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“We Are The One Stop Shop For Any SMB or Entrepreneur to Come & Grow Online”- Rajiv Sodhi, GoDaddy

India has over 137 million users million users logged onto the internet, a number big enough to make it the third biggest country in terms of internet users in the world, but still relatively small keeping in perspective the country’s 1.2 billion population. The internet adoption rate in India is growing at a year on year rate of 26%, with small towns and the lower rungs of the economic ladder getting online faster than ever before.

This growing internet usage is also changing the way Indian SMBs reach out to their customers. Indian SMBs with a website have 51% higher revenues, 49% more profit, and 7% broader customer bases than their offline-only counterparts, a recent industry report revealed. However, only a 5% of Indian SMBs have a web presence, reflecting a clear lack of skill, resources, awareness and knowledge among the remaining 95%. Getting online still remains too daunting a task for a majority of Indian SMBs who are IT novices and need help and guidance to establish a strong online presence.

GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar is a top platform for small businesses and provides them with a wide range of web services. India, for obvious reasons, is a big potential growth area for GoDaddy. The company launched full-scale operations in India in June 2012 and has seen significant growth since.

We sat with Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India a while back to discuss the current state of the Indian SMB market and how GoDaddy plans to enable Indian SMBs to get their businesses online, and then run and grow them successfully. The complete video of our interaction is below, and a print version follows it.

Web Hosting business is not about a hit and run, where you sell the solution and go away. A lot of time, customers need advice as to what should they be doing, should they go in for, let’s say, a shared server or a dedicated server. Customers need to have this at the back of their mind that they are betting on a credible player who would be able to provide support to them.

– Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India.

Rajiv Sodhi,  Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India.
Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India.

Q: Before we begin, please tell our readers about your journey from GrapeCity India to GoDaddy.

A: I started working with Grapecity India about 15 years back as a software developer, looking at the engineering side of things. Post that, I moved to Microsoft, where I started out with Developer Evangelism practice and built out the entire ISV Evangelism business. I then graduated to start the cloud business for Microsoft and in my last stint, I was leading the entire SMB and Cloud business for Microsoft in India. That’s when I decided to take this opportunity with GoDaddy to lead their business operations in India.

Q: GoDaddy in universally synonymous with domain names and the 55 million domains it manages are testament for the same. In an interview earlier this month, Mr. Blake Irving remarked, “Very few people actually know what GoDaddy is, or they think it is only domains. They certainly don’t see the potential.” So what are other services that GoDaddy provides which are equally good but relatively unknown?

A: I think Blake is absolutely right, while we are known for domain names, that’s not the only thing we sell. I spoke about GoDaddy being the one stop shop for small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide, including India, in my talk earlier today too.

We look ourselves as the largest platform on which a business can build its entire online presence, all the way from basic identity, like having a domain name and website, to advanced hosting solutions, SSL etc. We also have in our product portfolio marketing tools for SMBs, like email marketing, search engine visibility etc. and security solutions like our website scanner that can protect your website. So we’ve a whole range of solutions that can enable SMBs to get their businesses online, and then run and grow them successfully.

Q: Top-shelf customer service and dominance among SMBs are two of GoDaddy’s strongest fortes. So, why do you think that the quality of customer service is comparatively more important in the web hosting industry and is sort of a ‘Litmus test’ for checking the reliability of a web host?

A: Customer support is one of the most important aspects of this business, especially in India, because as Internet penetration in India increases, a new breed of customer is coming online. This customer probably does not understand IT completely. He is not bothered about understanding or mastering the aspects of IT, he is more concerned about growing his business, and therefore, a lot of hand holding is required, a lot of support is needed as he grows on this internet journey. That’s point one.

The second point is, this business is not about a hit and run, where you sell the solution and go away. A lot of time, customers need advice as to what should they be doing, should they go in for, let’s say, a shared server or a dedicated server. Customers need to have this at the back of their mind that they are betting on a credible player who would be able to provide support to them.

So customer support becomes one of the hallmark any which way. And again, this is one area where our tech support offering excels, because you can call into our care center free of charge and take advice from our consultants as to what kind of solution you would need.

Q: If you were to mention 3 reasons that make GoDaddy the ‘go-to’ choice for SMBs round the globe, what would they be?

A: Three reasons are pretty simple I think. The first thing is, obviously, we are the one stop shop for any SMB or entrepreneur to come online. Whatever the solutions customer needs, he gets everything under one roof.

Second, you are never alone with GoDaddy. Once you take the bet with GoDaddy, our customer support will always be there with you in your time of need or when you want to grow your business or when you want to buy more and do more stuff on the internet.

Third, we are deeply invested in creating an ecosystem around us. There are partners and other players who can help you come online. So if you need support, it’s going to be very close to you.

Q: GoDaddy announced ‘Cup of Coffee’ Campaign in India a few days back, which aims to provide first-hand experience of how SMBs can register a domain name, build a website, get an email address and promote it as well, within minutes. Can you tell what is the modus operandi of this campaign and how you’re planning to execute it in order to get best results?

A: The core theme of the campaign is that you can get online in minutes, in the time you finish a cup of coffee, which is about 30 minutes. We have a multipronged approach for executing this.

First, we have placed trained executives on the ground in 3 cities in India – Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. These trained executives actually go door to door meeting SMBs, showing them a demo of how they can come online, telling them how easy it is to come online and then if the customer chooses, they configure the website for the customer right there in the time he finishes a cup of coffee.

Second, we have positioned mobile-experience-zones, where we’re offering a first-hand experience of how SMBs can register a domain name, build a website etc.

Third, we are advertising on prominent sites, billboards, radios etc., so that there is an awareness around this initiative and people come forward to get online.

Q: Although India is one of the largest Internet markets in the world, it also has one of the lowest PC penetration rates in the world. With Indian businesses always shying away from investing in IT, how do you plan to get around the uphill task of opening people up to the various opportunities that lie online?

A: I think India has historically lacked both in PC penetration and Internet penetration. Although we are the third largest internet connected country, we are still 10 percent penetrated when it comes to our population!

If you look at players like GoDaddy, our products are pretty simple to use and affordable, so it’s not a big barrier for people to come online. The biggest challenge is that they perceive it to be inherently complex and they have issues around security, availability etc. The Cup Of Coffee campaign that we spoke about is one initiative where we are trying to work towards making sure that people actually find it very easy to come online.

We will also have to come up with relevant solutions so that people see the value in coming online. If you are a small business, you should see how coming online contributes to your business growth. So it’s a matter of education, creating awareness and making sure there are tangible results attached to it. I think if we solve these problems then definitely India is going to go online.

Q: You also made a very interesting remark last year that “….the world is largely a DIY market, while in India it is DIM (Do it for Me)”. Can you elaborate more on this?

A: I think culturally India is a Do It For Me market. If you look at the western world, it is largely a Do It Yourself market. There, if you want to fix your car, garden or garage, you have fantastic tools that you can use and fix things yourself. In India, you can be a relatively middle class person and you will have a gardener coming in, a mechanic coming in or a maid coming in, so it’s a largely Do It For Me country.

The same applies to the internet as well. If we want the Indian SMBs and customers to come online, we will actually have to reach out to them and do it for them rather than they doing it themselves. And again, this is one of the reasons why we initiated the Cup Of Coffee campaign, where rather than the customer coming to us, we are going to the customer and getting him online.

Q: While GoDaddy is in the catbird seat when it comes to being a OneStopShop for everything related to web presence globally, the Indian market has fairly big providers in the same league like Directi, Net4, ZNetLive etc. who’ve been in the industry for a decade and have a strong foothold in the web community. In your year long experience in India, have you noticed visible competition or general tendency among organizations to go for providers they’ve been accustomed to through the years?

