The 2011/11/28 at 06:40
Pélagie Harbour and Alexandre T. Analis
As a mechanical engineering graduate from Warsaw Institute of Technology (Poland), Henryk Klaba is Chairman of OVH – short for “On Vous Héberge”, French for “we host you”.
How was the company OVH born?
Henryk Klaba: “After the fall of the Berlin Wall, I settled in France with my wife Haline and my two sons, Octave and Miroslaw, who are engineers graduating from the ICAM in Lille. At that time, we only had 5,000 francs cash (760 euros). Octave founded OVH 12 years ago and the company rapidly took off. In 2005, we acquired the property at the edge of Roubaix where we set up the company head office and four datacentres encompassing 7,000 m2 in web hosting space. At the same time, OVH quickly began offering its services in other countries, and to date, we have 16 subsidiaries all over the world.”
What are your main activities ?
H. K.: “OVH offers a wide range of services relating to web site hosting and, more generally, web presence. At the outset, we only offered hosting for web sites created by the company. We quickly abandoned web site creation and devoted ourselves to hosting before offering new services requested by clients. We are number one in France (one web site hosted out of three) and Europe, and number four worldwide.”
Who are your clients?
H. K.: “Around 80 % of our clients are professionals; most of the time, these are VSEs, SMEs, local and national administrations, associations, sports clubs. The rest are private clients. In all, we have 8 million business and private clients and we host 18 million web sites. Every day we forward 6 million emails and our bandwidth capacity is 800 gigabits per second.”
Meet Alain Rigaux, OVH's Sales Manager (in French)
How does the company OVH stand out from the competition?
H. K.: “Our specificities? Complete mastery of the hosting chain (we produce our servers and handle maintenance of our datacentres), a powerful optic fibre network, our quest for ecological solutions, and transparent client relations. This is the cocktail that allows us to offer the best of available technology at the best price. In addition, we are a family business, human-sized, and we therefore have better means of understanding the needs of VSEs and SMEs and meeting them.”
What initiatives does OVH carry out in favour of the environment?
H. K.: “OVH broaches the energy question from two angles: economy and production. We have designed a liquid cooling system for servers, “watercooling”, and developed a complex ventilation system allowing us to cut out air conditioning in datacentres. These are the world’s most ecological. As proof, Datacentre 4 in Roubaix only uses eight in non-IT energy. In addition, we are constructing in Les Vosges region 8 wind turbines with a 6.5 megawatt capacity, which will produce more energy than consumed at our data-centre in Strasbourg.”
What are the future development projects of OVH?
H. K.: “This year, we hired 110 persons. Our growth should enable us to reach the 1,000 employee mark in the next two to three years. We envisage spreading to the American continent. We are also going to strengthen our international presence via CDN (Content Delivery Network), which will allow our clients to have data or applications available in different parts of the world, to be closer to end users and cut down on connection time.”