VMworld in San Francisco: OVH.com’s vSphere as a service in the spotlight

The Franco-Canadian team sent to California by OVH.com mentions a joyous vibe. It mirrors the European VMworld, which the hosting provider will once again take part in next October, in Barcelona. “VMware’s yearly event is before anything else a gigantic party for the collaborators of the software editor and its partners”, says Jerome Arnaud, OVH.com’s vice-president of operations in the US and Canada. However, business is never far away. If tens of thousands of IT administrators made their way to the “City by the bay”, it is to take a look at the new trends, discover before everyone else the new VMware products and, of course, to find out about the hosting providers able to help them in the process of establishing their virtualized infrastructures. Amongst the 250 partners at the fair, some pulled out all the stops to attract visitors. “The OVH.com team, mainly made up of technical experts, felt a bit out of place next to the many marketing experts and professional entertainers at the other booths, admits Jerome. Our philosophy always was to develop great products, keeping in mind that the users will talk about it. Our model is essentially based on online sales and word of mouth. The best marketers we will ever have are our clients!”

Jerome Arnaud, OVH.com’s vice-president of operations in the US and Canada.

“Our show: demonstrating the Dedicated Cloud!”

The hosting provider could nonetheless count on a major attraction to draw the attention: their VMware trophies, proudly exhibited at the booth. “Only one company in the world received the 2013 Global Service Provider Award. And that company is OVH.com. So the visitors were curious to meet with these guys, who were still fairly unknown in North America one year ago, that VMware keeps on rewarding*”, says Jerome. And those whose interest led to the white and blue booth of the third best hosting provider in the world were not disappointed: “Our show was the live demonstration of our Dedicated Cloud, and mostly of the vSphere as a service that we are the only one in the world to offer. Right in front of the visitors, we would place an order and, a few minutes later, they could see that the resources were delivered, immediately operational.” The flexibility, the elasticity of the resources so often noted in the arguments for the Cloud, still are not a reality for all hosting providers: “To get an additional host, says Jerome, you sometimes have to call customer service, countersign a purchase order, then wait a few days. Who has time to wait nowadays?” For those who internally manage their infrastructure, the fast deployment of a virtual datacenter with OVH.com leaves them stunned: “Being aware that the Cloud is in fact machines that need to be installed, connected, cooled down, configured…, they would tell us: « It’s impossible! Your technicians must be running pretty fast to deliver all of this in so little time! » Our secret is in fact that no one is running: the whole process is automated to insure deliveries within a few minutes, day or night.” Another perks of the trophies: to reassure the skeptics. “Our Dedicated Cloud clashes in the landscape by its performance, its included anti DDoS protection and transparent billing. So much so that we could read the stupefaction in the eyes of some of the visitors. In these cases, to see the trophies awarded to OVH.com by VMware would dissipate all doubt on the seriousness of our promises.” In the end, more than a thousand contacts were made, with visitors from over 40 countries. “Our main goals in coming to San Francisco were to make ourselves known and seek out the needs and comments of the users. And we are certain that the bonds established with these visitors will have positive repercussions on OVH’s growth in North America, which did not slow down over the Summer break and keeps growing at a constant pace”, assures Jerome. A success that can be seen at BHS (OVH.com’s Canadian datacenter), as it reached the mark of 10,000 physical servers delivered.

Towards the hybrid Cloud

Miroslaw Klaba, R&D manager at OVH, attended the Californian expedition to get in touch with the many experts, Cloud architects and analysts eager to work with OVH.com. But also and most importantly, to find out where VMware is headed in the coming months and years. “The trend right now is the hybrid Cloud, Miroslaw observes. The companies that are already customers of VMware now want an externalized Cloud, complementing the internal Cloud that is hosting their core business. This external Cloud for a provider is seen as a highly flexible developing environment or a storage space of on-demand available resources to take on peaks of activity – what we call burst. However, that strategy differs if, for instance, the core business is on the Internet.” In this case, the external Cloud with a hosting provider is better suited. “VMware identified this new demand and tries to acquire a part of the laaS market with its vCloud Hybrid Service.” For Miroslaw, the roadmap presented by the Palto Alto editor does not come as a surprise. On the contrary, it comforts his vision. In fact, the hybrid Cloud has been at the center of his team’s work for a few months: “We are making every effort to give the user the same experience in managing an internal and an external Cloud at OVH.com. It is therefore why we believe in the potential of vSphere as a service over vCloud as a service, an offer widespread among hosting providers, but that only targets a niche market, in our opinion. The reason being that vCloud, created by VMware for the providers, is more complex and not as rich in functionalities than vSphere, the key hypervisor on the market.”

The animated robots sporting the hosting provider’s logo, were a great success amongst the visitors.

vSphere 5.5, virtualization of network and storage

Pat Gelsinger, the dashing CEO of VMware, announced the upcoming release of vSphere 5.5. A release that drastically pushes the envelope on most of the current limits of the hypervisor, since the memory, the number of logical processors and of supported vCPU per host is simply doubled! “With vSphere 5.5, it will be possible to manage even bigger environments and spread virtualization to more critical applications”, explains Miroslaw. Still under beta testing, this update will be offered to OVH.com’s customer as soon as it is officially launched. “We are going to carry, without any fees for our clients, the upgrade from the anterior versions, he underlines. And we are already thinking about the functions we will be able to add to the product. Finally, two technologies in development were unveiled during Pat Gelsinger’s keynote address: NSX and VSAN. The first one is a virtualization of network layers and some security features, which would lead to the creation of complex routing within the infrastructure and to “the establishing of VLAN** that guarantee, for instance, the isolation of two VM through a firewall – in the same vein as what we already offer with the Cisco Nexus 1000V, which is free for all of our Dedicated Cloud users”, points out Miroslaw. VSAN (Virtual Storage Area Network), the second technology presented, virtualizes storage. In short, the hard drives of many servers are shared to exploit this fragmented storage capacity in a global and transparent way. A new feature that will be appreciated by the users who perform virtualization on their dedicated servers. “With both of these technologies, two new layers of virtualization, which are projected to be available by the end of the year, we are truly entering the era of software-defined datacenters. What we are offering to our users is the opportunity to create, within the walls of our datacenters, their own virtual datacenters with limitless possibilities when it comes to the personalization of the architecture…”

*OVH.com was awarded the following VMware trophies: the vCloud Service Provider trophy, received at the VMworld EU in Copenhagen (2011); the VMware Service Provider France trophy, received at the VMware forum in Paris (2012); the VMware Service Provider Program trophy for the EMEA zone, received at the VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas (2012); the vCloud Service Provider of the year trophy, received at the VMworld in Barcelona (2012); the VMware Service Provider Program trophy for the EMEA zone and the Global Service Provider of the year trophy, received at the VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas (2013).
** A VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is a local network that connects a group of resources in a logical way, rather than a physical way.