TL; DR: Server and network solutions provider OVH employs a staff of 2,000 that serves customers around the world. Through its vertical integration, the company coordinates efforts to provide high-quality, affordable cloud hosting to its clients no matter where they are in their evolution. With its own global network and a commitment to “Innovation for Freedom,” OVH delivers scalable services and diligent research and development with the aim of leading startups and established companies.
Since its founding in 1999, cloud and internet infrastructure provider OVH has believed that innovation should benefit the customer. That means a commitment to combining high-quality services that are also economical for its customers. Founder Octave Klaba was still a student at the Lille ICAM (School of Engineering) in France when he created OVH as a startup that would grow to serve more than 1 million clients around the world.
And those clients are not only the primary day-to-day focus of the company but also the impetus behind the infrastructure, technologies, and strategies it adopts in the future.
Today, with 27 datacenters located in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe, OVH offers a full selection of services ranging from public, private, and hybrid cloud to dedicated servers, storage and backup, and network security solutions. Since booting up its first datacenter in Paris, OVH has implemented global end-to-end management for its clients as well as adopted a liquid server cooling method that eliminates the need for air conditioning — saving energy, stress on the environment, and reducing costs to customers.
“At the heart of what OVH offers is an unrelenting commitment to quality at an affordable price,” said Hiren Parekh, Senior Director, Cloud EMEA at OVH. “What this means for customers is an unmatched price-to-performance ratio across all our products.”
OVH’s decisions are based on years of experience, research, and knowledge that help give the company an edge in everything from security to energy efficiency. From its founding as a small startup to a 2,000-employee operation today, OVH continues to focus on expansion while maintaining close relationships with its local customers.
The company also supports startups through its Digital Launch Pad program and often hosts them in its Montreal office. As a leader in network and infrastructure solutions, OVH has a rare combination of strong roots and the passion to explore possibilities.
Vertical Integration With its Own Network Means Better Value
OVH understands the need for businesses to grow at a sustainable rate. That’s why it looks to implement the latest trends and technologies while achieving its goals without increasing costs.
Every aspect of its business is vertically integrated — from hosting to security solutions. This business model allows the company to operate more efficiently, cut out handoffs, and maintain a higher level of quality throughout the customer experience.
Vertical integration also allows OVH to pass savings on to its customers. And the company often goes beyond just giving customers the best price point — it throws in some extra goodies when possible.
“All our products include free, built-in anti-DDoS technology capable of withstanding an attack equal to the most powerful ever recorded,” Hiren said.
The areas of the company converge to create an ideal solution for its target markets. Working in tandem allows network, server, and datacenter aspects to reliably support customers no matter how their needs evolve.
“Many of our services, like our new SDDC product, are designed specifically to support mid-size organizations on their digital transformation journeys, providing the essential scalability and flexibility,” Hiren said.
Quick Reaction to Data Trends Gives Customers a Competitive Advantage
Customer feedback and the latest trends also play a role in determining OVH’s new and updated products. Hearing from customers about what they’re implementing, how OVH has helped them, and where they want to go next provides a valuable perspective on the challenges businesses face.
“We know our services play a vital role in the competitiveness of our customers, so it’s paramount that we listen to what they need,” Hiren said. “Our user groups and developer communities help us to do this.”
In addition to staying updated on how customers are using OVH solutions, the company investigates industry trends to see if they can fill a customer need.
“There’s a big crossover with adapting to the newest trends, and we often adopt them to help our customers gain a competitive advantage,” Hiren said.
One example of how OVH leverages new technologies for its customer base is its software-defined datacenter (SDDC) solution. This technology — which uses at least two Intel hosts, two data stores, and 4,000 VLAN to deploy private networks — is a breakthrough innovation in the datacenter market that allows for greater scalability.
“Research shows the successful implementation of SDDC can reduce operating expenses for a business by up to 56%,” Hiren said. “So we’ve partnered with VMWare and created an SDDC-based solution that includes lots of tools that businesses need to upscale in a manageable way. This makes it ideal for fast-growing operations.”
Digital Launch Pad Programs are Startup Accelerators
Once a startup itself, OVH helps emerging businesses by providing extended support and guidance in setting up their infrastructure. “I love startups. I love the speed. Having an idea in the morning and having it up and running by the end of the day. Startups are innovation, and I love innovation,” Octave said of the company’s commitment to startups.
Understanding how difficult it can be to enter a market with few resources, OVH allows startups to test solutions for free through its Digital Launch Pad programs so they can focus on starting their businesses right.
The program guides startups from innovation to production on three levels: ideation, build, and market. Each level offers comparable infrastructure, training, consulting and other resources depending on the business phase. The Ideation program helps test the ideas of startups in the creation phase and that are trying to get funding.
The Build program is for those that have established their product or service and are working toward larger-scale production. The Market program gives startups whose production has reached an industrial scale the resources to refine and consolidate their business models.
Through the Digital Launch Pad programs, OVH demonstrates its commitment to supporting online entrepreneurs. To apply for one of the programs, interested startups can sign up for an OVH account and, if eligible, will receive a support plan that is tailored to their business. Some of the resources available include an infrastructure budget of up to $100,000, support for finding financing and investors, publicity through OVH interviews, videos, and events, and educational tools to learn how to master OVH’s solutions.
“Innovation for Freedom” — A Culture of Employee Empowerment
The motto at OVH is “Innovation for Freedom,” and this statement sets the tone for how the company is structured and operated. Employees are empowered to come up with ideas that bring solutions to those who need them.
“This runs across everything we do, from the organizational structure to the freedom employees have to create and innovate,” said Hiren.
This level playing field and open culture translate into better options for customers, allowing them to choose the right technologies for their businesses.
“Our services deliver such high performance that our customers have the freedom to innovate by applying, and developing, new technologies like data analytics and machine learning,” Hiren said. “As a brand, we are single-minded when it comes to quality and take an uncompromising stance that, I believe, is rare in our industry.”
Evidence of that commitment can be seen in the company’s certification process. It is a global process and includes vital areas like security, with certifications from KPMG, as well as recognition from corporate partner VMware.
Another area where OVH has taken its embrace of freedom and innovation is in building sustainable datacenter solutions. It is committed to reducing energy consumption and its datacenter’s liquid cooling system was developed in-house. This solution, like many others, is both future-focused and customer-oriented. Because not only is OVH sincere about cultivating a culture of innovation, but also to use those innovations to save money — and pass that value on to customers.