The Forrester Wave’s latest report for the top hosted private cloud services in North America during the second quarter of this year featured the usuals up top: Rackspace Technology and Virtuastream.
The two maintain a stronghold over a large number of enterprise customers, and Virtustream’s strongest market is in North America where it embraces technologies from its fellow member of the Dell/EMC family, VMware.
But quietly climbing the ranks and earning a “Strong Performer” label from Forrester’s Q2 Wave report, is OVHcloud, with its own unique ties to the VMware brand. The French cloud provider started in the hybrid cloud market 10 years ago with a VMware-centric solution. OVHcloud entered the North American hosted private cloud market by virtue of its acquisition of VMware’s vCloud Air data center business, finalized in May 2017. Since then, it’s slowly been spreading its wings in Canada.
For travel and hotel marketing agency firm VERB Interactive, OVHcloud has been a reliable and easy partner to work with, according to its staff. Based in Halifax, VERB is looking to grow aggressively, and despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel in recent months, business isn’t slowing.
“We’re still bringing on new clients and helping them with their PR,” explained Jeff Baur, the firm’s chief technology officer. “We run massive paid campaigns, which means we’re delivering massive traffic to platforms in a very short amount of time. You’re not always handling two million visitors all the time, most of the time it’s a few thousand. But when you have those two million for a few minutes things need to work.”
The rest of the firm’s IT staff told Channel Daily News that OVHcloud about more than just cheap servers.
“If you’re on the private cloud, [OVHcloud] comes with VMware licensing pre-packaged, which simplifies management,” said Jeff Warford director of infrastructure at VERB. Other vendors VERB worked with in the past, according to Warford, which included Rackspace, would sometimes enter their systems and make changes without telling Warford and the rest of the team.
“We’ve discovered someone messing around in our systems at 3 a.m.,” he recalled.
While OVHcloud enjoys a significantly stronger position in the European market, where it targets large enterprise clients and serves large and unique cloud infrastructure demands from hightech industries, customers like VERB are growing in numbers across Canada, according to OVHcloud chief executive officer Michel Paulin. OVHcloud’s emphasis on data privacy, and it’s own efforts in helping shape regulatory frameworks around privacy in Europe through the Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE) – an effort that helped bring documents like GDPR to life – continues to resonate with the market, he said.
“Cloud shouldn’t be locking anyone into a box,” Paulin said. “Customers deserve freedom of choice.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the cloud company’s business in certain cases, where projects have stopped, Paulin added. But in many cases, work has picked up significantly and demand for new servers has only gone up.
“We usually produce 400 servers per week. We’ve doubled that number during the crisis and have reached 1,000 servers per week,” he said.
Areas of improvement
Forrester’s Wave report highlighted some weaknesses in OVHcloud’s offerings, specifically around data centre locations and partner ecosystem visibility. Paulin confirmed that OVHcloud doesn’t have any plans for the near future to expand its location of data centres, but it is aggressively trying to grow its partner ecosystem with the help of a partner program launched late last year. And last week, the company added domain names and web hosting offers to dedicated servers, private cloud and public cloud offerings.
Also, OVHcloud’s range of web hosting in Canada includes three offerings: Personal, Pro, and Performance. Paulin says they’re suitable for a wide range of users. Each of these offers can be deployed in just a few clicks from the OVHcloud control panel.