Touring the exhibit hall this year was a lot different than last year’s Parallels Summit. The Hall was far bigger and more open. You did not have to walk through it to get to the other areas, although you could, it wasn’t essential. When I first arrived to check out the hall, I thought the foot traffic was a lot less than the previous year, however as the day wore on the number of people on the floor greatly increased. After talking to various vendors, many echoed those sentiments.

From the exhibit hall it looks like the companies to follow this year are CloudMark (more on them in a separate post), keepit, Open-Xchange, SmarterTools, and Sarito (makers of Horde Skins plus).

This year’s Summit also included many schools and universities in attendance. Some showed up to cut costs (there even was a specific conference session on this called Virtualization Super Story: Oregon City School District Cuts IT Budget 60%) while others came in order to look for software and hardware for their IT classes. Hopefully, more academics will come out next year so they can see where the future of the Web Hosting industry is headed.

Although the tone of this Parallels Summit was focused on Cloud computing, I think there are a few more important lessons that can be learned from this
Summit:

* Know your customers
* Understand your market
* Due to the economy, look for acquisition opportunities.

Especially the last one. With the global economy slowing down, now is a great time to buy out the smaller companies. Combine this with understanding your market and knowing what you customers need, 2009 can be a very profitable year.



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