French cloud provider OVH’s public cloud is now available in the U.S. It’s built on OpenStack, and company executives say it’s a more open, transparent alternative to the big three — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud — for enterprises that don’t like lock-in.
“No vendor lock-in, no ingress-egress charges, and if you want to do to public cloud with an open source model, our public cloud is built on OpenStack,” said Russell P. Reeder, CEO of OVH US. “We are the perfect global partner even if they don’t know the OVH name.”
The OVHcloud Public Cloud is available in the company’s East Coast data center, and will be coming to the West Coast data center in January. The public cloud offers block, archive, and object storage powered by OpenStack Swift and CEPH.
The Paris-based company has 1.5 million customers worldwide including “tens of thousands” of U.S. customers even before it opened its American data centers, Reeder said. And the company has been steadily growing its U.S. business as part of its plan to take on AWS, Microsoft, and Google.
In January, it launched its hosted-private cloud offerings in the U.S. The service is based on vCloud Air, which it purchased from VMware in April 2017. The company also teamed up with Veeam and Zerto to provide the software vendors’ respective automated backup and disaster recovery for private cloud customers.
Over the summer it partnered with VMware to offer virtualized compute, storage, and networking on OVHcloud Hosted Private Cloud. And it also announced a partner program for resellers, system integrators, and managed service providers to offer OVHcloud services to their customers.
Last month founder and owner Octave Klaba pledged a triple investment beginning in 2021 to take on U.S. providers, spending between 4 billion and 7 billion euros ($4.6-$8.1 billion) over the course of its next five-year plan. For comparison: its current 1.5 billion-euro investment plan runs until 2020.
But, of course, it can’t take on these cloud giants without a public cloud offering. And today it added that missing piece.
Built on Open Stack
OVH selected OpenStack in 2012 to build its public cloud. In 2014 it became a member of the OpenStack Foundation and has since donated cloud resources to the open source community.
“The choice was really around an open platform to go with our open mindset, and OpenStack was perfect for that,” Reeder said. “We’re not trying to build a proprietary system.” In addition to open, “the OVH mindset is also very engineering-centric,” he added.
Building a public cloud on OpenStack adds to this engineering credibility.
The company designs and manages its own data centers (it has 28 around the world) and designs and builds its own servers. It says it owns thousands of miles of fiber globally and has 34 points of presence on its global network.
OVH has two data centers in the U.S.: one in Vint Hill, Virginia, and a second in Hillsboro, Oregon. Another advantage to the American market is that these data centers are equipped with OVH’s water-cooling technology, which allows the company to reduce energy use and related costs — and pass these savings onto cloud customers, Reeder says.
“That’s really where OVH excels: efficiency, scalability, and a cost-effective model,” he said. “To find a high performance, profitable, and price leader it’s very unique.”
Can OVH Pull Market Share?
But it’s going to be tough to pull market share from U.S.-based cloud providers. Even Reeder admits OVH has its work cut out for it. OVH is a B2B business, while Amazon’s known for its online shopping and Google for its search engine.
“Fighting that brand recognition from consumer companies is really hard,” he said. “People know those companies not from their cloud but they have brand awareness from their other consumer products.”
Reeder says OVH will overcome this through happy customers, “and telling our story, because we do have a very unique story as far as an alternative cloud.”