Christian Jaeger, CEO of WHD Event GmbH, discusses the strategic rebranding of World Hosting Days to CloudFest. This decision stemmed from a need to reflect the evolving landscape of the hosting industry. Jaeger notes that around 2016-2017, with the rise of major hyperscalers in Europe, the perception of hosting began to shift. “Hosting was…a very narrow description of what cloud services can actually be,” he explains.

The rebranding aimed to encompass this broader spectrum of cloud services and attract a wider audience, including software providers, MSPs, and corporate IT professionals. The new name, CloudFest, also better captures the essence of the event as a major B2B festival in the cloud service provider market.

Ownership and future plans

CloudFest, historically part of various hosting companies, transitioned to new ownership in 2020-2021. A group of industry veterans, including the co-founders of CloudFest, along with software providers and hosting companies, now own the brand. This vendor-independent structure ensures the event remains unbiased and focused on the needs of the entire ecosystem.

Jaeger highlights the company’s ambitious plans for expansion. CloudFest USA, launched in response to the growing demand for a dedicated event in the American market, is poised for significant growth. Christian envisions it reaching a similar scale to the European CloudFest within the next five to six years.

Additionally, MSP Global, an event catering to managed service providers, is another key focus. Jaeger sees immense potential in this market, likening its current state to the hosting market 10-15 years ago. He states, “We see the potential to run that show of a scale to up to 20,000 people in the next 5 six years so the the market is huge and very interesting.

The future of web hosting and the impact of AI

Jaeger provides a positive outlook for the web hosting market, emphasizing its continuous growth and evolution. He acknowledges the increasing consolidation in the industry, with companies acquiring hosting firms and software solutions to enhance their offerings.

He also notes the significant impact of AI on the industry. A survey conducted by WHD Event revealed that AI was the most frequently mentioned factor expected to affect businesses. Christian highlights AI’s potential in automating tasks, improving customer service, and addressing the shortage of skilled labor in the industry. He mentions companies already using AI to automate ticket responses and customer requests.

Additionally, AI-powered website builders are making it easier for individuals and small businesses to create competitive websites. Jaeger believes that AI will play a “vital vital role” in the industry’s future.

In conclusion, Christian’s insights shed light on the dynamic nature of the web hosting industry. The rebranding of CloudFest, the diverse ownership structure, and the ambitious plans for expansion demonstrate a commitment to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing landscape. The growing influence of AI and the ongoing consolidation further underscore the need for innovation and strategic vision in this sector. As Jaeger aptly puts it, “It’s very interesting and exciting times to see that.