HCTS 2019: Digital Transformation? More like Digital Revolution

It is that time of year again – registration for our 2019 Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit (HCTS) is now open! Our 15th annual Summit will be held at ARIA Las Vegas, September 23-25, 2019.

Fifteen years of holding an event of this magnitude is no small thing – and neither is the theme our analysts chose for this year: Empowering the Digital Revolution. We will welcome our analysts and hosting, cloud, datacenter and managed services industry experts to our main stage at ARIA Las Vegas to discuss how the same blueprint that propelled technology companies to become the most valuable corporations in the world will also guide other, less tech-focused, organizations toward similar success. The success or failure for many of these organizations will depend on aid from service providers.

Regardless of where they came from or how long they have been around, all organizations will succeed or fail in this transformation based on their ability to embrace change in an era of unprecedented IT innovation by technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, and DevOps and containers – and many won’t have the in-house manpower or resources to adjust quickly. This is where service providers will play a critical role. They will be in a key position to ease that transition with tools and services to manage infrastructure on a subscription basis to aid these companies.

Figure 1 (from left to right) Mark Rice, General Manager of Services Partners at Microsoft; Kelly Hartman, Global Head of the AWS Partner Network at AWS; Daijiang (DA) Han, Head of Global Strategic Alliances at Alibaba Cloud; and Al Sadowski, Research Vice President at 451 Research presenting at HCTS 2018Figure 1 (from left to right) Mark Rice, General Manager of Services Partners at Microsoft; Kelly Hartman, Global Head of the AWS Partner Network at AWS; Daijiang (DA) Han, Head of Global Strategic Alliances at Alibaba Cloud; and Al Sadowski, Research Vice President at 451 Research presenting at HCTS 2018HCTS 2019 will bring top executives alongside our analysts to share key insights on how they plan to leverage service providers to manage cloud infrastructure and leverage security, networking, IoT and colocation services to name a few. Our presenters will also revive previous conversations about partnering with hyperscalers – much like during Research Vice President Al Sadowski’s session that brought executives from Alibaba, AWS and Microsoft to the same stage at a technology event for the first time (Figure 1) – and about how to be more inclusive in the technology industry – much like during our panel with our partners from Women in Cloud and Research Vice Presidents Kelly Morgan and Melanie Posey.

We will post updates between now and September announcing speakers, speaking sessions and sponsors. Until then, register today to get an early bird rate for HCTS 2019, and let us know on Twitter about your favorite HCTS moment from the past 15 years with the hashtag #451HCTS. We look forward to seeing you at HCTS 2019!
HCTS 2019 will bring top executives alongside our analysts to share key insights on how they plan to leverage service providers to manage cloud infrastructure and leverage security, networking, IoT and colocation services to name a few. Our presenters will also revive previous conversations about partnering with hyperscalers – much like during Research Vice President Al Sadowski’s session that brought executives from Alibaba, AWS and Microsoft to the same stage at a technology event for the first time (Figure 1) – and about how to be more inclusive in the technology industry – much like during our panel with our partners from Women in Cloud and Research 
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Brenon Daly

Research Vice President Brenon Daly, who oversees the financial analysis of 451 Research's Market Insight and KnowledgeBase products, will be at the 14th annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit this year. He'll be joined onstage at our Tech M&A Breakfast by Chris Moon, Managing Director at ING, to discuss broad-market tech M&A.

Q: Has there been a M&A breakfast at previous summits?
A: We haven’t hosted a tech M&A breakfast in four years, at least not one that focuses on the overall tech market. During the more-recent summits, we held M&A Breakfasts that focused exclusively on the hosting and services market. We’re bringing back this former favorite because the activity this year is calling for it. The value of tech transactions this year is tracking to the second-highest annual total since the internet bubble burst. Given the almost unprecedented resurgence of acquirers from all tech sectors, we’ll be expanding our look at the market. Spending on tech deals in 2018 has already eclipsed full-year 2017, while the number of acquisitions is rebounding after dropping almost uninterruptedly since mid-2015. It’s a more-robust tech M&A market than any recent year – we have a lot to talk about.

