Last week, I was at Hostingcon, a yearly Conference and Trade Show for Web Hosting and Cloud Service Providers, which took place in Austin, TX. I had the chance to represent iWeb and share my thoughts about How to Build a Cloud on a panel discussion with Ditlev from OnApp, Rob from Dell (also sitting on the Openstack board), Tony from Flexiant and Ryan from Microsoft on a panel that discussed the technologies, pitfalls and challenges of building a Cloud.
My view on the subject was that Cloud Platforms are gaining maturity and that in order to Build a Cloud today you should build it on top of an existing platform. Whether you are going to choose Openstack, OnApp, Microsoft, Cloudstack, Flexiant, Open Nebula or another platform will mostly depend on your expertise, the expertise you have in-house or the expertise you expect you will be able to find.
iWeb built its own Cloud Platform about three years ago. The efforts where rewarded with the success of the product but keeping the software technology up to date has proven to be a hard task for an infrastructure company. The Open Source and Commercial platforms quickly evolved into mature and full-featured solutions and this pushed iWeb to rethink its strategy and move to a model where it will build unique features and implementations on top of an available cloud platform. Today, it is moving into an Openstack strategy while also experimenting with other cloud platforms. I think it’s the way to go and it is still full of challenges for the in-house development teams that should focus on building what I call emotional lock-in, creating an integrated experience, making sure all product flavors work together and building a unique frontend and user experience on the platform.
I didn’t see many people from Montreal down at Hostingcon. Beside iWeb’s delegation, I did walk into François Lane from Cakemail which counts on various hosting providers (Funio, iWeb’s Shared Hosting Division is a Cakemail partner) to resell his Montreal-Baked newsletter and mailing list management product. No trace of Cloudops, Sherweb or other local providers this year … unless I missed them.
I feel Montreal’s Web Hosting industry is a bit quiet these days. We should have more hosting and cloud services providers representing at Industry Events and it makes me wonder who do Montreal-Startups use as their hosting provider? Do you use mostly USA based providers? Is Amazon Web Services the way to go for you or is it too technical? I guess some of you use iWeb, but it is still mostly dedicated. Are you looking for more virtualization and cloud hosting options from Montreal providers? Do you prefer colocation, dedicated, shared or virtual hosting? It would be interesting to know!