Web Hosting Interview - Microsoft February 2008

February 2008
Web Hosting Interview - Microsoft February 2008

Michael van Dijken, Lead Marketing Manager for Hosted Solutions at Microsoft

The beta period is almost up and Windows Server 2008 promises to offer a new web hosting dawn. Why though has Microsoft been advertising its wares on websites catering to the Linux crowd? We revisit last year's interview with Michael van Dijken, lead marketing manager for hosted solutions at Microsoft, just what it is on offer from Microsoft's newest server operating system and whether it is going to be a Swiss army knife for web hosts?

  • HOSTSEARCH: Michael, thanks for letting us take you time up like this. I am sure all our visitors will appreciate hearing about Windows Server 2008. Let's start by you giving us an insight into your position at Microsoft and your role within the company.
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Thank you John. My name is Michael van Dijken and I run the marketing communications program for our hosting channel business at Microsoft. I have many things I like to do, but most of all I like to talk about the business of hosting and how Microsoft can help.
  • HOSTSEARCH: So, Windows Server 2008 is on the horizon - when is it likely to go live?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Windows Server 2008 will go live on February 27. We're looking forward as a company to one of our biggest and most important product launches ever. At the event in Las Angeles, we'll announce the launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, and we'll have many partners with us to share in the launch activities.
  • HOSTSEARCH: For those of our visitors who missed the interview with you last September, why don't you give our visitors an outline of Windows Server 2008?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Windows Server 2008 was built with four things in mind: the Web, virtualization, security and a solid foundation for business applications.

    Specifically for hosters, Windows Server 2008 provides reliable hosting of more sites, lower infrastructure and support costs and powerful hosting of a broad portfolio of applications and services.
  • HOSTSEARCH: I understand from the press that Microsoft has sent a 'road show' to various destinations to show people how Windows 2008 works. Are you still on the road with that, or is it over now?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Absolutely! We have a full schedule running through April 1. The road show has been specifically about hosting Windows Server 2008 and we've visited close to 60 cities and walked over 1,500 people through hands-on labs, training them to run Windows Server 2008 in their environment. You can learn more here.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Give us a bit of your road show right now! Tell us about the hosting components being built into Windows Server 2008.
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Well really the benefit of the show is the lab tutorials. We've actually made those available online which can be accessed at this website.

    In terms of what has been built into the Web server, I'd categorize them into a few key groups.
    • Greater flexibility and control. IIS7 offers a componentized architecture that allows hosters to install only what their infrastructure requires. By pulling unused features, hosters can eliminate unnecessary risk by minimizing the attack surface, as well as conserve processing resources by running low memory worker processes.
    • Improved scalability and enhanced security and reliability with automatic application sandboxing.  IIS7 was designed to keep all sites available through traffic surges.
    • Manage with Ease - IIS7 offers more efficient administration tools including delegated administration and shared configuration. IIS7 also provides simplified management, powerful diagnostic and troubleshooting capabilities that save time, and comprehensive extensibility.
    • World Class Hosting for ASP.NET and PHP - Expanded application hosting for .NET, ASP, PHP Web applications and XML services.  Together with the .NET Framework 3.0, IIS7 provides a comprehensive platform for building applications that connect users and data, enabling them to visualize, share, and act on information.
  • HOSTSEARCH: And while you have been on the road you have been talking to a number of providers that have a strictly LINUX bias. I think in Microsoft's own words, this is the "first Windows operating system to natively support PHP hosting". What benefits are available to Linux hosts who switch and become Windows Server 2008 hosts?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Well, while switching is a possibility, let's rather talk about building and growing a Windows hosting business.

    Firstly, for all the reasons I've mentioned above, Windows Server 2008 is technically a superior platform on which to build a hosting infrastructure.

    Secondly, the Windows platform has a very clear path to building a revenue platform from basic web hosting to full blown applications delivered as services. Our experience has shown us that customers on Windows tend to drive consistent revenue growth as their needs for hosted services grow. The Microsoft platform offers a broad portfolio of services for hosters to meet this demand.

    Thirdly, by adding native support for running PHP applications, we're essentially building a bridge to the open source community around hosting and making it possible for LINUX hosters to continue to work with many of the applications they are already familiar with.

    And finally, Microsoft has a long history of working with developers and ISVs. Our developer tools are the among the most used in the industry and with more and more applications moving to "the cloud", running a Windows hosting platform provides tremendous opportunities for hosters to capture new business.

    We're not the only ones who think this way; cPanel is getting ready to launch a Windows version of their popular control panel because their customers keep asking for it.
  • HOSTSEARCH: So that's why you have been advertising on LINUX sites?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: We love to talk to hosters who run LINUX. We love to demonstrate the value of hosting on Windows and we love helping them build their Windows hosting business.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Is this the end of the distinction between Windows and Linux hosting?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: With each release of Windows Server, there is a more and more compelling reason to run a hosting business on the Windows platform. Windows Server 2008 is no different, and with features like PHP on Windows, technically hosters could run a single environment on Microsoft technologies.
  • HOSTSEARCH: And you have a new licensing program with this product - the Go Live licensing program. What is involved here?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: The Go Live licensing program allows hosters to bring the benefits of Windows Server 2008 hosting to market before the product itself launched. It was designed to give hosters early experience with the product and help them to refine their offers such that they take full advantage of the buzz at launch time.  

    Many hosters already have an offer in market using this license. You can see a list of offers in market here. You can read more about the go live license here.
  • HOSTSEARCH: You already have a number of providers offering free Windows Server 2008 solutions. Considering it is only at a beta stage, you must be very confident the product is ready to be shipped.
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Very confident.
  • HOSTSEARCH: So you seem to have gone a long way towards a total hosting solution. What's next? I know it is early days, but what could you include in the next version that will top what you have developed?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: You're going to see us continue to build out a next-generation hosting platform which is easy and cost effective to manage and supports efficient rollout of new services.

    We'll invest in building an extensive portfolio of applications which can be hosted and services which can be incorporated into a hosted solution.

    And we'll work hard on making the user experience consistent and compelling across multiple devices.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What's the mood inside Microsoft as far as Windows Server 2008 is concerned?
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: The company is extremely excited about the launch and the possibilities around Windows Server 2008. This will be great for hosters, and that makes me extremely excited.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Well, I hope it all goes very well for you.
    MICHAEL VAN DIJKEN: Thanks, John. I look forward to talking to you again soon.

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