WEDOS at CloudFest 2023 in Germany

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CloudFest is the world’s largest cloud industry event, bringing together the global cloud services community. It takes place every spring at the Europa-Park amusement park in Rust, Germany. The event showcases the latest technologies, innovations and products, as well as workshops, meetings and networking.

And WEDOS was at CloudFest for the first time in 2023 😉

This year we decided that we need to be more visible. That’s why conferences and other events have become an important part of our marketing strategy. Plus, when you have a product like WEDOS Global, which is a global network built on over a thousand physical servers that can eliminate even very strong DDoS attacks, you’re not going to be believed. You have to show everyone that you are real. CloudFest was the perfect opportunity to market ourselves to the world, there just wasn’t enough time.

Less than two months of preparation

The first CloudFest 25 entry has appeared in the company’s GitLab. January 2023. I.e. 55 days before the event itself. That’s not a lot of time, but if we throw ourselves into something, we are able to plan everything very quickly, divide up the tasks and get on with it.

We had to figure out what and how to attract attention, the stand itself and arrange a team of people who could do it. In addition, other conferences and events were taking place during this period.

The oil has to go

The oil cooling we use in our WEDOS DC2 datacenter has always attracted attention. We routinely bring a container to conferences with a “laptop” plugged in and playing video on a monitor. People look at it out of curiosity and ask questions.

We just knew we needed a real demonstration of oil cooling servers at CloudFest. So the decision was made that we would have an oil pan made to fit one HPE Moonshot 1500 with 45 physical servers and a local carpenter would make us a representative mobile table. It has to be strong enough to support the bathtub itself, a fully equipped HPE Moonshot (over 90 Kg) and a TV above it.

To make our job easier, the table has a number of features, such as an oil outlet that fits the container we use to transport the oil underneath and a reinforced bottom section that allows a forklift to help us unload.

WEDOS Energy

If there was one thing that worked really well for us at big events, it was our WEDOS Energy drinks. We knew they would be key to CloudFest, but if you want to have printed cans and multiple pallets, you can’t do it in a couple of weeks.

In the end, we managed to create a nice representative design in time and ordered four pallets. But we had to compromise. Instead of the classic can printing, there is only a sticker. Even so, it all worked out at the last minute. The pallets of WEDOS Energy arrived on site two hours before the start of the first day.

WEDOS Energy – CloudFest 2023 edition

As you can see by the design, we decided to go abroad not to do hosting, but protection.

Balloon

Events like CloudFest offer plenty of space for advertising and promotion. The whole expo is in a big hall and everyone is trying to be seen as much as possible. We looked at the videos from previous years and thought a big advertising balloon would be easy to see from all sides, plus it fits our global protection.

In the end, we chose a smaller balloon, which we can fill with helium as needed. In order to get everything done, my colleague went to Poland to get it 🙂

A booth like no one has ever seen at CloudFest

Originally we were considering taking our big wall that we carry around to conferences, but for CloudFest we wanted something big, something you could really see. After a long discussion, a proposal for a two-storey stand was made.

But what to make it out of? Wood was the obvious choice. The problem is that we wanted a stand that we use 3 – 4 times a year. In addition, the wood is quite heavy to transport, so it requires ordering transport, which is not cheap.

And then our boss came up with the idea of making it out of aluminum. It will fit into the space allotted. In addition, the total weight has dropped to a level that we wouldn’t have to fold the skeleton, we just transport it on wheels. Then we just add walls, floors, TVs, decorations and we’re done.

The question was, who can make it in 11 days? The answer is the handy locksmiths from Hluboká 🙂

In the end, only the walls and stairs were made of wood.

In Germany they didn’t want to believe that we would bring a two-storey stand with us. They had to give us another place for that, but in the end it suited us because it was close to the back entrance. We also had to get a structural engineer’s opinion that people can go there. However, there was a stress test before the trip itself 🙂

We originally planned to have it delivered to CloudFest, but since it was lightweight and easy to handle, we found a cart to bring it there ourselves 🙂

Saturday – the first group leaves for Germany with a car.

Three days before the event started, the first group of 4 people went to Germany with a stand. Their task was to get as far away as possible, ideally to arrive on Sunday morning and start unloading.

But first, before our second datacenter, we had to load some things and go get the oil bath table, which was still being finished at night 🙂

Then we went to Germany. On the way we loaded up with fresh 100% apple WEDOS juices. They were really fresh – a day old 🙂

Juice loading at CloudFest. We picked them up on the way.

We had to drive carefully with the whole load, so we finished the trip on Saturday about 130 Km from Rust.

Sunday – The second group goes to build a tent

The goal for Sunday was clear. Set up the booth and what’s missing will be bought on Monday.

Very early in the morning the second group with 6 people from Hluboká started.

The first group arrived at the site ahead of schedule. We did a quick survey of the area, arranged for a forklift and started unloading.

