The 2011/10/12 at 05:00
OVH, a provider of web hosting solutions, joined the movement that started over two years ago. "At the start, it was a need inside our company. Once our cloud solutions were developed, it seemed logical to adapt them and then market them," recalls Hélène Caraux, 27 years old, Project Manager for OVH whose comprehensive cloud solutions open up servers and storage space to private access. A first partnership with VMware, a leader on the virtual market, led to further opportunities. By hosting several web sites on the one server, in a cluster, and by pooling resources and networks, OVH began cloud-type services six years ago, before cloud computing became a catchword.
To set up its dematerialised data solutions, OVH invested 10 million euros in networks and security systems, relying on Cisco technology. Cloud computing has already met with considerable success: the web site dedicated to the wedding of the Prince of Monaco opted for this solution, large companies are turning to its stock management applications. Cloud services offered by the host are undergoing "exponential growth", even if OVH's main activity remains classic web site hosting. As proof of this trend, 4,000 servers out of a total of 100,000 are dedicated to this emerging service. It is nevertheless necessary to confront tough competition, especially from the States. Amazon and Rackspace dominate the market.
"Yet there is an outright advantage in calling on a French service provider. In the United States, data confidentiality is threatened by the Patriot Act, a legal framework authorising access to all private servers when State security is at risk," specifies Hélène Caraux. To counter this problem, OVH servers located on French territory, in Roubaix – its head office –, Paris or Strasbourg are protected. The other advantage? Client services are provided in French and without any time difference problems, and may even be available at night, the weekend, and on public holidays. No mere passing fad, today, 10% of companies rely on this storage solution – a figure that is expected to double by next year.
Even the US government has decided to use cloud computing for its information. Another evolution is that Microsoft Exchange has developed a cloud email solution. The success of cloud solutions can be explained by the possibility of their evolution at any time. Storage space can thus grow according to demand, without any need to connect or disconnect a machine, in other words, without any interruptions. While the procedure may seem uncertain in the eyes of a few users, the reliability of this service is close to 100%. If a server breaks down, information is automatically transferred to another. Companies no longer risk losing half a day of work. These are weighty arguments for the clients of OVH, including 400,000 SMEs, many of which work on Internet.
For these companies, outsourcing the safeguarding of their files enables them to budget monthly and to avoid considerable hikes in investments. Finally, their overall costs can fall by 30%, according to the calculations of OVH, further backing up the assets of using this solution. Companies from the CAC40 remain somewhat flighty about the idea of getting lost in the clouds. "This year, we have won a few 'key account' clients. To reassure them, we suggest that they use very small infrastructures to start with. They can check the security of data, test its lifespan, and so on. Our first clients of this type are satisfied today," explains Hélène Caraux. By this October, OVH plans to sink deeper into the clouds.