A: Actually if you ask, now that we have spent 12 months in India, I would say our biggest competition has been the market. At 10 percent penetration, I don’t think we should be worried about competition because there is such a big market that is out there waiting for us. The biggest competition is breaking the perceptions and the barriers in the customer’s mind as to why he should come online. So as long as we do our job of reaching out to the customer, explaining to him how simple it is to come online and making him come online, we should be fine.

Q: Since GoDaddy is on a recruitment drive right now for its new Seattle Office and Indian one as well, what would you like to tell your potential employees about the work and culture at GoDaddy?

A: I have been with GoDaddy for about an year and I think the work and culture here is pretty phenomenal. If you want to work in an environment which gives equal opportunity regardless of where you come from, then GoDaddy is the place to be. Your merit and the work that you do is most important here. As Blake said a while back, there is just so much more to be done and this is definitely one company that can lead the change in the world. So if you are looking for a place where you can change the world, then GoDaddy is pretty much it.

Q: Wrapping up, what are some of the key initiatives GoDaddy plans to come up with?

A: As an organization, we are mainly focused on two things. First is making the internet relevant to India and you have seen the Cup of Coffee campaign come out of it and we’re going to continue with it as we go along. The second thing is creating a very robust platform for all the partners and resellers in the country so that they can do business with us and actually help us in this journey of getting India online.

These are the two broad themes – building partnerships and making internet relevant – that we will continue to work on. You will see various campaigns and activities that will come on but I don’t think we will deviate from these two paths.

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Cloud Datacenter Hosting Innovation Interviews News Partnership Technology

“Tandem Comes With a Lot of Perks That Most Reseller Programs Don’t” – Dan Ushman, SingleHop

There is a lot to like about hosted IT infrastructure and Cloud computing provider SingleHop. Everything about the company – be it their extremely transparent SLA, automated deployment system, proprietary control panel LEAP, white-label partner programs, or the extensive detail in which the customer service & tech support system is listed on their website with multiple guarantees about the quality of services – is assured, innovative and fresh.

We talked to Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop, about some new developments at the company this year (EU Data Center, Enterprise Private Cloud), LEAP, Tandem and the much known ‘Bill of Rights’ SLA.

The idea behind LEAP is that you can deploy and manage any kind of infrastructure in any data center anytime through one single portal which is accessible from any device. Web hosting providers can white-label LEAP and call all of our products, research, automation, technology and partners as their own. They get more than just an infrastructure, they get a platform to build a hosting company on.

– Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop.

Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop.
Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop.

Q: Let’s begin with the recently launched AMS-1 facility. Why did SingleHop choose Amsterdam as the site for the new data center?

A: We looked at all of Europe and compared London, Germany and Amsterdam with each other. Amsterdam seemed like the best fit for us for three key reasons.

First, it is the networking hub of Europe. There are a lot of good data centers with good network connectivity and several other options.

Second, it’s politically neutral and there are no major conflicts. There’s no reason somebody from other parts of Europe would not want to serve in the Amsterdam.

Lastly, we found that the people there are very smart – there are a lot of good engineers and administrators that we can hire to work in the data center. So everything sort of aligned perfectly and it seemed like a good step overall.

Q: What are Infrastructure and technical specs at the new facility ?

A: All our data centers are the same, the only difference is how big they’re. The Amsterdam facility has a capacity of 2,000+ servers and supports all of our products including dedicated servers, bare metal, public cloud, private cloud and managed services.

Q: How has the response been so far?

A: 80% of initial data center capacity was reserved by the existing customers before it even opened. AMS-1 has been very popular since its launch at the beginning of June and there are about 300 active customers in data center active right now.

Q: I am a guy who wishes to get into hosting-reselling business, but has very little resources to do so. What additional value can ‘Tandem’ provide me with, when compared to other White-Label Reseller Hosting platforms out there?

A: Firstly, Tandem can be integrated into any commercial billing system using its extensive API. It gives clients the ability to manage dedicated servers and cloud instances that you resell to them under your own brand.

In addition, Tandem comes with a lot of perks that most reseller programs don’t. For example, our resellers get unlimited SSL certificates for free, which they can either sell for profit or give away as a way to stand out.

Also, Tandem is automated, so no matter what you are trying to deploy, it happens right away.

Q: How much flexibility does Tandem offer in terms of enabling resellers to offer customized solutions for specific vertical markets?

A: Our resellers can design hardware or multi-server solutions, clone them and redeploy them. They can develop custom images, customize the server, clone the software and redeploy that on any of their infrastructure, and they can automate it all using our API. In addition, they can execute post-install code from customization scripts.

Q: SingleHop’s LEAP has an extremely streamlined interface and a lot of work seems to have gone into the GUI, unlike most of the other industry control panels. Do you think it affects the decision making process in any way?

A: Yes, I think it does. Most of the reseller hosters in the market are small companies who don’t have in-house developers, project managers and system administrators to develop new products or to automate the existing ones, and then if you look at who they compete with – it’s the other small providers who’re doing the exact same thing – they all offer consult the same way. They all promise good up-time, good support etc. and are very identical to one another and that’s the problem with them. So even little things like a good GUI can set them apart from their peers.

Q: What are some other key features and benefits of LEAP?

A: The idea behind LEAP is that you can deploy and manage any kind of infrastructure in any data center anytime through one single portal which is accessible from any device. The overall value proposition is that you can automate parts of your job that take time and make your life easier.

Web hosting providers can white-label LEAP and call all of our products, research, automation, technology and partners such as GlobalSign, Bannaz, DemoWolf etc. as their own. They get more than just an infrastructure, they get a platform to build a hosting company on. We do a lot of stuff for our partners like writing PDFs, collaterals and datasheets for them. We also white-label banner ads and make their own banners for them. It’s all part of a holistic partnership approach we have.

Q: What made SingleHop choose VMware vCloud Suite for its cloud services launched earlier this year?

A: We looked at OpenStack, Windows Azure, Citrix, CloudStack and various other cloud computing platforms and found VMware most mature from a technology standpoint. It has a lot of functionality developed over the years that other platforms haven’t yet caught up on.

Another reason why we chose VMware vCloud Suite is that in testing we found that it works well with our existing platform too. For example, we can deploy private cloud with VMware, you can scale your VMs inside that private cloud as much as you want, and when you need to make your private cloud bigger, you can just automatically deploy new nodes.

It’s also fully integrated into LEAP and they work very well together. While you can control your VMWare instances from within LEAP, it also gives clients access to the vCenter if they are very technical and need access to the system itself.

Q: Wrapping up, SingleHop proclaims the Bill of Rights as Industry’s best SLA. Please elaborate? Also, how does it vary w.r.t customers’ infrastructure components?

A: The Bill of Rights is very granular and covers specific tasks, like how fast we respond to our customers and how long it takes to deploy infrastructure. If it says that the longest amount of time you will have to wait for a new server to be deployed is X, and we don’t hit it, we will automatically give you a credit for Y.

It is also highly automated. The data center staff have tablet computers they carry around that keeps track of everything they are working on and lets them know what the SLA for a particular service is and how much time they have left so that they never fall behind. Every data center staff gets paid a bonus every quarter based on what percentage of the SLAs they hit, so if they only hit half of them, they get half of their bonus.

Every customer of ours has his services protected by the Bill of Rights’ Standard SLA from the day one. Once they reach a certain number of infrastructure components for mission critical applications and need faster service, we offer them an Enhanced SLA.

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Cloud Cloud News Event Hosted Cloud Apps Hosting Interviews News Partnership Technology Web Hosting

“OnApp Federation Gives You Capacity That’s Much More Affordable and Flexible” -Stein Van Stichel, Stone.is

Last week OnApp announced that hosting provider Stone.is successfully deployed OnApp CDN to host websites for Tomorrowland, an electronic dance music festival that took place on July 26–28 at De Schorre in Boom, Belgium.

