Ikoula — How the Paris-Based Hosting Provider Has Been Powering the Sites and Applications of European Businesses for Two Decades

TL; DR: Currently boasting a customer base of 25,000 users across 5,000 servers, Ikoula powers more than 35,000 websites worldwide. Founded in France in 1998, the company has been growing its robust shared, cloud, virtual, and dedicated server hosting solutions for nearly 20 years. Today, Ikoula is focusing on an Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS) model, which allows enterprises to outsource DevOps, infrastructure, cloud architectures, and communications platforms, among other services. With an in-house support team and plans to expand the ways customers can access managed services, Ikoula is set to serve the online business community well into the future.

Like a hermit crab, LSF Interactive was growing and needed to find a bigger shell. The integrated online marketing agency required new infrastructure that would support its current system but allow it room to scale. On one hand, LSF desired the flexibility and cost-friendly benefits of cloud-based infrastructure; on the other, the company needed the freedom to be creative so projects could move forward quickly.

“We implemented a solution with Amazon, but we needed to be masters of our platform and create our servers on demand,” said Vincent Riffier, LSF Interactive’s Director of Engineering. “We were working in very specialized areas and wanted to be autonomous.”

Looking for a solution, Vincent turned to Ikoula to help LSF evolve its platform. Ikoula immediately assigned a dedicated specialist to walk LSF through the transition. And, that, according to Vincent, made all the difference.

“We were able to establish a high-quality relationship,” he said. “He put the priority on our immediate needs and our upcoming issues in order to propose the most suitable solution.”

Ikoula’s main datacenter houses 5,000 servers and was built to handle the infrastructure demands of modern enterprises.

After careful planning, Ikoula made deployment a breeze. LSF seamlessly migrated its existing platform to a new one, with its frontend servers and a backend database key to the move. LSF visited the Ikoula datacenter and, as Vincent noted, the actual human contact had a definitive impact on its business and bottom line.

Since moving to Ikoula, LSF has reduced its hosting costs by a third, and the flexibility of its configuration allowed the company to easily and quickly set up an additional server.

Serving more than 25,000 businesses across the globe, Ikoula is helping companies, like LSF, streamline operations and cut costs through its customer-focused philosophy and effective hosting services. And this 20-year veteran in the tech space shows no signs of slowing down.

Hosting Solutions Addressing the Unique Needs of 25,000+ Businesses

Founded just outside Paris in 1998, Ikoula quickly grew its server farm into multiple datacenter locations housing upward of 5,000 machines. The company prides itself on being the sole proprietor of its datacenters and having the ability to offer optimal, secure hosting environments.

“What defines Ikoula is that it provides services from A to Z,” said Guillaume Lamiaux, Ikoula’s Director of Sales. “We are a managed services provider and offer an array of hosting solutions built to adapt to our customers’ needs.”

Ikoula’s Guillaume Lamiaux told us how the company is providing robust hosting services for 25,000 customers worldwide.

For merchants just entering the eCommerce space or for those looking to switch to a more effective provider, Ikoula offers affordable shared hosting packages with one-click installations of popular applications such as WordPress and PrestaShop. For web agencies and developers, Ikoula’s managed WordPress plan includes 40GB of disk space, 2GB of memory, the WordPress Toolkit 2.0, built-in security, and Plesk extensions, among many other features.

For businesses that need more power, Ikoula’s public cloud platform provides a private network that can be managed from a single interface. This platform enables admins to start, stop, and follow the consumption of any machine on the network and gives them complete control over security and availability rules.

Ikoula aims to help businesses scale as their sites and traffic expand, which is why it offers simple migration to VPS and dedicated server hosting packages when they’ve outgrown the shared environment. Both provide the power needed for maximum uptime and fast page loads to keep brands in front of online audiences.

Dedicated to Offering Modern Enterprises “Everything-as-a-Service”

To place itself at the forefront of developing trends while maintaining proven standards, Guillaume told us Ikoula’s goal is to be a custom solution for every customer. And one way the company is accomplishing this for enterprises is by offering an Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS) platform.

“Our service is an industrial way to sell and manage all our products,” Guillaume said. “Customers can buy online or they can call directly and speak with a specialist with specific knowledge and experience to meet customer needs.”

However, Ikoula’s team doesn’t just function as a support base for its customers — it also works as a consultant. Many of the company’s team members use their commercial sales skills to help customers decide which is the best solution for them. Not all customers have an IT department, and Ikoula recognizes this.

“There is often a very wide gap between what a piece of software can provide and how it can be run in an infrastructure,” Guillaume said. “Our team is there to help customers know what options are available for their specific software.”

