New Toronto data centre to be key element in OVHcloud expansion

OVHCloud just celebrated their tenth anniversary in Canada, and while to date their facilities have been in Montreal, they plan to open up a Toronto data centre next year.

Estelle Azemard, OVHcloud’s vice president for the Americas

OVHcloud just had their 10th anniversary in Canada. At this point in time, their facilities have been based in the Montreal area, although there are plans afoot to change that. The company itself is 20 years old, and the Montreal facility at Beauharnois has been there since 2012, built on the site of a former aluminum smelter that has been completely revitalized.

“2012 was when we built our first data centres outside of Europe, and we are very proud of our facility in Montreal, which was our first data centre outside of Europe,” said Estelle Azemard, OVHcloud’s vice president for the Americas.  This facility now hosts nearly 90,000 servers, and has the capacity to eventually host three times that number. It has been responsible for coverage of both North America and Latin America, because of their ability to host data in a way that is immune from extraterritorial legislation.

“We are the only major provider that is neither American nor Chinese,” Azemard said. “That’s very important with some customers. With digital transformation, states began to regulate the data transfer and how the data could be used. This includes China’s 2017 Cybersecurity Law, the American CLOUD [Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data] Act, which controls the use and transfer of data and the EU’s GDPR, which protects it.

“The CLOUD Act in particular means that an order from a federal judge can compel U.S-based providers to provide requested data, thus undermining data sovereignty,” Azemard said. “Now, OVHcloud is the only hyperscaler who can protect the data from the reach of extraterritorial legislations such as the Cloud Act. We have the scalability of a giant with a position that is compliant with the local needs of our customer. We can offer the best price performance ratio and we are flexible.”

OVHcloud is, however, in the position of competing with large hyperscalers – three in particular – who are significantly bigger than them.

We have double digit growth in competing against them because as a company, we have a lot of courage and this was a quality of the founding Klaba family,” Azemard stated. “We also have other strong differentiators. For instance, we let the customer build anything they want with no ingress or egress fees for data and no contractual lock-in. That helps us with a lot of customers, but especially with more technical customers like in the gaming industry.”

In Canada, most of their revenues to date have been from Quebec.

“That’s not surprising because we have been here for ten years,” Azemard said. “We have 15,000 customers in Canada and 80,000 servers that are running currently in Canada in the Montreal area.”

Next year, however, they plan to expand their Canadian presence by opening a new OVHcloud data centre in Toronto.

“We want to move more presence to central Canada to be closer to more of our customers,” Azemard noted. “In addition, for some enterprises, it’s very important to have a second location, so it makes sense to expand our footprint.”

The new Toronto facility will be a full data centre, and not just a sales office.

“We are not yet sure of the shape of it in term of how it will be set up, but it will be a data centre,” Azemard said.

Most of OVHcloud’s sales in Canada today are direct, but Azemard indicated that the channel business is growing.

“The part of our revenue coming from the channel is growing, and growing at 30% growth year-over-year,” she said. “We have been accredited recently by the recently established Quebec Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital Technology and are working with partners for that. We expect that it will grow rapidly.

“We also want to expand our footprint, and for this we will also need partners,” Azemard continued. “We also want to promote new cloud usages, and have been increasingly diversifying. PaaS is now available through our Website. We have 71 services now and before the end of our fiscal year in August the goal is to have 80 services.”

OVHcloud has also tweaked its partner program significantly to better enable a stronger channel and stronger channel partners.

“The partner program is fairly new and is something that we have changed recently to enrich it with new mechanisms,” Azemard said. “We really want to move away from transactional partnerships, to have fewer partners but deeper relationships with each partners. Core integrated managed service providers are ideal for this. We also want partners who are more upstream in the customer relationship. We offer no services or anything that would compete with the partner.

New details about the channel program will be publicly released in September.

“They are already in place now though,” Azemard pointed out.