Stone.is used 46 locations from OnApp’s federated CDN to create a global hosting platform for Tomorrowland’s customer information, ticket pre-registration and ticket activation websites.

By using OnApp’s federated CDN, Stone.is was able to support 4.6 million web pages with a peak of 1.4 million page views in just one hour on the ticket sales day with zero downtime. A total of one million fans from 214 countries pre-registered for the 180,000 Tomorrowland tickets.

DailyHostNews had a quick Q & A with Stein Van Stichel, CEO, Stone.is and Kosten Metreweli, CCO, OnApp on how OnApp’s federated CDN and Stone.is’s website optimization services ensured Tomorrowland’s global coverage while maintaining a fast, local experience for fans around the world with zero website downtime.

Q: How did OnApp and Stone.is work in tandem to ensure secure transactions on the ticket sales day?

Stein: The ticket sale itself was handled by the payment processor Paylogic. In order to join the ticket sale customers had to do a preregistration (handled by Stone & OnApp) – this ensured a buffer for the ticketing system and provided Paylogic the needed information on what crowd they had to expect on their ticketing gateways.

On pre-registration day, 500,000 people registered for access to the ticketing gateway within one hour. OnApp provided a list of partners in the federation that could provide the needed SLAs and that list was extensively tested by stone.is.

After the sale, tickets had to be activated on the Tomorrowland website, and are linked to each individual customer. This procedure helps Tomorrowland trace and flag potential ticket abuse. That’s how we helped out, to provide end users with the ability to check and secure their ticket purchase.

Q: How were the 46 locations used strategically chosen from OnApp’s federated CDN to ensure global coverage and fast local experience?

Kosten: Tomorrowland has been running for a few years, so they have a pretty good understanding of their audience profile and the countries they needed to cover.

It’s a huge event with visitors from 214 countries, and one of the main reasons they went with stone.is and OnApp is because of the number of locations we could give them presence in, through the OnApp federation.

Stein: We worked with OnApp to identify the PoPs already available in the federation that offered the right performance profile, and added to that capacity from other OnApp clouds to give them the global scale they needed. Tomorrowland has used other CDNs for previous festivals, including Amazon, and one of the biggest problems has been a lack of coverage in Asia-Pacific and Australia.

OnApp gave us plenty of capacity in every region, and in all we used 46 PoPs to handle the event. We also load-tested the PoP selection to make sure they could handle the projected capacity per region.

Q: What made OnApp an ideal choice for Stone.is, both from technology/resources and financial POV?

Stein: We’re a pretty successful hosting provider in our local markets, but when you’re faced with a truly global event, it’s hard for any provider to find the capacity you need to handle high traffic volumes from multiple regions in a very short timescale. But that’s the power of the OnApp federation. We could host the core web application on our clouds in Brussels and Antwerp, and get immediate access to any of the federation locations we needed to keep the Tomorrowland site fast and stable, wherever their visitors came from.

OnApp had support teams on standby as well, to fix any issues with the PoPs we were using, though in fact the whole CDN performed perfectly.

Of course every customer wants their service to be as efficient as possible, and the OnApp federation is very cost-effective. Other CDNs force you to take crazy contracts with long tie-ins, and force you to commit to a certain level of bandwidth. The OnApp federation gives you capacity that’s more affordable and much more flexible, because you only pay for what you use.

This flexibility offered is an added factor for global events like this, where last minute changes, band announcements or even links to the website on social media can create huge unexpected traffic spikes. With our solution and OnApp CDN, Tomorrowland can make announcements and their systems scale automatically with the load.

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Cloud Cloud News Hosted Cloud Apps Hosting Innovation Interviews New Products News Partnership Technology

Anturis to Provide Comprehensive IT Infrastructure Monitoring For ReadySpace’s Business Customers

Anturis Inc. today announced that its cloud-based monitoring & troubleshooting solution has been selected by ReadySpace, a cloud and managed hosting services provider to provide comprehensive IT infrastructure monitoring solutions for its business customers. ReadySpace will now offer Anturis’ solutions as an integrated addition to its Managed Service packages.

Anturis came to market early this year in beta phase and recently emerged from beta with the launch of its commercial product availability.

In an interview with DailyHostNews today, Sergey Nevstruev, CEO, Anturis, said:

ReadySpace selected Anturis for its IT infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting needs because of two key reasons:

  • infrastructure model representation (i.e. users work with real-life entities like a database or a web-server, rather than with separate metrics) – which makes Anturis best suited to the needs of server monitoring.
  • integration with Parallels Automation platform via APS – which let Anturis have rather deep integration (including billing and customer portal) very quickly.
Anturis is the perfect addition to our suite, and will be utilized as the primary tool set of our technical team for monitoring and troubleshooting our customers’ various IT services.
– David Loke, CEO, ReadySpace.

David Loke, CEO, ReadySpace.
David Loke, CEO, ReadySpace.

ReadySpace will deploy Anturis to support its over 5,000 business customers, primarily in the Asia Pacific region, and especially in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Offered in ReadySpace’s Managed Service platform, the new Anturis IT monitoring solution delivers:

  • Website Monitoring: Monitoring the uptime and performance of websites. It checks for DNS, SSL, HTTP, network and application-level problems.
  • Server Monitoring: Keeps an eye on servers’ resources utilization and software performance (CPU, memory, swap, disk, OS processes, log files and more).
  • Web App Monitoring: Uses synthetic transactions to ensure visitors can successfully sign up, search, check out, log in and otherwise interact with your website.
  • MYSQL Monitoring: Watches over key database performance metrics, such as slow query rate, connection usage, Innodb buffer pool usage, and more.
  • Network Monitoring: Keeps watch over LAN and WAN connectivity and network devices using ICMP ping, SNMP and TCP checks and other network protocols.

The commercially launched version of Anturis comes with several new features and enhancements, including numerous GUI and usability enhancements, such as improved wizards. It also includes extended diagnostic data for faster troubleshooting, such as presenting the list of top five CPU-consuming processes at the time of CPU overload.

“As an international leader of cloud and managed hosting services, we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance our Managed Services,” said David Loke, CEO, ReadySpace.

“Anturis is the perfect addition to our suite, and will be utilized as the primary tool set of our technical team for monitoring and troubleshooting our customers’ various IT services.”

DailyHostNews used Anturis earlier this year to monitor its own IT Infrastructure and found it an extremely feature rich, affordable, compressive and promising product.

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Cloud Cloud News Hosted Cloud Apps Hosting Innovation Interviews New Products News Partnership Technology Website Development

“Jelastic Has Everything That Hosting Companies Need to Offer PaaS”- Dmitry Sotnikov, Jelastic

Java, the most widely used enterprise and e-Commerce language used in corporate computing, was specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It has, throughout its nearly two decades of worldwide usage, remained close to the “write once, run anywhere” (WORA) ideal that Sun Microsystems so ambitiously put across when it was first released in 1995. However, its efficiency has been tested of late with the advent of cloud computing.

Not designed for applications to run in the cloud, Java does not support multitenant virtualized and cloud computing configurations natively. Java applications don’t scale well in the cloud, which creates a roadblock for enterprises and SMBs who need to rapidly adjust their IT resources to meet the fluctuating business demands. And since a big majority of top firms worldwide use Java, this means that most of them constantly struggle with the complex compatibility issues between Java and the Cloud, both of which have excellent features in their own rights that make them indispensable. This creates a demand for Java applications solutions that make hosting Java applications on cloud computing infrastructure easy.

Almost all existing solutions for hosting Java applications on cloud require learning new languages and adopting proprietary frameworks – which obliterate the whole point of using Java. An ideal Java cloud platform must offer multitenancy and scalability without having developers to purpose-build applications to work in the cloud.

