Throughout the month of May 2005, Microsoft launched the aforementioned Hosting program. The purpose of the program was to encourage shared hosting providers to take advantage of Windows technology to grow their hosting businesses. The primary benefit of this program was the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), which allowed hosting companies to avoid large capital expenditures and pay their licensing fees based on actual usage. This lowered the barrier of entry in terms of cost and provided a risk-free model to test the demand for services. In addition to the SPLA, Microsoft recognized the value of end-user applications and included substantial promotion of DotNetNuke in the hosting seminars encompassing thirty cities around the globe. I was fortunate enough to attend the first seminar in Redmond, Washington, which provided an excellent opportunity to network with the Microsoft Hosting Evangelists, a group of hard-working individuals who were dedicated to the growth of Windows web hosting on an international basis. At the beginning of June, I was also privileged to attend a WSHA seminar in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The invitation was extended by Microsoft Europe, which was especially interested in the localization capabilities of the DotNetNuke application. This trip gave me a deeper understanding of the localization challenges of the international community and also provided me the opportunity to meet Geert Veenstra and Leigh Pointer — two Core Team members who actively participated in and evangelized DotNetNuke since its creation.
Although the Microsoft Hosting program did not reap any direct financial rewards for DotNetNuke, it provided a number of powerful benefits. It exposed the application to an influential group of organizations: large-scale web hosting companies that dominate the shared hosting market in terms of customer base and annual revenues. Companies such as GoDaddy, Pipex, and 1and1 began offering DotNetNuke as part of their Windows hosting plans. The hosting program also caught the attention of the largest hosting control panel vendors. Companies such as SW-Soft (Plesk), WebHostAutomation (Helm), and Ensim added integrated installation support for the DotNetNuke application within their control panel applications. All of these strategic partnerships exposed DotNetNuke to a much larger consumer audience and would not have been possible had it not been for the Microsoft Hosting program.
Collaboration with web hosts also resulted in new application features that were added to satisfy some of their specific business requirements. The ability for DotNetNuke to run in a web farm environment was one such feature that really addressed the application scalability questions beyond a single web server configuration. Dan Caron stepped up yet again to champion these enhancements, producing an architecture with two different caching providers to satisfy the widest array of use cases. Charles Nurse also completed the abstraction of all modules into isolated components that could be optionally installed and uninstalled from the core framework. This change provided additional flexibility for Web Hosters in terms of being able to customize their offering for clients.