OVH to position itself as a cloud alternative

PARIS – Stephane Aisenberg, the co-founder of France solution provider Linkbynet was watching a TV news program recently where the host asked why Google was not in France? Aisenberg said, at the OVH Summit, the reason there is no Google in France is because there is no driver for this in the country and it’s speaks to the success of the OVH Group.

OVH does have a foothold in Europe, but the France-based cloud provider who just two years ago opened one of its top four cloud facilities in Quebec is making the bold move of staking its claim to the U.S. marketplace.

The company has opened a data centre facility in Reston, Virginia and has already more than 1,000 customers from its acquisition of VMware’s Vcloud Air cloud earlier this year such as MIT and Harley Davidson Motor Cycles. OVH was already a top VMware alliance partner for Europe/Middle East and Africa and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger decided to sell the Vcloud to OVH because he believed there could take care of its customers better than an established U.S. cloud provider.

When OVH founder and chairman Octave Klaba analyzed his cloud competitors they are limited to American companies such as Microsoft Azure, Google and Amazon Web Services and cloud providers in China such as Alibaba.

“These are stimulating competitors and I want to challenge them. We are the only European on the whole cloud list. We can become an alternative to the Americans and the Chinese and I believe there should be a cloud alternative to the Americans and the Chinese. This is a heavy responsibility but this is how we can reach the next level and reach the entire world,” he said.

One of the first decisions Klaba made with the U.S. subsidiary of OVH is to make them totally autonomous to OVH in France. The company has hired former Oracle senior executive Russ Reeder to be its CEO of OVH in the U.S.

Klaba added that the U.S. market can really show you if you are innovative because the market is not moved by just price and they are more interested in value to the customer.

Reeder said, 56 per cent of the cloud market is in the U.S. The rest of the world is at 41 per cent and France makes up just three per cent.

“It’s time to bring OVH to the United States of America,” Reeder said.

In terms of a Canadian/American partnership within OVH, Reeder said the Canadian office is an extension of OVH EMEA. The plan is for OVH Canada to remain a division of the OVH Group, while the U.S. operation is autonomous. There is no plan to change this structure in the near future, Reeder said as the OVH U.S. will be going after mid-size companies first and then onto the enterprise as the small business sector is overcrowded.

But, Reeder acknowledged it will be hard to take customers away from established competitors. A company like OVH has better solutions, services and value for the market but to grow you need to grow with the market which is at $20 billion today but moving to $50 billion in the next four years. “That is an amazing opportunity.”

What will be different with OVH?

Reeder has already gotten started with the Virginia data centre by offering a high performance, high security network. His strategy is to also target customers in certain sectors such as education, healthcare and IT professionals who are in need of high capacity.

Also, 65 per cent of the market still has on-premise environments and 85 per cent of VM workloads remain on on-premise.

“This is a great opportunity. We have a private cloud with vSphere and in the last six-years OVH has been Europe’s No. 1 leader. We are a big believer of Open Stack with an open source cloud framework. We have a software-driven data centre and this is the foundation that we’ve built,” Reeder said.

Reeder added that for U.S. customers this means that OVH has its own network with thousands of miles of dark fiber wrapped around all over the world. And, he sees multi-cloud environments that are interoperable between providers but allow customers to keep their data in their home country.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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