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Data Centre World: is it worth going?

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Hi! My name is Nikita, I work at ISPsystem as a business development manager. Recently we flew to Hong Kong to the Data Centre World (DCW) exhibition dedicated to the data centerand IT industry. I will tell you what it was like and if it made sense to go there.
Data Centre World: is it worth going?
Data Centre World in Hong Kong is one of Asia’s largest data center and IT conferences (not to be confused with Data Cent er World, these are different events). DCW is held annually in several locations around the world with a difference of about one month: Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Paris. The next Data Centre World will be held in Singapore Oct. 10-11.

Our goals and experiences

This is the second Data Centre World conference for ISPsystem in the last year, in 2017 we were in Singapore. If you compare in size and feel, the conferences in Hong Kong and Singapore are about the same, both in scale and in topics and company representatives.
We are developing Hosting and data center software We went to DCW to talk to current and potential customers, visit interesting booths, listen to presentations and get to know the local market. We managed to do all this. I was also able to meet other software developers, such as Sunbird, Schneider Electric, VMware.

From the interesting : confirmed the hypothesis that Hong Kong could be the "gateway to China". The Chinese market is quite closed, and there are a lot of difficulties in terms of introducing foreign software in its territory. Such as :

  • Providing partial access to your software code to the Chinese authorities,
  • Full product localization with local support,
  • promotion in a market where there is likely already your absolute counterpart used by the whole country.

DCW in Hong Kong can give access to large Chinese companies that are open to cooperation and know the rules of the game in their market. Chinese giants were represented at DCW: Alibaba Cloud, China Unicom, China Telecom, China Mobile.

Talked to a couple dozen companies and found out what they use for automation. Half use off-the-shelf third party solutions, half maintain a staff of programmers and create solutions for themselves. One provider told me he still processes services in Excel.

How the conference goes

Attendees and participants

In 2017, the exhibition was visited by almost 9, 000 people. The main visitors of the conference were managers, engineers and heads of IT companies. Given this attendance, the exhibition is a good opportunity to meet and talk with interesting people from the data center industry.
Hosting providers, data centers, and hardware and software manufacturers are most often exposed here. Compared to other near-hosting conferences such as CloudFest (ex. WorldHostingDays) and HostingCon (closed last year), DCW has a strong focus on the data center industry. Although classic domainers and hosts like Gandi, ReadySpace, RackSpace, UDomain, and DataPlugs are also exhibiting here. My sense is that Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, Vertiv, AWS, China Unicom, China Telecom had the biggest booths.

Reports

The exhibition was divided into five zones: data centers, cloud and cybersecurity, Asian cloud companies, big data, Internet of things. The division is conditional and designed to attract a larger audience. According to the organizers’ idea, there were supposed to be five different conferences in one congress hall, but it turned out to be one big conference with five subzones.
We went around the whole exhibition and talked to companies from different areas, although we were primarily interested in hosting and data center providers. There were up to four presentations in different areas at the same time, and in total there were more than 100 presentations and various panel discussions per day, so there was plenty to choose from.
Popular topics are the same as in Europe and the US: energy efficiency and security of DCs, clouds, machine learning and Big Data, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, GDPR (even though this is Asia, the law affects them too). Some of the reports :

  1. The Quartet with the instruments of IoT, Blockchain, Big Data and AI
  2. Cloud strategies for digital transformation: Why does Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) now become on the radar for many?
  3. Why Multi-Cloud Infrastructure is the Future of Enterprise I.T. in China? And why hybrid cloud technology is the key factor?

All of the presentations were in English, and company representatives at the booths also spoke that language, so there was no need to hire a Chinese interpreter.

Business etiquette

Before the trip, we contacted representatives of companies in Hong Kong. They willingly agreed to meet both at the exhibition itself and in the city. Even if the offer wasn’t very interesting to them, they still listened to us and answered "maybe, " or "I would like to, but I’m not sure now is the right time. Like the Chinese, Hong Kongers don’t like to say "no" directly, so as not to offend. Punctual, they are not late for meetings.

As you know, exchanging business cards in China is a ritual of business etiquette. In order to show respect to the interlocutor, it is worth performing certain actions :

  1. Passing and receiving a business card with both hands, holding it by the edges and tilting your head slightly while doing so.
  2. After receiving the business card, read the information on it, and don’t immediately put it away in your back pants pocket. Make it clear that you are interested in the person you are talking to, and hold the business card in your hands for a while.
  3. Exchange business cards personally with each interlocutor, starting with the one who is older or has a higher position.

At business conferences, there’s also room for warm encounters. In our spare time, we met with a friend and partner, the CTO of a Hong Kong hosting company that has been using our solutions for several years. We exchanged gifts, he showed us around Hong Kong and gave us a tour of their data center.
Data Centre World: is it worth going?
Me and my colleague (left) and partners

Time

The conference was held May 16-17 on the Hong Kong Island. Officially the opening was at 09:00, closing at 17:30, but after 16:00 there were significantly fewer visitors and even those who were displaying booths had already relaxed and started wandering around the hall. So when planning a trip to DCW Hong Kong, feel free to make appointments outside the hall after 4pm – you won’t miss anything important.

Cost of the trip and impressions of the city

Cost of attendance and travel

Attendance at the conference is free, participation with a small booth will cost in the neighborhood of $5, 000. Flight Moscow – Hong Kong with connection in Beijing will cost 30 000 – 40 000 rubles, direct flight – 50 000 rubles. Accommodation in hotel It cost us 20, 000 rubles for two people for four days, and we lived within walking distance of the conference hall. The average price for lunch in a cafe or restaurant is 400 and 1500 rubles respectively.

What to do in your spare time

There are plenty of places to eat authentic food in Hong Kong. There are Michelin-starred restaurants serving the famous dim sum. At one of these places, lunch for two cost us 1, 000 rubles. However, be prepared for lines and for the fact that by evening the food in such places runs out. On the last day we stumbled upon a Michelin restaurant with Peking duck that didn’t have a line. And there wasn’t because there was a sign that said "All food is out, come back tomorrow." If you want to visit the local shops or dine at a non-touristy place, keep in mind that cards are almost not accepted here.
In the evening you can just walk around the city and look at the skyscrapers. Believe me, they are worth it. One such skyscraper is the Hopewell Centre, which has a transparent elevator that goes up to the 55th floor. This is probably the most gorgeous view of Hong Kong you’ll ever see.
Data Centre World: is it worth going?
Photo from the 55th floor of Hopewell Centre
This was the Data Center World in Hong Kong. See you soon!
P.S. Soon my colleague will tell you how we prepare for conferences like this. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss anything!

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