Second Annual Hosting Summit Draws Large Crowd - What’s a Web 2.0 Web Host?
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The first full day of the convention was kicked off with a keynote address from Andrew Schroepfer, founder and president of Tier 1 Research. His speech was titled “Hosting + Web 2.0 = Hosting 2.0.” What was that supposed to mean? The point Schroepfer was trying to get across is that the responsibilities of a web host have changed, thanks to changes in the way people use the Internet.
In the early days of the Internet, it was exciting enough just to put together a web site and get online. At that time, all a web host had to do was get his customer’s site connected to the Internet. But nowadays, people are finding more things to do with this medium, and it isn’t enough to simply host web pages.
Importantly, Schroepfer pointed out that a web site is no longer the only form of web presence. He cited location markers on mapping services, social networking profiles, listing on aggregator services, and mini-apps, as the sorts of things that can be integrated into third party web sites. So where does that leave a modern web host?
One approach involves a certain amount of rethinking. Schroepfer suggests that web hosts partner with those who own online advertising inventory, join e-commerce sites together into online malls, and become distributors of web-based software. The idea is to remember that you aren’t an island. With social networking sites blurring the distinction between content producers and consumers, such a move would blur the distinction between hosting and content delivery networks, a theme that came up again later in the convention.
Savvis can be seen as an example of a web host in tune with the times. Savvis president Jonathan Crane described his company as a “purpose driven network” for producing “guaranteed business outcomes.” What does he mean by this? It’s not just about bandwidth capacity and computing resources anymore; consequently, Savvis doesn’t think of those as stand-alone products. The idea is to focus on the needs of the customer and the applications being hosted; it could be thought of as, not software as a service, but infrastructure as a service.
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