Jelastic, a Java and PHP cloud hosting platform, is unique in that it does not require developers to re-code their Java apps and enables vertical and horizontal scaling of the apps, among other features. We talked to Dmitry Sotnikov, Chief operating officer, Jelastic, about the issues plaguing the Java cloud hosting and the role Jelastic plays in mitigating them.

Read away as he talks about Jelastic PaaS 1.9.1, the latest version of company’s Java and PHP Cloud Platform, and what makes it ideal for hosted service providers.

We believe that Jelastic should be adding value and making hosting easier to developers without making them change their existing tools and processes. If they already have their favorite developer environments (IDEs) that they use, they can keep using them. Same thing applies to the source control and build tools. Jelastic does not make developers change their ways. It just solves the hosting piece for them regardless of their existing processes.

– Dmitry Sotnikov, Chief Operating Officer, Jelastic.

Dmitry Sotnikov, Chief Operating Officer, Jelastic.
Dmitry Sotnikov, Chief Operating Officer, Jelastic.

Q: What are some of the limitations that developers and service providers face when deploying Java Apps on most of the cloud hosting platforms, and how does Jelastic provide a way around them?

A: Traditionally Java developers had to either go with regular hosting or IaaS (infrastructure as a service) – and in that case do all of the server setup and administration themselves; or pick platforms like Google App Engine, Heroku and others and have to re-code their applications to comply with the multiple limitations they impose.

You see, these “blackbox” platforms do not give you isolated standard application and database servers so you lose control and flexibility of what you can do. You cannot get a public IP address, use custom network ports, upload the libraries that you might need (for example graphical controls), tweak server configuration files, write data to local file system, and so on. In some of the platforms they do not even let you use multithreading or can kill your application when it does not start “fast enough” or can kill web requests if they take “too long” or exceed certain frequency.

Bottom line is that outside really simple applications, these platforms do not let you host your code without re-writing it for the proprietary platform.

Q: How exactly does Jelastic enable cloud scaling of Java Apps without any code changes?

A: Each environment component you choose when configuring your Jelastic environment: database servers, application servers, load-balancers, memcache – are separate virtual machines (containers) that you are not sharing with anyone. When you set vertical limits for each of these components (for example 4 GB of RAM) – this is the value that we set as the container size. Your application server (or database, or load balancer, and so one) “thinks” that this is the amount of resources that it has and allocates them automatically. We also adjust the application stack settings (Java, PHP and so on), so the scaling goes all the way to your application. At the same time, the billing is only charging users for the actual consumption and not for the limits – if the application is only using 128 MB RAM – that is what you pay for even if your limits are at 4 GB.

And obviously there is a backend orchestration making sure that no hardware resources ever get overloaded and your applications are getting the resources they need, regardless of how other customers scale up or down.

Q: Jelastic claims to be the only Platform-as-a-Services specifically designed for hosting services providers. What additional value can they expect to derive from Jelastic when compared to other platforms?

A: Platform-as-a-Service is more than just a customer dashboard. Jelastic has everything that hosting companies need to offer it as a turn-key commercial solution:

  • Backend administrative and helpdesk consoles with advanced troubleshooting functionality,
  • Billing system integration,
  • Monitoring and alerting integration,
  • Advanced reporting that helps you tweak Jelastic business: upgrade rate, churn rate, average revenue per user (ARPU), cohort analysis, tracking of growing users and users at churn risk, historical trending, and much more,
  • Integration with lead nurturing and email campaign systems,
  • Support for multiple pricing and billing schemes: post-payment and pre-payment, bundling, free quotas, freemium, trial,
  • Support for promotion campaigns and referrals.

And obviously all the services and support that hosting companies get from us:

  • Turn-key deployment,
  • Training and certification,
  • Co-marketing,
  • Leads from Jelastic.com,
  • 24*7 phone support.

Q: Let’s discuss Jelastic PaaS 1.9.1. What are some of the significant upgrades and improvements over the previous version?

A: 1.9.1 was a big release for us including features both for hosting companies and end-customers.

Hosting companies got improved Jelastic database maintenance features, billing history analysis, flexibility in setting pricing and discount plans, enhanced management of unused trial account hibernation to optimize free trial load, and a lot of smaller improvements.

For end-customers, the list was even longer:

  • Cron jobs and job scheduling,
  • Scheduled database backups,
  • Email notifications on getting close to the scaling limits (so customers can increase the limits before their application slows down or they get out-of-memory or out-of-disk errors),
  • Postgis module in Postgres database for spatial applications,
  • Updated stack components (including for example, PostgreSQL 9.2.4 which has tons of improvements by itself: synchronous replication, new indexing and security options, JSON support and much, much more).

Q: What are some of the application servers and databases that Jelastic platform provides developers with?

A: It’s a long and ever expanding list. Java application servers include Tomcat, Glassfish, Jetty, and TomEE. PHP servers include Apache and NGINX. Then there are both SQL and NoSQL databases: MySQL, MariaDB, Postgres, MongoDB, CouchDB. Now multiply that by a few different version numbers and versions of Java and PHP – and you get the widest selection of preconfigured automated stacks you can ever find.

Q: You introduced a new Pricing Model Combining Autoscaling & Volume Discounts earlier this year. How does it work?

A: As I mentioned before, with Jelastic you only pay for what you use. Now Jelastic also automatically provides volume discounts, so the larger configurations your applications need – the bigger discount you get. This makes Jelastic cost-effective not just for development and testing, but also for large-scale production deployments.

And for static loads you can get even bigger discounts by reserving capacity.

You can learn more about our billing discount system in this overview video:

Q: Jelastic provides plug-ins for some popular Java App development IDEs like Netbeans, Eclipse etc. What additional benefits do these plug-ins provide to the app developers on top of the platform itself?

A: We believe that Jelastic should be adding value and making hosting easier for developers without making them change their existing tools and processes. If they already have their favorite developer environments (IDEs) that they use – they can keep using them – we now have plug-ins for NetBeans, Eclipse, JetBrains IDEA – and the IDEs get the option of pushing the applications directly to Jelastic.

Same thing applies to the source control and build tools.

If they have a GIT or SVN source code repository – we can get code from that directly and build the application in the cloud.

If they have existing build or continuous integration system like Ant, Maven, Hudson, Jenkins or TeamCity – these have plugins for Jelastic too.

Jelastic does not make developers change their ways. It just solves the hosting piece for them regardless of their existing processes.

Q: How do data backup and security work with Jelastic?

A: Both include multiple layers.

Backups include both backups made by the hosting providers (Jelastic obviously provides integration with the backup systems that they use), and backups made by the end-customers: full-environment snapshots or scheduled database backups (starting with this release).

The security feature list is even longer, including firewalls, traffic encryption for all administrative access, virtualization isolation for all customers and support for data encryption in customer applications.

Q: You said a while back that Jelastic’s approach to the PaaS market is similar to Android’s approach to the mobile phone OS market. Can you elaborate more on this?

A: Android enabled dozens of phone producers around the Globe to become smartphone vendors and effectively compete against Apple. Jelastic helps the leading hosting companies to become PaaS providers and effectively compete against the Amazons and Herokus of the world.

Providers get the cutting edge platform and developers enjoy a wide selection of service providers in different countries, with variety of service levels and so on. Everybody wins!

Q: Please throw some light on Jelastic application packaging.

A: Jelastic has built-in macro language that allows application providers and hosters to script the whole application provisioning process from the user providing an email address to start the trial to get any application up and running. Unlike small-scale solutions like cPanel, this system takes advantage of all the functionalities of the Jelastic platform: including ability to span multiple servers and automated scaling.

You can see a few sample packages on our page.

Q: Wrapping up, Jelastic currently has 11 hosting partners around the globe, but Europe still remains your forte. Any plans to expand your reach to other markets like south-east Asia etc. soon?

