The fifth annual WebhostingDay conference and exhibition is now in the history books, having concluded on March 20th, after several days of networking, educational sessions plus generally great parties and special events. Below is presented a brief overview ofÂ WebhostingDay 2009.
The evening of the first day was the setting for the conference’s first event, the Come Together party held at the Ling Bao Hotel within Phantasialand, the venue for this year’s WebhostingDay. The turnout for the Come Together party was quite spirited, and the food was simply amazing. This was the precursor to the type of hospitality that WebhostingDay would offer. As an aside, for those of you that frequent trade shows – you will be aware that the food at trade shows is quite often a step below par. The reasons are obvious: feeding several thousand attendees can get pretty expensive if you go for a high end plate of food versus a budget meal. So what one generally expects within the trade show at a large event is food that is institutional grade. This was definitely not the case at WebhostingDay. The food and drink can best be described as ”gourmet”, with even the largest of meals served being a pleasure to eat. Of course, the Come Together party also featured another of Germany’s finest products: beer. (And plenty of it). General networking and bumping into people occurred at the party, and later a band took the stage to play 70’s and 80’s pop music. The band was good, the drummer was great.
The next two days featured the conference proper. Each of the next two days had a format as follows – the morning was devoted to keynote presentations delivered as the only session at the time, therefore gathering everyone into the largest of the presentation halls. Following the morning keynotes groups split up to eat more sensational food in an enormous buffet for lunch, after which the afternoon was filled with concurrent sessions in smaller conference halls. The evenings on both days offered further networking opportunities in larger party gatherings and numerous smaller, impromptu meetings in the many watering holes both within Phantasialand and at the nearby Ramada where many of the attendees also stayed.
So what was the general mood and outlook of the companies and individuals attending? For the vast majority in attendance at WebhostingDay, the demeanor was genuinely positive. The consensus among web hosting professionals seems to be that the current financial crises and economic downturn is having only a limited impact on sales and revenues. Others were seeing some effects of the worldwide downturn, but not as drastic business disruptions that are plaguing the automotive and financial industries. For example in discussions with a web hosting service outsourcing firm, the CEO mentioned that while some current customers were dropping the outsourcing of customer support, others were adding the service in an attempt to reduce costs. So the overall effect on this particular vendor was neutral.
In terms of some specific facts surrounding the event, Professor Jens Bocker, University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in his opening remarks revealed the following about WebhostingDay this year:
* Attendees and exhibitors were present from more than 40 different countries around the world.
* The registered attendance grew from around 1,000 attendees last year to nearly 2,500 attendees n 2009.
* WebhostingDay 2009 featured 50 speakers from a wide range of hosting-related firms and consultancies.
* There were 45 exhibitors in the exhibit hall this year.
In terms of the specific topics covered by the speakers, there were a wide variety of subjects and presentation styles. A couple of dominant themes did emerge for the 2009 edition of WebhostingDay. Virtualization – that is, the reduction of servers through utilization of a hardware-independent abstraction layer was one solid theme. Of course, as one would expect Parallels was a leader in this subject matter. The other strong current in the keynote sessions was the general topic of the Cloud orÂ Cloud computing. These two topics were interwoven into many different speaking sessions including those on subjects as varied as email security, data centers, chip architecture plus messaging and collaboration.
The attendees were very positive about the value of WebhostingDay 2009 as well. Here is a representative comment. Programmer and developer for UK basedÂ hosting firm 34SP.com, Phil Robinson was upbeat on the networking aspects of WebhostingDay 2009, ”This conference was a fantastic way to connect with other hosting professionals from around Europe. The social events provided a really relaxed atmosphere to meet one on one and discuss topics of mutual interest. I’m planning on attending again next year.”
You can read more thoughts from attendees here via theÂ Twitter feed search for WebhostingDay.
In summary, this year’s WebhostingDay event was a true success. From the venue to the speakers to the exhibitors to the attendees and networking events – everything was first class and professional. Look for information soon on the plans for WebhostingDay 2010. Also – if you missed WebhostingDay or are simply interested in networking with your counterparts in hosting in the North America, consider the next large hosting event on the calendar:Â HostingCon 2009.