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Posted: 3/3/2014
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OVH Hosting Provider Uses Self-Service Portal to Grow Market Share with New Offering

OVH, a global hosting services provider, wanted to comply with customers’ requests for a dedicated cloud services offering for the Windows operating environment. It is using Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server to deliver a self-service, single tenant cloud offering for those customers. By using Windows Azure Pack to provide a new service to a new customer segment, OVH expects to grow its market share and increase revenue.

Business Needs
OVH is a privately owned web hosting company in France that provides dedicated servers, mutual hosting, domain names, and voice over IP (VoIP) telephony services throughout Europe and North America. To grow its business, OVH continually innovates its services to attract and retain tenants. One way it does this is to evaluate emerging virtualization software so that it can stay at the forefront of technological innovation and respond to customers’ demands. Most recently, OVH customers have been asking about cloud services with a goal to take advantage of the cost-effective flexibility that cloud environments offer.

“OVH already offers a dedicated cloud service based on the VMware platform,” says Hélène Caraux, Project Manager, Dedicated Cloud Offering at OVH. “Customers use a self-service portal to administer scalable compute, storage, and network resources in their isolated environments.”

However, OVH has a growing number of customers who run their datacenters using the Windows Server operating system, Hyper-V virtualization technology, and Microsoft System Center datacenter management products. Many of these customers also host workloads in Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud platform that provides on-demand compute, storage, content delivery, and networking capabilities from Microsoft datacenters.

“When our Windows customers saw the dedicated cloud offering that we provide on the VMware platform they wanted the same service based on Microsoft technology,” says Sebastian Jura, System Administrator at OVH. “We needed to provide them with an OVH dedicated cloud offering that they could administer through a self-serve portal based on the same tools that they already use to manage their on-premises and Windows Azure environments. And to gain competitive advantage, we wanted to offer the solution as quickly as possible.”

OVH is using Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 to create a single tenant, hosted cloud offering for the Windows operating environment. To add a self-service portal for its customers, OVH is using Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server. Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies that runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and is available at no additional cost—an inexpensive way to launch a new, revenue-generating offering.

* We believe there will be a big demand in dedicated cloud services on the Windows platform in Europe. With Windows Azure Pack, we’ll be one of the first to make that available. *

Hélène Caraux
Project Manager, Dedicated Cloud Offering, OVH

Windows Azure Pack includes a management portal for administrators to configure and manage service plans and a self-service tenant portal that is consistent with the Windows Azure management experience. The customer portal includes a list of services that OVH designates for each customer’s plan. By using the tenant portal, a whole new segment of OVH customers—those running the Windows operating system—can self-provision websites, virtual machines, databases, networks, and an enterprise service bus in a dedicated cloud at OVH datacenters using familiar processes.

Today, OVH is working with approximately 50 customers who have agreed to test the new service at the Quebec datacenter. “We had great support from Microsoft Services Consulting to help us deploy our self-service, Windows-based dedicated cloud offering,” says Jura. “Our Microsoft contact quickly provided us with answers whenever we encountered an issue.”

OVH plans to launch its new, Windows-based dedicated cloud offering under the brand Cloud OS Network in its European datacenters in May 2014.

By using Windows Server 2021 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 to build a Windows-based hosted cloud environment, OVH can build a new set of services for a new customer group. And it can use Windows Azure Pack to add the much-requested self-service customer portal while minimizing infrastructure management and costs.

Increase Competitive Advantage
With a familiar user experience and services that are consistent with Windows Azure, it will be easy for customers running Windows-based datacenters to subscribe to and manage their dedicated cloud at OVH. “Windows Azure Pack is the foundation for the latest evolution in our dedicated cloud service offerings that we expect will grow revenue and market share,” says Caraux. “We believe there will be a big demand in dedicated cloud services on the Windows platform in Europe. With Windows Azure Pack, we’ll be one of the first to make that available.”

Reduce Time-to-Market
IT staff at OVH are impressed with how easy it is to work with Windows Azure Pack and set up a self-service experience for customers who want a Windows-based dedicated private cloud. “This is the first time I’ve seen a hypervisor interface that didn’t require hours of training,” says Caraux. “With a very short learning curve, OVH is minimizing the time it takes to launch our new offering and begin generating revenue.”

Streamline IT Administration
Automating key workflows is an essential part of running an efficient datacenter. OVH is using Service Management Automation (SMA), an IT process automation solution for Windows Azure Pack that takes advantage of Windows PowerShell-based workflows to automate the creation, monitoring, and deployment of resources in its Windows Azure Pack environment. “We are minimizing IT labor costs and ensuring predictable service-level agreements working with PowerShell cmdlets right in the management portal,” says Francois Loiseau, Cloud Architect at OVH.

Differentiate Cloud Services
Before it launches its Cloud OS Network offering, OVH will customize the customer portal with corporate branding and colors. And to enrich its tenants’ experience, OVH will use plan add-ons.

“We can provide value-add services such as load-balancing, software-defined networks, access to virtual machine logs, and physical IP management on top of the self-serve provisioning that customers get with the portal,” says Loiseau. “With Windows Azure Pack, we can continually innovate our services to stay ahead of the market.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 700 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Roubaix, France, OVH is one of the largest server hosts in the world. It has 12 datacenters in 16 countries, including a new facility in Quebec, Canada, that collectively house more than 150,000 servers.

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Azure Pack
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Datacenter
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs


Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Service Delivery

IT Issue
Cloud Services


Microsoft Services