A: Actually, as we are talking right now, 12 hosting partners around the Globe are already live with Jelastic, and the list indeed keeps growing every month. Asia is indeed one of the less covered territories at the moment with Japan being the only country with a local Jelastic provider, however, this is one of the most strategic regions for us and we are working on improving our network there.

If you are a hosting company, willing to go after development / PaaS market, please send us an email at business@jelastic.com and we will be happy to discuss the details.

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“We Make it Easy, Fast and Economical for SMBs to Move to the Cloud”- Steve Zimba, Mural

Cloud has of late been marketed heavily as the panacea to every potential business problem. Lured by the ease-of-use and agility moving to the cloud brings in the business processes, SMBs are very eager to buy cloud services. This creates an enormous opportunity for service providers in the market, and they try to exploit it very aggressively. Only, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Most SMBs find cutting through the fog and hype surrounding the cloud very difficult and struggle to get to grips with the new concept. They’re intrigued by the cloud, but also confused and wary of it. Moving to the cloud involves a very large, expensive and difficult set of problems, and SMBs simply don’t have the skill, resources and most importantly, time to understand every nuance and permutation of the whole process. Even if they buy into it, dealing with the technical issues that come with migrating to the cloud is too uphill a task for them, and they simply end up abdicating the services they bought.

This is where a little more effort needs to be put in by the service providers. A vast majority of SMBs qualify as, and are staffed with, IT novices. When they try to adapt to a new technology, they need help and guidance. However, providing constant quality support is a laborious and time-intensive process, which most service provides are not adept enough to provide.

This is where customer on-boarding platforms and services provider Mural steps in. It works with service providers and small businesses in tandem to accelerate the cloud implementation process.

Steve Zimba, President of Mural, spoke to us at length on how Mural educates SMBs about the cloud and helps them relieve the pain points they most often experience. Support is however a very small subset of the services that Mural provides. Read away as Steve talks about the rest of them.

As we on-board customers, we work to capture deeper profile information about them and we reach a point where we actually understand a lot more about the service provider’s customers than the service provider does, and we use that data to work with the service providers on product planning, engagement programs and up-selling activities.

– Steve Zimba, Presiden, Mural.

Steve Zimba, President, Mural
Steve Zimba, President, Mural.

Q: Let’s begin with a broad overview of Mural and the entire ecosystem of solutions it provides.

A: We see that a lot of SMBs want to move from traditional IT into the cloud, and they clearly see the benefits of doing so, and they don’t feel that there is any risk or downside of moving to the cloud. However, they find it very difficult to make the move. They lack the internal IT skills, and frankly they don’t have a lot of time.

We at Mural work with SMBs, and help make it easy, fast and economical for them to move to the Cloud. We provide our Platform MaaX and integrate our on-boarding capabilities to a cloud or managed IT service provider’s offerings.

As an example, a service provider selling a Hosted Exchange solution to a small business also adds on our on-boarding services. After the customer buys Hosted Exchange, we take over and help them migrate. We move all the data, set up all the clients, software, service configurations and we also do all the end user training, on-boarding and adoption.

Q: Many SMBs have a multitude of concerns related to the costs of moving to the cloud, flexibility and data safety. Since you happen to be in the Cloud Industry since long and provide customers with end to end cloud service implementation platforms now, can you tell us some of the most common concerns you come across?

A:I think over time we are actually encountering very few concerns. If you were to look back just a couple of years, some of the main concerns SMBs had about moving to the cloud were around security, reliability etc.

Now SMBs are concerned with having to upgrade or change their existing technologies because a lot of them are quickly becoming outdated. With all the promotions and expansions in the cloud capabilities, communications, collaborations, security, backups, servers etc., what we’re finding is that the SMBs now don’t really care about some of the concerns they might have had in the past, and frankly, they are just ready to get to the cloud and their biggest concern is – “who can help me get there because I don’t have the skills internally to be able to do it myself.”

Q: Do you think that there is a significant lack of awareness in the industry regarding the role post-sales customer support plays in customer retention?

A:Since we are working with service providers of all shapes and sizes, we come across two different approaches.

Some service providers give a very basic customer service, they help SMBs figure out how to get moved over and give them a little bit of direction, via knowledge base, instructional documentations etc., but in the end SMBs are pretty much on their own to get everything set up and working for them. Most of the SMBs contract an IT guy who they think can help them, and that IT resource takes a lot of time, costs a lot of money, and finally he or she either doesn’t get the job done or doesn’t get it done the right way. This is where they throw their hands up in the air and say -“you know what, real nice that we bought it but we can’t get it up and running so we’re quitting,” and they drop the service and the service provider never ends up making any money off them. So this approach has poor activation rates.

Second scenario we often see is that service providers try to do what we do. They offer support and on-boarding but theydon’t have the right platform and resources needed, and they’re not properly trained and certified to do so, hence they make at least one, two or maybe three attempts at it and they fail.

In both scenarios, this is where they contact us and say – “this is what you guys specialize in, you do this day in and day out in a uniform way, so we’ll just work with you on it.” This is one of the main reasons why our business has grown so fast.

Q: Can you tell us the whole modus-operandi of Platform MaaX ,as in how exactly it helps cloud and managed IT providers maximize customer engagement, drive growth, reduce churn, increase future sales etc.?

A:The platform is made up of several components.

The first major components are our programs. We’ve developed very unique programs for:

  • on-boarding customers for cloud services,
  • educating customers on how to use and manage those cloud services,
  • and helping service providers up-sell the same customers through additional cloud services.

When we go to market with a service provider partner, we bring all three of those programs to create a full life-cycle experience for customers.

The second component we have are methods. We’ve invested significantly to create very specific workflows, dialogues and scripts, which are unique to individual cloud products, and are used on a repetitive basis to on-board customers to cloud service with all set-ups done, data migrated and end-user training completed.

The third components are our tools. We have invested in several applications, like an ‘activation scheduler’ which enables end-customers to schedule their activation appointment. We have a very elaborate workforce management system which aligns people who have the right skills to the right appointments. We have remote log-in tools which allow us to take control of the end-user devices and to do their configurations for them. We also have data migration tools, advanced multi-mode communications, customer interaction tracking etc. So our investment in these tools and platforms is pretty significant from the customer interaction point of view.

Beyond that, we also have our Analytics platform. As we on-board customers, we work to capture deeper profile information about them and we reach a point where we actually understand a lot more about the service provider’s customers than the service provider does, and we use that data to work with the service providers on product planning, engagement programs and up-selling activities.

The last piece is our content platform where we have a really rich, user-centric knowledge base that any of the users who’re on-boarding can access and learn about the services and how to use them better. We have also built a lot of sales and marketing content that our service provider partners can use to position their solutions in the marketplace effectively and try to drive demand creation for them.

Q: What are some of the cloud services that Facilitated Adoption supports as of now?

A:It’s a board range of services. To name a few, we do Microsoft Hosted Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Office 365, WebEx, Mozy, McAfee, Symantec, Asigra, GoMobi etc., and we’re constantly adding more services. We just recently launched on-boarding services for Infrastructure as a service(IaaS) with one of our partners. We are also beginning to look into on-boarding services for Desktop-as-a-Service, which we think will be a really big opportunity for us.

Q: And earlier this year you launched Mural’s Parallels APS package too.

A: Yes, now we are part of the Parallels marketplace and ecosystem. We have done two implementations with Parallels so far and through that we have developed our Parallels APS package. Now anybody can just install the APS package from the Parallels marketplace, integrate our on-boarding service with their product catalogue, and quickly get it up and running.

Q: Can you tell us how EduSelling™ and Campaign of One™ help organizations up-sell and cross-sell their products and how Hypus™, Knowus™, and Relatus™ complement these marketing platforms?

