Anders Trolle-Schultz: Cloud/SaaS Business Enablement Consultant

Justin Pirie: Cloud Strategist at Mimecast, the Cloud Companion to Exchange
HostingCon might be unfamiliar territory for many Microsoft partners, as there are only about 5,000 SPLA partners in the 640,000-strong Microsoft partner ecosystem—less than 1%. Nevertheless, hosting providers are an essential element in the cloud partner ecosystem, having long offered a subscription option for Microsoft solutions and a simple method of delivering those solutions from a data center.
This year at HostingCon—wrapping up today in San Diego—it has certainly not been business as usual. So it was fitting that the opening keynote was from the legendary Simon Wardley. In IT, we are all undergoing a massive transformation: the Cloud Paradigm Shift. But while cloud is the buzzword of the conference, there is absolutely no agreement on the interpretation here.
HC_thumb_1_134C3BBD.jpgYou might think that with cloud accelerating, hosting would be an industry in decline. But the reality we’ve discovered from HostingCon 2011 is somewhat different—hosting has actually grown with cloud. Some think it’s because as customers look to buy an off-premises service, they want and need choice in their solution. Hosting certainly gives them that.
The other dramatic shift this year at HostingCon has been the move away from technology, toward business. To borrow terms from manufacturing—as the hosting industry moves away from everyone having a ‘factory’ to produce their services to a mixed ‘production method’, where they produce some in-house and outsource or syndicate the rest, the down-and-dirty details become less and less important. It’s like Coca-Cola. You don’t care that the production might have been outsourced—it’s what it tastes like when you drink it that matters. The same is becoming true for hosting.
So we’re witnessing a shift in the industry, where partners need to partner with each other to produce the total solution—whether that’s on-premises, hosted, or in the cloud. It’s the customer’s solution—the needs you fulfill and the problems you solve for them—that ultimately matters.
But then, that’s what being a partner has always been about.
Anders and Justin