In the few weeks leading up to HostingCon 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts (from July 16 to July 18, 2012), the WHIR will be posting Q&As with some of the presenters from the event’s educational program.
Phil Shih started Structure Research about a year ago, a new venture after several years as a well-known analyst covering the mass-market hosting industry for Tier1 Research.
Monday morning at 9:00 a.m., Phil Shih of Structure Research will present a Hosting Industry Market Overview, focusing on some of the changing forces in the hosting market, how hosting providers can prepare themselves and their businesses for those changes, and what new opportunities they might present.
In an email interview with the WHIR, Shih highlights some of the issues he’ll discuss during his HostingCon presentation, and some angles hosting providers can take in order to adapt to changes in the hosting landscape.
WHIR: “State of the hosting industry” is a pretty broad topic, but what are some of the changes you’re seeing right now that hosts might want to be aware of, or might want to prepare for?
Phil Shih: When thinking about the “state of the industry” I think one key point to bear in mind is that the industry is growing and the addressable market remains as big as it ever was. There are a lot of moving parts in this industry and that guarantees constant. I think as a starting point one of the biggest things to be aware of is the growing presence of “non-traditional” competitors like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Intuit. There is also this thing called cloud that some folks might have heard of.
WHIR: I guess the obvious follow-up to that is how specifically do you see these changes influencing hosting businesses? What can they do to prepare or react?
PS: In terms of preparation, I think hosters should continue to focus on operating efficiency and generating value from user experience, products, features and services. If you stand still the market will pass you by. Look for areas to innovate in.
WHIR: Can you single out any companies as being especially well positioned to handle conditions in the market, and why?
PS: There are lot of great hosters out there so I’ll definitely neglect to mention a few of them. But hosters like SoftLayer have really carved out a significant presence in the market and are positioned for long-term success. They have a platform that is scalable and a commitment to constantly innovating and finding areas to drive efficiency through automation. Rackspace is obviously another one. They have scaled a model that is not easy to scale and moved into segments that allow it to capture more of an organization’s IT spend.
WHIR: Your session’s description mentions how international markets are affecting the business. Can you give us some insight into what markets are important, and how?
PS: International markets are the next frontier of opportunity. It is about addressable market and opportunity. International markets are also crucial because the business has gone global. Organizations have global audiences and the infrastructure has to keep up.
WHIR: In your opinion, what are some of the biggest areas of opportunity for what you might call a “typical” hosting provider right now?
PS: I think the biggest opportunity in the near-term is hybrid and mixed infrastructure environments. There is cloud adoption in the market but it’s not wholesale and IT has never been and never will be one-size-fits-all. Hybrid capabilities enable hosters to accommodate the inherent diversity that is out there.