A:EduSelling and Campaign of One are our core up-selling programs. After bringing customers through our Facilitated Adoption and Onboarding, we collect and profile their data, which we put through our up-selling programs. We do up-selling right at the point of activation. For instance, through our activation process, SMBs become pretty open with us about their other needs, and if we happen to have immediate solutions for some of those through our other partners, we try to add those on to the initial sale at the point of activation.

We also run a whole series of educational programs like email campaigns, landing pages, webinars and even events, where we take our educational approach to the market, and teach the SMBs about what other cloud services they could be taking advantage of, and through that we continue to collect more and more profile data. We mine that profile data to the point where we see a point of interest, which we call the ‘Interest code’. Once we see the interest codes we make a concerted pitch and offer that customer one of our partners’ products.

Q: What is the process that you go through to recruit quality workforce at Mural’s Customer Experience (CX) Lab?

A:We’ve built a training certification program. We pride ourselves on providing a customer experience rather than customer service. We are working to drive a certification for customer experience professionals throughout the industry. And we believe that we’ve created an industry leading program to do that. We’ve invested heavily in training and creating technical content.

We’ve also developed pretty unique profiles for the different types of people that we recruit, with respect to their skill sets and backgrounds. We tend to focus on hiring college kids who’re either in an IT profession or are seeking an education to enter the IT profession, and who ‘get’ the cloud and really understand it.

So we are sticking to combinations of hiring profiles together with our training certification program to create a whole generation of customer experience professionals in the marketplace, who can on-board and up-sell customers in an innovative, helpful way.

Q: Let’s talk about the recent case study you published on how a big telecommunication company in the United States implemented Mural’s Facilitated Adoption™ platform to reduce churn rate and increase activation rate.

A:Yes, they’re a large US Telco who sells a bundle of SMB Cloud services together with their voice and broadband services. We handle the on-boarding work for all of the Cloud services in that bundle, like Microsoft Hosted Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, data backup, security, web hosting, and web commerce services, for about 5,000 SMBs every month at this point, and we’ve had some great results.

The early focus with this partner was on churn reduction. They had a problem, where they were selling the bundle to a lot of customers but nobody was activating the services. Shortly thereafter they were seeing a very high churn rate, because the customers thought that since they were buying something, they’ll get a whole lot of help getting it up and running, and when they didn’t, they just left.

So mission ONE was to get that churn under control and drive up the activation rates. We’ve seen great results, their customer churn has decreased by up to 80 percent, the activation rates have gone up over 200%, and interestingly enough, the support costs have also gone way down.

What we found is that if we set the customer up right to begin with and get their services up and running, they don’t need to call the help desk.

Also, we just recently started our up-selling campaign with them, and we are currently up-selling to about 40 percent of the customers that come for activation, and we are driving about a 20 percent uplift in ARPU from the original sale. Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) on that activation activity is over 80.

We’re very encouraged by the early results of the up-selling program and we are going to do a lot more as we go forward.

Q: What are some of the developments at Mural we can look forward to in the coming months?

A: We are in deep discussions with our first couple of partners regarding some exciting opportunities and I certainly hope that together we will make news about that soon.

We are looking to expand into Asia-Pac and Europe. We are also continuing to invest heavily in the platform and I think you will hear more about extended capabilities in the Analytics area and the Content area soon.

Also, traditionally we have been offering our service as a turnkey managed service out of our operations facility in Tucson, but we have just signed our first licensing deal, where we are licensing our platform to another provider. We’ll be training and certifying all the staff of that provider to deliver the customer experience just like we do out of our center in Tucson. So we think the licensing side of our business is one that’s going to grow quite a bit.

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Open-Xchange Raises $20M in Funding; Announces Two New Additions to Supervisory Board

Open-Xchange today announced that it has secured $20M in Series C funding to help advance its cloud-based collaboration and office productivity suite. Open-Xchange has raised EUR 27m ($35m) to date, including the new investment.

The new funding, led by United Internet Ventures, former Deutsche Bank COO Hermann-Josef Lamberti, and existing shareholders, will help extend the 50 percent year-over-year revenue and subscriber growth streak OX has had for the last 3 years.

The news comes a few weeks after Open-Xchange today announced partnership with home.pl, a Poland based web hosting provider.

In an Interview with DailyHostNews earlier this week, Rafael Laguna, CEO, Open-Xchange said “Open-Xchange recently acquired core developers from the Hamburg-based OpenOffice team as a significant long-term investment for the company and this required additional financing. With the latest investment, we plan to hire talent even more aggressively.”

“OX Text, the first application of the Cloud-based office productivity suite OX Documents, launched earlier this year, was built by the original members of the OpenOffice team. As a further addition to OX Documents, we plan to launch an app for online-editing of spreadsheets at OX Summit 2013 to be held at Hamburg this September,” he continued.

This addition of expertise to our board is critical as we expand our product offering during a time of great disruption in cloud-computing, and we’re thrilled to have investors who share our vision – to transform how people work.
– Rafael Laguna, CEO, Open-Xchange.

Rafael Laguna, CEO, Open-Xchange
Rafael Laguna, CEO, Open-Xchange.

The investment is split into a capital increase and a secondary transaction. The capital increase will provide Open-Xchange with additional cash for investments primarily in software development, professional services, international business development and marketing & sales.

The secondary transaction relates to the purchase of shares from one of Open-Xchange’s early investor investor who has sold at a profit and will no longer be investing in Open-Xchange.

OX has had profitable quarters over the last three years and the company’s revenue has grown 50 percent year-on -year over this time.

“This is an extremely exciting investment for us. Having been a customer of Open-Xchange for many years, we have seen the company evolve from a small vendor to a significant player in the cloud market. Open-Xchange´s vision of becoming the web desktop for cloud services makes this one of the most exciting software investment opportunities,” said Dr. Oliver Mauss, CEO, United Internet Ventures.

The company also announced that Dr. Oliver Mauss will join Open-Xchange´s supervisory board together with former Deutsche Bank COO Hermann-Josef Lamberti.

Among the other board members are Dr. Paul-Josef Patt, eCapital, as well as business angels Richard Seibt and Bernhard Woebker.

Dr. Oliver Mauss has been CEO of United Internet Ventures AG since 2013. He has a doctorate in communications engineering and has held various positions at Vodafone Group in the past. He was an executive board member of 1&1 Internet AG, and CEO of its hosting business from 2008 to 2013.

Mr. Lamberti, currently a Non-Executive Member of the Board of EADS N.V and ING Groep N.V, has held various management positions within IBM. Most recently, he served in the position of Chief Operating Officer at Deutsche Bank AG.

“This addition of expertise to our board is critical as we expand our product offering during a time of great disruption in cloud-computing, and we’re thrilled to have investors who share our vision – to transform how people work,” said Rafael.

Earlier this year, Open-Xchange launched OX App Suite, an innovative open source communication platform that provides a totally device and OS agnostic suite of productivity applications, integrating office, email and social media feeds all in one streamlined Web interface.

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“Our Goal is to Remove the Friction in the IT Cloud Value Chain”- John Zanni, Parallels

Parallels has an extensively broad range of products, that enable various service providers, right from web hosters, ISVs to Telcos, to manage just about anything they may need to grow their SMB cloud service revenue and profit.

Speaking at the recently held WHD.India 2013, John Zanni, Vice President (VP), Service Provider Marketing and Alliances, Parallels, talked about how Parallels has designed and augmented its products according to the demands of the SMBs so that its customers and partners can grow their business selling nothing but what exactly the market demands for.

We sat with him post-session to discuss Parallels’ latest product launches, their new features and USPs, and how they help service providers derive more value from the constantly booming SMB cloud market.

He also shares with us his views on the IT Cloud value chain, the very much visible friction and lacuna in it, and how Parallels, in co-ordination with VARs, is working to fix up the weak points. The complete video of our interaction is below, and a print version follows it.

