An old colleague of mine was telling me of his plans to finally, after almost fifteen years of working for someone else, start his own hosting venture. My first instinct was of course to offer this poor soul some Lithium, seeing that his existing salary as CTO is more than triple the amount of profit he could expect from a start up web hosting venture in the first few years. I listened patiently as he unveiled his plan to take over the universe one domain at a time when all of a sudden he completely shocked me:
“I’m not doing shared, too much hassle and nobody wants it. Cloud, baby! CLOUD!”
Interestingly, I was just in the process of setting up a re-seller account for another friend when he dropped in. I didn’t say much, I just let him finish. He was looking for a sympathetic ear and he found one, I am well known for being rather prolific in my development of tools to make Xen easier for web hosts. I don’t think he was expecting my reply, which was:
“All these years, and you still don’t get it.”
As a web host, you must accomplish several things to be successful:
Find and keep customers
Innovate without annoying customers
Find and keep rock star employees
Sure, there’s a little more, but the rest falls mostly on your data center if you are just getting started.
This list seems simple, but it isn’t. Lets go down the list one by one and you’ll quickly see that you are looking at several very deep rabbit holes.