Why SoftLayer Rocks….Post a comment and tell us!

August 6, 2007

HostingCon 2007 / More Green

The SoftLayer contingency recently returned from attending HostingCon 2007 in Chicago and I have to say, it was a great experience. We had a lot of opportunities to meet up with many of our customers, meet with a lot of vendors and potential vendors as well as visit with some of our competitors.

While there, I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion on "Green Hosting: Hope or Hype". Isabel Wang did a great job of moderating the discussion with Doug Johnson, Dallas Kashuba, and myself. The overall premise of the panel discussion was to talk about green initiatives, how they affect the hosting industry, what steps can hosting companies take and is it something we should be pursuing.

It was interesting to hear the different approaches that companies take to be green. Should companies focus their efforts on becoming carbon neutral by purchasing carbon credits such as DreamHost, by promising to plant a tree for each server purchased such as Dell, by working on virtualization strategies such as SWSoft or by working to eliminate the initial impact on the environment such as we have done at SoftLayer. You can probably tell from one of my previous blog posts where SoftLayer is focusing our efforts to help make a difference.

Besides the efforts of the individual companies on the panel, there were some good questions from the audience that helped spur the conversation. Does the hosting industry need its own organization for self regulation or are entities such as The Green Grid sufficient? Do any of the hosting industry customers really care if a company is "green"? Should a hosting company care if it’s "green"? And, what exactly does "being green" mean?

While there are differing opinions to all of those questions, there really isn't a "wrong" answer. Ultimately all of the steps companies take - no matter how small - will help to some extent. And no matter what the motivation - whether a company is "being green" in an effort to gain publicity, to save money or to simply "make a difference" - it's all worth it in the end.

-SamF

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