With typical German precision, WorldHostingDays 2015 started off right on schedule, and according to the event organizer, more than 6,000 people (mostly hosting service providers) attended. The traffic and buzz throughout the three days supported the number, and the exhibit hall and speaking sessions were almost always well attended.
Located at Europa Park in Rust (pronounced Roost) Germany, the event location is about as far off the beaten path as you can get, requiring visitors to take well-coordinated planes, trains, buses, and shuttles to get there. Once everyone arrived, however, we focused on the event and the hosting/cloud business.
At the venue, you soon realized that the “who’s who” of the hosting technology world was there, including vendors that cover the related hardware, services, and applications that comprise the underlying infrastructure used by the hosting industry. SolidFire partners Dell, OnApp, Science Logic, and Jelastic all had a significant booth presence at the show.
Generally speaking, compared with the U.S. hosting market, many European service providers sport smaller annual revenues, and the vendor mix exhibiting at the event showed it. Notably absent were VMware, OpenStack, and EMC, vendors that usually have the largest booths at these types of events — maybe because of the slightly smaller size of service providers that attend the event? Who knows, but it was great for us.
The hosting/cloud business in Europe is hot
While the hosting/cloud market is a little different in Europe than in the U.S., a broad mix of companies from startups to well-established, large service providers were investigating all the returning and new vendor technologies in the exhibit hall. However, every service provider (except for the many SolidFire customers we saw!) shared the same pain point: storage.
We had visitors from the Czech Republic, Italy, Serbia, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the U.S., Ireland, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, and beyond. I also talked to vendors and partners who were very excited at the state of the hosting and cloud market in Europe and who were digging in, getting busy, and preparing for incremental business growth over the next two years.
We’re not buying spinning disk anymore
During discussions in the booth and around the event, I heard service providers claim that they are not buying spinning disk anymore, and that flash is the future of their production hosting environments. Their expressed challenge, however, is that simply deploying flash alone won’t solve their storage issues, and that they were drawn to the architecture and functionality of SolidFire’s all-flash arrays.
While the average size (from a revenue perspective) of hosting/cloud providers is typically a little smaller in Europe than in the U.S., those providers are still experiencing the same infrastructure issues as their American counterparts. They’re delivering the same types of services to their customers, and they’re also looking for a technological edge over their competitors. That means that events like WorldHostingDays that showcase new technologies are only going to get busier.
As the hot European hosting/cloud market continues to rapidly gain momentum, count on the next couple of years to be an exciting roller coaster ride for service providers looking to gain market share while delivering the cloud value proposition.