Q: What was your biggest take away from any previous HCTS?
A: My biggest take-away is no transaction happens in a vacuum. Buyers and sellers – regardless of whatever sector they operate in – need to pay attention to the overall M&A market because the current trends – even seemingly unrelated ones – can have a direct impact on the pricing and timing of their transactions.

Q: What can we expect at the M&A Breakfast?
A: We’ll start with a look at spending and volume in the overall tech M&A market. We’ll also surface a number of key trends that are driving activity including a record number of big prints, with the current pace running at two $1bn+ transactions announced each week; the continued acceleration of PE buyers, who are accounting for one-third of all tech acquisitions; and some recent developments in the exit environment for VC-backed companies, where liquidity is drying up.

Q: What can HCTS attendees hope to gain from the breakfast?
A: In addition to the trends I have mentioned, I’ll also have some insight around M&A valuations, which is always a key concern for anyone looking to buy or sell a company. There are a number of dynamics, including renewed confidence at corporate acquirers and unprecedented competition among PE firms, that have driven valuations for both buying groups to their highest-ever level.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: I look forward to opening the aperture and including the broader tech market into our discussion of M&A. Understanding how the themes from HCTS figure into acquisition activity – and, more importantly, valuations – is something I’m looking forward to exploring while at the event.

Be sure to connect with Brenon at HCTS to discuss Tech M&A with him, and meet with all of our speakers, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26, 2018. Check out some of our previous Q&As with speakers to learn about all the upcoming topics including the previous Q&A with Aaron Sherrill.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Senior Analyst Aaron Sherrill

Continuing with our “Prepping for HCTS” series, we are eager to welcome Aaron Sherrill back to Las Vegas for HCTS 2018. Aaron is a Senior Analyst at 451 Research who covers emerging trends, innovation and disruption in the Managed Services and Managed Security Services sectors.

Q: What did you discuss last year?
A: Last year, I led a session with Dan Thompson called “Managed Security Services: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” In that session, we discussed where enterprises are struggling with security in their organizations and examined opportunities for service providers delivering managed security services to fulfil those needs and differentiate their services in a growing market.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A: I took away that managed services is a broad descriptor – it never ceases to amaze me the many unique approaches service providers take to tackle the market and the various ways services are shaped, packaged, and delivered.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?
A: My session this year is called “Movin’ on up: Why Service Providers are Moving Up the Security Stack,” and this session will focus on the future of security services, examining the security considerations and opportunities where service providers can add value. Considering that, according to our Voice of the Service Provider survey, 61% of respondents offer security services to their customers.
vsp chart 1 for sherrill QA
Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: This session is not just for service providers, but also for those companies that supply technology and tools to service providers and those that consume services from service providers. Security is a broad but important topic for the entire supply and consumption chain of services delivered from the cloud.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: I always look forward to catching up with colleagues, meeting new people, and hearing new, big, thought-provoking ideas.

Aaron is one of many 451 Research analysts returning to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26, 2018. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Owen Rogers.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Director Owen Rogers

You may recognize our next speaker from when he sported a cloud print suit last year. Owen Rogers is Research Director of the Digital Economics Unit at 451 Research, which helps customers understand the economics behind digital and cloud technologies, so they can make informed choices.

Q: What did you discuss last year?
A: Last year I discussed how cloud pricing was coming down, but cheaper providers weren’t necessarily winning market share as a result. For me, this indicated a value-driven market where enterprises are willing to pay more for products that better suit their needs, but naturally want to squeeze every penny once their requirements are met.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A: My biggest take away from last year is that service providers need to be better at adding and communicating value, as infrastructure becomes increasingly commoditized and enterprises look up the stack.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?
A: In my session, “Winning at Every Stage of the Cloud Journey,” I will be looking at how services providers can add value at every step of the enterprise cloud journey. One way they can is through managed services, particularly when clients are leveraging a multi-cloud environment. According to our Voice of the Service Provider survey, in addition to the services being offered like backup/dr, security and managed hosting, many customers revealed several pain points they are looking to service providers to solve (see Figure 3 from the survey results). Additionally, being able to address these pain points could be a key differentiator between the service providers and their competition.
Voice of the Service Provider Figure 3 2018Any attendee can also ask me about my expert sunburn avoidance techniques at any time during the Summit.

