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28/06/2013
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Report written by Sophie Lavergne


OVH.com in North America sees a 15% monthly growth


June 2013 marked six months since the launch of the first commercial offer from OVH.com in North America and the first appearance of the hosting provider at the New York Cloud Expo, one of the most important gatherings when it comes to Cloud Computing. OVH.com was there to promote its “Dedicated Cloud” solutions. Germain Masse, director of operations at OVH Canada and USA, looks back on the event and establishes a preliminary outline.





A few days after the event, what are you gathering from your participation?

It is an early assessment, as it is still too soon to measure the potential commercial fall-out. That being said, for OVH, it was an opportunity to get some recognition on a market where it is still unknown, and to establish itself as a Cloud expert against American players, which are our main competitors. Since we needed maximum visibility, Platinum Sponsoring offered spacious booths and speaking time during conferences. The NYC Cloud Expo is without a doubt the right place for this. Very “east coast”, the Empire State, New York is the middle of the world for this type of product. Visitors from India or Asia will go to New York more naturally than London, for instance.
The conferences allowed us to reach a lot of people in a small amount of time and the booth played its part and attracted visitors. Seeing its scale, most would ask us: “O.V.H., what do you guys do?”. They looked curious, open-minded, enthusiastic and very impressed when we presented the company and our North American projects.
Nevertheless, to be pragmatic, we never sign big contracts during this type of events where everything goes fast. Anyway, the amount of people we meet does not upset our economic model, which is based on an important sales volume, generated by customers that directly contact us, like in Europe. We obviously plan to get in touch with the visitors that came to our booth or were at the conferences. The analysis will be more focused in a few weeks.





On a larger scale, how is your North American venture going?

It has been six months since the launch of our first dedicated servers offer and the only downside is the delay of four months we took to begin commercialization. Our monthly growth is 15%, which is non-negligible.
On the other hand, it is no small feat that we chose to tackle; to manage and integrate the whole hosting chain: from the manufacturing of our servers, to the conception and construction of the datacenters, and customer service. None of our competitors reach out internationally like we do. Generally, their development is made through external growth or with the support of beneficiaries, who offer turnkey solutions. We do things differently, independently and ambitiously, which also accounts for the hold ups. Otherwise, on an operational level, the datacenter and its teams work perfectly well. The concept and technology of OVH that we have adapted to the climate of South of Canada have proven to be very successful. Our first winter went very well. We entirely closed the exterior air inlets and confined tower no. 1. Then, once it started to get warmer, we reopened them.
In parallel, at our Montreal offices, we continued the recruiting to add to our different support teams. The turnover remains low because of our demands on the type of profile required. We are looking for administrators asking the right technical questions to the clients, and demanding and passionate experts.
Finally, a few weeks ago, we launched the North American replica of “dedicated Cloud”, our Cloud offer of choice in Europe since 2011. More infrastructure solutions are also on the agenda. On the dedicated servers side, the release of the “2013 Reloaded” line is imminent. It will be followed by a Big Data solution. Then, in August, we will launch “Public Cloud” with a storage solution. In parallel, we continue to release options, such as virtual bays and load balancers.






What product is the most popular amongst your users?

The dedicated server. It is a mature product, on a marketing sense, which means that customers understand it well. Therefore, when they see the quality of our offers, the possibilities of our solutions and they compare our prices, we are number one. In fact, our biggest challenge to date is to explain why our prices are 3 to 4 times lower than the market, which is something we did relentlessly during the Cloud Expo.
Actually, prices are not always the main topic of discussion. We are the ones adding this information because we know that we have a very good position on the market and our prices bring up questions. Often, we go ahead of the questions: “I have to tell you, our hosting services are done in a different manner. We build our own datacenters, our own servers and we created our own liquid cooling system. Air conditioning is therefore completely eliminated from our datacenters, which allows us to cut down on electricity. Here is why we can offer such attractive prices…”
For “Dedicated Cloud”, it is still different. The product itself, a virtual datacenter, is pretty specific, and necessitates a good dose of educating. It is another challenge.






You have announced the construction of tower no. 2, how far along are you in filling up BHS?

Tower 1 has 8,000 servers, off a possible 10,000. The 2,000 servers remaining have been manufactured last fall, during the beta phase, and are ready to be delivered. We have started construction on tower 2 because we are short on a certain type of servers that we do not want to completely dismantle out of their bay.
Because of our position on the market and our prices, customers tend to go for higher end servers than in Europe. The average buying behavior is higher here. Sure, the positioning of the range is slightly different, with the low-range at $40, but we thought we would massively sell at our lowest prices. Finally, our intermediate offers, between $60 and $150, are the ones that sell, in opposition to France or Germany, where the clientele create a harsh competition on the prices.






PNow coming back to BHS, are there notable technological evolutions between towers 1 and 2?

Very few changes actually. We have acquired a lot of experience when it comes to the management of temperature according to the seasons and have therefore optimized the airflow within the building. We have been able to reduce the costs of hosting by continuing R&D on conception, while maintaining the hosting conditions and levels of security. The innovation will be more evident on the next towers. Tower 1 served as a test, and we work tirelessly with our on-site partners to keep optimizing costs. Tower 3 will be notably different in terms of electricity and even more efficient on an energetic level.