When Lance Crosby co-founded SoftLayer in 2005, the first ever HostingCon had been held the previous year, and cloud computing was just being developed as a mainstream networking approach.
When Crosby left SoftLayer this past January, it had become one of the largest hosting providers in the world and cloud computing had been transformed into an integral part of the way the internet and networking in general functions.
Lance Crosby will deliver the keynote speech at HostingCon Global 2015 on Monday, July 27. It will be his first major appearance for the hosting industry since he became independent again. For experienced industry insiders, Crosby needs no introduction.
His rise was so fast, so far, and so emblematic of the changes in information technology, however, that it deserves a quick refresher for hosting veterans, or a crash course for those new to the industry.
Prior to SoftLayer, Crosby was Operations Manager at Catalog.com/Dallas Internet, and then held the COO position with The Planet for five years. Crosby helped lead The Planet’s growth into a global IT hosting leader before he left to found SoftLayer.
SoftLayer began offering its hosting products in 2006, and by the end of 2008 its growth was attracting industry attention. In 2010, Crosby came full circle with his new company, as The Planet merged with SoftLayer, while Crosby remained as CEO of the new, and now massive, company.
When IBM acquired SoftLayer for a reported $2 billion in the summer of 2013, the WHIR reported that it was up to over 21,000 customers worldwide, hosted on over 100,000 servers in 13 data centers. IBM said it expected SoftLayer to generate $7 billion in annual cloud revenue by the end of this year.
The acquisition was considered a coup for IBM, allowing it to jump into the cloud hosting space with both feet, and compete directly with AWS. “Alongside the commercial benefits however, many saw the additional DNA that SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby brought to Big Blue as important,” Ben Kepes of Forbes said in a retrospective when Crosby left the company. “IBM is a massive organization that, at times, has been perceived as slow-moving. Gaining someone of Crosby’s stature . . . was massively positive.”
This track record led Structure Research Founder and Managing Director Phil Shih to call Crosby “the biggest success story in the hosting industry,” and makes Crosby, as a newly independent disruptor, the perfect keynote for the industry’s leading, unbiased conference. To attend the speech, register for HostingCon and join the industry’s c-level executives in San Diego July 27-29.
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