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?
A: I’d like to think attendees will leave my session with ideas for new products to add to their portfolios and new opportunities to add value. My session will identify which of products are most likely to derive greater margins.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?
A: The Crabcake Benedict in Café Bellagio is exquisite. Also, the lounge at the airport has a fantastic gruyere-based soup.

We are excited to have Owen back to Las Vegas for HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Andy Lawrence.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Andy Lawrence

Our next HCTS 2018 speaker is very familiar with the Summit’s main stage: Research Vice President Andy Lawrence. Andy specializes in datacenter efficiency, market evolution and automation, and serves as Executive Director of our sister company, Uptime Research.

Q: What did you discuss last year? 

A: For the past four years, I have presented a keynote and led a discussion at HCTS that has focused on datacenter evolution as demands – including IT, engineering and market demands – change. Because the headline theme has not changed a lot, at times I have worried the audience would find the subject of limited relevance or repetitive, but none of these discussions or keynote presentations has come across as remotely like the one the year before. In fact, these sessions ended up being very lively, informative and sometimes surprising each year. The one constant in these discussions is our belief that datacenter designers and operators must be more responsive to the demands of their customers, because the way datacenters are designed and run is becoming ever more bundled with the services that can be supported. This belief came across clearly at HCTS 2017, as datacenter operators discussed how they are moving to lower cost, easily replicated, and large scale granular designs to meet the needs of the cloud service providers. 

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?

A: One of the points that we made last year is there is strong pressure for suppliers to keep prices low to encourage business, but service providers and enterprises also want the supplier’s datacenter to meet many other demands including a high level of resiliency and agility, great connectivity, reliable analytics and to be energy efficient.  This year, as last year, demand for datacenter capacity is strong, very cloudy, and coming in large chunks – for which service providers do not want to pay too much. It is always intriguing to see if and how these competing demands are met.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Recently, an entirely new category (though we are 451 Research have talked about it for the past few years) is beginning to emerge: edge datacenters. Edge is raising all kinds of questions: Is it all just hype? Who will own them? What will they look like? How will resiliency be achieved? Where will they be located and why?  

Edge is often described as both “paradigm-shifting” and “revolutionary,” but it is also just a new iteration of an existing technology or market. In my session, I will argue that, to a degree, both descriptions are correct: Edge computing means local IT connected to a core - a model which we have had in offices, factories, retail outlets, labs and telco facilities since the 1980s. At the same time, when you think of Edge as an extension of an advanced cloud infrastructure fabric – adding local compute and storage, supporting automation and self-optimization, and aggregating, policing and managing traffic – then its new importance is obvious.  

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: While some trends are hard to predict, the drivers for Edge computing are so strong that the only disagreement is not about if the trend will kick in, but when it will and how big the market and build out be. As discussed in 451 Research’s 2017 report – “Datacenters at the Edge”—5G, CDN, video, IoT, Edge analytics, augmented reality, driverless cars are just some of the drivers, but there are many others. This trend is not a swing of the pendulum from core to edge, but the beginning of a new, and complementary build out that has a lot of suppliers, operators and investors pretty excited. 

Forward looking analysis by 451 Research’s IoT team and by Uptime Institute Research’s infrastructure analysts and in-depth surveys, all point to a big build out of edge capacity. According to Uptime Institute’s recent annual global datacenter operator’s survey, 40% of respondents said their organization will require edge computing, while another 30% not sure. Who will own and operate what in the future is also an intriguing discussion: 37% of the Uptime survey respondents said they will use a mix of their own and colocation datacenters to manage and host their infrastructure. Does this suggest that while core enterprise data center may shrink in the middle and core layers, it will grow at the edge? I will try to add context and answer these questions at HCTS.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: Elsewhere at HCTS, the topic that catches my eye and interest most is “building partnerships with hyperscalers.” While cloud is undoubtedly and definitively the architecture for the future, I still want to hear more about how they will meet all the concerns about governance, transparency, resiliency, lock in, openness, and even the role of large monopoly players in the IT ecosystem and in large economies. For me, discussions of cost, APIs, functions and services are interesting, but enterprise managers I talk to are also concerned about strategic risk. The most successful service providers and big cloud providers will need to score well on all these fronts. 

