Europe’s largest cloud company, OVH, planning Australian data centre

OVH offers an OpenStack-based public cloud service

Europe’s largest hosting provider, France’s OVH, is planning to open a data centre in Australia. The move was revealed by OVH’s public cloud product lead, Maxim Hurtel, in a speech to the OpenStack Summit in Austin Texas this week, but he gave no details.

OVH was founded by French postgraduate student, Octave Klaba, in 1999, in his parent’s attic, according to Hurtel.

“It quickly became the largest French infrastructure provider and today we offer the latest flavour of public cloud, based on OpenStack, which we launched a few months ago,” Hurtel said.

Hurtel said that OVH was now the largest European infrastructure provider with data centres in Europe and in America.

“We have plans to open new ones in other European countries, in Asia and also in the US,” he said.

“We also build and operate our own networks around the world with 32 points of presence and connectivity of 5.5Tbps.”

He added: “We build everything ourselves from data centres to servers, even the desks we use every day… By building our own servers we have access to the latest technology from our tech suppliers and we can optimise the servers for our data centres and to offer the best performance to our customers.

“We have 250,000 running in our infrastructure and we build up to 500 new ones every day.”

Hurtel said the company’s use of OpenStack -- a collection of open source software projects that allow users to develop and manage a cloud infrastructure in a data centre -- dated back to 2012.

“Two years later we entered the public cloud market for servers with Nova [an OpenStack project to provide massively scalable, on demand, self service access to compute resources] combining the flexibility of the cloud with the performance we get from bare metal servers.

“We released that project worldwide in 2015. We got great feedback from developers all over the world because it combined simplified billing and great performance. Today we are adding new functionality.”

Hurtel said OVH’s mission was “to put OpenStack in the hands of more and more developers around the world,” adding: “This is just the beginning for us.”

OVH US vice-president, R&D, Pascal Jaillon, told Computerworld Australia that the company had 70,000 instances running on its OpenStack public cloud, ranging from very small with 2GB of RAM to 240GB.

“We are serving customers from DevOps to large enterprises,” he said

In the public cloud market he said OVH would differentiate itself from major players like Amazon Web Services with the range of services it offers.

“We provide a wide range of services, bare metal, VMware cloud, public cloud. What we see is our customers buying all those to build hybrid clouds. They can buy bare metal servers for their everyday load and they can burst with some instances on the public cloud.”

He said customers were combining these offerings with OVH’s vRack service.

“It is a unique solution to create your own private network across multiple regions and across multiple products.”

OVH’s web site claims that vRack (Virtual Rack) enables customers to “build complex private infrastructures on a global multi-data centre scale using unique network technologies.”

Jaillon declined to provide details of the timeframe for the company’s move into the Australian market, but said: “In September Our CEO, Laurent Allard, announced plans for 12 new data centres in addition to the 17 we already have. They will be built in the next two years.”

He said OVH already had customers in Australia, but had done no marketing in the country.

“We own our own fibre network and we have very large capacity, so people get good service with low latency, even if they are far away from our data centres.”

Over the years OVH has attracted a degree of notoriety. It once hosted a web site for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel force suspected of committing crimes against humanity.

It also took on hosting of the Wikileaks web site after AWS refused to do so, and successfully resisted a legal challenge from the French Government to have it removed.

OVH suffered an embarrassing security failure in 2013, when hackers stole a database containing details of all its European customers.

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