Ikoula aims to offer enterprise-level businesses an Everything-as-a-Service platform.

Ikoula offers customers a variety of management services that range from simply monitoring customer servers to the complete outsourcing of a business’s infrastructure. Customers can choose products such as hosting for business web applications.

Collaborative platforms are also available as a messaging solution. Customers can easily share emails, calendars, contacts, and tasks with their teams. Whether on a desktop, mobile device, or Outlook Web App (OWA), Ikoula’s collaborative platforms can help increase productivity.

If a client chooses to outsource, Ikoula handles the technical management of all servers and applications, including 24/7 maintenance and monitoring, a dedicated operational account manager, custom configuration of backup policies, infrastructure documentation with reversibility and load increase test, and a host of reporting tools. This leaves customers to concentrate worry-free on their business.

Ikoula realizes it is in a very competitive industry, which makes it an even stronger option as it has proven stability among its customers.

“Because EaaS is offered as a month-to-month service, customers can change every month,” Guillaume said. “But we have customers who’ve been with us for more than 15 years. They stay with us because our services are superior and our customer support is hard to beat.”

In-House Support Taking Calls Directly From the Datacenter

Guillaume told us that many of the managed services companies in France stopped doing domain hosting and being carrier providers when the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s. Many of these companies had service issues that lead to operational halts.

In one instance, a company’s operations had to be shut down for two days, causing chaos for customers. Not wanting to repeat the same issues, Ikoula learned from its peers and created its own customer-focused datacenter to ensure such issues would never affect its customers.

Though Ikoula focuses on selling technology, its goal doesn’t rest on maximizing sales volume. Instead, the company zeroes in on developing and maintaining customer satisfaction. To ensure that satisfaction levels remained high, Ikoula purchased a datacenter in 2006.

“At Ikoula we want to guarantee the quality of our services, so we bought a datacenter to be sure we provide the best kind of redundancy,” Guillaume said.

The datacenter is backed by the company’s high-quality network connectivity with its duplicated network multi-operator OSPF/BGP4 of more than 350 peering agreements. And its interconnection and access broadband fiber optic capabilities aren’t anything to sneeze at, either.

Ikoula’s team offers top-notch, 24/7 customer support and fields calls directly from its datacenter.

Though customers may outsource their infrastructure to Ikoula, the host keeps its datacenter operations in-house.

“We offer support 24/7, and the support team is located inside the datacenter,” Guillaume said. “Ikoula is one of the only company in France that provides this service.”

As many companies no longer provide a phone number, customers are forced to interact with customer service via email, Twitter, or some form of automated service. Ikoula cuts out this impersonal support method.

“We know our customers prefer to have someone on the phone because you can solve a problem more easily,” Guillaume said.

Oddly, many companies who rely on tech have moved in the opposite direction of customer-focused services by removing the human aspect from customer service altogether. Yet, a customer’s tech issues can become complicated, and having to navigate the often-used automated phone or email system can lead to unnecessary frustration.

“In many companies, a rep opens a ticket and then transfers it to another team,” he said. “Your ticket is then transferred again, and again, and again. Different people could be working on your problem. At Ikoula, the person who answers the phone will be the person who fixes your problem.”

Coming Soon: Purchase Managed Services Solutions in Five Minutes

According to Guillaume, research and development is always top of mind at Ikoula. The company currently dedicates roughly 10% of its staff to R&D with a mission to continuously innovate the hosting space.

“Even if we are not the biggest company, we like to be the first,” Guillaume said. “We like to test and help customers with new technology.”

Ikoula has been working for the last two years with its team on a brand new solution to fill a gap seen in current web solution offers all over the world.

“You have a choice between Infrastructure-as a-Service (IaaS) that you orchestrate yourself or managed services where you don’t do anything,” he said. “When you want a very fast solution, you buy IaaS so you can start very quickly. If you want to manage a server, you have to explain to an engineer what you want to do and what software you will install for them to provide services.”

To combat this issue, Ikoula is creating a platform that will allow customers to buy managed services online in just five minutes. The service is expected to be released before the end of 2017, and the offering is sure to stay true to Ikoula’s customer-focused mission.

“We are still testing it in every department of Ikoula,” Guillaume said. “We want the process and platform to be understood by the highly technical to the less tech-savvy so we can roll out the best possible product to our customer base.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Fitzgerald

April FitzGerald has taught digital media technology at the college level for the past 10 years. Her courses focus on graphic design, multimedia production, and web design and development with a dash of programming thrown in. April's goal is to combine her artistic and technical skills to share entertaining tales of up-and-coming technologies and trends in the ever-changing digital world so that readers — from beginners to seasoned vets — can learn from and share in the experience.