The market is changing quite rapidly, there are new competitors coming in and some of them are rather large. We have produced a body of knowledge that helps you market better. This ranges from very specific items like an email template on how to talk to your customer base about buying new services, to positioning statements for some of the products that you could be selling.

– John Zanni, Vice President (VP), Service Provider Marketing and Alliances, Parallels.

John Zanni Parallels
John Zanni, Vice President (VP), Service Provider Marketing and Alliances, Parallels.

Q: Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and a broad overview of Parallels’ services.

A: Thank you for having me here. I run Service Provider Marketing and Alliances for Parallels. Founded in 1999, Parallels has over 900 employees worldwide focused exclusively on enabling service providers to provide cloud services to small and medium businesses.

Q: Let’s start the discussion of your products with one which is sort of a OneStopShop for all needs of Web hosting providers. A few days back, XcellHost released a report mentioning how it successfully used Parallels Business Automation Standard to meet the challenges of business growth. Can you tell us in detail about the features, benefits and core components of PBAS that make it industry’s leading hosting automation solution? Also, what are some of the significant upgrades in the PBAS 4.3.2 released earlier this year?

A: XcellHost has been a great partner of ours. One of our goals is to really make sure that we make it easy for hosters like them to offer services to their customers. Parallels Business Automation Standard is a complete hosting solution that includes billing and provisioning. With PBAS, it’s easy to integrate multiple domain gateways, payment gateways and offer shared hosting, email hosting and other services.

In the latest version, you have the ability to offer an affiliate program so you can build your own reseller ecosystem. You can also better manage your shared hosting or virtual private server environments. It’s a product that just works.

Q: Can you please throw some light on Parallels Partner Programs and how Web hosting providers, Telcos, ISVs and other service providers can benefit from them?

A: There are two aspects to the Parallels partner program. First, there is a knowledge base of information which enables you to more effectively use our products, run them more cost-effectively and take advantage of features and functionalities that you paid for, but might not know are there.

The second aspect has to do with how you sell to your customers. The market is changing quite rapidly, there are new competitors coming in and some of them are rather large. What we have done is that we have produced a body of knowledge that helps you market better. This ranges from very specific items like an email template on how to talk to your customer base about buying new services, to positioning statements for some of the products that you could be selling.

Q: What are some new features and performance improvements in the Parallels Web Presence Builder V 11.5 due to be released soon that can help web hosting providers attract and retain new SMB customers? Also, how has the response to pre-release builds so far?

A: Web presence builder has received tremendous response. This is a product that can be used by a small service provider who might have 10 to 50 customers, all the way up to the largest service providers in the world, like Telefónica in Spain.

In version 11.5, we have added more templates and we have created what we call ‘Business sites’. Customers now have the ability to sell and provision Parallels Web Presence Builder not only through our own products but also through WHMCS. If you are using their billing solution, you can now buy web presence builder and natively integrate it into the system that you use to build you hosting plans.

On the top of that, we have the ‘Try and Buy’ module built into the product in the premium model. So now you can either give people a time limit, or you can give them a limited number of pages that they can build and if they want to build more pages, they have to pay more. So there are many opportunities for you to up-sell and cross-sell your customers.

Q: The coordinated ecosystem by Parallels which brings together ISVs who create the valuable applications and the service providers that can deliver them to market is unique and interesting. While it opens up a huge market for ISVs and provides service providers with multiple options to choose from, how does Parallels stand to benefit in this process, other than developing and affirming its strong foothold among the service providers?

A: The IT value chain in the cloud world, running from the ISVs to the service providers to resellers to eventually the end customer, has a lot of friction because it’s fairly new. Our goal is to remove that friction, no matter what role you play.

The way we benefit from it is that as you use our software, we get paid for it. This allows us to reinvest in that software and continue to innovate. But fundamentally, for us to be able to completely remove that friction, we not only have to provide software, but also access to the broadest ecosystem of services, and also access to knowledge and expertise that allows each of these players in the IT value chain to do what they can do the best in the cloud world.

Q: In a very recent write-up in ChannelPro, you mentioned how resellers have now turned into VARs, as APS 2.0 allows them to offer customized solutions for specific vertical markets; which in turn is also beneficial for SMBs as they get to have tools that were previously available for only big enterprises. Can you tell our readers in detail about how software vendors, developers, ISPs and resellers can leverage this Cloud brokerage system for maximum benefit?

A: Today, we actually make it difficult for the VARs or the resellers to create the exact solution that a small business needs. They have to integrate across multiple services, which means working with those ISVs to create those integrations, and that’s very difficult.

With APS 2.0, the integration happens after the fact. So think of each service having its own set of APIs, and then using standard scripting languages to integrate those services without having to go back to each ISV and having them expose those APIs directly or hard-coding. What that means is that a local VAR, who is a trusted advisor of a small business, will be able to make the local CRM system work with the productivity system that might come from a different area. So that is where we really enable them to scale and differentiate.

Q: If you had to name three key differences between traditional Hypervisor virtualization and Parallels Virtuozzo Containers for Linux 4.7, that make the latter ideal and relatively cost-effective for cloud service providers, what would they be?

A: First, you need to understand the needs of cloud services. Cloud services need elasticity, the ability to scale up and down very quickly. Also, to offer cloud services you need to be price competitive, not only with your neighbours, but with big players like Amazon.

With Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, you have software virtualization, which allows higher density ratios of virtual servers to physical servers when compared to Hypervisors. It allows you to bring up and bring down containers very quickly, which you cannot do with Hypervisors.

It also needs lower management, because once you update the host OS, the guest OSes are all automatically updated. Its container technology has been used for cloud by many companies, not always ours, and it is what is most suited for the cloud.

Q: Any other product releases and upgrades of Parallels that industry needs to be aware of?

A: Parallels Web Presence Builder 11.5 and Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 will be available within the next month. We are very proud about those announcements. Also, take a look at Parallels Plesk Automation, it is one of our new products that is gaining tremendous traction. It is targeted at professional and growing hosters, and allows them to more easily manage multiple servers.

Q: Wrapping up- Parallels Summit 2013 in Las Vegas was a huge success with a gathering of 1200+ attendees; what value do you expect to derive from Parallels Summit 2014 in New Orleans?

A: Parallels Summit 2014 in New Orleans is just around the corner. We are about to secure the keynote speaker, but I will not share who the person will be yet. In that event we will spend even more time showing how you can create differentiated services, whether you are a small web VAR, or a large Telco. I expect that Parallels Summit 2014 will be even bigger, better and more fun than 2013 was.

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“We Are Looking to Fund Our Resellers and Help Them Grow”- Shridhar Luthria, ResellerClub

A relatively low risk investment with limited startup cost, Reseller hosting is a lucrative opportunity for IT entrepreneurs looking to kick-start their own business. However, with a gazillion established web hosting firms out there claiming to provide white-label hosting solutions with customized plans, value added features and technical support, cutting through jargon and making an informed decision of choosing the right reseller hosting provider can be a herculean task.

There are only few web hosting firms who’ve the right infrastructure, experience, resources and skillset in place to provide their resellers with just about anything they need to start and successfully manage their web hosting business, and ResellerClub is one such organization.

A veteran Web Presence products & services provider, ResellerClub has a wide product range that includes Domain Registration, Web and Email Hosting, SSL Certificates and Website Design, backed up by top-shelf customer support and state-of-the-art infrastructure. The company also has a ‘Power Partner Program’ in place where it funds its resellers’ marketing plans and helps them grow.

We sat with Shridhar Luthria, General Manager & Business Head, ResellerClub post his session at WHD.India 2013 to discuss ResellerClub’s recent product launches, Domain Reseller program, Geo-located hosting, plans for Q3 and Q4, and of course, the upcoming ResellerClub Hosting Summit 2013. The complete video of our interaction is below, and a print version follows it.