After a couple of hours, a second group arrived and helped us to unload the stand structure. The design caused quite a stir. Not only the administrators of the building, but also from the companies that were building other booths came to see.

We were building everything for the first time, so we had to adjust some things as we went along. All in all it took us some 6 hours, but next time we’ll do it in half the time 🙂

That was basically the end of Sunday. We had done all we could. We went to the hotel and got ready for Monday.

Monday – booth completion and first networking

In the morning our boss drove to a “nearby” hobby market, which was about 30 km from the venue. He purchased everything we need to complete the booth including two decorative flowers. So we were able to get on with fixing the ads and finishing the little things.

Some of us worked on presentations that will go on TV.

During the day, other exhibitors who had their stands set up gradually started to arrive and began to prepare for the event.

In the afternoon we were ready and the exhibitors and first visitors of CloudFest started coming to our booth. Although CloudFest itself didn’t officially start until Tuesday, smaller events such as hackathons have been running since Saturday. Monday was dedicated to smaller lectures about WordPress.

The day before the start of CloudFest 2023, the first visitors have already appeared at our booth.

We still had one more task to do, and that was to arrange the hanging of a large advertising balloon. The organizers wanted to know how big it was, so we showed them 🙂

It was a bit last minute, but when we signed a partnership agreement on the spot for CloudFest USA 2023, which will take place on March 31. May to 3. June 2023 in Austin, Texas, so they said they’d make it happen 🙂

Then we went to the hotel to change and get ready for the first Come2Gather in the Streets networking event.

Europa Park is like a huge city, with individual neighbourhoods in the style of European countries. In one of the long German-style streets, the Come2Gather in the Streets event took place. We met several visitors from the Czech Republic who came to us as soon as they heard Czech. We exchanged a few words, invited them to our booth and then parted ways. Some went to a musical performance, others went on a train tour, visited attractions and finally found a nice restaurant where we had a get-together.

We will have to wear warmer clothes next time, but otherwise the event was very well prepared. We began to understand when the organizers referred to CloudFest as one big party where you don’t sleep. I wonder if something similar – smaller could be done on Hluboká 😉

Tuesday – First day of CloudFest

While our boss was already dealing with four pallets of WEDOS Energy, which arrived literally at the last minute, the rest of us were preparing for a long and busy day.

The hanging of the balloon was successful and for the rest of the conference visitors told us they used it as a landmark for refreshments. The organizers hung it for us at the food and drink tables.

All that was left was to build the pyramid from WEDOS Energy and we could start.

Our tactics were simple. Get them interested with presentations on TV, give them a small gift (a sticker on their laptop, WEDOS Energy) and if someone asks, introduce them to WEDOS and WEDOS Global. We invited interested B2B solution providers and business partners up to the booth to the couches, where our Chief Operating Officer discussed the details with them. There were 4 people at the booth 24/7.

Next to the stand we had an oil cooler, where there was enough space for a small group of people who were curious. There were two people at the oil.

The other two were in charge of walking around the fairgrounds, handing out gifts and enticing people to join us.

Overall, we wanted to show that we are a real company. To introduce the WEDOS brand, our WEDOS Global infrastructure and the WEDOS Global Protection service. So we just went to introduce ourselves to the world.

On Tuesday morning, visitors came mainly to ask about B2B solutions. Many had problems with large DDoS attacks and didn’t want to believe what we were actually building. WEDOS Global struck them as something incredible that only large multinational corporations could build. Over a thousand of our own servers in 23 locations on 5 continents, with at least 100 Gbps of connectivity everywhere? How can someone in the Czech Republic just build this and nowhere in the world is it talked about?

Some of the visitors had studied and checked us out beforehand. They came to ask for details or to arrange further cooperation. Some of the contacts made were very important to us and will lead to major improvements in WEDOS Global.

Around noon the onslaught subsided a bit, and we managed to change for lunch. Then everyone started coming and we really had our work cut out for us to keep up. Our booth was overwhelmed. There was a big group of people at the oil and absolutely everyone was talking and helping us to get through it. There were 10 of us and we all went all out. It took a few hours for the onslaught to subside somewhat as the evening networking event approached.

Officially, the expo hall ended at 18:00, but we were busy even after seven. Everyone wanted to see the oil, have a WEDOS Energy, fresh 100% apple juice from Bohemia or a sticker on their laptop.

The evening networking event was called CloudHouse and took place in the middle of the Coliseum. The focus was on electronic music. We went there mainly to eat after a long day, but there were so many participants that we gave up. Even the organizers themselves were surprised by the large turnout at CloudFest 2023.

Finally, we went to a restaurant for a meal, discussed the busy day, what worked and what needs to be improved. Then we went back to the hotel to rest and some of us to finish the rest of the day.

