From the Cobweb Blog:
Last week was the fifth Microsoft Hosting Summit in Bellevue, Seattle and once again I was lucky enough to attend for Cobweb. For me this is one of the most useful events of the year. It's a good opportunity to learn about the market, new developments and offerings from other partners. Most importantly though, it's a networking opportunity and a good chance to develop relationships with Microsoft and leading hosting companies from around the world.
The were 330 attendees at the summit, the largest so far, and it was said that the summit room contained the "World think-tank for hosting and cloud services." Maybe, let's remember there's life outside of the Microsoft world too. There was a very strong representation from the UK as ever - did you know that the UK is the #2 hosting market for Microsoft? It's second only to the US.
It's a critical time for Microsoft as they continue to push their Microsoft Online/BPOS platform to partners. It's tough as most of the audience here will run their own platforms and services in one way or another. Naturally, from a technology point of view the tracks and sessions had a focus on Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010, plus the usual push for the Microsoft virtualisation technology - Dynamic Data Centre. It was clear that SharePoint is becoming a real opportunity for partners now, it's more than an advanced web hosting offering now.
Austen Mulinder heads the Microsoft Hosting business now and he led the keynotes with Bob Muglia. A picture of the future was painted;
Even though everything is "cloud" today, this is a long-term journey. If this is likened to an industrial revolution, or the evolution of services and systems such as telephones or the national electricity grid, then this is a long journey. The move to cloud computing will take many years, maybe 10, maybe 25.
So, even though there's furious activity and product launches every week at the moment, this is an industry that's growing, changing and will evolve many times yet. The services we see today, take simple storage-as-a-service for example, may not exist in 15 years time. Imagine how the iPhone and mobile communications look today compared to those first telephony services that ran on wires alongside the railways.
Austen also reinforced the message that the Communications Sector within Microsoft sees hosting partners as "critical" to their business. 97% of all revenue across the whole of Microsoft comes through partners. Hosting partners drove 30% growth last year. Remember that recession?... Hosting grew by 30% last year.
As ever, we're seeing massive change in the hosting industry. Steve Ballmer recently said (shouted): "if you didn't want to be in an industry with change, you shouldn't have picked IT!"
CTO, Cobweb Solutions Ltd.