We want to make sure that we can truly expand ResellerClub Hosting Summit 2013 in terms of the diversity that exists within the audience because that’s really what exhibitors and audience would want, to interact with their counterparts from other countries as well.

– Shridhar Luthria, General Manager & Business Head, ResellerClub.

Shridhar Luthria, General Manager & Business Head, ResellerClub
Shridhar Luthria, General Manager & Business Head, ResellerClub

Q: Last year saw a major expansion in the product range of ResellerClub. Can we have a quick recap of everything that’s new and resellers need to know about?

A: We launched multi-domain hosting products on cPanel and Plesk. We launched reseller hosting on WHM and Plesk. We’ve launched VPSs as well and we’re going to increase that portfolio as we go on.

We are looking at Enterprise Email launching next week, which will be directly competing with the likes of Google Apps, and our resellers can offer it to their clientele with better support resources.

We are also looking at dedicated servers and a bunch of additional products like SiteLock, Website backup solutions, Hosted CRMs etc., which make up for more than 20% of the revenue of every large hosting company.

Q: This one is regarding Geo-located hosting launched by ResellerClub a few months back. How important would you say is server location in Overseas Hosting? Also, what percentage of your reseller base, do you think, has been able to leverage the benefits of your servers round the globe fully so far?

A: In a lot of ways, providing international hosting or hosting overseas works brilliantly for us in terms of partnering with resellers, because they definitely need that.

But the reason they need that is because of the fact that the consumer today believes that hosting on a local server is going to be faster than hosting on a US server.

That’s not really the case always but because of this ‘myth’ and demand that exists, it does become a very important aspect for resellers when they consider to partner with us. So it’s fabulous from that perspective.

Q: Are you planning to make any changes in your Domain Reseller program in light of the new gTLDs that are about to hit the market soon?

A: In terms of the Domain Reseller program, we are obviously looking at offering as many new TLDs as we can, but our key focus will be on integrating the most generic ones, like .home, .shop, .web etc. first, because these will be useful for a larger audience. As we move along, we’ll look at integrating some of the slightly more specific vertical ones as well.

The biggest change is obviously going to be that now instead of 70, there will be probably 200 different TLDs for a reseller to be able to resell. So we’re planning to make a lot of changes to the entire domain flow at our Private-Labeled Storefront to accommodate them.

Apart from that, one aspect that we are definitely looking at is understanding the user behavior – has he come on the website before, what type of domain name has he searched for, which country is he from etc. Based on some of these aspects we will try and provide them with more relevant search results which are valid for all the new gTLDs that are coming out.

Q: While ResellerClub has seen global success with a good reseller base in China, Turkey, Russia etc., India still remains its forte, where it is synonymous with dependable domain services and web hosting. How do you plan to establish stronger foothold overseas, especially in the US market?

A: To be honest, if India continues to grow the way it is and some of these other markets you mentioned like China, Brazil, Turkey etc. continue to grow the way they are, and given our growth within these markets, I might not even need to look at the US with as much focus as I am probably right now.

Having said that, the US has been one of our largest markets for quite some time. While we’ve been growing exceptionally well in the markets that you mentioned- India, China, Turkey etc., the US has always been one of our largest markets for sure.

I think the only thing we need to do over there is to make sure we can consolidate, partner with more clients, offer them our different products and services and hope that they will bite on to that and work with us more closely in the future.

Q: Reseller Hosting Summit 2012 , held in Mumbai, India was a big success. What additional value do you expect to derive from Reseller Hosting Summit 2013?

A: I think for any conference of ResellerClub Hosting Summit’s type, there are three most important and essential aspects – the quality of speakers and sessions held, the sort of exhibitors that attendees get to talk to and partner with, and of course the number of people that attend the event.

So our aim is simple. First, we want to make sure that we have as many good speakers as possible. I think the speakers last year did a fantastic job and we’ll be lucky to have all of them come back again and probably some more.

Second, we want to make sure that we can get as many different brands as possible over there so that Indian resellers and service providers get to interact with these people and derive more value out of the event.

Third, we hope that we can get as many different resellers, hosting providers and web service providers as possible to attend the event. We are doing it in New Delhi this year and it’s one of the best places because it’s one of our largest bases. We also have a lot of different partners from Jaipur, Chandigarh and a couple of other cities close by, so it’ll be quite easy and convenient for them to come to the ResellerClub Hosting Summit 2013 and interact with each other.

One other aspect that we are planning to bring in this time is to invite our partners from all across Asia. We are looking at the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and China. We want to make sure that we can truly expand ResellerClub Hosting Summit 2013 in terms of the diversity that exists within the audience because that’s really what exhibitors and audience would want, to interact with their counterparts from other countries as well. Hopefully we can pull that off and make it an interesting event.

Q: What changes do you expect to see in the Indian Hosting & Domains market in near future?

A: I think we are at a point in Indian market where probably the US was about 9 or 10 years ago. So first of all, I expect a jump in growth; may be not this year but within the next two or three years for sure. Today, there are about 41/2 million domain names owned by Indian consumers and registrants. I expect that to probably grow to about 15 or 20 million within the next 5 years. The United States is at about 60-70 million right now, so we are not there yet but I expect that level of growth within the next few years.

I also expect consumers to demand a lot more in terms of online advertising and additional products like website security,backup solutions etc. So every hosting provider or web services provider will need to start offering these products and make sure that they can cater to a wider range of needs of the consumers.

Q: To wrap up, what’s in the bag for Q3 and Q4 of 2013?

A: There are a couple of surprises for sure. We’re really excited about some new products like enterprise email, dedicated servers and all these additional products talked about.

Apart from that, we are also launching a program, where we are looking to fund our resellers for their marketing plans. Resellers can use an application form and send us their marketing plans and the numbers and volumes that they hope to achieve by executing them. We are looking to partner with them, fund them and help them grow, because at the end of the day, our (ResellerClub’s) growth is pretty much linked to the growth of our clients. So if we can help them get a greater market share, we are basically helping ourselves.

These are some of the things that are planned out for Q3 and Q4, along with RCHS 2013. Let’s see, it should be a fun year.

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Domain Interviews New Products News Partnership

Single Character .PW Domains Up for Auction From July 12, 2013 to July 16, 2013 Through NameJet

Single Character .PW Domains will be up for auction from July 12, 2013 to July 16, 2013 , announced The Professional Web registry today. The new domain names will be available through NameJet.

The response to .PW has been phenomenal. Our goal when we started .PW was to get 100,000 domain names registered in the first year, which was quite challenging because we hadn’t seen too many other comparable TLDs reach that, but we hit 100,000 in the first 20 days since we launched. – Sandeep Ramchandani, Business Head, The .PW Registry.

.PW top level domain has seen   250,000 registrations since it was made  available to general public 3 months earlier.

In an Interview with DailyHostNews post his WHD.India 2013 sessionSandeep Ramchandani, Business Head, The Professional Web Registry, said “The response to .PW has been phenomenal. Our goal when we started .PW was to get 100,000 domain names registered in the first year, which was quite challenging because we hadn’t seen too many other comparable TLDs reach that, but we hit 100,000 in the first 20 days since we launched.”

“A lot to do with the fact that we had over 100 registrar supporting .PW and offering it at a  very competitive price,” he added.

The names P.pw and W.pw have already been sold for $8000 each and  U.pw, the domain name of  social media site Upworthy, was also sold recently for an undisclosed amount, says  The .PW Registry in an official press release.

Applicants who wish to participate in the .pw single character auction need to register on Namejet before July 12, 2013.

To register, click here. for the auction lasting from July 12, 2013. To view the complete list of domains up for auctions, click here.

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