We are excited to welcome Andy back to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Melanie Posey.  

Our next HCTS 2018 speaker is very familiar with the Summit’s main stage: Research Vice President Andy Lawrence. Andy specializes in datacenter efficiency, market evolution and automation, and serves as Executive Director of our sister company, Uptime Research.

Q: What did you discuss last year?

A: For the past four years, I have presented a keynote and led a discussion at HCTS that has focused on datacenter evolution as demands – including IT, engineering and market demands – change. Because the headline theme has not changed a lot, at times I have worried the audience would find the subject of limited relevance or repetitive, but none of these discussions or keynote presentations has come across as remotely like the one the year before. In fact, these sessions ended up being very lively, informative and sometimes surprising each year. The one constant in these discussions is our belief that datacenter designers and operators must be more responsive to the demands of their customers, because the way datacenters are designed and run is becoming ever more bundled with the services that can be supported. This belief came across clearly at HCTS 2017, as datacenter operators discussed how they are moving to lower cost, easily replicated, and large scale granular designs to meet the needs of the cloud service providers.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?
A:
One of the points that we made last year is there is strong pressure for suppliers to keep prices low to encourage business, but service providers and enterprises also want the supplier’s datacenter to meet many other demands including a high level of resiliency and agility, great connectivity, reliable analytics and to be energy efficient.  This year, as last year, demand for datacenter capacity is strong, very cloudy, and coming in large chunks – for which service providers do not want to pay too much. It is always intriguing to see if and how these competing demands are met.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Recently, an entirely new category (though we are 451 Research have talked about it for the past few years) is beginning to emerge: edge datacenters. Edge is raising all kinds of questions: Is it all just hype? Who will own them? What will they look like? How will resiliency be achieved? Where will they be located and why? 

Edge is often described as both “paradigm-shifting” and “revolutionary,” but it is also just a new iteration of an existing technology or market. In my session, I will argue that, to a degree, both descriptions are correct: Edge computing means local IT connected to a core - a model which we have had in offices, factories, retail outlets, labs and telco facilities since the 1980s. At the same time, when you think of Edge as an extension of an advanced cloud infrastructure fabric – adding local compute and storage, supporting automation and self-optimization, and aggregating, policing and managing traffic – then its new importance is obvious. 

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: While some trends are hard to predict, the drivers for Edge computing are so strong that the only disagreement is not about if the trend will kick in, but when it will and how big the market and build out be. As discussed in 451 Research’s 2017 report – “Datacenters at the Edge”—5G, CDN, video, IoT, Edge analytics, augmented reality, driverless cars are just some of the drivers, but there are many others. This trend is not a swing of the pendulum from core to edge, but the beginning of a new, and complementary build out that has a lot of suppliers, operators and investors pretty excited.

Forward looking analysis by 451 Research’s IoT team and by Uptime Institute Research’s infrastructure analysts and in-depth surveys, all point to a big build out of edge capacity. According to Uptime Institute’s recent annual global datacenter operator’s survey, 40% of respondents said their organization will require edge computing, while another 30% not sure. Who will own and operate what in the future is also an intriguing discussion: 37% of the Uptime survey respondents said they will use a mix of their own and colocation datacenters to manage and host their infrastructure. Does this suggest that while core enterprise data center may shrink in the middle and core layers, it will grow at the edge? I will try to add context and answer these questions at HCTS.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: Elsewhere at HCTS, the topic that catches my eye and interest most is “building partnerships with hyperscalers.” While cloud is undoubtedly and definitively the architecture for the future, I still want to hear more about how they will meet all the concerns about governance, transparency, resiliency, lock in, openness, and even the role of large monopoly players in the IT ecosystem and in large economies. For me, discussions of cost, APIs, functions and services are interesting, but enterprise managers I talk to are also concerned about strategic risk. The most successful service providers and big cloud providers will need to score well on all these fronts.

We are excited to welcome Andy back to the main stage at HCTS, which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Register for HCTS 2018 to hear all the speakers you have met thus far in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Melanie Posey.  
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