Wednesday – second day of CloudFest

At breakfast we all rested and discussed the previous day and divided the tasks. We were also told that we would take home no more than half a pallet of WEDOS Energy and drink the rest if we didn’t give it away 🙂

So early in the morning we distributed a whole pack of WEDOS Energy as a gift to the stands of other exhibitors, with the proviso that if they needed more, they could come and get it. We had the pallets outside and it was cold and rainy at night, then cool during the day, so WEDOS Energy was very pleasantly cool throughout the day. Which many exhibitors appreciated.

During the “weaker” morning we improved the presentations on the screens. We focused only on WEDOS Global Protection. We had a map with ongoing real attacks and blocking L7 attacks on the WAF, a list of WEDOS Global points and later a roadmap that served as a pull 🙂

The presentation above the oil has been improved with technical parameters and answers to the most common questions.

In the morning, a delegation from the Slovak competition visited us and we had a friendly chat with them. Just because we do aggressive marketing doesn’t mean we’re aggressive in real life 🙂 On the contrary, it was a nice conversation about the specifics of the Slovak market.

We were joined by competitors from large foreign companies operating in Europe. We had a nice chat and loaded them up with WEDOS Energy for the trip 🙂 We didn’t meet any Czech competition at CloudFest.

Since we do not want to offer hosting services abroad, especially because of the specifics of the local market, it was not a problem to establish a conversation and even future cooperation. On the other hand, AnycastDNS and DDoS protection on WEDOS Global are happy to buy from us and sell to their customers with a good margin.

So do datacenter owners and operators around the world. There were several at our booth. Everyone has addressed the fact that they have DDoS protection and are quite happy, but large scale attacks are simply a problem. We told them it’s not a problem, so we’re only going to protect their IP ranges against these big attacks.

Simply WEDOS changed from WEbhosting, DOmény, Servery to WE DO Security at CloudFest.

On Wednesday we also adapted more to the atmosphere of CloudFest. It’s one big party, so it was really fun at our booth 🙂

We were also visited by a number of media, bloggers and influencers focused on IT. They especially liked the oil and our second floor, from which they could take shots of the whole expo.

Many journalists used the second floor of our stand at CloudFest 2023 to take photos of the whole expo.

Unfortunately, we ran out of the small notebook stickers in the morning and the big ones in the afternoon. Visitors liked them very much and quickly started talking about them as well as about WEDOS Energy. A few thousand is obviously not enough for an event like this 🙂

Wednesday was the most challenging day of CloudFest, but honestly we all enjoyed it and gave it our all.

We finished late in the evening and after the experience of the previous day, we went to a restaurant near the hotel for dinner. But some of us couldn’t resist this time and went to the ConneXion Party afterparty, which was a rock concert in the coliseum.

ConneXion Party at CloudFest 2023.

Thursday – third day of CloudFest

We knew that Thursday would be the least demanding of all the days, as many visitors had already left or were leaving. We were counting on being able to visit the other booths, business partners and start packing up around 6:00 so that we could catch the last networking event WebPros Bierfest.

We started the next day in a good mood, because we already knew that the event was a success. We had a great response, got a lot of contacts and most importantly it looked like we could give away WEDOS Energy 🙂

After breakfast we went to enjoy the last day of CloudFest…

Unfortunately, there were no more stickers for laptops that flew so much. Fortunately, we had a secret sub-counter that no one expected at CloudFest … WEDOS beanbags. A fragrance not only for the car for every engineer.

WEDOS dudes were not ready for this CloudFest 2023 🙂

When the crowd of visitors dropped in the afternoon, we took advantage of it and took turns on the roller coaster.

The rest of the day was rather quiet. After six o’clock we started packing, because the expo was officially over. We had the whole stand of 10 people harvested and loaded in 3 hours.

Setting up a booth at CloudFest 2023.

We got everything ready for the morning so we could leave. The other group will have to come back in the morning to pick up the balloon.

Then it was time to go to Bierfest. It was held in a truly fabulous hotel 🙂

Friday – the way home

The first group started home with the car early in the morning. It was a good ride, because most of what we brought was drunk or given away.

The second group had to go for our advertising balloon.

It’s time to start planning CloudFest USA

One event is over, another is starting. While we were at CloudFest, other colleagues caught Event Fest 2023. As soon as the second group came back, they went to eCommerce Day Brno, and a few days ago they came back from Barcamp Pilsen.

But the big challenge is coming at the end of May, when CloudFest USA starts (31 May to 3 June 2023). We’re not taking our expo booth there. Not that we don’t want to, but unfortunately it’s not possible there 🙂

This will be used at the end of June for ICT Spring, one of Europe’s largest technology events, which takes place annually in Luxembourg. The main objective of this conference is to present and discuss the latest trends and innovations in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and digitalization. WEDOS and our worldwide service WEDOS Global are of course not to be missed.